Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Widow on the Hill

Finally, I get to review a movie held in such high esteem that Lifetime actually released it on DVD. Please look for Widow on the Hill at your local gas station's bargain bin.

The film opens with a very nicely dressed woman giving an interview to a TV tabloid reporter. Since the woman, Linda, played by Natasha Henstridge, doesn't trust the local press, the tabloids are her only hope of getting her story out.

Her story starts on the back of a motorcycle. She's somewhere in Virginia when she gets off her boy toy's bike and buys two Budweisers at a convenience store. When she walks back out, her man is gone. She's stranded.

While walking around town, she notices a large house on a hill. It's the kind of place she's always wanted. And what she wants, she gets.

After putting herself through nursing school, Linda becomes a hospice worker and gets assigned to a dying lady in, you guessed it!, the house on the hill.

Linda almost immediately begins flirting with the grieving husband, Hank (played by Lifetime staple "Mr. Babs" James Brolin). She is very touchy-feely and wears amusingly inappropriate clothing for a hospice worker. My mom's a hospice worker and she does not wear low cut shirts to work. Why someone would wear their personal clothing in a job that involves getting pooped on is beyond me.

The family dynamic is really quite interesting. The mom is all cancered up and out of the picture. So we have the horse ranch owner Hank and his two daughters. One daughter, Monica, is married and happy. The other, Jenny, just dropped out of college. At first it's implied that it's to take care of her sickly mother. It turns out that she's actually a raging alcoholic. She's only 20 and she can't touch the sauce. Same with Hank. He hasn't touched the stuff since Monica's wedding.

On her deathbed, Dying Mom promises the family heirloom, a sapphire ring, to Jenny. Jenny refuses because she's not dead yet. I only mention this because Linda is nowhere in this scene. SHE'S THE FUCKING NARRATOR! How could she have known about this conversation!? Come on, Lifetime. I expect better.

So, Mom dies. Linda goes in for the kill pretty much immediately. They start going to Episcopal services together (Hank sings in the choir). After only a few months, they're engaged. The engagement ring is, of course, the sapphire heirloom. Jenny's descent into madness continues.

Linda makes off with more than just the ring. She also gets the Dead Mom's fur coat. Hank rationalizes this by saying his dead wife would have wanted her to have it. The daughters and the townsfolk do not concur.

Linda wears the coat to a party. Underneath the coat? How about a black lace bra and garter set. Well played, Lifetime. They go back to her trailer park (seriously) and Linda makes tea for the sole purpose of it whistling when they start pawing at each other.

And then, dear God, we have a Lifetime sex scene. It's as horrible as it sounds. James Brolin even takes his shirt off. And then he totally gets his dick sucked. It's not subtle.


Hey, Lifetime, Wow! readers. I'm James Brolin and I like having my penis in a lady's mouth.


Linda and Hank get married. Monica grudgingly approves. Crazy Jenny does not. She's making her father's life a living Hell by nagging him about how evil Linda is. Like, the man is wealthy and he just scored Sil from Species as a trophy wife. Give the man a break.

Linda, being a mean-spirited gold digger, immediately starts up an affair with one of Hank's ranch hands. Linda makes no effort to hide this. She even takes her dick-on-the-side to church with her. When another ranch hand, the "loyal" Rick, catches the two in flagrante delicto, he threatens to tell Hank. That threat goes out the window when Linda opens her robe. Then they start going at it like rabbits.

You call tell Linda spends a lot of money on fancy lingerie.

Rick calls Jenny and tells her to confront her father. She does and all the bad karma she's been accruing throughout the film catches up with her. She's been so irrational about everything else involving Linda that her father refuses to believe her and calls her a bad daughter. Good.

But Hank is no dummy. Wait, yes he is. But he's not blind. He finally starts noticing Linda's inappropriate behavior and Linda doesn't deny a thing. She wanted those boys and she gets what she wants.

Hank threatens to divorce her and he dies of a "heart attack" a week later. Jenny immediately calls foul. The autopsy shows the cause of death was actually a morphine overdose. Ummm. I'm pretty sure heart attacks and morphine overdoses are in no way similar, but whatever.

When the daughters find a bunch of stolen morphine in the pantry, Linda gets arrested and indicted for first degree murder.

The movie then cuts to Jenny watching Linda's interview on a ridiculously old-timey TV (the budget was all wasted on fancy bras). She angrily turns off the television. The film fades to a shot of the house on the hill. As the film fades to black, text pops up informing us that Linda was acquitted with first degree murder and is studying to become an Episcopal deacon.

ACTUAL AWESOMENESS: 9

The score is so high here because I legitimately value trashy movies if they're done right. Example number one: Wild Things. Example number two: this movie. It was sordid, ridiculous, and honestly unpredictable. Even if you know Linda is going to kill Hank, the movie never gave away how or why.

IRONIC AWESOMENESS: 7

"Trashy" is clearly something to aspire to. It goes beyond "so bad it's good." If done right, it really can become overwhelmingly awesome. And this movie was overwhelmingly awesome

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY: 10

First, let me send my condolences to Natasha Henstridge. This woman, who is basically and awesomely naked throughout all of Species, has filmed sex scenes with both Alfred Molina and James Brolin. That's a harsh hand to be dealt in life. Like, who cares if she can't act. Alfred Molina!

This isn't the first time I've reviewed a Lifetime movie featuring James Brolin. My original comments stand. He was Action Hero Pee-Wee! I said before that any James Brolin movie gets an automatic 10 in this category because of that role. And I would hate to be called a liar.

The awful daughter is played by Jewel Staite. Her filmography is unremarkable save for an appearance on a below-average episode of The X-Files and two episodes on perhaps the greatest show in the history of Snick (and no I'm not forgetting about Roundhouse).

LIFETIMENESS: 7

None of the guys in this movie are evil. They are all incredibly stupid and sex-crazed. That's a pretty decent compromise by Lifetime standards.

GRAND TOTAL: 33

This is the highest rated Lifetime movie in this blog's short history. Both the top spots are dominated by James Brolin. Coincidence?

8 comments:

Matthew Barney Gumble said...

Dude, Jewel Staite is Kaylee on Firefly. Plus she was on Wonderfalls. Obviously this deserves something above a 10. It'd get a 10 even w/o Brolin.

Kate said...

Jewel Staite was also on "Flash Forward", which i was so into when i was 12... it also had Ben Foster, who is moderately successful.

Rod Brock said...

Two years since you wrote the review, and I'm sitting here at my Mom's place on a Sunday afternoon with my laptop. My mom is watching "Widow on the Hill" while the roast cooks, and I've been playing on the laptop, and watching the movie with a bit of jaundiced eye. Finally decided to Google it, and found your review...

On the porch at the party...she just whipped open the fur coat to show off her Jenna Jamesonesque ensemble....

My instinctive reaction at this point: P-fucking-U. When is this gonna be OVER?

I can understand your sentiments in regard to liking "trash" though. It's kind of like Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movie is crap; everybody knows it, but it's just so fun to pick it to pieces. Which you did very well in your review.

Terri said...

i absoultely loved this movie. its one of my favorites.

Widowing said...

Being one of those searching widows, sans murderous, I get the part where the widow wants a man. Yes, F-ing is on the mind of every widow naturally. The story is excellent not lame even if the presentation lacks. Thanks for making this moot. M.

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