Friday, October 16, 2009

Visitors Of The Night

FINALLY. No more bashing our brains against the blunt vanilla wafer of this season of Project Runway. It's movie time.

My friends, this movie was really special. Visitors in the Night is the rare treat that occurs when people who write TV movies try to do something other then stories about eating disorders or disastrous proms. Markie Post is a go-go 90's lady with a demanding-but-unexplained job, a distant politician ex-husband, and a snarky little brat of a daughter. Of course she's a brat, she's Candace Cameron, AKA DJ Tanner. (You're reading a blog about Lifetime movies, so I know you are delighted by this.) Anyway, her life is tough, and her problems are only compounded by the fact that she has some kind of weird brain problem that makes her go into a trance and flail violently at random times. The triggers for her trauma are bright lights, exploding transistors, and horses.

Fig 1. A Perfectly Normal Reaction to A Horse

She's hallucinating and blacking out like nobody's business. Most people would have parked themselves in an MRI machine by now, but maybe the Shoulderpad Lady Office doesn't offer decent medical. To make matters worse, her daughter is experiencing the pains of adolescent rebellion, completed with a rat-faced grunge-y boyfriend and a need to "explore the absence of color" through dressing like a slutty goth librarian all the time. This family is desperate for a father figure. Their salvation may lie in the super beefed-out arms of the dad from Pet Sematary, (you know you want to click that link) who is constantly haunting the troubled family with the excuse of being a small-town sheriff. But the soil of a lady's heart is stonier, and Markie Mark has bigger fish to fry.

Maybe the water in this town make you oblivious to obvious things. Not only is Markie unaware of what is almost surely a brain tumor, the whole town is writing off a panopoly of strange phenomenon as teenage stunts. This includes livestock mutilation, crop circles- you know, all that shit you used to do in high school. I always loved to huff glue, listen to Nirvana, and burn huge geometric designs into the soybean fields of my hometown. Candace tags herself a participating punk by scribbling crop circles in her notebook, landing her some serious principal's office time and a fight with Markie. If only they had something to bond on! Some shared trauma or unbelievable secret, perhaps?

Things come to a head when Markie goes out of town to perform whatever vague business she is responsible for. Candace takes this opportunity to throw a bitchin' party and invite all of her scummy little friends. The party quickly gets out of hand, by which I mean the music gets slightly louder then it was and someone burns a pizza in the oven. Candace freaks out, announces that the party is over, and storms away with a bag of garbage. Party foul, Candace. Save the hissy-fit until you're sloshed. Out at the garbage, which for some reason is a half-mile away in a secluded area, Candace hears a noise that freaks out her dog. The picture then abruptly takes us back to Markie, who is giving a presentation, something? Sounds like she's talking about valves? Anyway, she blacks out and we see that she's daydreaming about a bunch of flashing lights in her house, and her parents are dead or something, and...I dunno, she looks scared? The flashbacks lack narrative structure, so it's kind of hard to figure out what's so damn scary. We can probably assume it's aliens. Oh, shit, spoiler alert!

As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Candace's issues are not the garden variety teenage trauma that one would expect. After the party, she experiences repeated blackouts and even crashes the family car. She also goes all Jello Biafra on her science class and harangues them about the the inevitable effects of suburban atrophy for some reason. There's a great sequence where she goes to visit her dad at a city council meeting and talks her dad's staff into using green building materials for a housing development. Apparently, alien-themed traumas make you really annoying and eco-conscious. Markie's alien-themed daydreams get more creepily detailed and specific, and her erratic behavior begins to worry the townsfolk. The sheriff makes a weird effort at being a daddy figure for the troubled ladies, but considering what happened to this guy's last family, you can't blame Markie for taking a pass. Instead she visits a hypnotherapist (?!) to try and get some more information about the bullshit tricks her brain appears to be playing on her.

Now here is where you would expect the hypnotherapist to dig up some long-suppressed memories of something traumatic and terrible that her kid-brain would have rewritten as an alien abduction to successfully ignore. But no! Markie was actually abducted by goddamned aliens! We also learn that the aliens put some weird alien junk in Markie's womb, making her baby daughter a freako alien baby. Now the aliens are back- and this time, it's personal.

The aliens are super gross looking, by the way. They're weird butt-headed hybrids of X-Files-style Greys and Tony Harrison of The Mighty Boosh. Observe:

Fig. 2: The Resemblance Is An Outraaaaage!

No wonder they had to abduct Markie Post to get their swerve on. Ew.

Next we suffer through a last minute boring infodump from a "professor" at a local university who happens to specialize in alien abductions for some damn reason. But it's worth it, because afterwards the movie finally allows the aliens to succeed in kidnapping Candace and revealing their nefarious plot. Apparently, they have been trying to make alien/human hybrid babies, and have a whole litter of them up on the ship. But the babies are tiny little sociopaths that don't feel love because "they don't cry". That isn't actually why babies cry, but I guess she's kind of traumatized, so we'll give her a break. Anyway, Candace gets off the ship and is deposited in her mother's loving arms. Everyone goes home, everything's cool-


Fade to black. No, really, that's the end.

So, how does this mother rate in the grand scheme of things?

Awesomeness: 19

FUCK YEAH. This movie had fucking aliens in it. I don't feel like I need to say anything else here. ALIENS! Just thinking about it makes me want to give someone a high-five.

One point deducted for the creepy rat-faced boyfriend. I just didn't like him. If the aliens had stolen him instead we'd be rolling 20s here.

Star Power: 10

No-Brainer thanks to the poor career decisions of Markie Post. Rule of thumb: if you can find their boobs on Google, they're trashy-famous enough for a 10 on their own. Add in DJ and the gloriously hammy Pet Sematary lead, and it's a perfect train-wreck of TV movie casting.

Lifetimeliness: 6

I'm going to cut the score down here a little. Rusty may disagree with me, but women's intuition completely failed to save the day here. A more Lifetime-y approach would have involved Markie figuring out how to stop the aliens by having a passionate heart-to-heart with them about the pressures of being a working mother in today's fast-paced world. Still, the mother-daughter trauma was the core of the story, so partial credit is due.

35! Not bad, not bad. The score is not really reflective of how amazing the movie is, though. DVR it. Get really drunk. Share it with a loved one. Let us know how it goes.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Harmony and I give up on Project Runway. Seriously. We are done. I think Amelie Gillette perfectly sums up what's wrong with the show here. Any show that allows Logan's haunted crotch pants to survive another day is not a show I am interested in.

So, instead of dealing with writing a review, I'd instead like to talk about last night's wedding episode of The Office. Basically, it was terrible. And writing contrarian reviews of beloved things is a hobby -no, a passion - of mine. And I want to get this on the record.

The episode begins with the entire office vomiting all over the place in a nice Lard-Ass moment. I thought it was the perfect beginning to an episode advertised as a straight romance. Of course, the writers were just prepping us for an episode that throws reality into the wind. Mass vomitings don't occur in the office and a lot of the things happening at the wedding don't happen in real weddings.

To be fair, the first 15 minutes were fairly solid. I loved Jim blurting out that Pam was pregnant as he slowly morphs into Michael-lite. But one thing at the rehearsal dinner really stuck in my craw. When Pam's sisters mistakes Kevin for Oscar's boyfriend, Oscar's livid response wasn't just inappropriate, it was shockingly out of character. One can be repulsed at the thought of dating someone and still maintain social graces. Especially when the show has worked so hard to make Oscar the most competent and friendliest employee. Terrible stuff.

From there, the show deteriorated into cartoonish. Andy tore his scrotum! Yuck, yuck, yuck. Kevin's feet smelled so bad they had to destroy his shoes and he walks around in tissue boxes! Har! Dwight bones Pam's bridesmaid and coldly blows her off because sleeping with people and ignoring them two hours later is something to be laughed at! Haha! Sucks to be you, pretty lady who slept with Dwight!

Pam starts freaking out before the wedding and loses it when she snags her veil on a nail. Oh no! Such drama! How can she get married with a slightly torn veil!? This is what screenwriters and other people in the know like to call "conflict."

Jim cuts his tie in half in solidarity and they decide to run off to get married in private. Two problems here:

1. If I drive five hours for a friend's wedding, I expect two things. Open bar and punctuality. If my friends make me wait in a church for two hours, they are bad friends and selfish people who deserve to get divorced.

2. They basically stole this entire plot from How I Met Your Mother (reruns on Lifetime!). Marshall gets a bad haircut and freaks out trying to shave it off. Lily still loves him and they are sick of the pressures of a big wedding so they sneak off and get married in private. I can't expect the writers of the Office to remember every plot point from every sitcom, but just know that this has been done and it was done better and it was done years ago.

Jim and Pam return from their secret wedding to get church married. Before anyone can walk down the aisle, the office workers play some music from a convicted domestic batterer and a bunch of people that were in no way in the wedding party (namely, the entire office) dances down the aisle.

Apparently, this is a recreation of a Youtube video I have never seen or heard of. You know how Michael is lame for discovering Youtube memes a few years too late and living out the fad? That is what the entire show has done and people are supposed to find it cute or endearing? No. And why would that bridesmaid be so happy to dance down the aisle with Dwight? And why is it funny that she got kicked in the face? And I know it's The Office and not The Realistic Wedding Simulator, but a bunch of people just imposed themselves on this wedding? That's not cool. That's just more horrible, selfish behavior.

Since the episode, I watched the Youtube video in question and it looks pretty sweet and nice and fun and the only thing that sucks about it is that Chris Brown beat the shit out of his girlfriend. Romance fail. Still very nice though. It just didn't work on The Office. Not even a little bit.

To be fair, I laughed a few times. I loved Jim's "Let's talk on the phone for a very long time." I loved Dwight's wedding gift complete with live turtle. Niagara Falls looks very pretty. But the tone, the meanness, the jokes that were so broad that Adam Sandler would be embarrassed (A torn nutsack? Really?) didn't work. Not only did it not work, it made me aggressively hate the presence of most of the cast. Well played, Office writers!

So, thank you for letting me vent about a show that isn't even remotely affiliated with Lifetime. Project Runway coverage is done, forever. And Harmony will be posting a movie review shortly. It's a doozy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kelli's Last Stand

So Kelli's commentary was conspicuously absent from the last two Lifetime reviews. Kelli actually did respond to episode six...just after episode seven had already aired. So, I skipped it to avoid confusion.

As for episode seven criticism, we have it in spades.

Now, remember, last Thursday's episode was truly the worst episode ever. I was filled with as much righteous anger as anyone else. Anyone else besides Kelli, who was pissed.

I am flipping out about this past week's episode! Yes, Louises' dresses were ugly, but most of them were! I could design an INC look with my eyes closed! I actually realized that I had turned into an old woman when I migrated from the junior's section of Macy's towards the INC section! (While COMPLETELY skipping over the Michael Kors rags too!)

The shows formula is sooooo, incredibly obvious to me now! This episode was so much like my kick off episode (the same time too!), and it played out in the same manner! I am soooo over this crap, I could DIE! I would rather watch reruns of Facts of Life than this shit! AGAIN, it isn't the designers....I actually feel like they are nice people, and is the show! It is too much like other reality shows, when it used to pride itself in true talent and entertainment.

Also, I would like to vote this season as the WORST dressed season for Heidi. Season 5, I almost broke my neck to see the next I cringe!

It also sucks that these auf'd contestants get this speech about how much they suck, when Heidi is just repeating what is said in her ear piece, line for line! And slllooowllly at that! Don't you have a brain to remember a sentence or two? Better yet, don't you have your OWN opinion??? I HATE tv. I HATE the fashion industry. I hate reality show...the line between talented people and Rock of Love contestants is becoming too blurred. I got a chewed gum portrait of me done by some idiot who was trying to show that reality stars last as long as a piece of gum! Great. [Ed note: I would like to see this.] Couldn't you have chosen Heather from Rock of Ass, or something?? She will probably die of STDs soon, but I have a feeling I will be designing regardless. Yuck. Puke. BLAHHHHH!

It's hard to disagree with any of this. My biggest point of contention would be that Heidi's canned lines right before elimination were always a problem, not something that just started happening on Lifetime.

A big moment for me happened last night when I realized I was enjoying Top Chef more than Project Runway. I used to hate Top Chef. It valued personalities more than the food. Iron Chef America spends more time on better recipes and on how to make a flavor profile. Top Chef just has a bunch of personalities say they're going to make something and then it shows up on the plate. Boring.

But, after seeing this season of Project Runway, I trust Top Chef. There is a clear hierarchy of talent. The challenges are usually interesting. And, yeah, the contestants are memorable. That's all I need. And I'm not getting it from Project Runway anymore.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Episode 7: Worst Episode Ever

By the way, I super promise that Harmony and I are going to start watching some proper Lifetime movies. We saw one together, but it needs a sober rewatch. That's happening tonight.

And Kelli's absence last week: I don't know what to tell ya. She mentioned being much busier in the past few weeks and if I had to choose something to slip through the cracks, helping some people I've never met complain about a reality show would be first on the list. Hell, this is my site and I go weeks without posting all the time.

As for Project Runway, ugh. So terrible. Design two blue dresses for Macy's? Really? That's it?

This is the worst challenge on a season filled with terrible challenges. There are no limitations other than that the color blue should be involved. And the best part about these blue dresses? They're only available at Macy's! That makes no sense. Why is that the best part? The best part of Sam's Club seltzer water is that it's only available at Sam's Club? Wait, what?

So we're doing teams because two dresses in one day is difficult. Epperson wins the awesome award for being thankful that he's with a designer he actually respects in Christopher. Haha, fuck you, Qwacks!

(Oh please God let Epperson make it to the challenge where they bring back all of the eliminated contestants and set him up with Qwacks again. It would actually be - gasp! - dramatic.)

So two blue dresses and that's it. And all of the teams get along, so that's pretty boring too. The only extra "drama" is a lot of big talk from Heidi Klum that they might eliminate TWO contestants!

Spoiler alert: They only eliminate one.

So, take all of these factors and what do you get? The worst episode in series history. It was putrid. Unacceptable.

But on to the dresses!

This is Irina's winning dress:

I hate it. Boring and only the flattest of the flat chested could pull it off. I thought Heidi only liked titty dresses.

I much preferred the team of Carol Hannah and Shirin. Those two elf-women provided two striking dresses that were worthy of a win.

To be fair, this photograph makes the dress look like nothing special and, obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. But I found this to be prettier and more marketable. Team Leader Carol Hannah was robbed.

Epperson, despite being partnered with a designer he respected, still found a way to be on the bottom.

The judges savaged this. Michael Kors said the model looked like a circa 1979 librarian. This is why it's good to have Michael Kors back, even if his taste is questionable.

I...I kind of like this. Maybe it's because my girlfriend bought a very similar piece of clothing a week ago and I don't want to make her feel bad...but I really like this. It's flirty!

Epperson's teammate (and team leader) made something much worse:

Ahhh! The goggles! They do nothing!

This fashion sin was exacerbated by Christopher's crying jag on the runway. I am sorry for the casual sexism here, but man up. You made a shitty dress and you deserve the ridicule. Frankly, that dress was the worst of the bunch and you should be going home.

But I'm certainly not worried that the judges decided to send Louise home instead. Louise sucks. And her designs were atrocious.

The second, more disastrous number, was actually attributed to teammate Nicholas. But Nicholas had immunity. And it was Louise's design. And why the Hell would you ever choose to work with someone who has immunity?

It was a perfect storm against poor Louise. And a reminder that eliminating Ra'mon last week was a tragedy and a waste of a superior talent.