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."
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?
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.
GRAND TOTAL: 15
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.