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.
ACTUAL AWESOMENESS: 3
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.
IRONIC AWESOMENESS: 8
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?
HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 10
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.
GRAND TOTAL: 31
What can I say, it's a Lifetime classic. Tivo this shit, son.