Love Ever After

A Valentine’s Match

Here we are! The next series of movies. Do they get better or worse? Which is the worst season of Hallmark movies, in your opinion?

Our lead is coaching a chef shooting some kind of something. Oh, looks like a TV series. Our lead is the host, Natalie Simmons. She and the chef do a take. It is TERRIBLE. The director gives zero bothers on either performance. Natalie seems pretty nit picky. Oh if she says “roulade” like that one more time….I swear. And then Natalie complains about three inch heels. Giirrrrrrl. Ted called by the way. He has to talk to her today. Uh oh.

She is FIRED. Her boss is like, girl, open your eyes. This show sucks. You suck. You’ve lost your edge and you’re no fun.

Back at her house, she has a mental breakdown and does jumping jacks. Her boyfriend seems like an angel by offering her chocolate ice cream. She’s like, I don’t like chocolate ice cream, remember? Wait, isn’t she supposed to be the protagonist? I’m rooting for her boyfriend now. He suggests she call her mom.

On the phone, she’s running and her mom is painting. Natalie can’t seem to stop exercising. I wish that was my problem. Trade out that chocolate ice cream for a giant box of Honey Comb and that’s me, girlfriend. Her mom wants her to come home…of course. For a Valentine’s Festival. Sh is co chairs with Natalie’s ex boyfriend’s mom.

The presumed ex works at a hardware store. His coworker asks how his date went last night. Not good apparently. Then the coworker’s wife lets him know how disappointed she is. They seem like a gross happy pair. Oh, this guy owns a hardware store AND is an artist.

At Steve’s Diner, the two moms work on the festival. Oh they are going to have a puppy kissing booth! I’m so there. Natalie’s mom mentions that she is coming home for a few weeks. Sue, the other mom is like oh. Neat. Natalie’s mom is like, what’s up? Sue is like, okay I have to tell you something. But then we don’t know what it is!

Outside, Sue says it was Zach’s secret to tell. Oh now these ol birds start scheming. They decide to try to get Natalie and Zach back together.

In the rental car, Natalie listens to a self empowerment audio book. And Natalie’s mom apparently goes ALL OUT for Valentine’s Day. She hung a giant weird collage over Natalie’s bed. Was it her high school vision board? This is the second movie this year where a high school vision board was saved and displayed by a parent. Natalie says she needs to go to the hardware store for festival supplies.

Her mom is like, in that? She’s dressed all fancy but tells her mom she’s wearing weekend heels. Wasn’t she just complaining about wearing three inch heels? Natalie’s mom calls Sue to fill her in.

Sue calls Zach and is like, girl you need to head to the hardware store ASAP. I need something. He drops what he’s doing at the art studio to to go the store.

Natalie arrives and recognizes the coworker, Eric. They catch up very briefly. Natalie is cagey about how she’s doing. She hands the coworker her list of items. Zach arrives and starts looking for his mom, I guess. And keeps missing Natalie. I do love Natalie’s outfit. Even if she is way too fancy. But I’d wear that outfit to work for sure. Natalie hears how the coworker met his wife. They met at the store.

Sue arrives pretending to be in a huff. She’s great. Dang, Natalie’s total is $92. Finally Sue tracks her down. And Zach sees her too. And then Sue asks Eric to help her with some grommets. So great. She’s just going to let the two of them catch up. What is Natalie doing here, he wonders? Natalie asks what brings him back…too? Oh, he lives here. She thought he would be “off doing his art.” He shares that he bought this hardware store a few years ago. She is really confused. And then she tries to be polite about it. and then they get really awkward.

She tries to take everything out to her car and Zach lets her… What is happening? He should insist. I would die. That COULD NOT have gone worse, for either of them.

At home, Natalie tells her mom she ran in to Zach. I’m loving her mom’s capes by the way. Oh and Natalie doesn’t want to talk about Zach anymore. But then she keeps talking about him. Natalie says her boyfriend Brooks is amazing. But her mom is like, we wouldn’t know. We’ve never met. Then Sue calls Natalie’s mom. They want her to help with auction items for the festival. Natalie doesn’t want to be helpful at all while she’s here. She’s fired? What difference does it make? Natalie agrees to help with the auction. Oh boy, And Zach is helping too. What a coincidence!!

Natalie freaks on her mom for pairing them up. Zach freaks out also. Sue is stealing the show. Actually I would rather watch a movie about these moms’ friendship. Then she meets Jess, who is married to Eric. Oh! Jess is in “It’s Time for YOU to Come Home for Christmas.” Then the moms set Zach and Natalie on a double date with Jess and Eric. Jess learns that they all go WAY back. Everyone is wearing jeans and Natalie is wearing tights and a skirt. Eric is on the mom’s team and says they don’t have room in their car for her. Okay. New plan. I want to watch a movie about Jess, Eric and the moms. Don’t care about these two.

On their way out to the car, Natalie yaps away to Zach about her dumb old job and immediately mentions the boyfriend. Who again, I’m rooting for over Natalie as well. At the car, Natalie asks how he’s doing. No girlfriend for poor old Zach.

They all head to Steve’s Diner. Natalie kind of complains. It’s not Jenny’s anymore? But don’t worry, the burgers are the same. Is Natalie too good for burgers? They talk about the festival. Oh, Eric and Jess have lost me. They asked for a “ fry bite” and like interlock arms and eat a fry. Gross. Is Natalie not eating? Is she too good for burgers? Oh, she almost has a panic attack? Why are only Jess and Eric eating?

Zach joins her outside and reminds her that this is where they had their first date. Natalie says he doesn’t have to do the “sensitive artist” thing. They agree to still help on the auction. Everyone is being real weird.

Natalie and Jess head to get twinkle lights.

Eric is like, Zach this is so painful. I’m having a hard time watching this. Why did you break up, anyway? Zach is like, oh it didn’t end well.

Natalie tells Jess that he went to art school instead of marrying her. They were about to get married and she had just gotten this job and he got into this art program. And she was willing to move but he said he wanted to just focus on art and not get married at all. So yeah, I might have flipped a table if I learned that he now owned a hardware store. Or laughed hysterically.

At home, Natalie talks on the phone with Brooks. He does not get up from the restaurant table he’s at to talk to her. Oh weird. She says she’ll talk to him next week. Are they not very serious?

Back at Steve’s, Natalie and Zach go over the auction items. They’re not great. Zach is judgey about her using a spreadsheet. They start arguing about the options. Aren’t they sort of limited to like, what people are willing to donate? They both finish their milkshakes and Zach tries to give her the rest of his and he dumps it all over her coat. She is really annoyed. Guess what, I believe that these two DON’T LIKE EACH OTHER. They genuinely seem miserable being around each other.

Zach suggests they donate a quilt with hearts on it. He knows a guy. The guys he knows is obviously an elderly woman. She does make beautiful quilts and I would definitely bid on one. Zach gets some shortbread cookies from her kitchen. The lady tells Natalie that whoever locks Zach down is going to be a lucky girl. As they leave, Natalie continues to be a grouch. Zach finally asks what’s wrong. And then Natalie just UNLOADS years of anger on him. Zach doesn’t know what to do with that information. He just stares at her dumbly.

They drive off in silence. Natalie turns on the radio in a huff. He drops her off and Natalie is still annoyed. She sees that Brooks has delivered flowers to her…Lillies; which she is allergic to. She inhales them anyway and sneezes. Would you sneeze with an allergy like that or would your throat close up? Inside, she has her dad throw them away.

Later, Suse and the mom are gabbing away in the kitchen. The mom drops a bomb. They haven’t met Brooks and Natalie’s been dating him for TWO YEARS. That is actually unacceptable. Meanwhile, Natalie is outside complaining to Brooks about Zach. Brooks has to run. He’s late for a meeting.

Back to Suse and the mom. They’re panicked that their little scheme isn’t working. Natalie heads out. She’s wearing a super cute skirt. Zach is waiting for her and brought her something. Oh bummer, Zach tells her to change into jeans. He has a surprise for her. And then she says she’s fine getting dirty in what she’s wearing. I would not be fine.

When they arrive at their destination, she decides that she does want the little snack that Zach got her. He got her the carrot cake as an apology for making fun of her boyfriend. And then he makes fun of Brooks’ name. Great work. They arrive at a barn.

The guy in the barn asks if they’re ready for some pickin’. Oh! Like the show American Pickers. Except in this movie, everything is organized and beautifully arranged and easy to find. They find old books and old Valetine’s cards. I hate this movie. It’s all I can do to finish it. Oh now Natalie is creating a back story for the pair attached to the Valentine’s cards. And to tell the story, they both have southern accents. It would be cute if I wasn’t already so annoyed by this leading lady. Then Natalie gets sad because this reminds them of how they used to be. She shares that she used to be more comfortable in her own skin and that she’s been accused of being inauthentic.

They leave with boxes of stuff. Zach shares that he’s really into “picking”. Then Natalie asks how he got started at the hardware store. He is like duh, I wasn’t making a living as an artist? So he started just working there. The previous owner asked Zach to clean out all the junk in the attic of the store. There were all kinds of treasures up there. I’m not sure if he sold them on his own or what? But I think that’s how he found the hobby and also enough money to buy the store? It’s unclear. Then Brooks calls. Total buzzkill.

At his workshop, ol Suse suggests that Zach tell Natalie the truth. ABOUT WHAT! I couldn’t care less honestly. Zach doesn’t see the point in digging up the past now. I mean, she has a boyfriend that her parents haven’t met. It’s SUPER SERIOUS.

The Fab Four start arranging auction items, I think. Or they’re just going through everything? The friend who’s name I forgot now asks if she and Zach are getting along. And Natalie is like, oh no I have a boyfriend. And it’s super serious but I actually don’t like him that much, now that I think about it.

Natalie is surprised that Zach still does art as a hobby. Natalie wants to see it. It’s pouring rain so poor Zach takes his sad little jacket and covers them with it to get to the car or to his workshop or whatever. It shouldn’t work but it does. Natalie is blown away at his artwork. I’m indifferent. Then she asks if he remembers the mug he made her. He calls it the first piece of art he ever made. Ugh. She asks why he never did anything with his art. Zach says he’s too practical for his own good. But like YES ZACH, you made the right choice okay? Then he asks if he can buy her a hot chocolate.

They start setting up for the festival. Zach asks if she ever misses their small town. She says what would she even do there? Then Zach says he watched all her shows. She admits that she got fired. She just lost her passion or something? Oh, burnt out. Yes. Thank you Zach.

Oh here we go, Zach needs to tell her something. Of course, Eric or Derek or whatever his name is interrupts. It was too early in the movie for the reveal anyway. Oh no, all the auction items are ruined because of the rain.

Natalie’s dad catches her running. EXCEPT HER HAIR IS DOWN. There is NO WAY she just went on a run without putting her long hair in a pony tail? Is she insane? But now she and her dad have a nice chat and stroll but I don’t really care what they’re talking about.

Later it’s time for the festival. It looks super cute and I think I would attend. Especially for the puppy holding booth? Oh geez. They’re so cute. Oh you don’t actually have to kiss the dogs right? Oh gross. No don’t charge people for that. Dog+a bunch of random other people’s germs? Everyone is going home sick.

Now it’s auction time. Natalie is TERRIBLE at this. Oh Zach is terrible too. Nobody wants to buy this quilt. Why isn’t this a silent auction? This is stupid. Oh and now Natalie wants him to make up a back story. Zach knows some stats about quiltmakers. Oh geez. This quilt has pieces of her grandmother’s handkerchief? Why is she selling it? Oh that backstory really got people going. This is stupid. Addy seems pleased that her quilt sold for $100. I don’t think that’s enough for a handmade quilt. Somehow these idiots doubled last year’s donations with their horrible disorganized approach to auctioneering.

The interesting couple heads out to dance. Zach asks Natalie to dance. This wordless dance scene is WAY TOO LONG. What is going on? Addy finally interrupts them. Addy says they made quite the team. Zach agrees with her. And oh, even Natalie agrees. They’ve been coming to this dance since she was 14. Oh, Zach drops a bomb on her. He never went to art school or Europe. He never sent the application in. He just didn’t want to leave his hometown but didn’t want to hold her back. Yikes. That is pretty insane. She understandably storms out. He didn’t want to hold her back. And she’s like, no you were scared. And he’s like oh yeah that makes more sense. And wow, ol Brooks shows up. Little late for that. He has really great news! He got her a meeting and booked her a flight for the next day? That seems weird that he would do that?

Oh wow. Brooks thinks getting her a meeting for a job is the best Valentine’s present ever. And he only showed up because it was close to where he was for work. What happened to the sweet guy offering chocolate ice cream from earlier?

The next day, Suse and Derek give him some advice after the disaster of last night. Derek’s wife and her parents are like hey he did this for you. And I am actually siding with Natalie here? Her dad thinks she should follow her heart. And then Brooks shows up again. I do actually think they are a better match. Like how could Zach moving to San Francisco and supporting her be holding her back? He just didn’t want to move? That is just so insane.

Oh good, Zach shows up to the house. He has a gift for her. And now we get a little speech from Zach but then Brooks interrupts again! So then Zach gives up and heads out.

Brooks and Natalie sit in the nicest airport waiting area I’ve ever seen. She finally decides to open Zach’s card. It says “loving you always and forever. I never stopped.” Instead of rolling her eyes so hard they fall out of her head, Natalie seems touched. Brooks is catching up on his shows. Now she looks in the box and it is that metal mountain sculpture she noticed in Zach’s workshop. I do like that as a gift. Obviously she is now in quite a quandary.

Back in San Francisco, Natalie interviews for a new job. The interviewer basically tells her all the reasons he likes her is all the reasons she got fired from her last job. And this seems to really trouble her. It truly sounds like a great opportunity but of course she is not sure.

Back at home, she tells Brooks she turned it down. She wants to be authentically herself and do something she’s proud of. Brooks is like, nobody wants to see who you really are. But apparently the guy she turned down did want that for her so they just changed the program I guess for her. So great. And then Natalie sees the mug Zach made for her. Then she starts quizzing Brooks. He actually doesn’t know anything about her which is weird because they’ve been dating two years. He doesn’t know her birthday. But I truly don’t fault him for not knowing that her favorite color is “mustard yellow.” That is a terrible favorite color so she’s wrong about that.

Natalie decides to rush to the airport to get back home I guess. Oh no. They won’t let her on the flight. So then she gives the flight attendant the whole story. And well, what do you know? Zach shows up. And hears her whole insane speech. The flight attendant tells her to turn around and well there you go. And now it’s Zach’s turn to give a little speech. And he asks her to be his Valentine and I throw my iPad across the room. And then they kiss. Finally. It took me an entire week to get through this movie it was so terrible.

Flash to them making a new TV show. Oh! It’s American Pickers but with these two. Alright, I might watch this show. Then the moms take credit and I’m fine with that.

Whew. We did it. I think we’ve got one more of these Valetine’s movies? I hope the next one is better.

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