Banner 4th of July (2013)

Friday, July 11, 2014

When there's a good story to be told, I confess, I like familial dramas. Sometimes the reasons behind the rivalry that keeps a family – or in this case, more specifically, siblings apart, is  actually a good enough reason (we all know sometimes the reasons can be exaggerated at times) and with this one, I bought it, which makes this sweet, festive TV film a nice rainy night sort of movie to curl up with. 

The Banner siblings once had the world at their fingertips. Their one-night show, playing at their town’s annual fourth of July festivities placed them in the spotlight as superstars, which meant the greater part of their teenage years were spent along with their manager parents on the road, playing shows, signing autographs, making records and being anything but invisible. Now, years later, everything is different. Mitchell Banner (Christian Campbell) is finally calling his sister… only he isn’t contacting Desiree (Brooke White) by choice, instead it’s on behalf of their older brother, Johnny (Michael Barbuto), who is still living in their small hometown and has the bad news that their mother, Rosalind (Mercedes Ruehl), has had a heart attack and it’s time for everyone to come home. If only it were that simple…

There are some especially great moments in this film. I got it a couple weeks prior to the July 4th holiday, kind of forgot I had it and conveniently wound up watching it right before watching the sky lighting up with fireworks. Needless to say, it was the perfect 90 minute piece of entertainment to cap off a good holiday. I like a lot about it, not the least of which is the sibling interactions. Sometimes the acting does come across a tiny bit stilted, though overall, it seemed a “natural” progression of events, feelings and resentment for the other person – usually because no one wants to take the blame for the reasons why they don’t speak any more.   

TV MOVIE REVIEW | When Sparks Fly (2014)

Banner 4th of July Hallmark

As a family film, this title (which is also known as Star Spangled Banners) is really good for its status. Some viewers may be disappointed in the reason why they are brought back – or more appropriately, the method they are reunited, but I guess, I’m a believer in overlooking something that is done out of love for the good of others. Not only will fans of Hallmark probably enjoy this, music lovers should enjoy this one as well. There are some cool songs that fit the story and best of all, they are written and recorded by the stars which is cool and always seems to lend authenticity to the production.

In addition to the main cast, consisting of a country music singer (White), there is also a cute subplot involving a character named Savannah, who is played by Kristin Booth, and any diehard fan will recognize her name from Signed, Sealed, Delivered. She plays a sassy local though the hair color may throw you in the beginning, be sure to note her role, because it’s fun to see her in a different setting. Anyone looking for Hallmark’s signature “romantic comedy” status quo will be disappointed as that focus shifts to let the siblings and the healing of their relationship take center stage. For this type of story, I liked that. It was better and allowed us to read into what the future would hold without feeling like anything was being “rushed.” Plus, the ending was darling – and proof that not all of the people who move away make decisions to suddenly leave behind their big-city life (like, is that a crime??) to move home. Independence Day may have come and gone for 2014, but let’s face it, it’s never out of season to celebrate America.

Interested? Find the film on Amazon Instant Video

Photos: Hallmark Channel


  1. This review definitely peaked my interest. I do love great music in movies and I'm a big country music fan. This sounds like such a sweet Hallmark film. Great review, Rissi!

    Also, I don't think you do these types of things on your blog but I wanted to let you know I awarded you the Sunshine Award:

    1. Same here, Jillian, I am a total country music fan; and this movie is reminiscent of something like The Band Perry if you like their music. Thanks for reading - and I hope you enjoy this. :)

      THANK YOU! I'm honored to be one of your picks for the Sunshine award. I do participate, but usually, I just answer the questions with my thanks/link to the nominating the blogger leaves because, well, whenever I nominate bloggers they either aren't interested or they've recently been nominated by fellow bloggers. Since I put work into choosing bloggers, I tend to skip passing it on - even though I think ALL of my readers deserve it. :)

  2. Love your review on this one, Rissi! I agree, it is a darling movie! Definitely one anyone can enjoy... whether the sun's up or the sun's down!!! : )

    1. Hi, Net! Thank you for the kind words and for reading. I had bunches of fun with this review and of course, enjoyed the fact that it was a July 4th movie that I watched on the holiday. :) And yes! Well said. Love how you worked that in. ;)


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