Hello Everyone! I’ve taken just a few months off – but have come to realize that with the dumpster fire that is the news, plus my true crime obsession, I am in need of a little Hallmarky goodness right about now! I’ve missed all of the Spring movies and the June Weddings ones, and am starting up just in time for the Christmas in July, and I’m hoping for some good ones.
But first, we start with the one that’s been in my DVR for a while, starring the guy who plays the new Max Evans on Roswell NM – which I also may have binged this spring. A Feeling of Home. Also starring Voice of the Beast (and dreamboat from Ice Castles, Robby Benson – it’s sad when dreamboats grow up).
We start at a very nice white Tudor, with a girl named Abby doing some kind of cooking show about a New England clambake. Abby is like Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, only just in a web series. This girl just suggested using a fishing net as a tablecloth. Get the hell out of your web series, Abby. That is a dumbass idea – and apparently, it’s based on a New England aesthetic, called “New England My Way”. She’s up for a brand extension at the Target of New England, called Carrington. We have so much set up about how important New England is, that we know Abby isn’t really from New England, and she’s a liar liar who lies about her provenance. Don’t tell Carrington, she’s from Texas!!!
Abby is going through an old photo album and it has the worst photoshopped images in it. Divorced mom is trying to guilt Abby into going to help her dad on the ranch, because Dad fell off his horse and Abby doesn’t have the best relationship with her Dad, so off she goes to the Lone Start State for some longhorn shots on B-roll, and man, that state if FLAT.
Abby is talking to herself in her rent-a-car, you know, as you do. More cattle as she pulls into the ranch that is TOTALLY the Smallville house. Robby Benson is her dad. Awkward hugs. He has a weird accent, and he has no idea what a web series is. Dad does not believe that Abby can do anything on the ranch, and has hired a new ranch manager that is Abby’s high school boyfriend, and the fact that she can’t guess that with all the weird hints dad is dropping means Abby is just dumb. Ryan shows up in a very big cowboy hat.
No one believes that Abby can be helpful, and she’s just gotten her very nice sweater tangled in a rosebush. And now Abby’s Sassy Friend/Manager is lying to Carrington about the fact that she was not born in Connecticut. It took this girl 5 minutes to unstick herself from the damn rosebush. I don’t trust a word she has to say about anything. And her idea of work clothes is a pair of skinny jeans and a white peasant blouse. WITH PEARLS.
There is so much condescending man talk in this movie I already hate it. They don’t believe she can clean a chicken coop. But we also find out that Ryan has a masters in ranch management, his parents have moved to Arizona, and he now owns a very nice farmhouse. And she sees the futility of cleaning a coop in $1000 blue cowboy boots, and so Ryan takes her shopping, where, quelle suprise, her old best friend owns the store.
After the commercial break, she shows off what SHE can do and cooks him an omelet for lunch – where the eggs are in a bowl with a dishtowel in it. Does NO ONE in these movies store eggs like a normal person? Ryan loves her French Fusion Omelet, and we get the weird conversations about the fact that they are both single.
Oh My God She is SO needy for her father’s affection and he’s a huge asshole about it and Robby Benson, how dare you take a role like this when you know how much we all love you from Ice Castles???? Please Abby, throw all your French Fusion Omelets at his face.
More heartfelt conversations while she struggles to drive her dad’s ancient stick shift truck. He wasn’t cut out for fancy living, and she didn’t want a ranch so that’s that, right? Sure. Now off they go to his parent’s old house (he’s trying to sell it to buy his own ranch, but as luck would have it there is a pasture of 40 acres right next store to the house, and it is the same interior as the movie trilogy with Lacey Chabert where she opens an Inn, and Abby tells him he needs to have a good staging in the house in order to sell it because right now it’s on the right side of super depressing. And so off they go to the hardware store to find some good furniture!
FYI, she’s still wearing her pearls. And the hardware store is a delightful mix of eclectic paint chips and Adirondack chairs. But meanwhile, back at the ranch, Daddy Benson needs Abby to go rope a calf, which leads to Ryan leaning in close in order to show Abby how to do it. And Abby says screw the rope, I’m going to hand carry this calf in order to feed it from a bottle.
And all of this leads to a dinner date with Ryan (BBQ). He has a porch swing on his porch, but it is on an A-frame, not hanging from the ceiling of the front porch, and I have NO Idea why that is. But they get to have a nice dinner, where she trudges up her daddy issues again. We get it, your dad sucks.
Seriously, Ryan, what are you doing aside from that slow stare that this actor is so good at?
After the next commercial break, we get a nice shot of Abby sitting on a picnic table with the one country song that these movies have sprung for in order to get into the “Country Life / Ranch Work Montage.” Bales of Hay! Cows! Raking! Painting! Chickens! Abby with a bandana around her neck! Now she has to ride a horse. She is not wearing a hat, and I worry about her skin protection.
Daddy Benson doesn’t realize that he has never given his daughter any kind of valid, positive reinforcement until Ryan shows up to tell him that. Meanwhile, her Sassy Friend/Manager is freaking out about seashell windchimes. Those sound atrocious. Also, Sassy Friend/Manager is still lying to Carrington about Abby’s Texas roots.
Abby has just sacrificed a pair of hot pink earbuds in order to fix a faucet in the field with a very girl power “What Would I Do?” as opposed to “What Would Dad Do.” And she documented it on her phone in order to beg for crumbs of praise from her dad.
We’re at the stage of the movie where Abby confides in Ryan about her ethical dilemma about New England. It’s over very nice looking ice cream sundaes that Abby has not even tried to eat, and we get another date request from Ryan – town BBQ! – which she attends in a dress and her pearls. And Abby just brought a Bok Choy, Kale, Dandelion Green Salad in a tiny-ass bowl to a TOWN BBQ. What?!?!!!??
It’s a Town BBQ, and yet they are by themselves on a flatbed truck by a fire, with barely anyone around. And here’s Abby with another helpful recommendation for Ryan – go bottle his own BBQ sauce that the town seems to think is the best thing since Chocolate. He gets overwhelmed but she’s like, I got you, Boo, and off they go to the internet to create a logo for his sauce! Her dad’s got amazing WIFI as they are working outside on her laptop. He settles on Yellow Rose BBQ, but then Daddy Benson shows up barking orders and trying to assist in her need for validation. Off they go to fix a gate!
Man, I wish I was watching Smallville. Tom Welling would have fixed that gate in no time. But she uses her own personal olive oil that she carries around with her to fix the hinge. Why didn’t he have WD40 in his truck? Plus her olive oil was almost completely clear – what kind of crap olive oil is that?
Since Abby challenges him to find something to do in this one-horse town – and voila – there’s a Texas winery to visit! And a County Fair to go to!
Abby driving the tractor in a girl power move to show her dad she can do it. So sad.
Ryan is making his BBQ in the barn, and then Abby’s manager and weirdo Carrington guy calls for a VIDEO chat so she has to pose in front of an American flag, and it almost gets ruined by Daddy Benson being a crochety old guy. Carrington not happy with what Abby is phoning in from Texas and wants more New England in her videos and honestly, no one cares that much about New England. Sorry, NE, but we care about you when we talk Pilgrims, Salem Witch Trials, and hate on all your sports teams.
County Fair Time! – and it’s inside? Looks like it’s under a clear barn. No one does that, but it’s time for Abby to help Ryan sell his BBQ sauce. It’s a big hit, and now they can walk aimlessly around the fair, and do a little 2 Step (although it’s just a slow dance, nothing fun) and Ryan confesses he just needs her in his life to be happy and then we fade to next morning where they are still fixing up his house, even though he took it off the market. Some lady wants to buy his house, all cash. What’s he gonna do? (He’s not going to sell his house, that’s for damn sure). She’s trying to get her Manager to show the BBQ sauce to Carrington, which makes no sense, but whatevs.
Daddy Benson’s arm is all healed up and he tells her he doesn’t need her anymore. And Carrington found out that Abby is from Texas, not CT, and she’s needed back to put out fires ASAP. And Abby’s all upset, so she finally tells her dad she’s desperately been seeking his approval all her life and THEY ARE IN CLARK KENT’S BARN AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE THERE. THAT IS NOT ALLOWED. But that’s where Dad keeps all his mementos about his daughter – and not in his house. Because why would he keep them in his house? Anyway, Daddy and Daughter are reconciled. But Abby and Ryan are at a crossroads, because he wants her to stay in Texas with him, but she thinks she needs to go fix her life in Connecticut. So he’s going to sell his house and sulk and tell her he’s still in love with her but it’s his problem and he’ll deal with it.
Surprise Surprise, her manager and photographer and Carrington shows up at the ranch. He’s ok with the fact that Sassy Friend/Manager lied to him but he’s also ok with expanding his New England into Texas, as long as it’s authentic. Whatever. That makes no sense whatsoever. But they livestream her new show in Texas, and catches Ryan JUST before he signs the paperwork to sell his farm and so he runs off back to the ranch to find out what’s the deal with Abby. And they love each other, and she wants him to turn his home into an inn for New Englanders who want to come to Texas, and they kiss in the barn and it’s done. THANK GOD.
Well, this was a nice easy one to come back to. Thanks Hallmark, appreciate that the tropes are still super strong! Anyone else want BBQ now? I’ll go get some, just so you don’t have to.