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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I can't believe I watched this twice.


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.