Monday, December 31, 2007

Fifteen and Pregnant

What better way to ring in the new year than focusing on the ultimate Lifetime movie. The movie that inspired this very website. A movie so fundamentally flawed yet eminently watchable that it defies any reviewing system. Yes, Fifteen and Pregnant.

Fifteen and Pregnant
opens with 14-year-old Tina Spangler being dumped by her boyfriend. The boyfriend is not a nice guy. He drives a sports car, smokes cigarettes, cuts classes, and drinks vodka. And he wears a leather jacket. Totally bad news.

Tina discusses the break-up with her friend Laurie. Laurie is only 18 and already has a 2-year-old kid that's basically ruining her life. She works a minimum wage job at the mall and the stress of motherhood makes her insufferable. When Tina admits to having unprotected sex (Tina says her priest told her that birth control is a worse sin than pre-maritals because it denotes pre-meditation), Laurie is predictably incensed.

Tina's home life isn't much better than her sex life. Her parents have been separated due to Dad's infidelity. She doesn't get along with her two younger siblings and her mom, well, her mom is a piece work. She is presented as the rock of the family, but never before has the "good guy" in a movie been so unlikable. She has no redeeming qualities. Her ludicrously strong Southern accent does not help.

One the morning of Tina's 15th birthday, her mom, Evie, is driving her to school. They're listening to talk radio and, naturally, the topic is the "epidemic" of teen pregnancies. "Epidemic" is a funny word to use. Especially after considering that American teen pregnancy rates were dropping substantially in the late 90s (this movie was released in 1998). This is, even for Lifetime, quite alarmist.

Evie asks her daughter is she or any of her friends are sexually active. Tina answers affirmatively (and vaguely). Evie is freaked.

Of course Evie's mind is totally blown when Tina admits she's pregnant. "Back in my day, kids just weren't sexually active." This is the falsest thing I have ever heard.

Evie and Tina discuss their options. You know how films where people get preggers like Knocked Up and Juno treat abortion as an option that just isn't right for the mother-to-be? Well, there's no such subtlety here. Abortion is "murder." Period. You know what else is unacceptable? Adoption. No, seriously. Having one of their own raised by strangers is viewed as unacceptable. That leaves Tina with two paths. Suicide or shitting the baby out. She makes the wrong choice.

The first order of business is telling her ex-boyfriend, Ray. Ray avoids Tina's phone calls for two weeks. When she finally corners him, he promises to be a better father than his old man.

Next order of business is school. Tina is outraged that her condition precludes her from playing soccer. Her parents are outraged that the school won't allow Tina to take regular classes. She has to take a parenting class in a trailer on school grounds.

I'm guessing the water in this town is laced with Spanish Fly instead of fluoride, because one town really shouldn't have so many pregnant teenagers. There are like two dozen. I mean, if this were a city, then, yeah, fine. But this is a dying city in Middle America. Please.

Anyways, one of the classes features a guest speaker. She's a teenage mom who gave birth four months ago. The story she tells really lifts the spirits of her audience. Since giving birth she has lost all of her money and her friends. The only things she feels are loneliness and wanting to go to sleep. She is totally broken.

I don't think that's really what the knocked up ladies needed to hear.

Inevitably, Ray starts missing classes. Laurie tells Tina that she saw him at the mall with a new girl. Indeed, Ray has dumped Tina for what can only be described as the ugliest woman in the history of film. This is a "you have to see it for yourself" moment. Tina confronts her with a "ONCE YOU'RE PREGNANT HE'LL DUMP YOU" and storms off. No one is there for her. Except for her mother. And, honestly, I'd prefer no one.

Here's an example of bad the mother is. She won't let Tina use her OB/GYN because she's too embarrassed. She is undermining the quality of her daughter's pre-natal care because she doesn't want people to find out her daughter's situation. That qualifies her as a pretty bad mother.

Example number two is when Laurie's mom offers to throw Tina a baby shower. The party goes on as planned with one slight hitch. No one shows up. Why? Because Evie refused to invite anyone. That would be too embarrassing.

Evie is an irredeemably vile creature.

The combination of Tina's flimsy maternal support and her baby daddy running off with the "ugliest woman in the history of film," the family calls in the cavalry. Her dad, Cal, shows up with his mother Rachel. Surely their support can guide Tina through this difficult time.

Well, Grandma Rachel is such a nightmare that Cal sends her back to Kansas (along with their other daughter who, quite reasonably, hates her entire family). Cal defending his family gets him back in Evie's good graces and they reconcile. To show the audience who's boss, Cal's first scene after the reconciliation is of him giving Evie a foot massage.

Tina gives birth and smiles. The End.


This movie is so bad. The direction is awful and the acting isn't much better. Kirsten Dunst is this big A-list star, but here she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. Yet, in terms of talent, she's clearly head and shoulders over her co-stars.


Talking about this movie is significantly more fun than watching this movie. For all of it's silliness, it's incredibly hard to watch without being bored to tears. Every magical moment is offset by five minutes where nothing happens. Still, talking about Fifteen and Pregnant is about as excited as I get in my sad little life.

Six is a compromise score. It's not so bad it's good. It's so bad it's bad. But so bad it's noteworthy and awesome. Get it?


Huge bonus points for the A-list star. But no one else here is notable. I'm actually deducting a point for the presence of Park Overall. Overall, who portrayed Evil Evie, was in the American version of The Vanishing. People, if someone tries to get you to watch the American version of this movie, that person is not your friend and is not to be trusted. Stick to the Belgian version, for the love of God.


Only because it's can't get a 100. This is the blueprint. This is the archetype.


Have you noticed that all these movies end up being a 26 or 28? I need to work on that.

Anyways, this isn't a movie anymore. It's an event. It was the inspiration behind me writing 2,000 word posts that are read by a dozen people. It changed my life.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Someone to Love Me

Last night features a Lifetime Movie Network double header. That's right, two Lifetime movies for the price of one (free!). I decided to start with the write-up for movie number two. Movie number one is a little higher in the ol' prestige department so I want to make sure it gets the top of the page.

Someone to Love Me opens with a frisky looking redhead getting her chemistry book from her locker after hours. Since "after hours" is a euphemism for "sexy time," the viewer is not the least bit surprised when our redhead, Cayley, is violently raped in the school parking lot.

The rapist, Ian, is called to the guidance counselor's office to talk to some police. He is decked out in a white sweater with blue trim and a tennis racket. I like this Ian guy.

Ian says the sex was consensual and that he and Cayley had "done it" before. Furthermore, why would he have to rape someone that everyone knew was the school tramp? When a district attorney asks Cayley, in front of her "wonder"ful mom, if she had previously slept with Ian or any other boys, we get a "three months earlier" flashback.

Cayley and her mom are new to town. They just moved after the man of the house fell asleep at the wheel and went over a guardrail. They hope to start fresh. Cayley isn't taking the death of her father too well. And she's the shy type, so she isn't making any friends at school. That is until she meets Kim. Kim, who is clearly in her 30s, is the super-perky stage manager of the school play. When she notices Cayley sketching some outfits, Kim invites her to be the costume designer for the show.

Kim is kind of crazy though. She's in love with the male lead and goes as far to light a red candle every night so that he'll fall in love with her. Also, she hides outside his house in case he walks past a window. Seriously. This nutjob is presented as the "stable" friend.

Ian, who is dating the female lead, notices Cayley. "Man, my girlfriend doesn't have a body like that." Ian bets his friends $50 that he can fuck Cayley by the end of the week.

After some sweet talk, Cayley goes on a date with Ian. Ian wins the bet in the back of his van. Nice.

At a rehearsal a few days later, the female lead, Leigh, goes all apeshit on Cayley. "You thought you could take my man, but you're just some piece of ass" type trash talking. Ian and Leigh are still dating and Cayley is heartbroken. Ian's friends notice the emotional carnage and one of them, quite sweetly if you ask me, bets Ian double or nothing that he can fuck Cayley too.

After some sweet talk, Cayley goes on a date with Ian's friend. He wins the bet in the back of his sports car. Nice.

Cayley goes home realizing that she was taken advantage of again. She brushes off her mother and storms into the bathroom. She looks herself in the mirror and starts whispering, getting louder every time, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you."

Now the rumor mill starts churning. Hell, if I won $50 boning the prettiest girl in school, I'd tell people too. Someone, probably Leigh, writes "SLUT" on Cayley's locker. The whispering and finger-pointing become too much.

Thankfully, Cayley still has her crazy friend Kim. Kim knows the real Cayley and won't be swayed by the rumors. Until she walks in on her man-crush and Cayley backstage in their underwear. That is one betrayal that she won't accept.

(It's implied that they did not have sex since Kim walked in before sweet insertion. Also, it should be noted that Cayley seduced the dude and not vice versa. We're beyond her being taken advantage of and into total sexy compulsion.)

Cayley walks home from school and some random dude in a convertible pulls up and asks if she's looking for a good time. And, I swear to God, she almost gets in the car. What a moron.

Since her life is in shambles, Cayley talks to the guidance counselor about her promiscuity. Her favorite part about sex? "Feeling not-feeling. Going numb to everything around me and only focusing on one thing." Whatever. I like slutty Cayley more than "I bone to avoid thinking about my dead father" Cayley.

So, our whorish little protagonist decided to fix things once and for all. No more sexxxin'. Then she gets raped by Ian. But this time, we see two black shoes in the parking lot. Someone witnessed this horrible event. But who?

End of flashback.

The District Attorney says it will be hard to prosecute without a witness. Thankfully, right before the show, Leigh is acting a bit skittish. She thanks Cayley for showing her what a jerk Ian was. That's right, she actually is selfish enough to say, "Thank you for being raped by Ian. He is such a jerk."

At first Leigh refuses to testify. Then Cayley convinces her. Then Leigh gets unconvinced by a physically threatening Ian. She gets subpoenaed anyways and breaks down on the stand. Ian's "she is a slut" defense fails and he is convicted. The D.A. says this is a victory that proves that "just because you have sex once doesn't mean a girl can't say 'no' later." True that, sister.


This really wasn't that bad. I watched the entire thing and didn't get bored until the very end Nothing really stuck out as being especially bad. The screenplay was serviceable and the direction wasn't too showy. Even the lighting and sound mixing were more than adequate. This is a rarity for the Lifetime oeuvre.


Which is not to say that the film didn't have its moments. The mid-90s clothes, the bad guys in their sweet vans and Camaroes, the crazy friends. And, of course, the lead whispering "I hate you" into a mirror. That was all pretty fantastic. I just wish the trial featured as much melodrama as the 90 minute flashback.


Two recognizable faces here. One of which is Lifetime staple Lynda Carter. Wonder Woman shows up in a lot of these things and she's always welcome on my television set. Our rapist, Ian, is played by none other than the former Mr. Jennifer Garner, Scott Foley. Foley has a resume filled with shitty television. Glad to know where he got his start.

I'm deducting a point because I would have sworn that the D.A. was played by Shannon Tweed. Alas, my mental database of 1980s softcore erotica needs a reboot. It wasn't her. Boo to that.

The lead was portrayed by Dr. Quinn veteran Jessica Bowman. Bowman is important to me because she was the popular girl who invited Cory and not Shawn to her make-out party. Why? Because her parents wouldn't let her invite the "cool" kids because they're more likely to be naughty. This was Season 2/7th grade. Like I needed to tell you that. Boy Meets World involvement is always worth an extra point, so that washes out the lack of Shannon Tweed.


Melodrama, rape, no sympathetic men, painting in broad strokes...this movie is guilty of it all. But I really would have preferred it gone totally off the deep end. The flashback is fantastic, but I was bored to tears by the time we got to the rape trial. I just wish the film kept its crazy intensity.


This is a particularly high score for a particularly ridiculous film. Set your DVRs accordingly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stolen Miracle

It's that special time of year when Lifetime drags out all of the Christmas themed made-for-TV movies out of their vault. I hate this time of year. In the Lifetime universe, the only thing about as strong as a man's desire to rape, abuse, and/or murder woman is the Christmas Spirit.

So here we have Stolen Miracle. The best thing I have to say about it is that at least it doesn't pretend to not be in Canada. The accents are out in full force. One woman even reacts at the idea of a hotel in town by exclaiming "This isn't Toronto, ya know!" So, there's that.

The film opens on December 23rd in a church. Awwww, a Christmas pageant. The children are all dressed as shepherds and sheep and wise men. The children are non-plussed by the whole ordeal. The parents, however, are going absolutely ga-ga. Laughter and smiles all around. (This is basically the opposite of every Christmas pageant ever. By the time the Wise Men show up most of the parents want to crack into the egg nog.) Then one of the mothers collapses in a pregnant heap and needs to be taken to the emergency room to shit out a baby.

The baby is delivered and it's healthy. It's also the cleanest fucking baby I've ever seen. My roommate pointed it out thusly: "Lifetime births never show the raspberry jam and cream cheese." Nice.

Now we're introduced to a family. The mom is a cop with an unspeakably horrible haircut. Short hair on ladies is fine and dandy. But it probably shouldn't be shorter than mine. And I am by no means a "long haired freaky person."

So, yeah, we have cop mom. Cop mom, Jane, is overworked and her family never gets to see her. Her husband accuses her of spending too much time with her former partner and current boss. Her children feel neglected and HOLY SHIT!!! Her pre-teen son! George Michael Bluth! His voice hasn't even changed yet! I am suddenly very excited about Stolen Miracle.

OK. I got off-track there. Jane's husband is upset for not getting any intimate times and Jane's son is upset because she refuses to buy him a scooter for Christmas. Scooters are too dangerous or something. My opinion on the "danger" of scooters is best illustrated two-and-a-half minutes into this Undeclared clip.

And now we're introduced to a third family. Ugh. These are clearly the bad guys. The dude is wearing a black wife-beater, drinking Budweiser, and watching NASCAR. And he's unemployed and on parole. Lifetime paints in broad strokes. The woman is fake-pregnant and is crazy. She looks like a much older version of popular DC blogger Rebecca Armendariz.

So, there's the set up. Crazy Lady, who goes by both Margaret and Mary, takes the newborn baby right out of the hospital and leaves. Nervous breakdowns and hospital lock downs ensue. Margaret escapes.

The chase begins but with some additional drama: the baby hadn't been feeding. It could get malnourished and dehydrated if not fed as soon as possible. So, the cops are on the clock. Volunteers from all over town are knocking on doors to find this child. Others are, awesomely, going through dumpsters. This freaks out the grieving mother even further.

I've been told that these reviews run too long so I guess I should "cut to the chase," as it were. The ex-con boyfriend demands that Mary return the baby. She threatens to frame him. When the police throw up roadblocks, the happy couple decides to make a run for it. They break the roadblock and end up at a convenience store. When the ex-con see a television with his mugshot on it, he flees and leaves Mary and the baby. Jane spots the car and chases it into a lake. Yes, really. So now everyone thinks the baby is dead.

Nope, she's in a hotel and acting even more erratically. The baby won't drink formula and is freaking out from all the starvation. One witness even sees her throw the baby, hard, onto a bed. Yet Jane is still one step behind. By the time she sleuths her way to the hotel, Mary is hitchhiking on a big rig.

Jane finally traces Mary to her childhood home. We find her in the balcony during a midnight Mass on Christmas morning. (Please note that the baby is supposed to be 36 hours old and it looks like it's about ready to start crawling.) Jane wrestles the baby away and all ends well.

Jane relents to letting George Michael have his scooter. It turns out her brother died at his age when he was hit by a car. Since then, Jane has wanted to protect everyone. It's why she won't let the littlest Bluth have a scooter and why she became a cop. Jane's husband apologizes for accusing his wife of having an affair and Merry Christmas everyone!

See, ladies. A job, a can have it all!


The film was gray and joyless. But, and I rarely have the opportunity to say this about Lifetime movies, it got better as it went along. It even ended with a joke (George Michael immediately crashing his scooter) that made me giggle. That never happens in these humorless movies. Well played.


Every scene with the bad guys was pure gold. They mugged and overacted through 20 minutes of screen time. Each scene that they were featured in lifted my spirits tremendously. Every word of stilted dialogue was fantastic.


George. Michael. Bluth. Before puberty. The man who coined the term "They brushed our teeth with their dicks!" speaking in a boyish squeal. All of it priceless.

Minus one point for not featuring a single other famous person. Like, Jane was on Season One of 24. That's it. Lame.


Slight penalty for not featuring a black police officer. But any story where a woman has to juggle a family and a job while searching for a kidnapped baby has to score high here. It just has to.


Not bad. Not bad at all. Although it should be noted that if it weren't for the presence of Michael Cera, this movie would have scored a 17. So, viewer beware.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Girl, Posi+ive

Well, it's been 40 days since my last review. Forty days is also the amount of time Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan. Coincidence? Probably! Let's get right to it, shall we?

Girl, Posi+ive opens at a raging pool party. You can tell it's raging since the ladies are in skimpy bikinis and people are blowing rails. We follow around one particular lady, Rachel, with a particularly heinous butterfly tramp stamp. She's in love with the host of the party, her next door neighbor, Jason. How do we know this? I am so glad you asked! I swear to God, there is an instant messaging conversation floating above the action. And it's all in teen speak. Stuff like "R U hot 4 hm?" "OMG, yeah, lol." "IDK, my bff, Jill?" It's kind of soul crushing.

We finally get to see Jason while Rachel is in the pool. He's a tall handsome fellow who is clearly the star of the football team. We get a flash forward to his death in a car accident.

I guess we're keeping with the flash forward since the school is now plastered with Jason memorials. Rachel wakes up next to her boyfriend. He sneaks out and doesn't get caught because Rachel's mom is single and spent the night with some dude. Typical subtlety from a Lifetime movie. Rachel sneaks a hidden birth control pill. See!? She's responsible! She meets up with her "bff" Lindsey and they get a ride with Mark. Mark is Jason's brother. Awwwwkwarrrrd.

At the same time, substitute teacher Sarah Bennett is getting ready for her first day on the job. She prepares by getting a biology text book and taking a massive drug cocktail. HIV.

We go to class, there's an inevitable lecture from Ms. Bennett about how one person with HIV can spread it to an entire population and Jesus Christ this is boring. Can Rachel just get HIV already?

Well, we're saved when Lindsey and Rachel are having an IM conversation that night. Lindsey frantically urges Rachel to check her MySpace page. Someone posted Jason's medical file. Turns out he was riding the horse during his crash. Someone named "Concerned Citizen" starts IMing Rachel about Jason. He links to a video of Jason pushing off.

OK. Clearly, CLEARLY, "Concerned Citizen" is Mark. The fact that this is supposed to be a mystery is insulting. Also, I don't want to get too serious here, but I've had some experience as the younger brother living with the heroin addicted older brother. And if someone is able to sneak up on you and videotape your illicit drug use, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

The amount of technology I'm dealing with is also quite frustrating. MySpace, IM, and there's even a fucking vlogger. My viewing companion pointed out that Lifetime was trying to attract a youthful audience. And what do kids love? The Internet! Put in more Internet!

Oh, Jason was HIV-positive. That's probably important. We flashback to the pool party where it turns out that Rachel lost her virginity to Jason without using any protection. The freak-out begins.

Rachel sees Ms. Bennett about "volunteering" at an AIDS clinic. She shows up and secretly takes an HIV swab test. It shows up positive and the freak out devolves into anxiety attacks.

Perhaps the greatest part about this whole ordeal is that Rachel is in such denial that she refuses to get a blood test. She "obviously" doesn't have HIV and there would be no reason to go back to the clinic. In order to convince Rachel, Ms. Bennett confesses to Rachel that she also has HIV and she leads a healthy, normal life. Rachel, quite accurately, points out that her life is far from normal. It's nothing but drug cocktails and secrets.

Rachel finally starts to wise up and admits the HIV scare to her boyfriend. He is not pleased. I know it's Lifetime and we're supposed to hate this dude, but, come on. Wouldn't you be a little freaked out and angry? And Rachel has the audacity to suggest that she could have got it from him. She knew very well where she got the virus and her attempt to pin it on the current boyfriend was shameless.

She makes him promise not to tell anyone about the scare. (By the way, promises in this alternate universe are made by saying the word "butterfly." Kind of like in Enough when J-Lo and Juliette Lewis say goodbye to each other by using the words "cake" and "pie." Do people really talk like this?) He promises but quickly (and correctly/understandably) tells his mom.

The boyfriend's mom exacerbates the situation by going to Rachel's mother. Rachel's mom is crazy. The depth of her denial - it's more than just a river! - is astounding. "Rachel doesn't have a tattoo!" "Rachel isn't on birth control!" "Rachel is a virgin!" "If it's an AIDS scare then your son must be gay!"

The boyfriend's mom gets kicked out and calls her friends to complain. The gossip mill starts doing its thing. You can tell since the movie cuts to 16 split screens of houses with a bunch of phone chatter in the background. That is what bad movies do when they want to tell you a rumor is spreading.

Oh, and Mark confesses that he is "Concerned Citizen" and gets slapped for his trouble. Not only is Rachel all STD-ish, she is also a fucking moron for not figuring that out sooner. And the slap? Really? I know ignorance is bliss and all, but, trust me, you want to know if you have a virus that causes AIDS.

So obviously word has spread to everyone about Rachel's predicament. She's a social pariah to everyone but Mark, Lindsey, and her gay vlogger friend. The boyfriend dumps her and even punches a locker to show how serious and angry he is. With the word out, Rachel finally relents to getting a blood test.

Oh, Ms. Bennett admits to another teacher trying to woo her that she's HIV-positive. She refuses to live in the shadows! This whole teacher B-plot is really fucking boring.

Rachel's mother has finally wised up and she decides to get an HIV test too. Both for emotional support and because she's "made some bad decisions too." Haha. Slut.

The school is throwing a pep rally in Jason's honor. Mark has made up a video highlight package of all his best plays. It ends with a confession recorded on Jason's cellphone. He wants to let people know that HIV can happen to anyone and that people should learn from his mistakes.

I dunno, Jason. You could have done this in person instead of getting high as fuck and killing yourself in a car accident. My way seems more pragmatic than your way. What kind of crazy person makes confessions on their cell phone anyways? And why is your cell phone video in DVD quality? This makes no sense.

Jason's posthumous admission stuns the student body. The next day hordes of students file into the AIDS clinic to get tested. Hilariously, they refuse to sit down since they're afraid the HIV will somehow penetrate their clothing and get into their blood stream.

Ms. Bennett starts dating the dude teacher. He's ok with her status. He tells a story about his wife dying in a car accident for some reason. She responds by saying that she eats chocolate in the bathtub since the calories she always thought the calories won't stick if she's floating. Seriously, read that back. Huh?

Mark and Rachel fall in love. But, just so no one gets any ideas about a happy ending, the last scene of the film is a doctor confirming her HIV status. Haha. Awesome.


This movie is an affront to any under the age of 25. As mentioned previously, Lifetime was clearly going after a youthful audience. What do the kids like these days? The Internet! And weird fades, cuts, and other editing tricks that don't make any sense! Nielsen gold, I tells ya!

Then again, the 13-25 female demographic might actually be that stupid. If Hannah Montana shows are selling out, who knows?


Of course all of those things are what made the movie so fucking awesome.


Ms. Bennett is played by Jennie Garth. 90210 alums are worth at least five points no matter what. Law & Order ringer S. Epatha Merkerson has a small role as the lesbian director of the AIDS clinic.

Rachel was played by a Desperate Housewives cast member. I know nothing of that show but I imagine the typical Lifetime viewer was very excited to see her.


Overwrought? Yes. But only one "evil" boyfriend. Most of the dudes here are really nice. That is a very disconcerting thing to see in a Lifetime movie. And no black cops!? WTF!? I guess one bonus point for the black paramedic.

Also, products of single mothers making bad life decisions? Check! Public service announcement at the end? Check!


Not in the pantheon of the great Lifetime movies, but certainly not a bad way to kill two hours and a bottle of wine when the mood strikes you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

She Woke Up Pregnant

She Woke Up Pregnant appears to be part of a series entitled "Crimes of Passion." Well, that's according to the Lifetime Movie Network. The movie's IMDB page instead calls it a "Crime of Silence" movie. That makes more sense.

The film stars Michele Greene as Connie Loftis. Loftis has been plagued with nightmares where she is being raped in her basement. She's also suffering from fatigue and stomach aches. When she sees her doctor, she gets the good bad news. She's knocked up. And her husband, who got snipped, isn't the father.

She claims she's been faithful. So that leaves only one solution: rape. Connie realizes that she had dental surgery around the time of her conception. She asks her dentist, Dr. Roger Nolton, if someone could have raped her while she was under the gas. He says that would be impossible. Connie see right through this little charade and determines that Nolton is in fact the rapist.

She goes to the police and passes a lie detector test. Meanwhile, Nolton hires a private investigator. The PI discovers that Connie and her husband were separated for three weeks. The game of cat and mouse has begun!

(The police refer to private investigators as "one step below child molesters." That seems unfair. What about Magnum, huh? Or the guy who tracked down Navin Johnson to give him a $250,000 check? Surely these heroes are at least a few steps above luring unsuspecting tweens into the back of their ice cream trucks, no?)

The police ask for a blood sample from Nolton to determine if he's the father. Awesomely, Norton admits that he is. He claims that he and Connie had an affair during her separation. This complicates matters because there is no proof of sexual assault. It also strains Connie's already unraveling marriage. When her husband demands she get an abortion and she refuses ("I can't do that again, Tom! You know why!"), they separate again. This husband character...I like the cut of his jib.

Oh, on top of everything else, Nolton hires Wonder Woman as his attorney and sues for paternity. Connie confronts him about this and he calmly informs her, "You can't win."

Connie steps it up a notch by going public. Her strategy, her 1000-to-1 shot, is that other women will come forward. Norton sues for defamation. Fortunately for Connie, another woman comes forward. An actress up in Washington to audition for a commercial (WTF!?). The commercial was really important, so her teeth needed to be perfect (again, WTF!?!?). She woke up with vaginal soreness, so Norton didn't charge her. He claimed it was a hallucination, but he still took care to buy her silence.

But her testimony can't be used! Why? Because the private investigator discovers that she was in a hardcore porno flick. Everyone knows that porn stars can't be raped! They are always available to us men at our leisure whether they are conscious or not. Duh. Apparently, this woman getting porked on camera completely destroys her credibility. Not only are porn stars sexually available to men; they're also liars.

Connie, sick of being pushed around by the system, or some such nonsense, decides to fight back. She convinces the local police department to try a sting investigation. The plan is to plant cameras in Norton's offices and wait for him to strike again. After all, his behavior is typical compulsive rapist. Unfortunately, a judge won't let them film just any old patient. That would violate their rights. (I love seeing how pissed off Connie and the cops are about this. The judge is of course correct. I would be pissed if someone filmed me turning and coughing without my consent.) They can only film undercover cops. But where can they find an attractive female cop with teeth problems?

(They seriously make a big deal that the cop has to be attractive. Well, if the behavior is compulsive, does the pulchritude of the cop matter?)

Oh, of course there happens to be a hot, blonde cop who needs some oral surgery. Of course there is. Why wouldn't there be?

It takes some convincing, but Connie gets her to go in for surgery. She gets her work done and Norton starts to make his move. Unfortunately, a nurse knocks on the door and totally cockblocks him. It looks like the investigation is dead in the water.

Just kidding! Norton left a nerve exposed! The undercover cop has to go back in... this time in the dead of night when there won't be nurses to interrupt the sexxxin'.

Norton, on videotape, feels up the patient/cop and whips out a condom. That's all the cops need and they bust him. The movie ends with him being denied bail and the hot cop making one of the more tone-deaf jokes in the history of Lifetime movies. She's holding her jaw in court and says, "On top of it all, he was a lousy dentist!" And everyone laughs as if Connie wasn't carrying his baby and that he hadn't raped a bunch of people.

Oh, and Connie and her husband reconcile.


Except for the teleplay, there weren't any real problems here. The acting and direction were fine. But let me go on record that I hate the stupid editing cut where the scene jumps with similar dialogue. Example: Connie is being interviewed at the police department and they ask her if she'd be willing to take a lie detector test. You hear "Yes," but the scene switches from an office to the lie detector room. That is incredibly annoying and the movie kept doing it.

And, wow that's convenient finding a hot cop with dental issues. Especially convenient that she had to go back under the dead of night.


Um, a woman was raped while under the gas. That's pretty sweet.


All five points courtesy of Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter. Why she took such a small role, I'll never know. She had like 6 minutes of screen time.

Apparently Michele Green was a cast member of L.A. Law. I'm not a woman of a certain age (Hi Mom!), so I have no idea what that means.


I'm starting out at 10 because the movie features a terrible husband and a man using anesthesia to enable his serial rapey-ness. And it had Wonder Woman. Am I the only one who suspects Lynda Carter gets offered every female part in every Lifetime movie ever? So, let's start deducting.

Well, there were no black cops. That was shocking. Minus one point.

And the movie was shockingly socially conservative. I'm all for Connie not wanting an abortion. I mean, that's her choice. Pro-choice, get it? But her reasons are, um, not good. She got an abortion when she was younger and it scarred her for life. Seriously. She claimed that she would cry every time she heard a vacuum cleaner. That line was hilarious, but it's also dangerous. "Abortions will scar you for life" isn't the sort of message you usually get on Lifetime.

The whole entire porn angle was also distressing. I understand some ladies don't like porn. But the way they treat someone who was in one porn film as undependable was pretty shocking. The film came out in 1996, just before the Internet made pornography mainstream. But, wow, once they found out this woman was in a hardcore flick, it's like they treated her as less than human. Minus one point.


A solid choice for anyone who enjoys the premise of a woman being raped while unconscious. (Excuse me, not raped. Gray raped. After all, she never said "no.") Obviously that premise is inherently enjoyable. Which is why you should be watching this movie next time it's on the air.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stranger at the Door

I caught Stranger at the Door on the Lifetime Movie Network at 9:51 pm. That's right, 9:51. The movie ran from 9:51 to 11:42. That wacky Lifetime Movie Network. Always keeps you on your toes.

The film opens with a creepy dude in his mid-20s ominously wandering around the yard of some McMansion. This guy oozes creepy. It looks like he's about to knock on the door when a teenage girl and her friends pull up to the driveway. The dude hides behind a column while the girl, Tara, takes one last drag off of her cigarette.

Her parents, well, her father and stepmother, are inside talking finances. They, unbeknownst to Tara, are near bankruptcy. They need to make one big real estate deal by the end of the week or they could lose their house.

The family dynamic is revealed when the father, Greg, chides young Tara for smoking. The stepmother, Katherine, chimes in. Tara starts arguing when Greg sternly tells her to "listen to her stepmother." I'm sensing that since the dirty word "stepmother" is still being used, that things aren't exactly kosher between Tara and Katherine.

The next morning Greg has a small heart attack and is rushed to the hospital for an angioplasty. Tara notices that the creepy dude is parked outside the house.

The creepy dude waits until he's sure no one is in the house but Katherine. He knocks on the door and introduces himself as Jamie Fisher, the boy she gave up for adoption she was 16. Katherine, probably sick of being referred to as "stepmother" eagerly accepts this as fact without the least bit of research.

So here's the 411 on "Jamie." His adopted parents, which is to say real parents, passed away in a car crash when he was 19. He was pretty shaken up so he took some time off in South America working in a hotel in Rio and working on an oil rig off the coast of Venezuela. There, he claims, I swear to God, he learned the value of a hard day's work. Now he's going to some city college close to his birth family. He says he wants to get that education he promised himself, but he also wants a family again. Creepy. So of course they offer him the spare room in the house. As soon as Jamie is by himself, the music switches to ominous. Jamie calls some lady and says "he's in."

So, yeah, Jamie is evil. Jamie is in cahoots with his girlfriend to steal all of the Norris's money. By the way, the actress who is playing the girlfriend, Megan Fahlenbock...she is making some real interesting choices. Her character is wackily over the top. Weird giggles, cocaine eyes, all sorts of crazy. And she looks like an alien. But, wow, she knew she was in a Lifetime movie and she fucking owns it.

Jamie realizes the family is near bankruptcy. He also realizes there is a life insurance policy for the tasty round sum of one million dollars. Jamie gets the crazy girlfriend, who thank God for the plot is also a pharmacist, to provide him with potassium chloride. Apparently KCl causes cardiac arrest. Perfect for killing some dude who just had an angioplasty.

Greg is at home doing a crossword puzzle. He hilariously enters in the word "love." Awwww. He sees Jamie and asks him for an eight letter word (I, cross my heart, am already screaming "betrayal!" at the television) that means "treachery" and ends with an "L." I take no pride in how awesome I am guessing Lifetime Movie Network music cues, plot developments, and dialogue. Oh, and Greg gets the needle. His last words are "you son of a bitch."

After the funeral, Jamie makes the mistake of being just a tad too eager about the insurance check. Tara, who always was suspicious of Jamie, asks a friend who works in some government office to check if he has a passport. It turns out Jamie Fisher has never even applied for a passport.

I ask my viewing companion, Terri, what the big deal is. Hell, I've never applied for a passport.

"You've never claimed to have lived in South America for two years, moron." Right.

Tara gives the bad news to Katherine. Katherine stupidly asks Jamie about it. Jamie says that's nonsense and drives off to "class." Katherine keeps up her sleuthing and actually gets Jamie's adopted mother on the phone. Turns out the real Jamie is in jail! Uh oh!

Jamie returns, notices Katherine acting all weird and asks what's up. Katherine tries to play it cool but looks like a wreck. She goes upstairs foolishly leaving the phone sitting around. One push of the redial button and Katherine is up shit creek.

Jamie and his crazy girlfriend take Tara and Katherine hostage. The plan is that once the check comes, Jamie and Katherine drive off to the bank to deposit the money in a Costa Rican account. If the money isn't there by 2pm, Crazy GF shoots Tara.

By the way, I'm pretty sure that insurance companies don't just cut million dollar checks. That shit is paid over time.

Everything goes to according to plan except for two hitches. One hitch is that the Crazy GF notices that Jamie only has one ticket to Costa Rica. Hitch number two is Katherine and Jamie running into an acquaintance who can tell that Katherine is acting crazy.

Jamie and Crazy GF take Tara and Katherine to their winter cabin for their execution. Jamie was jay kaying about letting them go if things went smoothly. He does give a little James Bond speech about how he stole his cellmate's identity to trick this poor family. And Crazy GF tells them that Jamie killed Greg. This is awesome because, apparently, despite the guns and kidnapping, it never occurred to them that Jamie may have had something to do with Greg's death.

Oh, and then Crazy GF kills Jamie. And then wounded Jamie kills Crazy GF.

The film ends at prison where Tara and Katherine wait for the real Jamie Fisher to be released. And Tara calls Katherine "mom." How sweet.

To the ratings!


I know I'm burdened by high expectations, but is there one Canadian who can handle the art of sound mixing? Anyone? Christ. The direction and cinematography were also terrible. The film was helped by strong performances by most of the actors.


I say most of the actors because, truth be told, Megan Fahlenbock was just awful. But, the good kind of awful. She must have gained twenty pounds filming this, what with all the scenery she was chewing (ZING!). Small touches like Greg's crossword puzzle and the ever present ominous music cues also contributed to the film's "greatness."


That one point is for Tara. She was played by Meredith Henderson. I've never heard of her, but she was in an episode of Goosebumps. That's pretty fucking awesome.

Katherine is played by Matlock's daughter. Keep that in mind if you're watching with your grandparents.


Well, there's an evil dude and a whole lot of women's intuition. Shockingly, there isn't a black cop to be found.


Man, I really need to get a new rating system. This movie was spectacular.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

To Love, Honor & Betray

Oh how I've missed you, dear readers. It's been over a week! Alas, I've been quite busy. So busy, in fact, that the most recent Lifetime movie about the death of Princess Di has been confined to my DVR for over a week. If I can't make time for Princess Di, I can't make time for other Lifetime flicks.

OK, I guess I can. I watched To Love, Honor & Betray on Tuesday and it was a doozy.

The film opens with the bestest intro of all: "This film was based on actual events." Hurray! I love actual events!

Melissa Brennan, played by Crystal Bernard, is a nurse. She's supposed to be young. Why they would hire a 40-year-old to play a nursing student, I have no idea. Anyways, her family is super rich and her wealthy dad wants to pay her way through medical school. But she "has a good thing going" and resists her father's generosity.

Until she is accepted into some Masters program in trauma nursing. Then she fully expects her dad to pay up. So, if you're keeping track, "Daddy, I won't let you pay for medical school! Pay for my Masters instead."

Melissa meets cute with a construction worker. By "meets cute" I mean he cuts his forearm to the bone and goes in for stitches. Hilarity ensues when he bumps into her and soils her white uniform with his sweet man-blood.

A few days later while she is tiling her kitchen with her dad, the construction worker, Charlie, stops by the apartment with a brand new uniform. He looked up her address and asked her out. This creepster behavior isn't rewarded since she refuses to date patients.

Charlie's retort: "Yeah, if you did you'd have men everywhere cutting off their toes to get dinner with you." Melissa lets loose with one of the most unconvincing laughs I have ever heard. Charlie leaves and Melissa's dad rebukes him for being such a weirdo.

But a dramatic turn! Melissa catches her father with another woman! She responds by refusing to go to grad school and by dating Charlie. That will show him! Melissa also acts passive-aggressive as fuck and tells her dad that "Charlie is the best man I've ever known." Oh my God, that is some cold shit. Just what every father wants to hear. Just confront him already.

Eventually Charlie and Melissa get married. Charlie promises to be her "rock" that will always love her. Gay. Dad finally comes around and offers Charlie a spot working for his company. Charlie refuses but instead proposes a pressure cleaning company. Dad would invest $60,000 and Charlie would do all the work. Profits get split 50/50. Dad is impressed by the proposal while Mom is worried. She says $60,000 is a huge investment and she's afraid they'll be ruined.

Now, remember, the folks wanted to pay Melissa's way through grad school. They already bought her an apartment. And yet Mom is scared shitless about losing $60,000. I don't know how much medical school cost in 1999, but what the Fuck, lady?

Mom acquiesces and the pressure cleaning, er, "pressure kleening," company is a huge success. The money is pouring in and everyone gets along. Every now and then Melissa will still act bitchy to her dad without confronting him.

One day someone overhears a man and a woman fighting at Melissa's parents' house. "You didn't think I would find out!?" and "I'm taking you to court!" are heard. Since we only hear the mother's voice we can infer that Mom is yelling at Charlie, not Dad. Mom is gunned down and Dad is arrested because of the infidelity motive. We all know it was Charlie and the movie is barely halfway over. Fuck.

Well, to be more specific, it was Charlie's pressure kleening goons. As Melissa so hilariously noted to Charlie: "She was killed at 8:30...while we were making love. *sob*"

I used to like Wings. I had no idea Crystal Bernard was such a shitty actress.

A police detective, who, as in all Lifetime movies, is black, convinces Melissa to testify against her father even though she doesn't think he murdered her. This gets her rightfully disowned by everyone but her murderous husband.

Things are looking bad for Dad until Melissa spots one of her mom's impossibly ugly broaches on one of Charlie's friends. The next time she sees said broach it's slightly different. So Melissa goes to every jeweler in town to find out if anyone put diamonds in an ugly butterfly broach. She finds the jeweler and is shocked to discover that her husband is the one who brought it in. Melissa knows her husband is the bad guy.

But that doesn't stop her from making out with him! She won't let him stick it in though. Principle.

The husband figures out what's up at the same time Melissa figures out that Charlie's cooking the books. Charlie and his cronies kidnap Melissa and take her to the family cabin. Charlie orders his cronies to execute her once he calls in with the verdict against her father. The idea is to make it look like a suicide.

Right before Melissa gets it in the temple, the black detective and a SWAT team burst into the cabin and save her. Turns out Melissa's brother followed Charlie to the cabin and reported what was up. Charlie is arrested. The end.


Crystal Bernard is an absolute disaster. The same goes for the film's pacing. The same story could have been told in half the time.


To be fair though, this film is a doozy. Weird dialogue. Just the right touch of Canada. And the best slow motion death scene I've seen so far. Who knew that Dee Wallace Stone's face was so jowly in slow motion?


Crystal Bernard from Wings is kind of a wash. You expect her in this garbage. The 10 is for the presence of the two parents: James Brolin and Dee Wallace Stone. Brolin, Mr. Streisand himself, played Action Hero Pee-Wee in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. That would have earned the 10 on its own. Dee Wallace Stone was an excllent bonus. Look at her filmography! This woman is a legend.


Three male characters. One is an evil sociopath. One is a cheater. One is a black detective. That is the Lifetime trifecta right there. Add in Melissa's "women's intuition" and the stupid murder mystery plot and you have a winner.


What can I say, it's a Lifetime classic. Tivo this shit, son.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blind Trust

My house recently upgraded to digital cable with a DVR. My house is now equipped with Cinemax. We can cater to all of your softcore needs.

Digital cable is great and all, but it has its drawbacks. I hate to sound like a terrible stand-up comedian but, "200 channels and nothing's on TV? What's the deal with that!?"

It is in these times of crisis that Lifetime provides its crutch. It's not like I go scouring my local listings looking for the next Lisa Rinna jam. It's luck of the draw.

And boy was I lucky last night.

Blind Trust is fantastic. This gripping tale of murder and betrayal was both uproarious and surprisingly unpredictable. It also starred Art Hindle. Hindle is the most Canadian man on Earth. Check this guy out:

That's a lot of Canada.

We open with a blonde, Cassie, who is having a wonderful time with her boyfriend. They haven't been going out too long, but they clearly enjoy having sex. Sinners. Cassie, who can't stop fucking laughing and I want to punch her in her fucking piehole, goes out with her surprisingly attractive roommate for drinks. They talk about boys. The roommate is dating an older man and she cracks this line regarding their time together:

Roommate: "His plugs turn red at night. It's like going to bed with a traffic light."
Cassie: *Uproarious laughter*

I really need someone to explain that joke to me. Please, oh God, please, tell me that "plugs" is referring to an electric socket or hair and not some other unsavory plug. I give up if Lifetime starts making butt plug jokes.

Cassie's boyfriend is super sketchy. He doesn't like being seen outside with her. And he reacts very strangely when he sees a picture of Cassie's (very attractive and chesty, if you were wondering) roommate. This guy is no good!

The next night, Cassie's roommate is also acting sketchy as Hell. She gives Cassie a fancy necklace dangling with "paste." Paste is some kind of lingo for artificial diamond. The necklace even has a name: The Willow Chain. The roommate tells Cassie how special and important she is and I swear to God they're going to make out. We learn later this is a scene of regretted betrayal, but, Christ. Why is she whispering against her neck like that? Why are they rubbing each other's arms? Did someone turn on Cinemax while I was on the john?

Next day, Cassie's boyfriend and roommate are found riddled with bullets. Cassie is found unconscious in the hallway. She is immediately charged with two counts of murder in the first because they find gunpowder on her hand.

This double-murder has the tabloids going ga-ga. Cassie is offered the services of one L.G. Mennick. Mennick is the best corporate lawyer in New York, but he likes to take high profile cases pro bono to keep his name in the papers. Um, what the fuck? Corporate law and criminal law are so far apart that my head is spinning.

Cassie is released on two million dollars bond. Her lawyer picks up the charges. "It's all tax deductible." Cassie is then allowed to return to her home which is also A CRIME SCENE WHERE SHE SUPPOSEDLY KILLED TWO PEOPLE. Can you imagine if they let OJ crash on Nicole Brown's couch during the trial!?

I guess now would be the time to mention that this is all supposed to be taking place in New York City. That's why we get the random Brooklyn accent every now and again. My favorite touch is the one, and it's only one, police cruiser that says "NY Police." Very convincing.

The trial proceeds and this is so freaking ridiculous. The prosecution keeps using "surprise evidence." Apparently, Lifetime's version of New York doesn't include a little something called discovery. I guess discovery is only something you find in high-brow Oscar winning fare like My Cousin Vinny.

Cassie, by the way is presented as really fucking smart. (Mennick points out that working as an actuary is as hard as passing the bar. Well, the NY Bar is pretty easy, right?) Cassie realizes that the necklace holds the clues to the crime. The ex-boyfriend who gave it to the roommate actually filled it with diamonds, not paste. The roommate and Cassie's boyfriend replaced the diamonds, sold them for 500Gs, and were planning on running off together. Obviously the ex-boyfriend is a prime suspect. That's the key!

I was a fucking idiot for not figuring out who the bad guy was right then and there.

Sure enough, Cassie's case goes down to the shitter. Someone anonymously sends the police department photos of Cassie and the boyfriend together. She, well, her representation, had been alleging that jealousy couldn't be a motive since she didn't know anything about this guy. Well, that went right out the door. A conviction is in the cards.

Cassie sees the writing on the wall and goes on the lam. The verdict is read in absentia. Guilty. The needle awaits!

Cassie escapes into a seedy part of the city. You can tell it's seedy because of the heavy bass, drums, and other "urban" sounds on the score. Despite the fact that Cassie was on the cover of the New York Post for the length of the trial, Cassie is able to walk freely and even use her fucking cell phone without repercussions. Remember, she, in the eyes of the law, killed two people in cold blood! Shouldn't there be, I don't know, a fucking manhunt!?

Cassie uses her actuary skills to find the high-end jeweler that created the Willow Chain. She calls Mennick and tells her he found the jeweler, who has since been firebombed (swear to God!). Mennick asks what the Willow Tree has to do with any of this, and, WHOOPS! Who ever mentioned the name Willow Tree?

Cassie figures it out. Mennick was the ex-boyfriend and killed Cassie's boyfriend and roommate in a jealous rage. The discovery of the roommate's diary shows that Cassie's boyfriend dated the roommate while on vacation in the tropics. They lost touch, but their love would last forever! (That explains the roommate weirdness, but what was this dude's deal with not wanting to be seen outside? Cassie dodged a bullet there. This guy would have probably turned out to be hella abusive, yo.)

Cassie calls the cops and has them trail her. Why they don't just arrest her, who knows? Of course, there's the one good cop who believes her because this is Lifetime and in the Lifetime universe every precinct has that one good cop.

The lawyer admits to everything. He was so in love with Cassie's roommate. "Love hits you like a hot bullet through carved ice." Um?

His goal was to commit the perfect crime by framing someone and having them acquitted. That way he would get away with murder while greatly enhancing his reputation. Unfortunately, Cassie was too damn smart so he had to send the cops those pictures. They reach an agreement to keep this all secret and work on an appeal. Cassie is to be driven to the police station by three of the most murdery looking henchmen in Canada.

Naturally, Mennick ordered the execution of Cassie and his right-hand man who was unfortunate enough to figure out that his boss was a murderer. After telling off the henchmen he gets shot in the gut.

Cassie and the right-hand man are taken to the docks but are saved at the last minute by the good cops. When Mennick is arrested he asks the DA, apparently an old friend, what his chances are.

"You're rich. You're white. And you did it. You figure it out."


Actual Awesomeness: 7

I hated Cassie. What a terrible actress. Everyone else was fine. Blind Trust didn't have the issues that one associates with a Lifetime movie. The sound and directions were adequate.

Ironic Awesomeness: 10

Jesus Christ, this movie ruled. The histrionics! The betrayal! The lesbian sexual tension! The plot holes! I can't recommend this highly enough.

Hey! It's That Guy!: 2

The lead, Jessica Capshaw, was on The Practice. That's it. One bonus point goes to the roommate, Cindy Sampson. She was way hotter than a Lifetime made-for-TV vixen deserves to be.

Lifetimeness: 5

Well, it had the one good cop. And an evil ex-boyfriend. And the female lead was smart as all Hell. It needed some rape or domestic abuse to take this one over the hump.


If this movie starred Jodie Sweetin instead of Jessica Capshaw, this would have been a 32. Alas, one of the great Lifetime experiences is seeing actors you recognize. This movie totally failed in that regard. But it kicked ass in every other way. If you stumble upon this work of trash art, do yourself a favor and settle in with a bag of popcorn. It's a Lifetime classic.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Beautiful was on last Thursday night. I had spent the last two days watching this made-for-TV crap. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy Lifetime movies. It's just...three days in a row is an awful lot to ask of someone.

After ten excruciating minutes of Beautiful, something glorious happened. An obscenity was overdubbed. That means that Beautiful wasn't made-for-TV! It had a theatrical release!!! Oh, Hosanna in the highest, I didn't have to watch and review this.

And, thank God. Ten minutes of this is worse than an hour or dental work. Roger Ebert is a considerably more talented critic than myself, so I'll let him take it from here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cries in the Dark

Cries in the Dark is terrible. Just awful. There's never any doubt who the bad guy is. There's never any doubt as to what happened. Some films can use this viewer's knowledge as a strength. The bad guy is revealed within the first minutes of Spoorloos. You have an idea of what happened to the victim. The horror comes from the grim inevitability of it all. Spoorloos made my testicles retract. Cries in the Dark, not so much.

We open at a real estate agency owned by a couple. The wife is very much pregnant. It is immediately revealed to the audience that the husband is a loathsome guy. He cares too much about work, is thoughtless, and his teeth are too white. Seriously. You see their wedding picture and think, "Hey, his smile is too bright. Evil!"

The husband, hilariously named Scott, runs off to a meeting leaving the wife behind to meet with people interested in buying some property. The dude who comes in is a grade-A creepster. He makes untoward comments towards the pregnant real estate agent, Elle. She boots him out, but not before he steals her handkerchief.

Elle heads to a doctor's appointment. There she runs into Rosa. Now, we just learned how refined Elle's creep-dar is. She can sniff out a creep from a mile away. Right? Well, no. Rosa is super-creepy. Like, clearly a sociopath. That doesn't stop Elle from giving Rosa her address.

That night, Elle and her cop sister, Carrie, prepare dinner. Scott, because he's a bad dude, cancels at the last minute because of a mix-up at the office. Elle is hurt. She feels alone. Carrie then pulls the same bullshit but gets a free pass because the night is ruined anyways. Also, she's a cop. I guess her work is more important than selling houses.

Elle disappears that night. Rosa shows up the next morning with a brand new baby. There can be no doubt in the viewer's mind what happened. None. Did I mention that this all happened by 9:20pm? I had to sit through another 100 minutes of this garbage even though the plot was now nothing but a big bag of inevitabilities.

So how to spend that 100 minutes?

About 30 minutes are spent on chasing the creepy dude. Naturally, because this is a Lifetime movie, the creepster is actually a convicted rapist. I don't know what's worse: being a rapist or being an obvious red herring. After a few chase scenes the rapist is caught and exonerated. His alibi was, I swear to God, that he was out trying to rape some other lady. The other lady confirms this.


A motive is discovered when some volunteers find Elle's dead body sans fetus. It's a weirdly compelling scene. The volunteer who finds Elle doesn't scream for help. He finds a bloody corpse, walks up to it, and then kneels over it. He's staring the whole time. He looks excited. It's weird that the creepiest thing about the movie is this detached reaction to this bloody mayhem. The scene should have a place in a better movie.

Carrie and Scott are both wrecks. At one point, Carrie and Elle's mom calls the former a bad cop for not finding her sister's killer. Like, thanks, Mom. The case is finally cracked when it becomes apparent that Scott had an affair with a crazy woman....Rosa! Rose was a dental hygienist. The big joke is that she is obsessed with white teeth. Scott's pearly whites clearly pass her sexxxin' litmus test. What was a one night stand for Scott was a betrayal for Rosa. She is obsessed with Scott and wants to start a family with him. Since she had a hysterectomy eight years ago, Elle's fetus is her only hope.

Rosa, with gun, takes Scott hostage in his house. The baby, mostly healthy although a little jaundiced, is there too. Carrie breaks in through the attic and distracts Rosa. Scott tries to run off with the baby and is shot in the back for his troubles. Carrie tackles Rosa, grabs her gun, and makes the arrest.

Carrie confronts Rosa after the latter makes her confession. Rosa admits to seeing Carrie the day of the abduction. The film then flashes back to Rosa taking Elle at gun point and throwing her in the trunk of a car while she pleads for her life. This tacky additional scene leaves a sour taste in mouth.

Rosa then asks Carrie if she can see her baby. She claims it's her child to the very end.

I know asking for unpredictability in a Lifetime movie is a fool's exercise. But, Christ on the cross, I could have made a 45-minute version of Cries in the Dark that would have been just as effective. Excuse me. "Effective." The scare quotes are necessary.

Actual Awesomeness: 4

The movie sucked. The actors acquitted themselves well. All of them save for Adrian Holmes who was just terrible. The biggest technical problem was the sound mixing. Lots of dialogue was lost to echoes and mumbling. The direction was pedestrian, but not aggressively bad.

Ironic Awesomeness: 4

There aren't enough wacky plot twists or melodramatic scenes to make this one unintentionally hilarious. The weird scene where they find Elle's body and the tacked-on abduction scene were both out of place and made the film more serious than warranted.

Hey! It's That Guy!: 1

Other than Eva La Rue from CSI: Miami, there is no one famous in this movie. Calling Eva La Rue famous is actually stretching it.

Lifetimeness: 8

Out of the three male characters, one's a rapist and the other's a cheat. The movie plays on crazy fears of losing a baby. There are countless scenes of mother-daughter awkwardness. I've said some pretty nasty things about this movie. But don't get me wrong, it screams Lifetime.


There was so much more room for improvement here. Maybe if the rapist attacked Rosa. Or if the acting was worse. Or, Hell, if the husband was the mastermind behind the whole thing. It needed that something extra. As is, I can't recommend it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No One Would Tell


You can find our archives there.

No One Would Tell is an oldie-but-goodie that premiered all the way back in May, 1996. One only need to look at the IMDB plot keywords to see what we're dealing with here:

Physical Abuse / Abusive Boyfriend / Disturbing / Bowling / High School

Oh yes. Prepare to be bowled over by this made-for-tv masterpiece. Also, yay for puns.

We open in the woods. Fred Savage, famous for his role in Wonder Years Boy Meets World as a sexual harassing professor, is sweet-talking his girlfriend Stacy. Stacy is portrayed by Candace Cameron. Wow. Kevin Arnold and D.J. Tanner? This movie is now required to be amazing. Anything less is a disappointment.

It looks like DJ just dumped Kevin. Kevin is not taking this too well. She promised him they'd be "together forever." We then cut to an extreme close-up of Kevin lips repeating the phrase "together forever." Holy fuck. I am being Rickrolled by Kevin Arnold.

Kevin emerges from the woods covered in blood. We flash-back to "five months earlier." DJ is watching Kevin wrestle. She has a crush on him. Yee-ha. Later that night, Kevin invites DJ and her friends, none of whom are played by Andrea Barber, to attend a party at his family's little shack by the lake. DJ and Kevin somehow connect despite DJ's boring, never-ending conversations about how she and her mom are so close. He seals the deal by giving her a unicorn necklace. "Unicorns are my favorite!" Ugh. Man, I'd stab her too.

Why does DJ always date wrestling captains?

I guess now would be the time to mention that every scene in this movie is in extreme soft-focus. I guess DJ and Kevin didn't age well. The focus is so soft that the movie's stars are featureless. God damn it, I expect better lighting from my made-for-TV movies.

The first sign of trouble between Kevin and DJ shows up at 9:19pm EDT. This is 19 minutes earlier than my prediction. (Obviously we're not counting the actual murder.) Kevin is jealous that DJ is talking to her friends while the two of them are supposed to be alone in the library. He gets so angry that he shoves her. I argued that my prediction could still be correct since that was only a shove and I guessed 9:38 for the first slap. A shove isn't as bad as a slap, right? My friends and roomates wouldn't engage in this argument so I guess I won.

The story chugs along. We learn that DJ lost her virginity to Kevin. Also, shockingly, Kevin has some real problematic jealousy issues. He expects DJ to only leave the house with his permission. He keeps bruising her by shoving her and grabbing her wrist and shoulders. Etc, etc, etc.

Soon, DJ's mother notices the bruises. Does she contact the authorities? No. She wouldn't tell.

Then her friends notice the bruises. But they wouldn't tell.

Kevin's wrestling coach sees Kevin shove DJ, but he wouldn't tell.

Then Kevin's friends notice the bruises. They wouldn't tell.

Finally, at a high school dance, DJ's bff and her boyfriend, Kevin's bff, see Kevin slap DJ across the face. They try to split them up, but DJ stubbornly insists that you don't leave someone you love. Surely they'd call the cops or tell some teachers what was going on.


DJ finally builds up the strength to dump Kevin. She spends her first day of freedom bowling with her friends. But she can't quit cold turkey. Kevin asks her to hang as "just friends." She obliges. They fight. He, along with one of Kevin's cronies, drive DJ to the lake. DJ gets her throat slit. "If I can't have you, no one can!" Then her corpse gets dumped in the lake.

Kevin tells everyone that DJ stormed off on her own. His friend and another girl, who is totally in love with Kevin, corroborate his story. But soon all of Kevin and DJ's friends put the pieces together. The male accomplice makes an anonymous call to some detectives. The body is found amidst some pretty deep melodrama as DJ's mom, played by Michelle Phillips, by the way, has a total breakdown.

Soon they're all testifying against Kevin. They all admit regret about not doing something sooner. The judge, Sally Jesse Raphael!, sentences Kevin to teen boot camp and a make-over. Just kidding. He gets life in jail with no chance for parole.

The movie ends with Judge Sally Jesse actually admonishing all of DJ's friends for not helping her. Let me paraphrase:


The End.

Ok. The rankings.

Actual Awesomeness: 6

The lighting and soundtrack are so distracting that I can't possibly give the movie any higher than a six. So, a six it is. Sure the script is monotonous, but let's give credit where credit is due. This film was not poorly acted. I repeat, a movie on Lifetime, made-for-TV, was well acted.

Ironic Awesomeness: 4

Too well acted. This film is a perfect example of 1990's teensploitation. But, damn it all to Hell, it's not that funny. We know DJ is going to die. We know who did it. It just goes through the motions. It doesn't have any melodramatic twists that take a Lifetime movie and make it something grand.

Also, a penalty for avoiding all side-boob shots of Candace Cameron's body double in her shower scene. The scene is used to show all of her bruises, but, come on. Let's get some side-boob here.

Hey! That guy!: 10

Good God. Fred Savage. Candace Cameron. Michelle Phillips. That devilish looking guy from Six Feet Under and Conviction. Sally Jesse. GregAlan Williams. This is as good as it gets, people.

Lifetimeness: 7

Ok. All the dudes, save for one boyfriend, are bad. It's melodramatic. It's just, I don't know. It's missing something. It probably deserves a ten, but I can't give it more than a seven. It's just missing that extra oomph.


If only there were a disclosure of date rape or something like that. Then we'd be in the high 30s. No One Would Tell is an almost-classic. It's just not hilarious enough. Even the physical abuse scenes are understated enough to avoid the slapstick comedy I was expecting and hoping for.

I guess I expected better from a movie starring the director of Daddy Day Camp.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tell Me No Lies

The idea to start a Lifetime blog had been floating in my head for months. My friends, many of whom are considerably more talented at the art of the written word, and I adore Lifetime and it seemed like a waste of our collective talent (and brain cells) to watch this crap and have it disappear into the ether. This shit needs to be documented, yo.

Watching Tell Me No Lies last night pushed me over the edge. What a delightful piece of crap.

We open with a party. A teenage party. With solo cups! That's Lifetimese for alcohol. This is an underage drinking party! From here, the opportunities are infinite. Will there be a date rape? Maybe some drunken sex leads to a pregnancy? A DUI? A car crash?

Ok, maybe not infinite, but there are clearly a good deal of avenues for the movie to explore. One girl wanders off by herself, solo cup in hand. You can tell she is a troubled girl because her hair is two different colors, she is wearing a mini-skirt, and there is an Avril-esque skull on the back of her shirt. And she's wandering into the woods by herself with alcohol. Here comes the rapin'!

Awwwww. No rapin'. Instead she witnesses three teenage boys push another boy off a cliff. She runs away, jumps into her car, and is involved in a minor car chase before being stopped by a cop. She is arrested for the traffic violations, driving without a license (we learn later she stole her mom's car), and, hilariously, a possible DUI.

Now the DUI accusation is exactly why I need a Tivo so I can take pictures of this nonsense. There were beer bottles in the passenger seat of the car. The brand of beer was presented clearly. It was motherfucking O'Douls. O'Douls! If I went to some party at the woods and someone gave me an O'Douls I would bust them on the head.

So, back story: The troubled girl, Sam, is acting out after her parents' divorce. She clearly preferred her dad's company and is bristling at having to deal with her mom. And, boy, her mom is no prize. Sample dialogue:

Mom's Friend: "Maybe you should spend more time with your daughter."
Mom (Laura, btw): "Nah. I'm running my own business and taking classes."

Dear God.

Well, the mom starts taking a harder line after finding a lighter and, later, a "jazz cigarette" in her daughter's room. She realizes that now, more than ever, her daughter needs her. Or some bullshit.

On the other side of town, the three murderous boys are watching TV. Oh, not just regular TV. They're watching a video of the murder. They videotaped it! How, I don't know. They had a camera set up on a tripod in the forest, I guess? It makes no sense. In the background, you can see a fuzzy little blonde head moving around. Someone spots it and they enhance the video to absolutely ludicrous levels. Apparently these Canadian thugs have a video camcorder that's connected to a NASA satellite.

Oh, and the alpha thug, Jordan, decides to keep the tapes so that no one squeals. This makes no sense. We'll soon discover that Jordan alternates between psychotic genius and useless retard.

So, the thugs threaten Sam. They throw a brick through her window and say stuff like "You talk, you die, bitch!" This goes on for about half an hour. The girl keeps quiet, save for telling her bestest friend who I guess also has a secret? Sam freaks out and tries hitchhiking to her dad's place. He asked her not to come of course, because men are evil. This was over the phone with a newborn crying in the background. Daddy has a new family so Sam is expendable to him. And he sounds like a robot. Deadbeat Dad-Bot 4000.

Meanwhile, Laura-Mom is putting the pieces together. Why, the mud that was on her car from her daughter's joyride is also the same mud found at the scene of the murder. Which of course has been ruled an accident. (Does Canada not have decent coroners?) She asks her car mechanic's son if her daughter was at the party and if she knew anything about the boy's death. No bonus points if you guess that the mechanic's son in one of the thugs.

The other thugs hear this and start to freak out. Jordan cuts the mom's brakes. She drives off to pick up her daughter and she parks the car. Wait. Huh? I thought the braks were cut? How did she get from the mechanic to her daughter?

Of course, once the daughter is in the car, the car veers out of control! They can't stop! Aaaaaaaaah! The gravitational pull on this black hole of a continuity error just turned my skin inside-out.

The car eventually stops in a field. Boring.

Finally, Sam admits what's up. The reason she couldn't talk to the cops is because, and this one's a beaut, Jordan's dad is the chief of police. Of fucking course he is.

One scene later Sam is arrested for possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute. Jordan and her pals videotape this and laugh hysterically. You'd think this would arouse some suspicions, but, no. It's becoming obvious that the mechanic's son feels guilty about all of this and is looking to flip on his two accomplices.

Ok, this all happened in first hour of the movie. Seriously, that is one hour of goodness right there. Where could the film possibly go from there? Well, let's see. It turns out that Laura was physically abused by her ex-husband. Sam's confidante was drugged and gang-raped on camera by the three thugs. Two of the thugs try and kill the "sympathetic" gang-rapist, murderer thug by first running him off the road and then, when he's in a coma, by suffocating him with a pillow. And the entire time the cops don't believe Sam and Laura.

This is exhausting.

Naturally there's one good cop who's willing to stand up to the police chief. He figures out what's going on when the Ecstasy in the evidence room has been tampered with. Sam was clearly framed. Jordan's police chief dad is starting to figure it out too. When Laura's mom breaks into Jordan's house to find the tapes, Hell breaks loose. Jordan comes home, finds a tire iron on his bed, and realizes Laura has broken in. He goes after her with a gun. This actually seems reasonable to me. What's the point of having a gun if you're not going to use it on a breaker-and-enterer.

The game of cat-and-mouse hits hilarious heights when Laura briefly disarms Jordan with a, wait for it, fire extinguisher. She calmly, casually stands in a corner spraying Jordan. Um, Laura? BULLETS CAN TRAVEL THROUGH SMOKE!

The good cop gets there before Jordan can finish Laura off. Jordan is about to take a shot at him when his dad shoots him in the right shoulder.

Jordan: "YOU SHOT ME!"
Police Chief: "It's about time someone did."

If my dad truly loved me, he would threaten to shoot me more.

Sam and Laura are reunited. The gang-rapist thug wakes up from his coma. I guess we're supposed to be happy for him, but with the discovery of the tapes, the prosecution will have no need for him to flip on his buddies. So, congrats on being alive, dude. Enjoy the rape and murder charges.

That's a pretty decent plot recap. My one regret is that I can't convey how terribly bad the acting was in this film. It was horrid. It wasn't good enough for community theatre. The two leading actresses would constantly miss their cues and beats. The tone in their voice would change from somber to inappropriately chipper at the drop of a hat. You'd watch scenes and think to yourself, "That's the best take they could use!?!?"

So, how to rate this piece of crap. Let me introduce you to my patented Lifetime rating system. Four categories rated from one (awful) to ten (great).

Actual Awesomeness: 2

Even for a made-for-TV movie off the Canadian assembly line, this movie was piss-poor. Other than a girl's teary gang-rape victim confession, this movie had no comic relief whatsoever. The plot was totally nonsensical. The acting was terrible. It was about 65 minutes too long. Ugh.

Ironic Awesomeness: 4

Yeah, it was so bad that it was hard to manage the ironic detachment so prevalent in today's youth. I mean, this had its moments. But I was desperate for this to end an hour before the end credits. The really great Lifetime movies should go on forever.

Hey! It's That Guy!: 3

One of the great joys of Lifetime movies is seeing actors and actresses you recognize from a hit TV show or movie lowering themselves to the Lifetime level. You can read it on their faces. "It's this or Cinemax After Hours."

Tell Me No Lies stars Kelly Rutherford. She's best known for her work in Melrose Place. That show is a bit before my time, but, hey, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Sam was played by one Kirsten Prout. Prout had a large role in the cinematic dud Elektra. I guess that's worth a bonus point?

Lifetimeness: 6

Points for mentioning gang-rape and for briefly mentioning an abusive deadbeat dad. Unfortunately, I felt the Lifetimey aspects of the movie were almost tacked on. Like they needed to make sure they had at least one unsympathetic adult male character to placate Lifetime's head honchorinas.


Not a great start for this here blog. A 15. That's pretty poor. Maybe I'll get lucky next time and catch a Lifetime classic like 15 and Pregnant or Cyber Seduction. Those have got to rank in the high-30s.


Is there a greater pleasure than a Lifetime original movie? Is there anything more enjoyable than washed-up actors, Canadian scenery, and melodrama?

No there is not.

So I present to you, my faithful readers, "Lifetime, Wow!" I'll watch, review, and mock as many Lifetime movies as possible. Hopefully, a few of my friends will join me. Soon we will have a sweet blog that will be a huge success. It will be bought by Bravo and we will all be thousandaires.

It will also be a convenient excuse for me to finally get a fucking Tivo.