A Feeling of Home

Grade: C

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Jonna Walsh - Abby

Nathan Parsons – Ryan

Abby is filming a web show about home décor and cooking…New England style. I guess they cook in cocktail dresses in New England, and that is absolutely okay, because there is nothing wrong with looking your best. Oven mitts go great with pearls!

 

“La dee da. La dee da. La la. La dee da.”

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Two people are watching her... and the dude looks judge-y. What’s his deal?

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Now she is discussing her table decorations. Since it is a New England Clam Bake apparently you should vomit anything remotely having to do with the sea onto your table. Shells, twigs, fishing net, mermaid barbie…Abby says the key is “authenticity”.

 

TA DAAAA!...blech.

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The woman watching her is her publicist, Gina. The man is Michael Carrington of Carrington Enterprises. He owns the biggest chain of home goods in New England. Their ads say, “If it’s New England, its Carrington.” Gina wants him to partner with their web series.

 

Let’s continue to watch Abby work with a little added commentary on my part…

 

Abby: 

“Try a fishing net for the tablecloth!” (not the most stable surface for wine glasses but okay). 

“And if you don’t have one, ask a friend because they might.” (yes…they might). 

“Because what are friends for?” (I guess… loaning you stuff?) 

“As we say in New England, fun doesn’t have to be expensive! Imagination is free!” (agreed, New Englanders say this all the time – if you visit there it’ll really get on your nerves.)

 

BTW the entire time she is speaking, she looks like she is about to fall asleep. Seriously, not a single molecule of energy comes out of this woman.

 

Stare at this photo for 1 full minute. 

Great - you’ve basically seen the show.

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However, the two onlookers look at each other like.. isn’t she great!

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“This is Abby Porter and you have been watching New England, My Way.”

I don’t think she has moved at all.

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BTW we are 2 minutes and 49 seconds into the movie and “New England” has been mentioned 8 times. I’m going to stop counting now, but you get the picture.

 

Carrington tells her they have 47 stores, he likes her New England-ness, and they might make a good fit! He can put her face and her name in stores all throughout the Northeast! He says, “Abby Porter is New England. It’s that kind of honesty that our customers will really relate to.”

 

Uh oh! Big problem! Abby grew up in Texas! She only LIVES in New England so she is a fraud! 

 

Viewing Group Consensus: The idea that you are not “authentic” unless your mother birthed you in a certain place is dumb and sort of elitist.

 

“Me…from new England originally?” side eye to Gina, “Sure.”

Okay, not authentic and a liar. Got it.

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Now Abby is having tea with her mother and she has just told her about Carrington’s interest in her show.

 

“But you’re not from New England! Now you live here of course…but you sprang from my loins on Texas soil sweetie!”

 

While they are drinking tea, Abby is looking thru old albums for photos she can photoshop to make her lie of a New England upbringing seem real. Mom’s cool with the cover up.

“How about we tell everyone all these photos are of your identical twin sister who lives in Antarctica, and all your photos got burnt in a house fire.

Should I say I was in the CIA?”

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Next, Mom tells Abby that her father, (her ex-husband), fell off his horse and hurt his shoulder and is there any chance Abby might fly out to Texas and help him for a week or two on the ranch?

 

“Well, he finds some fault in everything I do, but if he needs me, I’ll go.” says Abby.

“That’s my Texas girl…er, I mean New England debutante,” says Mom.

 

Then we zero in on a photo in her album which has no meaning right now except for us to view a terrible example of photoshopping people’s faces onto other bodies. 

 

Could this Jib Jab guy be her true love?

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Mom goes to get more photo albums to help Abby with her lies. 

-end scene.

 

Abby travels to Langston, Texas to help her Dad, and I guess does what all Texans do when they arrive anywhere, she and her dad have lemonade, on the porch, in their rocking chairs, by the cows. Check.

 

However, I doubt all Texas girls wear white pants and pearl necklaces around a ranch, so it appears Abby is “not authentic” anywhere.

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BTW please recognize that Dad’s house is the one they used in A Country Wedding which is another pretty decent Hallmark movie you should check out.

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However, in this dimension…

 

OMG her Dad is actor Robbie Benson from Ice Castles!!!!

I am so totally going to show my daughters Ice Castles after this.

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After some chit chat, Abby asks her Dad what he would like her to do around the farm and he answers, “Nothing…I hired a new ranch manager.” 

"Well," says Abby, "I'm here to pick up the slack so whatever he can’t do I will – as long as my white pants don’t get dirty and my pearls are safe."

 

The new manager pulls in and it’s her ex-boyfriend Ryan! Think they will get back together? Gee, I just don’t know!

 

Grrr…I’m a cowboy!

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She tells him she is here to help out and Ryan just laughs and says, “Don’t get me wrong, you look great, but your dressed for a garden party.” She disagrees.

 

I’m going to be the biggest help there ever was.

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During their conversation we get to watch Abby try and hide the fact that her sweater is caught on a branch behind her. For some reason she would rather stand there and weirdly struggle then just say, “My sweater is stuck on a branch.” I don’t get it. Is her sweater getting stuck a sign of weakness? This is dumb.

 Who cares!

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Ryan asks her to help him unload a truck, but since she gets a phone call from Gina she leaves him to do the work alone. This kind of detracts from her assertion that she will be at all useful.

 

Gina tells her – “I just got off the phone with Carrington and he wants a full bio of you. We’re going to say you were born in Greenwich.”

“I really don’t feel good about this,” says Abby. 

“You’ll feel good about the checks.” Gina retorts and hangs up.


Side Note: I am confused. Am I supposed to have no sympathy for Abby because she willingly participates in deceit, or am I supposed to have no sympathy for Abby because she willingly participates in deceit but is wishy-wishy about it? Because either way I have no sympathy for Abby.

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Next, Abby changes into her work clothes which apparently include super hero boots. Please notice that her string of pearls remains as part of her work outfit. Also, Abby…it’s called a ponytail.

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It seems even her Dad is not confident in her ability to help out. We realize this when he comments to Ryan, “Yeah, it’s great that Abby is tryin’ and all, but we both know she is more into arts and crafts than ranching.”

Ouch.

 

However, his conclusion seems spot on when immediately after this Abby mistakes a suet ring, which is beef fat mixed with seeds and oats used to feed hens, for a bagel. FYI there is nothing remotely bread-like about a suet ring.

 

Dumba**

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Dad goes to check on a heifer and asks Ryan to “remind” Abby how to clean the chicken coop, which begs the question, how long has it been since she has been on this farm? If she spent most of her childhood with her Mom in New England, then she shouldn’t be too concerned with “authenticity.” If she spent most of her childhood on the farm, then why did she apparently block it all out?

 

Ryan and Abby catch up a bit as they make their way to the coop. We find out that Ryan has a Masters in Ranch Management, and that he is fixing up his parent’s old house to sell so he can put a down payment on his own ranch.

Next, Abby walks into the coop, the chickens fly around a little, and she freaks out. “I didn’t dress for this!” she says. No sh*t.

Drrrr!

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So now Ryan decides they should drop everything and go clothes shopping for her. Huh? On Abby’s end, how is this cleaning a coop or helping her Dad? On Ryan end, is this consistent with his Ranch Manager duties? Can he just take off whenever he wants?

 

After all the shopping Ryan suggests they stop for a burger, but Abby nixes this idea and takes him back to the house where she makes him a classic French omelet with cheddar cheese, chives and chilies.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the burger.

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Dad walks in and asks about the chicken coop and Ryan covers. He says, “I had to make a run into town and Abby kept me company.” 

Wow, lying is really not an issue in this movie.

 

Next, we see Abby “working” i.e. she is filling egg cartons with eggs while Ryan looks on. Goodness, they really don’t trust her to do anything do they?

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While she s-l-o-w-l-y puts eggs into a carton, Ryan tells her he checked out her website and saw that there is no mention of Texas in her bio – instead he noticed she claimed to be born in Greenwich.

 

Then he tells her, “good work” after she has filled one carton with a dozen eggs and closed the lid. Thank goodness…she looks exhausted.

 

Abby replies, “I wish my dad would say ‘good job’ to me – it’s clear he always wanted a son or at least a tomboy,” (or maybe someone who does things well).

 

Next up, Dad asks Ryan to pick up the feed order and gas up the truck. Abby accompanies him and on the way, Ryan stops by his house and…hey, it’s the house from the Hallmark movie All of my Heart and An Aurora Teagarden Mystery


 

Hello, frequently used set!

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Actually, for this movie it’s Ryan’s house and it is on the market, but there have been no offers. Abby uses her trained lifestyle expert eye to give him some tips on staging it and, since they are going to the hardware store anyway - they decide to check out what home furnishings they have there to use.

 

When she gets to the hardware store she somehow manages to “borrow” their entire inventory of home goods to stage his house. How she manages this is not explained. Apparently, as this is what she “does” for a living, it is beyond our understanding. Oh well, I didn’t care anyway. 

 

Then she starts to pick out paint. Ryan looks bored. So am I.

 

I cannot believe they actually wrote it into the script that she should flip thru paint swatches and talk about them. Holy crap somebody kill me now.

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Hmmmm….

See this?...way too blue.

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20 minutes later…Ryan looks riveted.

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Then they get home and have to explain to Dad how they went out for feed and gas and came back with a bunch of rugs and furniture.

Between you and me, ranch manager might not really be Ryan’s calling.

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Dad tells them that two longhorns got loose so Ryan needs to go after them. Also, an abandoned calf needs to be roped in and fed by hand – can Abby manage this? “Sure, I can.” she says confidently.

Then, as soon as her dad leaves, we find out that…no, no she can’t.

 

What is this? An episode of Pretty Little Liars? 

 

“You good with the calf?” asks Ryan.

“Um, roping was never my strong suit,” Abby replies with her pearls on.

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Ryan spends time showing her the “ropes” (LOL). But in the end, she accomplishes her task the hard way. Hope this little guy isn’t miles from the ranch! 

“Please don’t poop. Please don’t poop.”

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The next day Abby “helps” Ryan by passing him small amounts of hay that he could just as easily get himself.

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Dad looks on and smiles at the two of them working together – did Robbie Benson set this up??

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Now we will get a montage of them working together on the farm.

Here Ryan is fixing a railing and stopping to stare at her

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Now they are staring at each other as they work on the house

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Here they are weirdly milking cows back to back.

I’m not really sure what this means.

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Wow, Abby knows how to clean the chicken coop now!

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(However, since cleaning a chicken coop means dealing with poop, Abby should have a mask and gloves on.)


Wow, Abby sort of knows how to somewhat clean the chicken coop now!

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OMG she’s traded her pearls for a kerchief! 

Is she assimilating or over-confident?

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Now that Abby has traded her pearls for a kerchief, she thinks she can do anything, so she talks her dad into letting her ride a horse out to check on the troughs.

 

Here are Dad and Ryan watching her riding off into the sunset and wondering if they will ever see her alive again.

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Abby is making her way to the troughs on her horse when she gets a call from Gina. “What are you doing out there? We’ve done just about everything here we can do without you so get home pronto…goodbye.”

 

Gina is bit controlling, perhaps.

 

Back out on the prairie, Abby runs into an empty trough with a broken faucet, so she uses her headset to tie the lever down and keep the water running. Hope they were not Bose.

 

FYI you could have used your kerchief, dumba**.

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She takes a photo on her cell of her makeshift fix and shows her dad what she did. Apparently, she fixed another couple of troughs off screen as well. Goodness knows what she used to fix these with…a shoelace? A lock of hair? God forbid her pearls.

 

She tells Ryan about her fake New England persona over ice cream. He says she “reinvented” herself which is a Texas tradition. Is it? I think not.
 

Ryan asks her out to a BBQ party and she says yes! However, when they meet up he says she is overdressed for a barbeque.

 

Maybe she is and maybe she isn’t but either way…dude has no game.

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Per request, Ryan brings his homemade barbeque sauce to the party and everyone in town wants him to make more. Abby observes this tells him he should sell his sauce and even offers to help him since part of her job is to find new products and promote them.

 

Since Gina has told Abby that they desperately need some new footage of her to show to Carrington, Abby tries to film a web video on her porch in Texas where she pretends to be in New England. Good thing it is not smell-a-vision.

 

Ryan watches her doing this and calls her out on her deception.

 

Abby’s response, “I know I can be overly ambitious, and it gets me into trouble sometimes.”
 

Side Note: Okay, so just to confirm, “lying” is also known as “ambition.” What is this… Hollywood? 

Oh wait…I guess it is, never mind.

 

Abby helps Ryan commercialize his BBQ sauce. He decides to call it Yellow Rose.

Her dad comes over to give Ryan more chores. Abby asks him if she can drive the tractor and Dad says they will discuss it…she considers this progress. I consider it a “no.”


Look at how she dresses to fix a fence. Pearls and a backpack? Topped off with an extra-long shirt that is sure to get in the way? Yeah, I wouldn’t let her drive a tractor either - this chick has the common sense of a fruit fly.

BTW Abby...it’s still called a ponytail.

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We find out that she has olive oil in her backpack which they use to stop the fence from creaking. WTF is she carrying around olive oil in her backpack for? Is she going to accomplish all her ranch repairs with weird items like headphones and salad dressing?

 

The next day we are with the three of them in the barn as Ryan mixes up a batch of BBQ sauce – they are going to test 200 bottles and see how they sell. They are also breaking about 1000 food sanitation laws by cooking this up in a poop ridden barn.

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Unexpectedly, as they are cooking in the barn, Gina calls with Carrington for an immediate Facetime call with Abby. 

 

Abby has to think fast since she is actually in a barn in Texas and she needs to make it look like she is in Cape Cod. 

Honestly, (or I guess dishonestly), if she is going to lie anyway, I would have just said I just stepped out of the shower and refused the face time call but whatever…

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Abby stands in front of a flag and tells Carrington she is playing croquet and drinking Cape Cods with her family and… wait a minute…I googled it and there are barns all over New England! There is even a specific barn called a “New England Style Barn.” She could have just said she was in a barn!!!

 

Abby sends Gina a bottle of Ryan’s sauce – Gina doesn’t really want to promote a Texas sauce to Carrington, but she will do it. 

 

Then Ryan cooks Abby a bizarre dinner. He tells her he got the recipes from her web show so now the weird food makes sense. Also, one of the recipes seems to be just a bowl of raw mushrooms.

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Gina calls and says Carrington tried Ryan’s BBQ sauce and loved it. But oh no… a fan posted a photo of her out in Langston and he started digging and figured out she was from Texas!

Okay, we need to go to Plan B.

I’ll need a fake CIA badge for my Mom.

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Abby says, “We should have just leveled with him from the start,” and 

Gina replies, “You need to be here so we can fix this in person.”

Thanks Gina.

You’re an amazing strategist.

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Abby is conflicted because she has to go, yet she has to stay to help Ryan with his sauce. She starts to discuss this issue with her Dad but ends up opening up about her feelings with their relationship.

“Dad, everything I’ve ever done I’ve done to make you proud, but it’s never been enough.”

Her Dad looks surprised, "Is that what you really thought all these years? Let me show you something."

 

Then he takes her to a secret little shrine of photos and clippings he has built for her in the barn. He says he never been the “kind of fella who could talk about his feelins’ en such”. He says he has always been proud of her and she is perfect. They hug it out. Whew! Glad that is resolved. 

 

Note to self: build a secret shrine of each of your children in case you need it later. idea: Annelise's in the coat closet, Cassy's in attic crawl space, Sam's in mailbox.

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She tells Ryan she needs to go back east to pull everything together and he gets mad even though this is her job. 

Ryan says, “You always have a choice Abby, you just need the courage to make it.”

Then he says he is going to sell the house and put a downpayment on the land outside of town. He tells her he never stopped loving her and that they had a good run twice and, like the last time, he wishes her the best.

Ouch.

                                             "Vaya con Dios, Abby" (sniff)

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She is sad but then…OMG it’s Jason (her cameraman) and Gina! What are they doing here?

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WHAAAT! They also brought Carrington who, luckily for the few minutes left in the movie, is not mad, loves Ryan’s sauce, and now wants to expand his company to Texas so she can do her show all about Texas!

How ridiculously convenient!

 

“Is there anything else I can do to make this movie end on time?”

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Abby live streams her next show from Texas and Ryan sees it and runs over to her ranch – hey what in tarnation is going on?

Abby tells him she is rebranding the show to A Taste of Texas and his BBQ sauce is the first product they are promoting. “I hope you haven’t sold your house yet?” she asks.

Nope.

That’s good because I love you and I think we should turn your ranch into a destination like maybe a guest ranch!

I love you too and I will need a great designer for said guest ranch!

 

(Gee, it’s so romantic when people first express their love for each other and talk business at the same time. It really makes the moment special. (sniff )

 

Also, sounds like a sequel to me!!!

 

I can’t can wait.

 

(kissy sounds with a “moo” in the background)

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PROS

  • Robbie frickin” Benson!

  • Idea for a kid shrine

  • I learned that a “hondo” is a part of a rope knot used by cowboys 

 

CONS

  • Liars win?

  • Pearl necklaces

  • The words “New England” from now on

THE END

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Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, have come from the Hallmark Movie “Love to the Rescue” which can be viewed on the Hallmark Channel

Vector Art Link: <a href="https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/barn">Barn Vectors by Vecteezy</a>