Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Boy She Met Online

What ho, true believers! Haven’t done one of these in a while. We now have another fantastic writer to supplement Rusty’s sporadic bursts of productivity, so the pressure is off ol’ Liz Lemon to do this with anything even resembling consistency. Oh well, let’s give it a try. For my bi-annual contribution to the blog, I chose to confront a primal horror of mothers everywhere: the internet.



The Boy She Met Online starts with our teenaged protagonist Cami studying a computer monitor, then making a printout of a profile from a dating site called Insta-Mail.net. My boyfriend-- who, full disclosure, was an eBay purchase --didn't understand why she needed a copy of a screen she was looking at, and could presumably look at again in the future. Obviously, when you are dating someone online, you print their profile off and carry it with you like a lock of hair from your civil war beau. Printoffs of dating profiles from a website that sounds like an email service for seniors? As always, Lifetime has their thumb on the pulse of teenupsmanship.

Cami seems to have struck gold with her inter-dude Jake: he’s hot, good at writing lame kissy-kissy emails, and an achiever at some college somewhere. But her dude has a deep secret: he isn’t in college, HE'S IN JAIL! You may think that whatever he did couldn’t have been that bad since he still has internet access, but you’d be wrong. DEAD WRONG. Also, the prison doesn’t seem to be that good at being a prison. There is some bullshit story about how he got framed for something and he’s a really good guy in his dumb little heart, but you don’t care about that. Do you? Because I don’t care enough to try and remember it, so you’re out of luck.

Meanwhile, Cami’s mom Tori is struggling to reconnect with her amid the hormonal monsoon of her teenaged years. She tries everything- yelling, whining, yelling and whining, sulking -with no luck. Since none of that works, she resigns herself to being a frumpy gargoyle in the background of her child’s life, scowling in judgment of all she says and does. Oh, and there’s a woman named Kendra who just hangs around for some reason. I’d say that will be important later, but its not, which really begs the question as to why Kendra is even in this stupid thing.

In the chokey, Jake’s luck goes from bad to worse. First his sister shows up to tell him hes not welcome in the house when he's out of jail, then a time conflict in the prison computer lab makes him miss a cyber-date with Cami. His decision to punch the guy that is using the computer he wants lands him in solitaire, a move the movie seems to argue is unfair for some unfathomable reason. His sentence finally ends, and before you can say "unemployable ex-offender", he's on the streets and at loose ends with only an old friend who happens to be a drug dealer to give him shelter.

Being utterly out of options, he makes the classic decision of the mid-twenties slacker and decides to channel his energies into a highly dramatic relationship with a hot moron that is doomed to fail. He moves enough dope to buy a fancy suit and asks his girl if they can finally meet face-to-face. They agree to meet up at a local coffeeshop, and off we go on a whirlwind of romance! I don’t know if you've ever been on a date with someone you met on the internet, but
no matter what you two lovebirds are bringing to the table, it's gonna be awkward as shit. And that’s if you aren’t lying about your criminal background. Despite all that, they still hit it off and manage a shmoopy moment, followed up with the promise of further shmoopiness. Im going to be honest, I just zoned the fuck out whenever they talked to each other unless one of them started crying.

The really uncomfortable thing about it is that these guys cry a lot. Every time they have more then 5 minutes on screen together, Jake manages to either yell at his girlfriend for being a naive child or share some kind of horrific story about his life. This always results in Cami stoically accepting his abuse, which is horrible, or escalating intimacy, which is worse. This effect culminates in an implied sex scene after he tells her that he was actually in jail instead of at a kegger for the last 2 years. It's kind of ironic that he went to such length to hide his identity from her since emotionally unstable criminals are apparently such a turn-on. Oh well. Thats love!

Tori is getting more and more suspicious of her daughter's behavior, and with the help of Kendra the Spy, she learns that Jake isn’t the teen dream Cami portrays him as. This leads to numerous dramatic conversations that crescendo in shrieking and general misunderstandings. We’ve watched about 3 billion of these goddamned films together, so I shall summarize the next 4 hours of it as follows:

Mom: Why did I find a condom full of coke in your gym bag?
Girl: OMG I AM AN ADULT WHY DON'T YOU TRUST ME I WILL NEVER LOVE YOU
AGAIN BLAAAARGH *vomits Arbor Mist and shame all over the living room*
Mom: WTF, grounded forever.

Blah fucking blah, you know the drill. On the more interesting side of the story, Jake’s cellmate Dawayne makes bail and comes to stay with the worlds tiniest apartment-based crime syndicate. They don’t have much manpower, but those kids are scrappy! Which is good, because it isn’t long before Cami inadvertently witnesses a drug deal gone wrong and they’re all targets of a rival gang. In a sequence I can only call Scoobyesque, Dawayne walks into a darkened house and is brained by a big ol' dude with a baseball bat. After Jake and Cami drop him at the emergency room and contemplate revenge, it is decided that the best option is for the dummies to flee to a cabin in the woods and wait for shit to blow over. Fine. Whatever. Moving on.

Since its a Lifetime movie, it is now time for the traditional 3rd act women's intuition gambit. Smug mothers are the Chekov’s Gun of Lifetime movies, and it only takes a matter of time before they get to say “I told you so” to whomever they rescue from the brink of death. Tori manages to get the location of the cabin where the kids are hiding from Jake's sister, and speeds up there to rescue Cami from her lame boyfriend. Unfortunately, the guy that messed up Dawayne’s brainpan has the same idea, and there is a showdown in the works!

Things go all Reservoir Dogs in the cabin, and things end about how you’d expect. The mom gets shot, natch. The evil guy dies, somehow. Jake goes back to jail, and Cami and Tori bond over the whole mess. The movie ends with Cami and Kendra having a fun party and Tori slicing cake with one arm in a sling. It’s like the weird continuity re-set at the end of a sit-com, except nobody got shot in Boy Meets World. That I am aware of.

Awesomeness: 15
I am going to give this movie some credit for a really awesome concept, and the best worst-case-scenario I’ve ever seen in one of these scared suburban mom movies. Obviously, if you daughter meets someone online, he is a criminal and you will get you shot. Why not? It was also overwrought and cheesy in the best ways. However, all of the interactions between Cami and Jake creeped me out. I kind of wanted to see the movie ending with her taking a self defense class. Since it ended with a birthday party instead, -5.

Star Power: 4
Alexandra Paul (Tori) was on Baywatch, which explains why she has been reduced to this now. Thea Gill (Kendra) had major roles in Queer as Folk and some show called Dante’s Cove that looks absolutely AMAZING. Jake was in Saw 3D, so the jury is out on whether this score will be increased when I watch that shit at the dollar theater. That’s about it.

Lifetimeliness: 10
A-yup. Mothers, lock up your daughters. Only you can save them from the marauding dudes of the internet.

29 seems fair. I'd DVR it if I were you. Lemon out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The House Next Door: House with an E

Rusty already wrote about this movie, but he said I could write about it again after I begged him to let me not have watched this in vain. Holy crap. From Hulu's description of this movie, I was expecting campy horror and lots of ill-advised scenes of Lara Flynn Boyle trying to kiss Zack from Saved by the Bell with her malformed mouth. I got what I anticipated, but I also got super depressing scenes of a mother grieving for her dead son and eventually hanging herself while her husband is upstairs playing tonsil hockey with the neighbor lady.


I'm getting ahead of myself (and I just wanted to use the phrase "tonsil hockey"). The movie starts with Lara Flynn Boyle's weirdly elderly-sounding voiceover announcing that the house next door is evil or something. Honestly, I couldn't focus on what she was saying, because her narration was done as if she was doing an impression of herself as a 90 year old. "Maybe it's like Titanic," said my boyfriend, before he left the room in disgust.


Anyway, Cole (whose name is later revealed to be either Col or Kohl, in truly the only shocking twist the movie has to offer) and Walker Kennedy are super bummed that someone is building a house next door to them, but they are friendly and go to meet the architect anyway. The architect, who is named Kim because everyone in this movie has a ridiculous name, is excited to finally be building a house. His last project fell through when his client had a stroke, he casually mentions.. Cole/Col/Kohl lets him shower in her house because the water is turned off next door, which leads her husband to make some lame joke about how she totally wants to bone Kim/Zack Morris.


After the extremely ugly house is built, Col goes over to hang out with her new neighbor, Pie, who is expecting her first child with her adoring husband. Pie shows off the new puppy her sweet husband bought her, because housebreaking a puppy is exactly what you want to be doing when you have a newborn. From the second the puppy comes out of his carrier, you know he's going to die, but it's surprising how fast it happens. I felt like thirty seconds elapsed between meeting the puppy and seeing it with its face torn off.


Pie and her husband then have a housewarming party, which ends with Walker accusing Col of getting too cozy with the architect and Pie's loving husband pushing her down the stairs. Pie miscarries, then moves away from the creepy house. Her husband is in jail or something.


Here's part of the house, by the way. It's got like seven garages.

garagesofpureevil

About three days later, an adorable middle-aged couple moves in.Col goes over to welcome them, and the lady mentions they have a son named Toby in Iraq. Watching this part, I was thinking, “oh, he’s going to die, just like the puppy.”

I wish that’s what had happened. Instead, at the housewarming party, Toby’s mom, Anita, opens the front door to see her son standing there in his uniform. “Toby’s home!” she shouts with joy.

“Honey,” her husband says, “Toby’s dead, remember?”

Anita screams, and the vision of Toby transforms into the pizza delivery guy, who is taking this way better than you’d expect. It’s a huge bummer.

Shit gets way more devastating when a new TV is delivered, and the only channel that comes in is just video of Toby screaming for help and then dying. Anita just sits in front of the TV and drinks all day in her bathrobe. She doesn’t even open the door to get the mail, so of course Col has to barge in to her living room. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

Col can’t get Anita to stop crying and drinking, so instead of getting help for her, she decides to snoop around upstairs, where she immediately sees her neighbor Virginia sadly ripping the clothes off Anita’s husband.

sadsex

Oh, did I mention that five minutes earlier, it was loudly pointed out that Virginia has only ever slept with her husband? Virginia cries and looks horrified as Anita’s husband sucks on her neck, and Col stands there and watches for a little bit.

laraperv

Then they all go downstairs to see that Anita has hanged herself. Virginia threatens to kill Col if she tells anyone about her tearstained affair.

Col tells her husband that she thinks the house is evil, and he tells her she’s just being stereotypically female and Irish(!). Obviously, this means it’s time for Col and Walker to go on a little vacation at their beach house. Oh, and they bring their cat, because cats love to travel.

vacationcat

Walker mentions how happy he is that Col is painting again. Oh, I guess she’s supposed to be an artist who just does interior decorating to pay the bills, but I forgot for most of the movie because she spends most of her time spying on the neighbors.

hauntedhouse

Of course, when Walker looks at his wife’s painting, he sees that it is just a lousy depiction of the creepy house next door.

When they go back home, Col and Walker are accosted by their redheaded neighbor, who is pissed that they left without telling her. She says she hasn’t heard from Virginia or her husband, and that nobody knows where they went. When Col won’t tell her what happened to Virginia, she flips out and storms off. This whole fight could have been resolved by Col saying that she didn’t know where Virginia went, or that Virginia told her something in confidence, but instead these two are enemies for the rest of the movie. This does nothing to further the plot, and is even more unrealistic than the concept of an evil house.

Kim the architect comes back, and he and Col share a bottle of wine as he tells her a charming story about a photographer blinded by an exploding light. Col tells him that she thinks the house is evil, so Kim reveals that he knows the security codes and they go in to search for the source of the evil or whatever. The evil house makes them super hot for each other.

creepykiss

Walker comes home, see the two wine glasses, and naturally assumes that his wife is over at the house next door. When he sees his wife on top of Kim, he grabs a knife from the kitchen, kicks the architect in the head, and attacks Col. It is insane that Col and Walker fight and she survives. Seriously, you can’t cast Lara Flynn Boyle if you want a realistic fight scene. A strong breeze could knock that chick over. Once outside, the couple realize that all of that infidelity and attempted murder was caused by the house, and Walker finally believes Col. The viewer is left to assume that Kim decides against pressing charges when he regains consciousness.

A preppy couple with a young daughter move into the house next, and while Walker just wants to move away, Col insists on trying to help. She helps by arranging a meeting with the other neighbors so that they can laugh at her when she tells them the house is evil, and by bringing over banana nut bread. It is during the banana nut bread scene that we catch a glimpse of the worst outfit possible.

worstoutfit

Here’s another picture, so you can fully understand the awfulness of this ensemble.

sobad

Col and Walker invite the new new neighbors over, and Norman, the father of the little girl, turns out to be a total douche. He keeps referring to himself as Norman-Greene-Greene-with-an-E, and he won’t let his daughter leave the table to go throw up. This is a stupid decision, since she just ends up puking on the patio. Rusty mentions in his review that little Belinda pees herself later on, but it was this scene that made me laugh out loud.

shouldathoughtablinds

I am including this picture because I want to note that Rusty dressed exactly like Norman Greene with an E in high school.

Later that night, Norman berates his wife, Suzannah, for messing up the invitations for their housewarming party, then tells her it’s too late to fix them, and orders her to mail them. She opens a drawer in the kitchen to get stamps.

stampsngun

What, are you surprised that there’s a gun in that drawer? The drawer where she keeps her stamps? The unlocked kitchen drawer, easily accessible to her young daughter? I’m mostly surprised that she has more than one book of stamps in there. These people are crazy rich.

After the party, where Norman insults Suzannah and their neighbors and shouts his own name a few times and Belinda pees on the floor, he gets out his kitchen gun and attempts to teach his wife how to put things in the fridge. Belinda is freaked out and runs next door into the arms of Col. Walker heads out to talk to her parents, but it’s too late: Suzannah has grabbed the gun and shot her husband and herself.

gun

As soon as the blood has been mopped up, architect Kim and his new girlfriend move in. Col tells Kim that it’s him that’s evil, not the house, but he just puts on his sunglasses and goes inside.

creeeepyhouse

So, Col and Walker decide to blow the house up. They go inside and turn on the gas, but then Col is haunted by disturbing visions of herself with Kim. The best is when vision-Kim stops kissing vision-Col just long enough to look at real Col with an expression of hilarious evil.

makinoutwithyou

Real Col and real Kim start kissing, and I’m not sure if Col is kissing him to try to distract him or if the house is making her crazy horny again, but it all works out for the best: Walker comes in, shoots at Kim, and the house blows up.

Cut to Col and Walker on the beach with their new adopted daughter, Belinda, talking about how they murdered Kim. What a happy ending!

Oops, except for the last scene: a couple looking to build a house are shown the plans for the evil house! And they love it! “It’s magical,” the woman says to her husband, “It’s like it’s alive.” Nobody would ever talk about a house like that, especially this blocky monstrosity, but hey, at least the movie’s over.

 

AWESOMENESS: 13

This movie would have been hilarious and awesomely campy if not for the Anita-and-her-dead-son part. I felt like that was a total bummer. It was not bad enough to be funny, so it was just depressing.

The rest of the movie was better, and I loved how super-obvious the foreshadowing was, and Norman Greene with an E was AMAZING.

 

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 10

I only watched this because Lara Flynn Boyle was in it, and I spent the next morning in the bathroom mirror trying to move my lips the way she does, and I totally can’t. And I have big lips! How does she do that? I hate everything about her, including but not limited to her politics and the two sets of earrings she alternated wearing throughout the movie and the weird freckles that start halfway down her chest. I know that it makes me a horrible person to judge her based on her looks, and I tell myself that really I just hate her because she’s a Republican, but I know deep down inside that it’s her stupid floppy mouth that makes me hate her.

Also, Zack Morris and the guy from Eureka.

 

LIFETIMENESS: 10

Walker was way too supportive and reasonable for a dude in a Lifetime movie, but ten points just for Norman Greene with an E, plus there was also women’s intuition, men not believing women’s intuition, mentions of an ancient Irish curse, and catty remarks about fertility. Oh! And when Anita’s husband cheats, Walker says that’s “just what men do.”

 

GRAND TOTAL: 33

This movie is worth it just for everything that happens after the last family moves in.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Not Like Everyone Else

I was a sophomore in high school when Columbine went down. I guess I was sort of lucky because it happened right before our April vacation. We were out for a whole week, so a lot of the crazy immediate fear had passed by the time we got back. Nothing had changed. No increased security. I’ve never had a locker, but no one was searching our home room cubbies (yes, seriously). No one confiscated students’ Marilyn Manson CDs. (I had already gotten rid of mine because, obviously, Marilyn Manson isn’t very good. I expect a ridiculous counter-argument from Kate in the comments. She paid money for Holy Wood.)

That obviously wasn’t the typical experience for the American high school. Score another one for the coastal elites, I guess. As soon as I got the Internet, I set my home page to ACLU.org (you DEFINITELY wanted to be my friend in high school, no nerdo) and freaked out about the INJUSTICES being done to my fellow students across the country. Tinker v. Des Moines, amiright?

And that brings us to Not Like Everyone Else, a movie about post-Columbine hysteria leading to the suspension of a student who is just a little bit different.

That student is Brandi Blackbear, played by cutie-patootie Alia Shawkat (aka Maeby/Shirley Funke from Arrested Development). Brandi is one of those gothy creative types. Her hair is raven black. There is too much eyeliner. She writes about the lemmings that make up the popular kids at school. ANGST!

Jesus. Tone it down. We get it.

The movie opens with a media circus as the Blackbear family appears at a courthouse. They are suing the bejesus out of the school district for suspending Brandi for witchcraft. It looks like the population is on Team School District.

What kind of backwoods place would suspend a girl for witchcraft and have that be celebrated by a bunch of backwood yokels?

Oklahoma? Ok. That makes sense.

Bonus! I watched this movie with a real life American Indian from Oklahoma. I got the inside scoop on what it’s really like in the Oh Kay. Apparently the Lifetime version of Oklahoma has a lot more black people than the reality.

So we flash back to April, 1999, immediately after Columbine. The high school is installing security cameras and metal detectors. Brandi does not approve. The popular kids – for no reason other than this is what popular kids do, I guess – do not approve of Brandi. They go to the principal and accuse Brandi of having a hit list. The principal thinks this is pretty dumb but needs to look into it since all those kids just got murdered.

It’s weird that they introduce the principal as sympathetic considering he spends the rest of the movie acting like a supervillain.

Brandi has her bag searched and they find some poetry or lame short story that mentions killing something or other. Angst, angst, angst. Brandi is suspended for an entire semester.

Life ain’t so grand for Brandi at home either. The folks are behind on the mortgage and are picking up extra shifts left and right. The mom is ok but the dad is a real asshole. He forces Brandi to cook for the family when mom is working the late shift at the diner. He doesn’t allow Brandi to talk on the phone and won’t make eye contact with her. Some real Evil Stepmother type stuff. He won’t even take her to the Medicine Man! He only takes his son.

So Brandi is out of school and then she goes back. But everyone thinks she’s evil. When she starts checking out books from the school library about Wicca, more trouble starts. She gets accused of being a witch. She reacts by sarcastically yelling at her tormentors that she was indeed a witch and had cast a spell that put her teacher in the hospital.

Suspended again.

The ACLU takes notice and goes all, “No, You Didn’t!” They sue for every last cent that the school district has to spare. That school will be so poor, the cafeteria will depend on the services of Rose of Sharon to feed its students.

In some kind of disposition type dealie, Brandi admits that she still has her friends and is doing ok. That is not a good thing to say when you are suing for emotional distress and loss of friendship. Case over.

But it’s ok since Brandi’s evil dad read her diaries when she was asleep and totally gets her now. They are buds. He takes her to the Medicine Man. Because that’s exactly how you make your kid feel happy and accepted. You drag their ass to church.

AWESOMENESS: 6

The two hours flew by faster than a normal Lifetime movie, but that’s kind of damning with faint praise. There are no chuckles to be had here. And a lot of the movie is Brandi sitting around being suspended. It’s far too low impact to be considered awesome.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 4

This got DVRed because of the presence of Ms. Shawkat. I got pissed when I saw The Runaways in the theater because she didn’t get enough lines. Also, the movie was terrible. But it could have been saved by Alia Shawkat. Please ignore the irony that she couldn’t save this piece of shit.

Brandi’s mom is played by Illeana Douglas, an actress who I really like despite not seeing in her in anything other than 15 seconds of Goodfellas.

LIFETIMENESS: 3

The movie doesn’t really fit the Lifetime template. I guess the women in the family are fantastic and wonderful while the men are cretins. I guess that’s something?

GRAND TOTAL: 13

Woof. But don't fret, I watched this as a double bill with Harmony. She gets to write about a way better movie. Coming soon, kids!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker

partyneverstops

If you get drunk in college, you will become a huge slut and/or die. That’s what I learned from The Party Never Stops.

The movie starts with our all-American heroine, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesse Brenner, typing forlornly at her laptop, trying to figure out where it all went so wrong. We’re then transported back in time nine months to see Jesse moving in on her first day of college. She’s sad to leave her mother and her little sister, and she’s concerned that everyone will think she’s a dork, even though she’s a super cute track star.

partystops

Jesse’s roommate is Shanna, a bubbly brunette who sleeps under a giant poster of herself. Shanna introduces her to some drunk floozies who share their champagne, then introduce Jesse to a cute boy named Keith. Jesse is traumatized by her awkward conversation with Keith, so she goes home to type “loser-dork-loser-dork-loser-dork-loser-dork” in her secret computer diary. Shanna cheers her up by taking her to a club and getting her totally smashed.

Hurrying to class after she oversleeps the next morning, she meets Colin, a sensitive, floppy haired musician who kicks the back of her chair to keep her awake during the lecture. I love Colin. He is a cheesy caricature, with his torn jeans and his messenger bag and his lousy acoustic guitar music, but I love him.

Jesse does not love him. He dedicates a song to her at a bar, but Jesse goes home with Keith and everything ominously goes slow motion before she bones him.

“I can’t believe I got so wasted that I slept with a guy on the first date!” Jesse laments. “Who does that?” Um, like, everyone in college?

Predictably, Keith doesn’t call Jesse for a week, and then, when they finally go on a date, some chick in the bathroom tells her that Keith has a steady girlfriend. Bathroom Chick tells Jesse he’s taking advantage of her.

“What if I’m taking advantage of him?” Jesse retorts.

“Well, that would make you a skanky little ho, now, wouldn’t it?” says Bathroom Chick, who is a huge bitch.

Jesse storms out of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Shanna has found herself a sweet boyfriend (who she most certainly did not sleep with on the first date), but still spends plenty of time partying and listening to Jesse. She even stays at school with her when Jesse is to sick to go home for Thanksgiving break.

Jesse’s mom and Colin keep calling her, but she blows them off so she can go drink all night. After sleeping with some dude who forgets her name, she continues to party all the time. She crashes a car into a fire hydrant because some thirty-five year old guy in a Hawaiian shirt asked her to park it for him. She returns drunk to her dorm one day to find her mother sitting on her bed. Jesse is so rude to her mother that Mom runs home to sadly fondle her late husband’s clothes. This movie is a huge bummer.

And it gets worse. Colin comes to watch her try out for the track team, but Jesse’s drinking has taken its toll, and she’s not fast enough. Then, she goes on spring break, wears a dorky shell necklace, and flashes her boobs to Joe Francis. Her boobs become an internet sensation, and everyone knows what a huge drunken slut she has become.

neverstops

Now that the world has seen her topless, Jesse tries to get sober, with the help of ultra-sensitive, guitar strumming Colin. It turns out Colin ruined his life drinking, too! Hooray! They’re perfect for each other and will never be tempted to drink again! They even leave Shanna and the floozies behind at the big end-of-the-semester bash, and go to Colin’s apartment to drink tea and read poetry instead.

After a hot night of not having sex with Colin, because dudes who respect you never want to see you naked ever, Jesse goes to check on Shanna. Shanna’s not in her bed, though. She’s not with her loving boyfriend, either.

Shanna is dead of alcohol poisoning on a couch at a frat house. Of course she is. Of course the one character who isn’t totally one-dimensional is dead. Of course the girl who has a normal relationship with her boyfriend, is a loyal friend, and who parties but still gets to class on time, is totally dead. I hope everyone now understands that this could HAPPEN TO ANYONE. Except the main character.

 

AWESOMENESS: 10

This had its funny moments, intentional and otherwise, but it was nothing too special, and none of the “cute guys” were very cute. I did laugh out loud at the “skanky little ho” line, though. I almost wish a stranger would insult me in the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant.

 

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 3

I don’t know who any of these people are, but Rusty says Nancy Travis deserves a 3 for So I Married an Axe Murderer, and I trust Rusty more than anyone else when it comes to campy movies.

 

LIFETIMENESS: 10

Oh man. The moral panic, the girls who call each other “girlfriend” and borrow each others’ clothes-- but especially, the way every guy who sleeps with a girl right away is a complete douche and every guy who refuses to put out is marriage material—make this one seriously Lifetimey Lifetime movie.

 

OVERALL: 23

While watching this, I misplaced a glass of wine. My boyfriend discovered it on top of the record shelf hours later.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

She's Too Young

Spoiler alert: No she's not!


Back when I lived in DC, I wrote a more successful blog called Why I Hate DC. The irony now is that I want to move back to DC since Columbus ain't working out. ANYWAYS, one of my self-selected beats on that website was Laura Sessions Stepp. I wrote about her a lot. She is (was?) a Washington Post reporter that specialized in moral panics about the teenagers. They don't date! They have sex parties! They're dancing suggestively! She even got a book published out of it. I lost my signed copy. Damn.

I would bet you a million dollars that LSS has seen She's Too Young.

Well, I hadn't. But I had seen the Frontline special that the movie wasn't based on. An affluent high school had a syphilis outbreak. My religion teacher played that documentary for us. I believe it was the first time I had heard about rainbow parties (of which there has never been a documented case). This was in my marriage class where they taught us about taking vaginal mucus and temperature samples to perfect the rhythm method. A fun class!

So! The movie! Hannah is a 14 or 15 year old girl. She and her friends are getting more popular because it turns out they may be tasty pieces. I don't know if they are or not since they are teenagers. But it's not like some movies where the high school girls are played by buxom sexpots. These actresses are clearly actually 14 or 15 (or look 14 and 15) and that adds a lot of sleaze to the proceedings.

It's good sleaze though since the viewer should, theoretically, be grossed out by 14-year-olds making with the intercourse.

Hannah is ready to start going on dates. Dad is ok with it. Mom is not. Mom loses this argument. Hannah has been doing great in school and great in her cello lessons. Hasn't she earned our trust?

Actually, so far, yeah she has. She goes out for ice cream with a bunch of clearly sexually active people. When they all go have sex, Hannah abstains and calls her mom to get a rescue ride. Trish says that Hannah can always call no questions asked and then she starts asking questions. They don't go anywhere.

Let me be clear here: I think Trish, aka Marcia Gay Harden is a fine actress. I've only seen her in Mystic River, The Mist, and, uh, The First Wives' Club. Please don't judge me regarding the latter. I saw that in theaters. No matter! Ms. Harden is a fine actress but she is horrible to look at. I don't mean that in a sexist or objective way. I need to make that clear after writing a review that talked about J-Love's boobs and used her previous tv show as a euphemism for masturbation. This is not about that. It's about Marcia Gay Harden being so god damned stern looking. You see her and you think angry. And that may be the point, but it's no good for viewing. It's like she's judging me for watching Lifetime when this blog is between me and my God.

So those ice cream sexually active people...two are besties who like to bone all the time. The other is a boy that Hannah is in love with. Eventually, that boy, Nick, asks Hannah out. Yeah, he may have a reputation, but he just wants to be with someone special.

After two dates, Hannah blows him.

Hannah's bestie, Dawn, is not having such a fun time. She used to be the girl blowing Nick. Now? Now she's just the girl who used to have sex with Nick and now has sores in her mouth because, oops, syphilis. When Dawn goes to the school nurse to get treated, she admits to having had sex with 15-20 boys.

From here on out, the movie goes out if its way to show a bunch of young high schoolers and a bunch of local property. Let's be honest here: The real name of this movie should be "She's Too White." There isn't a single black character here save for a nurse. All the panic here is class-based. "We never expected this when we moved here." And since there are no black students in the entire school, one just HAS to think that this shit was on purpose.

I have watched a lot of Lifetime. This is the most racist, at least by omission.

Hannah and Nick's third date doesn't go as well. Nick pressures her into an orgy and Hannah is appropriately skeeved. That's basically the end of the relationship.

Anyways, the nurse realizes that there is a syph outbreak afoot and asks Nick, Patient Zero, to get tested. A commenter named Kim mentioned this scene in some older comments.

"The skeezy guy who gives everyone syphilis goes to the school nurse to get his vaccination and says, "You better stick 'em all. Because I sure did." And then his friends give him high fives the nurse is PWN3D!1!!!1"

That is EXACTLY what happens and it is great.

So people get their syph shots and it should be no big deal but for some reason Hannah and Dawn dip into the latter's mom's liquor cabinet and go to town. When they pass out drunk and get busted, Hannah's folks freak out. To prove a point about not being such a good girl, Hannah drunkenly announces her sexually transmitted disease. But she also makes it clear that it's not, like, a real sexually transmitted disease since it was only in her mouth. Because that is bound to make a parent feel better.

Trish decides to take this news and run with it. She goes family to family to tell them that chances are their children are also slutty, but not as slutty as Hannah since she only went as far as oral. Parents don't really want to be hearing this and Trish doesn't get anywhere.

Well, she gets somewhere. She turns Hannah into a pariah. Her classmates take to the AIM to torture Hannah and accuse her of being a narc. Oh, did I say "AIM"? Whoops! In the sexy, sexy, world of She's Too Young, the instant messaging software is called Teen Playa. Because why not?

Hannah doesn't like being grounded for mouth love, so she runs off to a big hootenanny party even though no one likes her. She almost gets raped but is rescued by her obviously gay best friend who has been in love with her for years. Nick (not the almost rapist) feels bad about the almost rape. Maybe he will change his sticking ways?

Trish ends up at the same party looking for Hannah and sees marijuana and public sex. She looks as stern as always.

Hannah is super happy that her "straight" artsy friend saved her. She's also happy that he has a creepy stalker wall covered in Hannah pictures. Because stalking is more romantic than oral sex, you see. Hannah tries rewarding him with intercourse, going as far as to tell him "it's been two weeks since my syphilis shot so I should be clean by now."

Gay Dude refuses Hannah's advances, waits for her to pass out on his couch, and then he calls her parents to pick her up. AND THE END. THIS IS OUR HAPPY ENDING.

AWESOMENESS: 16

I should probably refer you back to the "sticking" dialogue. God, that was great.

This movie comes from the same writer and the same director as Cyber Seduction. I liked this one more. Porn is definitely funnier than syphilis (there isn't a syphilis version of the Golden Girls...yet), but this movie is funnier than Cyber Secudtion. Intentionally, I mean. There are fun little flourishes like Dawn stumbling around drunk or ridiculous snarky remarks about threesomes with 14-year-old girls. Really wonderful.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 6

It's nice to have an Oscar winner, but you need more.

LIFETIMENESS: 10

Boom goes the dynamite. I love how the father is villainized for being reasonable about dating and then is villainized for being too harsh for grounding his daughter for being drunk with syphilis. I also like how whenever someone mentions that Hannah is a good daughter, they cut to her singing along to a sexually explicit rap song. Little known personal fact: I lost my virginity the first time I heard hip-hop. I mean, not at that exact moment, but it was definitely the start of a downward spiral into promiscuous sex and drug use.

GRAND TOTAL: 32

A high score for a great movie. And it's available on Youtube! Alarmists of the world unite!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just Ask My Children

I don't know what got into the water, but I have been recording a ton of Lifetime movies and even taking the time to watch them. So why not get started with a story of child molestation. Drink every time you hear the phrase "Mommy put her mouth on my penis" in courtroom testimony!

Just Ask My Children is based on the true story of the Kern County sexual assault charges. If I knew this movie was going to be based on a true story, I never would have recorded it. I've known about the false charges levied against parents and day cares in the mid-80s, partially since the Massachusetts case still pops up in the news and even became part of the race to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate. The Democratic candidate, a dolt named Martha Coakley, had pushed hard as a district attorney to keep clearly innocent people in jail since it always looks bad to be soft on child molesters. Even innocent ones.

Here's a Wikipedia rundown of a ton of false charges that led to serious jail time. It's the worst and it truly makes me infuriated. It's why electing judges is such a joke and why electing lawyers is a joke too. Everything about this is a sick joke.

And God help me, Lifetime didn't do such a terrible job here. It even stuck close to the facts. I mean, some of it is laughable. In the first five minutes, the Kniffen parents are presented as truly the greatest people to walk on God's green Earth. We all should avert eye contact with them they're so great. They love God, apple pie, and walks in the park.

If only things were so good for their neighbors, the McCauns. Those imperfect sons-of-bitches have a Rockwell family too, but it's being soiled by a crazy step-grandmother who likes making crazy accusations. (We only get a glimpse of her, but she's obese and has short hair so you know she's bad news.)

Those accusations make it to the "Welfare Office" and to a case worker who, for some reason, buys into them hook, line, and sinker. The accusations include forced oral and anal sex, hanging the boys from ceiling hooks and jerking them off, and, of course, recording all the festivities. This stuff usually happens in secret rooms (a common factor in a lot of these cases).

Without interviewing anybody, the DA and Social Services decide to go in and arrest everybody. The kids get interviewed and they all turn over on their parents. You know, since they're six and ten and don't know to be as honest as possible when adults are sitting in a room and badgering you with crazy questions about being sodomized. Instead of answering true, they are trying to answer right.

So, despite the no physical evidence of any of this occurring, we proceed to trial and the Kniffens are convicted. Why? Because kids don't lie. That is the entirety of the prosecution's closing argument. When I was 10, I lied all the time. Constant falsehoods to get what I want or to impress people. Maybe I'm a bit of sociopath, but most kids lie, right?

The jury doesn't think so and the Kniffens get over 1,000 years of prison. Not an exaggeration.

From there the parents go to jail AND HOW CAN THE MOVIE ONLY BE A THIRD OF THE WAY OVER!?!? I know this is a common Lifetime complaint, but JESUS. It's such a mistake. By keeping the parents in jail you aren't letting the viewer root for the people we've been following for the past 45 minutes. Instead we switch to the kid's perspective as they come to realize exactly what they did. Who gives a shit about that though? It certainly doesn't help that the actors who play the kids as, uh, kids, and the actors who play the kids as teenagers are fucking terrible.

So for over an hour we're getting nothing but the Kniffens writing letters to the people who care about them. The dad writes to his mom that he is in the same facility as Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson. "Remember when you told me to watch the company that I keep? It would be funny except that it's not." I don't know, Mr. Kniffen. That's pretty funny.

Well, his mom dies anyways so whatever.

And Mrs. Kniffen is dealing with the only black character in the entire movie. Of course she's a mean spirited prisoner who keeps spitting and cussing. You know how black prisoners are when compared to their white counterparts. Always with the spitting.

Grandma isn't the only one to die since the Kniffens are stuck in the clink for 12 years. Even when their stupid ass kids recant, they aren't granted a retrial (another common link between these cases). Finally they get out and The End.

AWESOMENESS: 14

Well, the movie is just a teensy racist seeming and that's kind of an issue. And I mentioned the pacing issues. But the movie does a fine job at riling people up about something people should be riled about. These cases and cases like it (think The West Memphis Three) are disgusting and horrible and it's the same kind of stupid hysteria that leads to ignorant assholes protesting a community center in Manhattan.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 3

True story, I have never seen a movie with Virginia Madsen in it. I know she is supposed to be famous, but whatever. Bonus point for a Buffy alumnus. Principal Snyder from Seasons 2 and 3 is a prison psychiatrist.

LIFETIMENESS: 4

Well, that racist stuff and that plotting stuff are all kind of par for the course for Lifetime. But this could have been a MotW on any network. It wasn't very Lifetime specific.

GRAND TOTAL: 21

BEWARE. Not good for ironic viewing. Very depressing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Neighbor's Keeper: BABY FEVER



I think My Neighbor's Keeper is the first full Lifetime movie I've ever seen, except for that time I was in some pizza place in northern Maine and that movie where a teenage Jenny Lewis gets raped was playing on the TV at the bar. I have never seen so many commercials for birth control and cat food.

Here is the trailer, which shows pretty much every interesting thing that happens in the movie:

Laura Harring stars as Kate, a baby-obsessed woman who loves wearing turtlenecks and holding other people's children while smiling beatifically and staring into the middle distance. The children she covets most are those of her best friend and next-door neighbor, Ann. Ann has a little girl named Ellie and a baby boy named Logan, and she loves complaining about the dumb shit her husband, Mike, buys. Mike works all the time so he can buy dumb shit like secret $3200 golf clubs that aren't really a secret because Ann is a woman with a woman's intuition, and because Mike stores his secret golf clubs in the garage.

Anyway, after a fun day at the lake, Ann, Mike, Kate, and Kate's husband Tim, go back to what we are told is Seattle, except it never rains and it looks exactly like Cleveland. Kate tries to seduce Tim with the least sexy line ever: "my temp was up this morning." Nothing like reminding your partner that you only want him for his sperm to get him in the mood. Tim's like, "I thought the doctor told you that your uterus was a lost cause" and Kate's all, "SHUT UP I HAVE BABY FEVER IMPREGNATE ME NOW" so Tim says, "if I have to." I think he's supposed to be joking, but he sounds sadly resigned to another boring round of sex for procreation with his baby-crazed wife.

The next morning, Kate goes to see her exasperated OB/GYN, who essentially tells her to get a new doctor because she's sick of performing tests on her barren womb. Kate refuses to listen to Dr. Badnews, and talks to Ann, who advises her to "keep Tim on the job." According to this movie, sex is the least fun thing ever. All that matters is BABIES, and if you can't have them, you are a failure as a woman and your life has no meaning.

All of a sudden, it's Halloween, and Mike is working late so that he can buy more dumb shit. He calls Kate to tell her that Ann seems to have left the phone off the hook, and asks her to go next door and tell his idiot wife to hang up the phone.

Cut to Kate running back into her house, screaming and crying and pointing in the general direction of Ann's house. Tim asks her what's wrong, and she just screams and cries and points some more, so he goes next door to find Ann dead of the world's least gory stabbing. I have had nosebleeds scarier than this murder.

Even though the slightly bloodied knife used to murder Ann is right next to her barely butchered corpse, it takes Detective Billings and his silent partner the whole damn movie to find the killer, even though we all know it's Mike. Their excuse? "There's a lot of murders in this town." Comforting.

At the funeral, Mike asks Tim if he wants to buy a boat. Seriously. AT HIS WIFE'S FUNERAL, HE TRIES TO GET HIS FRIEND TO BUY A BOAT WITH HIM."I wanna get a sailboat," says Mike. "It could be fun." Mike sucks at pretending he didn't kill his wife.

Immediately after the funeral, Kate starts freaking out over who's going to take care of Logan and Ellie. Tim mentions that they still have a father, but Kate knows better. A man can't take care of two kids by himself! That's ridiculous! And what if something happens to Mike? What then, huh Tim? Won't somebody please think of the children?

Kate tries to help by telling the detectives that she saw some guy in a Frankenstein mask knock on Ann's door just before she got the phone call from Mike. They find a bloody Frankenstein mask in a dumpster halfway between Mike's office and his house, and he is arrested for murder, but is instantly out on bail. Kate testifies at some kind of murder mediation hearing as a character witness, and she tells everyone how awesome Mike is and how he would never have an affair or kill anybody. In the car on the way home, Tim tells her that Mike actually did cheat on Ann, but it was just one time, so Mike's totally not a murderer.

Kate gets all pissy and goes to Mike's house to yell at him for cheating on Ann, because berating a grieving man is the right thing to do. Mike says he's sorry for cheating on Ann, but Kate knows he's not a killer, right?

"Are you?" she asks.

"Nuh uh, you are," Mike says. "Just kidding. Now you know how it feels." And Kate learns a valuable lesson about accusing her friends of murder. Awww.

The kids are at Tim and Kate's house all the time now, and Kate even tells a stranger at a restaurant that the kids are hers. I think Kate is supposed to be the protagonist, but she totally creeps me out. Her husband warns her not to get too attached, and she says, "I'm sorry the death of our friend is inconveniencing you." She shows up at Tim's law office to ask about becoming Ellie and Logan's legal guardians if "something were to happen to Mike," which is a phrase she uses wayyy too much. I don't understand why she felt the need to ask Tim this question at work instead of waiting until he got home. Tim wants to know if he has any say in the matter, and Kate is disgusted by her insensitive jerk of a husband.

Then, some dude that we never even see confesses to the stabbing! Hooray! Mike throws himself a "my wife's murderer was caught" party, and Tim apologizes to Kate for being a reasonable person.

The neighbors decide to go to the lake again, but Tim has to do lawyery stuff, so Kate goes up with Mike and the kids. She looks through an old photo album and sees a picture of Mike with the Frankenstein mask. This is somehow more damning evidence than the bloody-fingerprint-covered knife left at the crime scene. Kate does the exact opposite of what any normal person would do: instead of taking the photos and putting them in the pocket of her bathrobe and remaining calm until she is no longer alone with a murderer, she hides the photo album under Ellie's bed and then calls Tim to tell him that Mike's a killer. Of course, Mike comes in the room while she's on the phone so she can't tell Tim anything, and then Ellie wakes up and brings out the photo album and asks Kate why it was under her bed. Good job, Ellie. New Mommy is going to get killed because of you.

After explaining why he stabbed his wife, because murderers love nothing more than describing their crimes to people they are about to kill, Mike drowns Kate. We know she's really dead because she never comes up for air, and we see Mike standing in the lake holding her bathrobe.

Tim finally shows up at the lake. "Where's Kate?" he asks.

"I think she went for a swim," says Mike.

Then the cops show up with a soaking wet Kate and arrest Mike. Tim and Kate get to keep the kids, and everyone lives happily ever after, except Ann.


AWESOMENESS: 5

This was a very long 89 minutes. The movie is shot in dark, muddy tones, and the acting was bad in a non-hilarious way. I did like when we get to see Tim's law degree and it says "Tim" not "Timothy," though.


HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 4

I guess Laura Harring was in Mulholland Drive, but I haven't seen it even though people keep telling me to watch it. Maybe this should be a ten, or a two; I seriously have no idea. I am embarrassed. But I figure if Brittany Murphy only got a four, I can't go higher than that.


LIFETIMENESS: 7

Let's see: a point for baby fever, a point for our first glimpse of the husbands being a shot of them eating snacks and watching sports instead of cooking dinner, a point for best girlfriends who are always together, a point for murder, a point for Kate's husband apologizing for hurting her feelings, a point for a woman solving a crime that the police couldn't, a point for woman's intuition.


GRAND TOTAL: 16

I can't believe I watched this twice.

Hello.

Hi, I'm Kate. I live in Maine and I've known Rusty for a wicked long time. In high school, he once came to my house and mocked my mother for watching Lifetime. "Lifetime: where the man is always wrong," he said. I was psyched when he asked me to write for this blog.

I have no idea what to write for an introduction, but Rusty says I am a "crackerjack writer" and to suck it up.

Usually, I write about clothes on my blog Sweet Disorder, where you can read about how I broke my foot wearing cute shoes. I love trashy television, so this is a great excuse for me to watch some. "It's for my writing," I can smugly tell my boyfriend as he rolls his eyes at me. Awesome. I don't have cable, so right now I'll just watch whatever movies I can find online. All the time. I love TV.

When I'm not writing about clothes or watching cheesy movies, I'm probably doing even girlier shit like making jewelry, buying makeup, or hanging out with my cats. I like going to rock shows. I have green hair.

Last night, for research, I drank red wine out of a weird red wine juice box and yelled at the computer as everyone in these movies did exactly the opposite of what a reasonable person would do. I also found that I'm really bad at taking pictures of my computer screen.
How did I manage to turn the flash back on? What the fuck? I will try to do better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Client List

Oh my God. The Client List. Oh my God.

I actually buckled down for this one. No drinking with friends while cracking jokes. Oh no. Not this time. I even took notes! The notes were only necessary for some the wacky one-liners and zingers. Stray observation type stuff. I will not be needing notes for the grand finale when Lifetime finally killed feminism once and for all.

So Jennifer Love Hewitt of vajazzling fame plays Sam, a former beauty queen turned struggling mother of three. Her husband’s football career never took off because of a bum knee and both find themselves out of work. They live in Texas where the hair is big and the accents are atrocious. The house is in foreclosure and they can’t even afford the entry fee for their son to play flag football. Thankfully, the bank gives them a one month extension on the mortgage. Why? Because of Sam’s ridiculously tight dress and her photographic memory recalling that the lender suggested one of those evil subprime mortgages. Oh, and pumpkin pie perfume because Sam read that the smell of pumpkins gives dudes massive boners.

Seriously.

I wonder if Sam’s sex appeal and memory will have some sort of significance later.

Sam applies for a job at a massage parlor because somewhere between winning a pageant and shitting out three kids, she got licensed in two different kinds of massage. A real good investment. Also good investments that the happy couple makes include getting blindingly drunk at the local watering hole and playing the lottery. Now Harmony and I work with distressed populations (remember, we are heroes), so the last thing I want to do is sound like I’m judging. But, come on, guys. Get it together.

Sam gets the job and watches a massage. I assumed that the parlor would ease her into the whole entire prostitution thing, but, no. Sam watches a girl give a fat dude a blowie. She storms out but after declaring that “a girl this pretty shouldn’t be poor,” she goes back to start her career as a sex worker. After all, it beats waitressin’!

The hookers are fantastic, by the way. They are all good Texas folk. One claims whorin’ is like killing a man. It gets easier after the first time. Another prides herself on her Viagra giveaways because “that little blue pill keeps us in the black.” Such sassiness! And they give Sam shots of tequila at 9am to loosen her up. Best job ever!

After the first day on the job, Sam has a conversation with herself on the way home. She is talking to her dashboard guardian angel. (The dashboard is a nice touch since it is literally impossible to drive faster than it can fly thus saving you the cost of a horrible bumper sticker.) Then she tells the angel that she needs to pull over so she can throw up. I always talk to myself about needing to throw up before throwing up. Normal human behavior.

Then we get a montage of Sam in all sorts of different lingerie and costumes servicing clients. It’s awesome. Does anyone want to have a debate over the feminist ramifications of ogling Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts? I am a feminist and I’m still staring. Having my cake and eating it too. She is a pretty lady.

FTW

(FYI, “Party of Five” has always been my favorite masturbation euphemism. And there are three reasons that it’s a good euphemism. Two of them are Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts.)

Ugh, gross! I am sexualizing body parts! That is not feminist sounding at all. Jennifer Love Hewitt is regressing me back to middle school. I am gross and will stop. Sorry.

I should remind myself that I don’t need to worry about being a feminist, because, as mentioned earlier, this movie has killed off feminism once and for all. Jennifer Love Hewitt is standing over Rosie the Riveter’s grave in a teddy.

Apparently whoring makes you crazy wealthy. The mortgage isn’t an issue. Nor is buying your husband a fucking motorcycle. I know it isn’t just a river in Egypt, but the amount of denial on display from her husband here is staggering. It’s more like depacificocean.

But things are going well! You can tell Sam is a prostitute now because she wears lipstick everywhere. The husband is happy because he has a chopper. And the kids are happy because they get two desserts in their lunch (seriously). Everything is peaches and sex work.

Except one of the hookers isn’t having such a good time. She’s younger and very Christian. After seeing her pastor in the brothel, she has a crisis of faith. Her family doesn’t want her and “Idol auditions aren’t for another six months.” (There are so many “seriouslies” going on here, guys!) She quits the business and tells a bunch of Christians what’s going on. Those Bible Thumpers are going to ruin everything! Why can't they just let a sex ring exist in peace?

Sam is getting kudos for being the best prostitute in town. What’s her secret? Listening and cooking. She bakes cookies for her johns. The cookies are a nice bonus. Sam apparently has twice as many clients as any of the other prostitutes. Presumably her vagina looks like a buzzard’s neck. A bedazzled buzzard.

googling "pimp buzzard" didn't work

Oh, Sam does have one other secret. Cocaine.

The cocaine, parenting, and whoring are taking a lot out of her. She almost falls asleep at the wheel! She is curt with her daughter! She isn’t as nice to her clients!

It actually made me sad that Sam wasn’t as good of a sex worker as she used to be. But it’s a moot concern since the police bust the massage parlor. Sam gets perp walked in a bra and panties. I don’t think the police would do that, but, whatever.

"no time to tie your robe, ma'am. the fingerprinting lady gets off in 15 minutes"

Back at the local bar, Sam’s husband is watching a football game on TV. They cut away from the game to show the prostitution bust. The chances of a station cutting away from football for a local news story in Texas are negative 1000%. Sam gets recognized and, uh oh, Spaghettios!

Sam gets bailed out and begs for forgiveness and, surprise!, she doesn’t get it. Sam’s husband takes the kids and gets the Hell out of Dodge. Meanwhile, Sam is looking at two years for prostitution and cocaine possession. If only she had some skill to bargain her sentence down.

Remember her memory? If Sam were watching/reading this, she would remember her memory.

Sam bargains everyone down to 30 days by revealing 69 (SERIOUSLY) of her clients. This includes judges, doctors, lawyers, and other prominent members of the community. Because journalism is as dead as feminism post-Client List, the local papers and stations publish the list as fact. Why not.

And here is where feminism died. A mob of angry women barge in on Sam. Sam may be a whore, but she is a polite whore, so she makes them iced tea. Then she apologizes. She was raised to only care about her looks and not her brains so when she was in trouble, that’s what she leaned on. Basically it was her mom’s fault.

But the mob tells Sam that they aren’t looking for an apology. They’re looking for advice. “What did you do to make our men happy? What are we missing?” Oh. My. God. Sam then grabs a banana and commences with the lesson.

Since Sam was such a good prostitute because of listening and cookies, I imagine that’s part of the advice too. I am going to make that leap. It’s the women’s fault since they didn’t cook enough. See. I told you. Feminism is over. Back to the kitchens, ladies!

It's been brought to my attention that this is basically the ending to The Ladies Man, but with the genders reversed. And that gender reversal makes this totally unacceptable.

Sam becomes a waitress after her jail term and it is implied that her ex-husband is willing to give it another shot. No harm, no foul, amiright?

AWESOMENESS: 19

I was enjoying this movie. I really was. It was so….competent. Sure, having Sam talk to a guardian angel is the laziest narrative device I’ve ever seen. And the movie somehow got less interesting when cocaine was added to the equation. But any criticisms went out the window once this movie got to Crazy Town.

this movie was butterfly, sugar baby

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 8

I’ve focused enough on Jennifer Love Hewitt. But there’s so much more! She dated an alumni of Sacred Heart High School. I am an alumni of Sacred Heart High School! It’s within the realm of possibility, guys!

not pictured: a shit ton of Abercrombie. pictured: The SAC

I just remembered that vajazzling thing and I am suddenly freaked out by J-Love. Rich Cronin can have her.

Oh, Cybil Shepherd was in this too.

LIFETIMENESS: 10

This movie is so regressive that it actually might be too Lifetimey to be Lifetimey if that makes any sense. But a woman loses her way, does some sordid stuff, and comes out with less jail time than a Lohan. Redemption! Lifetime!

GRAND TOTAL: 37

This is the third highest rated Lifetime movie. It will be on next weekend. DVR it. OR WATCH IT ONLINE AT MYLIFETIME.COM

I watched this on Monday. I saw Inception on Tuesday. I preferred the former. My infallibility combined with transitive properties says that if you liked Inception, you will love The Client List.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Full-On Double Wedding All the Way Across the Sky

Suffice to say, if I saw this amazing video before Double Wedding, the review would have been drastically different.

Seriously though. What does this mean?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Double Wedding

I’ve only been to two weddings in my life and one of them was when I was in middle school, so that hardly counts. They seem like fun though. So fun that a Double Wedding would be irresistible.

Which brings us to Lifetime’s Double Wedding. Double Wedding follows twin sisters “D” and “D.” That’s right, folks. They have the same freaking nickname. Parent FAIL. One can only imagine the hijinks that could ensue should someone get these ultra-identical twins with the same name confused.

D and D look so similar that even the viewer could have trouble telling them apart. Thankfully, the movie deals with this problem in an efficient 30 seconds of exposition.

“You’re such a Type-A+ personality, but thank you for doing my taxes and being a successful workaholic lawyer, D.”

“Oh, you’re welcome, D. I’m always proud to help my more spontaneous, fashion oriented, pastry chef sister. You’re the best!”

The sisters are at their grandmother’s house when they notice a bridal magazine. Who is getting married? Their grandparents! They are going to renew their vows in a fancy cathedral to celebrate their golden anniversary. Awwwwww. Because this is grandmama’s show, she says no plus-ones for the girls. If they’re going to bring a boyfriend, he needs to be special. The Double-Ds pledge to have boyfriends by the “wedding” six months from now.

You see where this is going, right?

Lawyer D, at her unfathomably wealthy paralegal’s suggestion, goes the online route. The name of the dating site is “Strike While You’re Hot.” Where desperate singles meet before they get all ugly and shit! After a few misses, Lawyer D ends up with Tate, an obviously gay guy working in non-profit housing. Their first date goes pretty well, but Lawyer D has to leave early due to a work emergency. I would think that was a pretty dick move if it weren’t for that helpful 30 seconds of exposition. I was prepared for this.

Lawyer D’s big work emergency? Just the impossibly rich paralegal calling her in to break up the date. This is where the viewer figures out that he loves her, but Lawyer D is about 90 minutes from getting there.

(Incidentally, I know a few paralegals. They aren't collecting antique cars and dressing in the finest Italian suits. They are errand monkeys for lawyers.)

Of course – OF COURSE - Tate runs into Pastry D at a coffee shop. And he can’t tell the difference. So he has twin girlfriends and no one knows.

But, really, someone should have figured it out. It’s kind of weird to have your boyfriend refer to your bakery as “The Firm” when you know that your identical twin sister is a lawyer. And when your boyfriend keeps referring to conversations that never happened, maybe just rolling with it is the wrong strategy.

So, the relationships are moving along nicely. Both want to take it slow so, as Harmony’s boyfriend Michael put it, Lifetime doesn’t have to deal with the icky details of having sex with twins. They take it so slow that Lawyer D and Tate forgo phone sex in order to have “phone sleep.” Yes, they just go to bed as the minutes on their cell phone plans tick away. Such conspicuous consumption isn’t really sympathetic to the nation’s current economic climate, now is it, Lifetime?

But so much talking! And when you imagine that this sap is talking for hours to two different woman…ugh. One nice reveal is that Pastry D is only a very successful pastry chef (top 3 in New York apparently?) because she failed smart person tests after her dad walked out on her? Wait, what? Also, Tate’s parents died in a car accident. Too much sexxxy talk! My TV is melting!

This ridiculousness culminates in Tate having conversations with both Ds at the same time so that they can both invite him to Grandmama’s wedding. First he’s talking to Pastry D. Then the phone beeps and it’s Lawyer D. Jesus, Tate. You have a fucking Blackberry. You should be able to see that the phone calls are coming from two different numbers. Then he drops the phone and that somehow magically patches everyone together? I mean, I could have someone on hold and drop my phone 1,000 times and not once will that connect all three parties, but WHATEVER.

So here comes the big reveal, right? NO! WRONG! Lawyer D and Pastry D manage to say the exact same thing at the exact same time so everyone just thinks there is an echo. What. The. Fuck.

The Double Ds decide to go to Central Park for a nice jog because that’s what successful people do in New York. One of them gets a phone call from Tate and they finally realize what’s happening. I am so glad that they found someone so special for Grandmama’s wedding that they never realized he was spending half of his time with another woman.

After Grandmama makes an inappropriate incestuous threesome joke, everyone agrees that they should just drop the relationship. Well, everyone agrees except for Tate. They just don’t bother to tell him that he’s been duped or that he’s been dumped.

Tensions between the sisters continue to mount. Grandmama goes as far as to cancel all of Thanksgiving when the fighting sisters knock over a pie.

likes: pie. dislikes: eyelids.

Pastry D cheers herself up by hooking up with Tate again. Lawyer D finds out, stalks them, follows them into a nightclub, and uses a hair clip to lock Pastry D in a bathroom stall. Shockingly, her hair clip skills weren’t up to snuff and Tate finally sees both Ds at the same time.

There’s some pointless consternation before Pastry D and Tate realize that they’re right for each other and Lawyer D and Antique Car Collecting Paralegal realize that they’re right for each other. (Harmony and I think this may be our first Lifetime interracial relationship, so, yay?) Somewhere in there, the sisters win second place in a cake contest. The cakes look terrible. It annoys me because I have a friend who actually watches Lifetime that could make better cakes. A real missed opportunity for her. (PLUG)

The movie ends with the Grandmama’s 50th anniversary “wedding.” There’s all sorts of happiness and then, whoa!, Pastry D and Tate walk out. They got married too! Oh! I get it. DOUBLE Wedding. Very clever. Kind of weird these guys got married after only six months. The couples drive off in their limos when, BAM, an antique car pulls up. Lawyer D and Paralegal Dude come out of the church too! TRIPLE WEDDING, BITCHES. They promised a double wedding and gave us a triple. Lifetime means value!

AWESOMENESS: 8

You got to love a movie where we’re supposed to be rooting for three incredibly stupid people. Even if they all find love they’re probably just going to die in a can opener accident.

Back in the day I used to split awesomeness into “actual” and “ironic” categories. Just know that if I still did that, all eight points would be firmly in the ironic category.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 5

This is tricky. Objectively, the twins, the famed Mowery sisters are not really famous. They had their own terrible show on ABC’s TGIF lineup and guest starred on an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. That’s as famous as Melissa Joan Hart and Melissa Joan Hart is barely famous. But as soon as I found out about this movie, I needed to see it. Immediately. So I’m splitting the difference.

LIFETIMENESS: 7

Whether it’s the wisened black Grandma or every character’s happiness being wrapped up in a nice little bow, this was all pretty Lifetimey. Obvious demerits for no women’s intuition.

GRAND TOTAL: 20

The most mediocre score possible for a mediocre movie.

Sister, sister. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t miss them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mind Over Murder

A week ago I was staying at a hotel in sort-of rural Ohio for work and, hey!, the Quality Inn has the Lifetime Movie Network. Score! I can mix business with pleasure!

There was no pleasure.

Mind Over Murder is predictably terrible. Tori Spelling plays an assistant district attorney (ha!) who hit by a car and develops the power to read minds. She then uses this power to go after a Republican Senator who murdered his mistress.

1. This is going to blow the Lifetimeness scale out of the water. Reread that last paragraph. That is shitbird crazy.

2. After reading that paragraph, don't you know every detail of the movie already? Do I need to spend 1000 words telling you about Tori Spelling using her powers to catch people lying on the stand? Or the forced awkwardness of when the judge realizes that one of the attorneys is psychic? No. You got it down.

And I had it down. I actually left in the middle of the movie to go grocery shopping. Seriously. I don't think I missed much. Somewhere in there Spelling falls in love with a cop played by her real-life husband. The lack of chemistry between those two was astonishing.

And since the movie came out in 2006, way after Spellings's plastic surgeries, you have to stare at this for two hours:


Hypnotically unsexy

But, finally, a Lifetime movie so stupid that I gave up on it. Sadly, this one the "pick-a-flick" contest they run for Friday nights. In other words, this movie was shown because of popular demand. That's a Human Centipede amount of scariness.

AWESOMENESS: 0

They say a D- is sometimes harsher than an F, but, no. This deserves the zero.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY!: 2

Tori Spelling only exists to fuel the Lifetime Nightmare Machine. She isn't a celebrity anymore.

LIFETIMENESS: 10

And well earned.

GRAND TOTAL: 12

So my shortest review ever leads to a 12. Avoid at all costs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Family Sins [Trigger Warning for, uh, Everything]


[Harmony note: Since trauma is the bread and butter of the Lifetime film, I'm going to start putting trigger warnings in the titles when appropriate. On one hand a person can reasonably expect SOMETHING horrible will happen in a Lifetime movie. On the other hand, some movies go a little farther then others, so why not make it easier to skip something you don't want to read?]

It's always a happy occasion when Rusty and I have the time to watch a LMN movie together. Since we don't get to do it very often, it's best to try for a special occasion kind of a film. Family Sins hit our criteria through three very important key phrases: "true crime", "evil basement", and "Kirstie Alley". We sat down on Friday with a bottle of Kid Rock's favorite bourbon (Red Stag!) and gave it a go.

First off, can I just say "ew". It's no secret that my favorite true crime Lifetime movies are the campy ones. This one was like if the team behind Saw remade Serial Mom. I know that it's cliched to proclaim something Saw-like, but this movie is striving for it. Every third scene features someone being tortured in a grimy tableau. Your enjoyment of the movie will be predicated by your ability to enjoy watching a mentally handicapped woman get enslaved, beaten, and raped by people she trusted to take care of herself and her baby. Whoops, spoiler alert. Also, they rape her daughter. Again with the spoilers!

The movie starts with a family photo session that is probably trying to remind us of Capturing the Friedmans. (Remember when we talked about how it's not a good idea to remind us of a better movie in the middle of a bad movie? Read the blog, you hacks!) Is this picture perfect family not what they seem, or will this be the most boring hour since Project Runway moved to Lifetime? Cut to Kirstie Alley playing Brenda Geck, celebrating Mothers Day with her extended brood of biological and foster kids. Her kids are creepy, too. One is a Spencer Pratt-y meathead. There's also a girl who hides in the corner and looks and acts like pre-pubescent Carrie: sad, stuttery, and powerless. She spends a lot of her time shielding a tiny boy in her lap who looks a little too much like the Spencer dude. Brenda receives a bunch of lovely expensive appliances with price tags attached. Carrie, who is actually named Marie, is the only person who did not bring Brenda a Mother's Day present. This is underlined, highlighted, and poked into our eyes by writers who are firm believers in foreshadowing. And rape basements. Mostly rape basements.

The film leaps forward and we learn that Marie has fled the household, little blonde mini-Spence in tow. She's trying to find an official to listen to her story, but everyone is all "That family is cool, you crazy". As always in Lifetime films, social services only exist to rip families apart, ignore children in crisis, and maybe set orphans on fire. Her flight to freedom is interspersed with flashbacks to her icky childhood. Apparently, Mrs. Geck spends most of her time teaching her kids to shoplift and setting fires in her family's rental properties when the tenants displease her. Don't worry for them though, it's not all iron-fist tactics for a Geck property tenant. For example, one of the unfortunate arson victims was lucky enough to be taken in to their home, child in tow, for some loving rehabilitation. It's unfortunate that the Geck family learned their rehab techniques from Abu Ghraib, but oh well. If sexual assault, torture, and forced labor is good enough for our enemies, it's good enough for a mentally handicapped woman and her child. The mentally handicapped woman, who is named Nadine, is locked by Brenda in the basement for "her own good". She doesn't eat unless she does the housework to Brenda's specifications, and the one time she flees the property she's delivered back there by a well-meaning policeman and is rewarded with a beating from a stripped extension cord. She doesn't have the werewithal to escape on her own, and her daughter doesn't fare much better- raised as a Geck, as she grows older she learns of her mother's imprisonment. She also learns that she's expected to shoplift to support the family, and oh yeah, any male member of the family is entitled to sexually assault her at any time. One morning Brenda teases her for getting too fat, only to learn that she's been impregnated by her son. Instead of being horrified, she beats up Marie for being dumb enough to get knocked up by one of her kids. One commenter on the Lifetime site singled this moment out as a "lighthearted teasing" scene that allowed Kirstie Alley to show her fun side. I didn't know they had internet access in the violent offender wings of federal prisons, but you learn something new every day.

Carrie finally manages to find someone who will listen to her, a young DA that hasn't drunk the Geck Kool-Aid. The pieces of Marie's stories don't mesh with what the town believes about the Gecks, but they make enough sense that he's willing to hear her out. A raid on the Geck's house reveals Nadine's imprisonment, which is enough to put them all in custody while the DA builds a case. They slowly learn about the arson, the shoplifting, and the other illegal stuff the Gecks get up to. Brenda is unrepentant, and calls a dude that fences shoplifted goods for her to make things hard on Marie. He haunts her trailer, setting stuff on fire and breaking shit, but is generally just a nuisance as opposed to a real threat. And yes, the only other criminal in the film is black. Of course he is.

The climax of the film is the trial, which pretty much goes how you'd expect. Testimony is given, Marie cries a lot, Brenda looks suitably chagrined, and the men of the family get 10-20 years a piece for their involvement. The judge is super-excited to send Brenda to jail. Marie gets her public vindication, and she moves into a trailer with her mom. The film ends on a touching family hug. Yaaaay!

Awesomeness: 5
Urgh. Yes, this movie is campy and weird, and has a lot going for it in the arena of production values and a very strong cast. BUT! I cannot give awesomeness points to a movie where a mentally handicapped woman reminisces about how gentle her rapist was. Does that sentence make you feel awesome? Hey, me neither. 5 points for baseline awesome and I am cutting you off, movie.

Star Power: 6
Kirstie Alley has to be worth 5 points. She was in Cheers, and also is fat, which apparently means that as a nation we must observe and scrutinize her at all times. Everyone else in this had bit parts in every TV show ever, which makes them all annoyingly familiar but not immediately recognizable.

Lifetimeliness: 10
Now THIS is a Lifetime movie. Motherhood, child abuse, true crime, women in peril: this is the greatest hits reel of Lifetime Movies. This is Now Thats What I Call A Lifetime Movie!. It also had my favorite instance of a social services diss in one of these films: a harried social worker checking her watch and yawning as a child covered in bruises and close to tears says her family life is fine. Fuckin' social workers. Am I right?

I feel 21 is fair. This movie is a riveting watch, and it's certainly everything you'd expect from an LMN joint. But it is just SO GROSS. I'm going to go ahead and say you should watch it once, but I kind of doubt you'll want to watch it again.