Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 12/11/20

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A Recipe for Seduction (CREDIT: Lifetime/YouTube Screenshot)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Wild Mountain Thyme (Theaters and On Demand) – Overwrought romance in Ireland.

TV
A Recipe for Seduction (December 13 on Lifetime) – Mario Lopez plays Colonel Sanders on Lifetime.

John Patrick Shanley Turns Back on the Classic Romantic Charm in ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’

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Wild Mountain Thyme (Credit: Kerry Brown/Bleecker Street)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, Christopher Walken, Dearbhla Molloy, Danielle Ryan

Director: John Patrick Shanley

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Mild Adult-ness

Release Date: December 11, 2020 (Theaters and On Demand)

Do you despair at the lack of nakedly emotional romantic movies nowadays? Have you spent the past 33 years wondering when the next Moonstruck is going to finally come along? Do you believe it’s time to send Jon Hamm to Ireland? Well has John Patrick Shanley got just what you asked for! The screenwriter behind “Snap out of it!” and “Why do men chase women?” has taken his talents to the Emerald Isle for Wild Mountain Thyme, a windswept tale about two people who sure appear to be very much in love, though it takes them quite a while to fully consummate their passion. As with Moonstruck, the fun is less about wondering whether or not they end up together and more about how emotionally discombobulated they become by resisting where their passions obviously lie.

As the film begins, Christopher Walken intones, “Welcome to Ireland,” and I’m thinking, “I’m pretty sure Mr. More Cowbell is definitely not Irish, but I nevertheless feel as welcome as possible.” Walken plays Tony Reilly, father of Jamie Dornan’s Anthony (the “h” is silent and everyone hits that “t” as hard as they possibly can). The elder Tony is in a financial bind, so he’s set to sell the family farm to his American nephew Adam (Jon Hamm). That puts a damper on Anthony’s seemingly inevitable marriage to Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt), who had envisioned the two of them enjoying wedded bliss in the countryside. Anthony and Rosemary have basically been in love ever since they were kids, and everyone knows this. But for some reason Anthony cannot bring himself to pop the question, and honestly I’m not sure what his problem is. But I suspect that’s kind of the point. The best explanation the movie offers us is that he’s suffering from the vaguely defined familial strain of “Kelly madness” (Kelly being the surname of his grandfather).

Anthony’s dithering is so extreme that anyone watching is liable to wonder why Rosemary doesn’t just move on. And she’s not lacking for options, as there’s a scene that begins with her announcing “Today’s the day,” which leads to her making an impromptu trip to New York City (to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake score, no less) where she meets up with Adam and develops a quick natural repartee with her beloved’s cousin. And when she returns to Ireland, Anthony even attempts to push her in that direction. But somehow I am ultimately convinced by Shanley’s machinations and Blunt’s sheer force of will that Anthony and Rosemary really are going to make it work somehow. The way he digs in his heels should be disqualifying, but the situation only gets sillier and sillier, and thus more and more charming. Maybe we could all use a little bit of Kelly Madness in our lives.

Wild Mountain Thyme is Recommended If You Like: Moonstruck, Taking a while to snap out of it, Ireland, Jon Hamm-centric subplots

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Farms