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Sexting in Suburbia January 17, 2012

Posted by Rusty in 25-29.
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8 comments

It’s time for another one of our patented January pushes as Lifetime burnout is replaced with the optimism of a new year. And, let’s be honest, I need at least one practice review to get back in the swing of things before Untouchable comes out. I mean, have you seen this?

That is obviously the highest priority. But Sexting in Suburbia wasn’t bad either!

Dina is walking down the halls of her high school. People are staring and pointing and laughing. I suspect bullying! Dina opens her locker and a bunch of condoms fall out. Totally burnt, Dina. A boy, probably an ex-boyfriend, offer to help her clean up the prophylactic avalanche, but he is rebuffed. Dina storms off.

Hey, Dina. Why did you open your locker? Was it just to have condoms spill out and then put them back? Because you clearly didn’t put anything in or take anything out of your locker. So why open it in the first place, right?

Dina goes home, emo vlogs, and then hangs herself.

What is with these Lifetime movies and the vlogging? NO ONE VLOGS.

So now Dina’s mom, Rachel, must get to the bottom of this horrible tragedy. Clearly everyone is to blame for her daughter’s suicide except for her daughter. No lead will go unfollowed, no sext will go unanswered for!

The trail gets hot when Dina’s field hockey friend tells Rachel to check Dina’s phone for scandalous evidence. (“Most dirty laundry is offered up for public consumption” ~No high schooler, ever.) Rachel finds a sext.

We flashback to homecoming. Dina is looking fine and tonight’s the night she gives her virginity to that dude from earlier, Mark. Except Dina has second thoughts. She just isn’t ready! So she skips the afterparty. Mark is clearly upset at losing out on nookie and not even getting an apology beej, so Dina tries to keep things spicy by sending him a naked photo. Via text! A “sext,” if you will. Mark doesn’t really need the pick-me-up since he is knee high in high school poon when Dina sends the photo.

Haha, Mark looks tiny

From a filing standpoint, this is a disaster. The movie hits the first commercial when Mark starts boning Dina’s rival, Skylar. But the first scene back from commercial is the sext. That’s the more dramatic scene! That needs to be pre-commercial. And then after the sext there is a fade out! Implying a commercial break! Did the good people at Activia Yogurt not want to wait an extra 90 seconds for their product placement? Ugh. Come on, Lifetime editors. Get it together.

Obviously the sext “goes viral” the very next day. Dina’s life is ruined.

Rachel is going on a witch hunt. The school administrators won’t help her look at everyone’s Facebook accounts and texts out of “privacy concerns” so she writes an op-ed that gets published on the front page of their podunk newspaper. The community needs to act. Since Dina sent her sext to Mark and only to Mark, he is arrested on suspicion of child pornography distribution.

Skyler is acting like a total B and is being set up as the obvious bad guy. Flashbacks show she was the lead bully in the anti-Dina crusade. She stole Mark, took the field hockey captaincy from Dina, and she had access to the sext since Mark received it when his penis was inside of her vagina. Motive and opportunity!

Rachel is the subject of some neighborhood terrorism after her op-ed and Mark’s arrest. Dina’s grave is vandalised (Dina Van Slut! Ya burnt!) and someone put a bunch of pictures of a noose in her mailbox. Things culminate when someone throws a brick through her window. (The brick throw is supposed to be surprising. It is telegraphed from a mile away by the camera angle. Another poor job of editing and composition.)

Mark and Rachel have a tete-a-tete and they both think that Skyler was responsible. Rachel just happens to be besties with Skyler’s mom so she goes in for the confrontation. Skyler denies any wrongdoing and the moms hug it out. But then Rachel finds evidence of the vandalism and intimidation stuff in Skyler’s bathroom! Skyler later admits to sending the text to one person, a mutual friend, Claire. Skyler’s mom points out that she didn’t tie Dina’s noose so not to worry.

Rachel asks the police to drop the child pornography charges on Mark (something she has no right to do, obviously) and prosecute Skyler instead. The police, and I have no idea how they did this without violating the Fourth Amendment, show Rachel evidence that the text “went viral” when Claire sent it to 40 classmates.

Rachel speeds home and finds Claire inside Dina’s room (?) watching some vlogs (??). Claire apologizes for ruining Dina’s life. But not for sending the texts. Wait, huh? It turns out that Skyler convinced Claire to narc on Dina for her sextapades to their field hockey coach. Dina is cut from the team and loses her field hockey scholarship (ahahah) to her fictional college of choice. That was the final straw for Dina.

Awesomely, when Dina confronts Skyler and Claire about this, Dina grabs Skyler’s field hockey stick and beats her in the face with it. That is the highlight of the movie right there.

Claire tells Rachel that she couldn’t have sent the texts since she lost her phone at homecoming. Who had it? SKYLER’S MOM! Rachel’s bestie sent it out because Dina kept beating out Skyler for all the varsity letters, scholarships, and boyfriends.

But Skyler’s Mom makes one crucial and TOTALLY INEXPLICABLE mistake. She kept a naked Dina pic on her personal phone. Like, as a trophy. Think about how stupid that is. Skyler finds the pic, puts two and two together (this also makes no sense, but whatever), and confronts her mom. Skyler’s Mom comes clean.

Skyler freaks out, storms out of the house, and is texting her mother that she “will never forgive her.” While she’s driving. And you know what that means! BOOM! Head-on collision! Yesssss. What a great throwback to the mid-90’s Lifetime playbook. So good.

Rachel confronts Skyler’s mom in the hospital. Skyler won’t walk again. There goes that field hockey scholarship! Then Rachel goes home to watch Dina vlog in happier times. Claire starts a movement with Mark to ban cell phones for the rest of the semester. Right, because it was the cell phone’s fault.

AWESOMENESS: 16

The movie was so delightfully stupid and over-the-top. The editing was bad to the point of distracting, but, hey, it’s Lifetime. And I love it when a movie about one thing also takes the time to use melodramatic tragedy to teach you about another thing. Like in When Friendship Kills, a movie about anorexia where one character drinks and gets hit by a car. Sexting is bad, but texting while driving is also bad! So many lessons!

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 1

All newcomers here. Rachel was played by Liz Vassey who was Captain Liberty in The Tick. I guess she was in Dr. Horrible too, but, and I apologize in advance, I thought Dr. Horrible sucked.

LIFETIMENESS: 9

You read the review, yes? This is some pretty Lifetimey stuff. Had to take one negative point because Mark and Skyler get a pass for having sex in high school. No one gets mad. No one gets pregnant. It’s a welcome change, but it’s a clear deviation from the Lifetime formula.

GRAND TOTAL: 26

This review was all foreplay for the Rob Lowe awesomeness premiering this Saturday, but it was pretty good foreplay. It will be re-airing Saturday, January 28 at 6pm eastern. Set your DVRs accordingly.

Last Exit May 23, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 25-29, last exit.
3 comments

I joked on our Facebook page (like us!) that the three contributors on this site finally hit a wall. After switching over to WordPress and making a real effort to put up at least one review per week last January, we finally started feeling the burnout. We haven’t posted in three weeks.

Well thank goodness for Last Exit because my faith in Lifetime has been restored.  This won’t get the highest score because I didn’t see one familiar face in the cast, but what a delightful way to kill two hours. This is one of my favorites. Buckle up, this post will be long.

The Best

The movie opens with ominous title cards that appear to have been written by a third grader. It starts off with something about more and more people driving cars. Then:

Millions of tons of metal, glass and flesh moving at dangerously high speeds.

So we are diving headfirst into the shallow end of the pool of crazy. AND NO OXFORD COMMA!? GOD DAMN YOU, LIFETIME.

Every day we are under more pressure to get where we are going With less time to get there.

Are we? Is that a fact? Why did you capitalize that “w”?

Eventually, something has to give.

Does it? Maybe if everyone follows the law then nothing will have to give AND people will get to places on time?

The film gets going with a suspiciously expensive looking car accident between a gray SUV and a red coupe. The SUV does a lot of flipping! The woman in the red coupe calls 911 and says the accident was her fault. Two (and only two!) highway cops show up and both drivers are near death.

The two women are Beth and Diana. Beth is presented as the good one. She’s poor and trying to raise a 10-yr-old with spina bifida all on her lonesome. Her son is obsessed with space so naturally Beth tells him the best part of having a telescope is being able to spy on the neighbors. Seriously.

Diana, the bad lady, is a wealthy suburbanite with a creepy unemployed husband who collects guns. She is work obsessed and doesn’t even notice when her teenage daughter gets her first period and gets blood and unused egg all over the place. (Not explicitly mentioned but implied. I may have taken a few liberties with the viscera.) She is very, very wealthy.

After both moms drop their sons off at school, they head off to work. They’re running late. Diana cuts off Beth at their ramp and Beth swerves out of the way. Diana gets to work on time. Beth is stuck in traffic.

The movie spends the next 100 minutes totally shitting on these ladies. I will split them up to make this easier on everyone.

Beth ends up at her paralegal gig 45 minutes late. She would have been late without her traffic woes but now she is up Shit Creek. While she was absent a courier tried dropping off a very important document and with no one there to sign for it, her firm doesn’t have a copy. This is a big deal. Beth needs to pick it up by 2pm. And her car won’t start.

Beth goes to the courier office where she cuts in front of five or six people and demands that she get helped immediately. That doesn’t work. Back of the line for her! When she finally talks to the lady at the counter, they discover that the courier is still out on his run. Beth finds him in a park. She chases him for what looks like two miles through fountains and bushes and all sorts of madness. She finally catches up to the courier and gets the package. When she gets back to her car she is getting ticketed for leaving her car running (so it won’t stall) and double parking. And she locked her keys in the car.

Beth sucks.

Beth immediately tries getting out of a ticket by mentioning her son’s disability. Some ladies cry. Others show some cleav. Beth uses her son’s spine being broken. Nice. The cop helps her jimmy into the car but she still gets a ticket.

Beth gets back to work at 2:05pm and she is fired. She deserves it. She is getting two weeks severance which seems more than generous.

As is tradition, after getting fired it’s time to go shopping for birthday presents. She wants to buy her handicapped son a new fancy telescope. She can’t. Insufficient funds. Jesus Christ, lady, you wait until the very last second to buy your only child a gift and you don’t bother checking on how much money is in your account? Ugh. Anyways, she pawns her favorite necklace to get the money for the telescope.

At her son’s birthday dinner, Beth gets psycho infuriated at her baby daddy for buying him a tent. He has a backyard and she doesn’t so apparently this is a huge breach of parenting etiquette. Wait. Beth expected her son to drag a giant ass telescope from his room to the car to his dad’s? Isn’t a telescope kind of a one house thing?

Beth is super pissed and is driving like a maniac. She almost hits a truck and in the act of braking her son somehow cuts his chin open. I don’t know. He needs stitches though.

At this point the baby daddy takes the kid for the weekend and Beth is a broken woman. Her car breaks down in the middle of the street and a woman in an SUV is honking at her. It’s Diana!

So, back to that morning. Diana cuts off Beth and gets to work on time. She is preparing for a big presentation to retain a client while also managing a car commercial being filmed in some Canadian park. She is a busy bee.

Diana needs to leave work early when her son’s prep academy calls her and tell her it’s an emergency. Apparently her son took one of his dad’s guns and brought it to school. With a loaded clip. Yikes. Because they are rich and white no one calls the police and they brush it off with a suspension.

All of this makes Diana late for her presentation rehearsal and when she finally makes it back to work she starts throwing up everywhere. Why? Because she is secretly pregnant! No one knows!

"Beth sucks."

We get the sense that Diana is incredibly competent and that she kind of resents her family for getting in the way of her professional advancement. This is usually code for BAD GUY in a Lifetime movie, but I find it impossible not to sympathize with Diana more than the easily flustered Beth. This movie is almost Calvinist. If you work hard and are good at your job, you get the monies and the husbands and the right to cut people off at the ramp. If you are poor, you probably deserve it. Beth deserves it.

Diana’s big presentation doesn’t turn into the vomitorium I was hoping for. It gets postponed until 6 at the big potential client’s hotel. Instead of going straight to the hotel, Diana stops at that commercial shoot and parks squarely in a tow away zone. After the cab to the impound lot and more traffic, she can’t make the 6pm start time. Epic fail.

Her husband is waiting for her back at the office and even though he has been presented as kind of a monster, now he is the sweetest guy in the world. He buys her flowers and takes her out to eat. Diana catches a break when she hears that all flights have been grounded due to a storm. Meaning that potential client is stuck at the airport! Godspeed, Business Lady!

Diana rushes to the airport and starts honking at a broken down car taking up a lane. Hi, Beth! Beth and Diana yell at each other and the latter speeds off. When Beth recognizes the car that cut her off that morning, she goes ballistic. She takes her son’s telescope and starts wailing on Diana’s car. Diana speeds off and clips Beth which seems fair.

When Diana looks in her rearview she sees Beth speeding at her. Diana speeds up to escape but it’s no use. Beth clips Diana and we have that spectacular crash.

HERE IS WHERE SHIT GETS REAL!

Beth realizes that attempted murder is not good and immediately calls 911 and admits fault for the accident. She crawls over to Diana’s overturned SUV to help get Diana out of the car. Diana shoots her dead.

Yup.

The two (and only two!) highway patrol people arrive at the scene and get them to a hospital. A nurse lets slip that Diana is pregnant. Beth is deceased and her son is sad.

We cut to a few months in the future and Diana is having an ultrasound. The baby is ok! Good! The husband finally got a job and the kids aren’t acting like assholes. Everything is perfect.

But when Diana gets off the ultrasound table it is revealed that she lost her leg in the accident and is wheelchair bound. She is being tried for murder and is claiming self-defense.

Meanwhile, Beth’s son uses his telescope to spy on the neighbors because that’s what his dead mom told him to do.

AWESOMENESS: 20

The last ten minutes of this movie were the best ten minutes of Lifetime ever. I had such a dopey grin on my face. Two horrible characters that we’re supposed to sympathize with start murdering each other. Yes!

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 2

Ugh. This pains me. Beth was played by a 90210 alumnus but she isn’t Shannon Doherty or Tori Spelling so I don’t care. Diana’s husband played Johnny Cage in the surprisingly awesome Mortal Kombat movie. He punched Goro in the balls. It was great.

LIFETIMENESS: 7

This is tricky. On one hand, this movie went about a million places I didn’t expect on the Lifetime Movie Network. A good Lifetime score should be tricky. Thankfully the movie still managed to meet my expectations of the Lifetime genre.

First, this movie is insanely Canadian. They keep using the metric system and their money looks weird. I actually had to convert their car speeds from km/h to mph on the Internet.

(The movie is supposed to take place during an early-June heatwave. What part of Canada is this? Canada doesn’t have summer. And it pissed me off when they kept saying it was 100 degrees. First it’s metric, now you’re using Farenheit? Boooo.)

This movie also follows the Lifetime pattern of female heroes who are actually terrible and bad guy men who aren’t that bad. Beth and Diana are bad, terrible, no-good people. They deserve each other. Diana’s husband is pegged as a villain because he buys guns (fair?) and he goes golfing when he is unemployed. The film explicitly mentions he was golfing with a CEO of a company he was applying for but, still, villainous move. Beth’s baby daddy is demonized for buying his son a tent and for getting promoted to a vice principal position an hour away making it harder to share custody. And he has a new girlfriend. What an asshole.

Still though, the two “good” female characters fought to the death. That is unusual.

GRAND TOTAL: 29

This movie is better than the score. Not optional for Lifetime Movie Network aficionados.

Dying to Belong April 4, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 25-29, dying to belong.
6 comments

So know that we have this Lifetime, Wow Facebook page, I can put faces and names to people who might read our humble website. We get a lot of collegians and former collegians. Any Greeks out there? Because I am going to make fun of sororities now. Please do not be offended.

Dying to Belong opens with a bunch of ladies in robes waking up a lady and dragging her out of her dorm room. Sorority hazing! The pledge isn’t taking this very light form of hazing very well. To be fair, she didn’t get to bring along her asthma medication and is having trouble breathing. Haha, what a nerd sorority. Asthmatics are nerds!

This movie is a bit ridiculous

The pledge freaks out enough to get kicked out of the sorority van and she is hit by a truck while walking back to campus.

One year later! Lisa Connors pulls into a college parking lot in her mom’s vintage Mercedes convertible. Oh, great. Rich people problems are always so compelling! Lisa’s mom was in some fancy shmancy sorority and really wants Lisa to pledge.

Oh, freshman year of college. A wonderful time to meet new people from different backgrounds.  Horizons are broadened and we develop relationships with people from outside our comfort zones. Unless you drove up to school in a Mercedes convertible. Then eff that noise. Lisa is horrified to find out that her college-assigned roommate listens to punk music. And – AND! – she has BLUE HAIR! Oh my stars!

While in line at registration, Lisa meets Shelby. Shelby’s hair is flat, but it isn’t blue. Therefore she would make the perfect roommate! Lisa kicks Blue Hair out of their room and Shelby moves in.

Hey, a gratuitous shot of Shelby changing. Neat! But, oh man, 90s jeans. Shame on you 90s people. Why do people’s jeans go up to their bellybuttons? Who made that decision?

Lisa isn’t just a sorority type though. She also has a brain! She was editor of her high school newspaper and the college paper beckons her. Her persistence lands her a job. Her student editor is a muckraking junior who despises Greek life and is convinced that a sorority killed a girl hazing last year and that the university was complicit in a cover-up. He is also very handsome.

So the first time we see this editor, Steven Tyler (SERIOUSLY!?), the movie has “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins playing in the background. And that’s fine. I truly love that song. But then the second time we see Steven, guess what song is playing in the background? And a third time? You know it!

Steven and Lisa go on a date to see Carl Bernstein speak. In a line that I found truly funny, Steven complains that Bernstein “hardly even mentions Woodward anymore.” And then there is some ice cream and making out.

So Shelby and Lisa are rushing Pi Beta and with Lisa as a legacy and Shelby connected to Lisa at the hip, the two of ’em are pretty much shoo-ins. During one kegger outside, Lisa gets to challenged to some rope-tow drinking contest. The rules: Pull yourself up the mountain, drink a shot, then get back down the mountain. And it’s a race. And “anything goes.”

Lisa wins! She and a sister literally get into a brawl halfway down the mountain, but Lisa rolls down first. The losing competitor is given the nemesis treatment but we really don’t see her for the rest of the movie except in the background. So, that was a fun ten minutes we all just wasted together.

So now Lisa and Shelby are pledges and that means Hell Week. Oh noes! Shelby and Lisa have to clean the kitchen floor with toothbrushes. And then they have to prance around in their hilariously high waisted underwear while the sisters circle all the flaws on their body. Shelby, who has proven to be very stoic about Hell Week, totally cracks. She remains standing in place as everyone draws circles on her and starts shaking and bawling. It was so funny that I could feel tingling in my extremities.

There are Six reasons why I love this picture

This is too much for Lisa. Her grades are slipping. She got kicked off of the newspaper staff for shoddy work, and now her friend’s humiliation is the last straw. Who cares if she pierced her finger and bled on a white rose while vowing to fight for her new family? She is OUT!

Next haze is the old hang a banner from some clock tower. Shelby falls to her death and has a bunch of blood and brain goo coming out of her ears.

The sorority’s official story is that Shelby went up to the tower by herself all drunk and whatnot. We know that she wasn’t really drinking and we also know that a bunch of the older sisters were with her on the tower. The sorority learns a valuable lesson about lies that are very easy to disprove. When there’s no alcohol in Shelby’s blood/brain goo, attention turns to the sisters.

Meanwhile, Steven finds the girl who was “hit by a truck” at the very beginning. Showing exceptional journalism skills, Steven finds a student with – wait for it – an UNLISTED NUMBER! Clearly this person was hazed and assaulted!

Steven and Lisa visit the girl who it turns out was only almost hit by a car. But she got PTSD or something and had to drop out of college? And the school dean (a woman with an all-time mullet) cut her a check to buy her silence?

Steven tries writing a story about this but for his trouble the school has him fired from the paper. Steven goes on some First Amendment rant, but for such a smart guy you’d think he’d be more aware of the Hazlewood case. Oh, and some frat boys beat him up. That happens too.

Lisa goes back to the sorority house to plead her case and she runs into some obstacles. The frat boys threaten her with sexual violence and the girls plant weed in her car. Because she is wealthy, Lisa gets by with only a warning. But Lisa’s mom is really on the warpath going as far as to accuse Lisa of making up her sorority hazing accusations and demanding she go into rehab for her marijuana addiction (haha).

Eventually Lisa is straight up kidnapped and thrown into a frozen river. Steven finds her by – I shit you not – driving around randomly honking his horn. Thankfully that works and Lisa is found unmurdered. Also, the soundtrack is no playing a country song written for the movie called “Dying to Belong.” I miss Ms. Hawkins.

You’ll never believe this, but this movie’s ending makes no sense. Lisa confronts the sorority with proof of the asthmatic cover-up and the girls admit they were with Shelby when she fell. Shelby wasn’t pushed or anything like that. And peer pressure isn’t really a crime so the sorority is guilty of some minor hazing and maybe trespassing? Anyways the sorority president and vice-president acknowledge that things got out of control.

Flash forward to a press conference where the dean admits two sisters came forward and the sorority was being shut down. The End. So, the bad guys turned themselves in? That seems unlikely.

AWESOMENESS: 12

The first half of the movie was a lot better than the second half. once Shelby bit it, the rest of the movie devolved into really shitty things happening to sort of unsympathetic characters. Threatened rape, assault, drug arrests, kidnapping, ATTEMPTED MURDER… That stuff got old. And it wasn’t really that fun or enjoyable.

Not like Shelby crying on a table in her ugly underwear. I could watch that on loop for hours.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 1,000,000

Ok, a movie can only earn ten points in this category, but if this were on a million point scale, it would earn the million.

Lisa was played by two time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank. Steven was played by Zach from Saved by the Bell. The most villainous sorority sister was played by Sarah Chalke from Scrubs and Roseanne. The perfect-10 was a shoo-in. But, my goodness gracious, is that a Jenna von Oy sighting? It is! Shelby was played by Six from Blossom! Perfect!

I kind of hate how it’s like a thing where people debate whether Hilary Swank is attractive or not. The Office (one of the few shows to get booted from my DVR…and I DVR Perfect Couples) devoted an entire B-plot to whether Ms. Swank was attractive. Well, she is a famous actress so she is obviously a knockout. They rarely let people star in movies if they are not gorgeous.

Basically, what I am saying is, she can come inside my jungle book anytime.

LIFETIMENESS: 6

It was melodramatic enough. But, the bad guys: sorority sisters, mom, female dean. Allies: boyfriend. That isn’t right. There are no sympathetic female characters besides the protagonist!

GRAND TOTAL: 28

Isn’t it insane that Hilary Swank has two Oscars? Her career had peaked by the time this movie came out. She wasn’t some up-and-comer when this movie came out. She was reduced to this! And then, one indie movie later, BAM. So keep your chin up, Hayden Panettiere!

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy March 1, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 25-29, amanda knox.
9 comments

I used to date someone who worked in new media and she always insisted that I never open a blog post with an apology for not posting in a while. Never do that. It’s very amateur hour.

(She also said to always post at 11am or 2pm to maximize page views but in a slutty rush for immediate attention, that goes out the window. Please note that this review is being posted at, like, 9pm. At least it’s not a weekend! [Hint, hint, Kate.])

But, I mean, I am very sorry that eight days after the premiere of Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, we haven’t posted a review. Part of it was Amanda Knox burn out. The other thing is that after H$ and I watched the movie and when we started working on a review, we realized that we didn’t remember a god damned thing about the movie. We were so busy making snide remarks on the Twitter and the Facebook that we missed the Amanda Knox Forest for the Amanda Knox Trees.

Whatever. Enough is enough. I am churning this bad boy out.

Amanda Knox is from Seattle. She is a Huskie. She likes foreign languages. So off to Italy with her.

GET IT!?

We get to Knox’s beautiful villa  (I don’t know if it’s a villa or not but it’s Italian, so whatever) and things are awfully suspicious. Did someone break in? Best to call the police. They find blood, shattered glass, and a dead English poli sci student lady. It takes the police a hot second to realize that the glass was broken from the inside and that the Brit, Meredith Kercher, was killed by someone who didn’t break in. Cheerio, mate!

Now we are in Flashback Italy. Amanda meets Raffaele, a Harry Potter lookalike whose name is not spelled like the Ninja Turtle. Thanks, asshole. Now I have to look it up.

Anyways, Raffaele is clearly the typical Lifetime Evil Dude. He likes manga which is such an obvious sign of trouble. On the plus ledger, Amanda points out that his dad has a lot of money and he is not a geek (FALSE!), so obviously they must date and have a shit ton of intercourse. This intercourse is presumably so hot and awesome that it will make you want to have a three way with an African dude and then stab a lady in the neck parts. Spoiler?

When the police are investigating Meredith’s death, Raffaele and Amanda have the good sense to make out in the waiting room. Later, Amanda practices cartwheels. Hey, jerkwad, Turin hosted the Winter Games. Save that cartwheel shit for Barcelona. Anyways,  her ambivalence and detachment raises enough red flags to get the police involved.

Oh, Amanda’s mom, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, begs Amanda to come home. Amanda doesn’t listen. This is what the casual observer would refer to as a “whoopsie.”

So the police get it in their head that Raffaele and Amanda are behind everything and they don’t have a real good reason, so, sex murder. They interrogate Raffaele who I swear to God looks and is dressed exactly like Velma from Scooby Doo and he folds like…I dunno, like, a folding chair, I guess?

Next up for hours of interrogation is Amanda. Despite being some kind of language savant, she is a-maybe a-not so a-good with the eye-talian. The interrogators also laughably/awesomely ask Amanda to “use her imagination” when it comes to explaining what “might” have happened that night. She pins it on her boss at a local restaurant.

Of course the boss has an airtight alibi so Amanda Knox and Raffaele are arrested for real this time. The cops tell Amanda that she has HIV and ask for a list of all the men she’s slept with. That list gets leakes and now Amanda Knox isn’t just a murderer, she is a slut. (She also shoves the doctor who tells her it was a false positive. Bet that’s the first and last time he gets attacked for telling someone they didn’t have the bug.)

So she goes on trial with Raffy and some African dude. Amanda’s motive was that she hated Meredith for

If you're going to put muddled mint in a cocktail, I expect lots of bourbon.

1. Telling Amanda to clean up after herself in a shared bathroom

2. Impressing Amanda’s boss by making a really good mojito.

So obviously Meredith was the real villain here. Mojitos are gross.

Amanda’s mom travels to Italy and cried a lot and everyone is convicted and whatever.

If you’ve read this far wondering if Lifetime made Amanda Knox to be a criminal or not, the answer is sadly inconclusive. Lifetime takes no stand here. We know that men are suspicious and male authority figures are especially nefarious, but everything else is up in the air. Someone call Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis, this movie is a Cop Out.

AWESOMENESS: 9 (out of 20)

I’ve long complained of Lifetime’s habit of taking Freytag’s Pyramid and turning the falling action into a 75 minute battle of attrition. This movie is one of the worst offenders. As soon as the authorities determine Knox is a suspect, nothing happens until she is finally convicted. It is brutal. But everything else about it is competent, so yay for low standards.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 6

Is Hayden Panettiere really that famous? Think about it. She was on a show that had one strong season ratings-wise and then sank like a rock because it was a waste of everyone’s time. I know who she is and was surprised that she sank this low, but I don’t think she’s anything above B-list.

As for Amanda Knox’s mom, Marcia Gay Harden, props for being in the all time classic She’s Too Young. And I suppose props for winning an Oscar. Although I bet if you asked 100 people on the street what movie she won an Oscar for, you’d get an equal number of responses for “I don’t know” and “Who’s Marcia Gay Harden?” Don’t get me wrong, I love Mystic River. But when you’re most famous for a role where you’re the fifth listed cast member, that don’t make you too famous either.

LIFETIMENESS: 10

A little girl lost in a culture she doesn’t understand sleeps with the wrong guy and ends up becoming either a sex-crazed homicidal sociopath OR a little girl lost being framed for murder (by men) with a corrupt judicial system (run by men) so happy to see her go down. I mean, JESUS CHRIST! Even if this weren’t based on a true story this would have been on Lifetime eventually.

GRAND TOTAL: 25

Have you noticed that I give way lower scores than my colleagues? Why am I such a grouch? I think I’m harder on the HEY! IT’S THAT GUY! category. So this review follows type. An Oscar winner and an up-and-coming starlet and SIX! NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

I’d feel a lot worse about it if the movie weren’t such a piece of shit.

Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story February 11, 2011

Posted by H$ in 25-29, H$, taken from me: the tiffany rubin story.
16 comments

You may be wondering why this review is late. Well, I’m a reproductive health care advocate, and we’ve been pretty damn busy this week. (Note: I do not work for Planned Parenthood, this was just a good summary of the issues involved.) If you want me on a regular update schedule, please call your elected representatives and tell them to get the hell up out of my legislative vagoo. Thank you.

Anyway, enough about my vagoo. Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story is a ripped-from-the-headlines melodrama about Tiffany Rubin’s son being kidnapped. It stars a manic Taraji P. Henson, and costars some guy from Lost, a bunch of stereotypical menacing Asians, and Jesus Christ.

(Sidenote: There will not be any Lost jokes in this review because I do not give ass one about Lost. Don’t watch it, don’t care. If there’s ever a bit player from an episode of Dr. Who, I’ll be all over it like a weeping angel on blinking companion. Nerd jokes over.)

The film kicks off with Tiffany and her new husband (who looks so much like a beefy Paul Rudd that it is frankly annoying) at some kind of church picnic. Hot topics of conversation include how much Tiffany’s ex Jeff sucks, and Tiffany’s continued failure to get her sinning butt into church. We also meet Tiffany’s mom, who is concerned about Jeff’s plans to take Tiffany’s son Kobe to Disneyworld. Tiffany reasonably points out that they have a custody agreement that allows Jeff to do that, but grandma doesn’t give a fuck about the law. What matters is motherhood, and Jesus, and foreshadowing. In that order.

Also, grandma’s real name is Belzora, so it’s possible that she is a wizard.  A wizard would have seen this coming a mile away.

Cut to the next day, and Jeff is ready to pick up Kobe. Jeff looks like a Korean Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, right down to the slicked-back hair and leather jacket. There’s a weird scene where he leans down and says hello to his son in Korean, and his son respond in kind. The way the shot is framed and the music implies that something sinister is going down, which is weird because Jeff is Korean and it seems natural that he’d want to teach his son about his heritage. But surprise, this movie is kinda racist! Also, foreshadowing. Jeff tells Tiffany to get off his jock and not to call them on the road. I fee like that part is more sinister then the Korean language lesson, but Tiffany weirdly agrees. She gives her son a tearful goodbye, and the plot arc lurches forward.

We see the next few days of Tiffany’s lame, empty, son-less life. Tiff whiles her time away with teaching, cocktails, playing soccer in high heels, and getting teased by her husband about how badly she wants to talk to her son. Seriously, I don’t have kids, but if my son was on a roadtrip with his greasy deadbeat dad I’d chip him like a dog and track him via satellite. Tiffany is being pretty reasonable. That reasonableness bites her in the ass when she calls Jeff’s celly and he doesn’t pick up. She then calls the hotel where they’re supposed to be staying and of course they haven’t checked in. Tiff is suspicious enough to run over to Jeff’s building and bribe a super to let her into his apartment. Sure enough, the place is cleaned out and Jeff is gone.  Oh, snap! Maybe someone should have listened to magic grandma Belzora and the Jesus brigade.

Is he going to kidnap this kid, or eat him?

Tiffany goes to the police, who are hilariously rude and unhelpful. She explains the situation, and they’re just like ‘Whatever lady, it’s joint custody, nobody gives a damn if some dude stole your kid.’ Jerry Orbach would tear these guys a new asshole. Unruffled, Tiffany hacks into Jeff’s FriendZync account (another awesome LMN imaginary website!) by guessing his super-good password: “steelers”. If your ex-wife can get into your MySpace account, you suck at the internet. She finds a bunch of hoochie emails from hoochi-koochie internet ladies, including one that invites Jeff and Kobe to a sweet condo in Hawaii. Armed with this information, Tiff goes back to the police, who tell her she’s going to jail for stealing her ex-husband’s email. Really? Anyway, Tiff cries and screams at them for a while until the tough lady cop is revealed to be a tough MOM cop, so of course she’ll grudgingly help out.

The news is worse then Tiffany feared- Jeff and Kobe aren’t in Hawaii, but Korea! Jeff also filed a complaint with the police department about Tiffany being a sucky mom, which was apparently his excuse to flee. The police are pretty apologetic about not getting around to investigating things until Jeff had fled the country, but Tiff is unconsolable. She spends the next few scenes searching for answers, but of course there are none to be found. The state department is apologetic but honest about the fact that Korea is under no obligation to get involved with American custody disputes. She tries to hire some private detectives, but they all tell her that her chances aren’t great. Her best plan, in my opinion, is the one where she sets up a fake sexy lady account on FriendZync and propositions Jeff. Her friend puts on some fake boobs and smoothtalks him into almost revealing his address on a webcam chat. Unfortunately, Kobe’s adorable voice in the background makes Tiff come running at the computer and crying, which kind of blows the whole thing. Way to fuck up your plan, super-spy.

Tiff spends a lot of time crying and looking at discarded shoes and toys that are scattered around the house and yard. You know what? Kobe is kind of a slob. Tiff might be better off starting over with another kid who knows how to put his damn crayons away. Belzora disagrees with me, and urges Tif to get in touch with someone at her church who deals with missing kid cases. Tiff replies that everyone at her church is bullshit and she isn’t too happy with God at the moment, which is a fair point. WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW, BELZORA?!

Tiff eventually cracks and goes to see Mark, who is not just an amateur but the legit president of the American

Look who plays Mark! It's the guy from LOST! LOST, everybody! Remember LOST? LOST!

Association for Missing Children, a group that works to reunite kidnapped children with their legal guardians. Maybe if Belzora had mentioned this information along with the fact that he loves Jesus a ton, Tiff might have been more excited to speak with him. But golly, does this guy love Jesus! He says that faith is what keeps him going, and that any time you give money to a church sometimes it goes to people like him! Wink-nudge, folks at home. Sometimes it also goes to Chick Tracts though, so caveat emptor. Despite the mighty Jesus powers bestowed to him by faith, he says Tiffany’s case is impossible and that she should just give up. So much for faith. He encourages her to post Kobe’s information on an international teacher’s website to see if anyone spots him, and then scoots her out of the way so some more attainable lost kids can be serviced instead.

Tiff takes his advice, and is soon contacted by an American teacher named Simon who is working at the school Kobe attends. Here’s where the move gets racist- every shot of Korea is dimly lit, crowded, and gross, the school sucks, and every one there picks on Kobe because he’s an outsider. I’ve never been to a Korean school, but are they all little-kid versions of prisons? That seems off. Simon says that Korea is a bad place for Kobe and he should go home to the good ol’ USA. Tiff uses this info to convince missing kid guy to go with her to Korea and steal Kobe back. Tiff invites Belzora’s prayer group over and they have a sing-songy come to Jesus moment where Tiff is redeemed from, uh, not going to church I guess. They also read the parable of the prodigal son, which makes no sense whatsoever unless Kobe has another brother we haven’t seen yet in the film who resents the hell out of him. It’s from the Bible, though, so it must be relevant somehow.

This is every shot of Korea in the movie. Not pictured: joy.

The end of the movie is kind of like a fun spy movie. Tiff learns enough Korean to get around customs, and her and Mark take off for Korea. They land, make fun of Korean hotels for a while, then they go to bed. In the morning they put on goofy disguises and head to the school. Mark distracts the cop outside so Tiff can pick up Kobe. Tearful reunion, blah blah blah, everyone goes to the US Embassy so Tiff can get a passport for Kobe and get him out of the country. The customs lady, no doubt a tough customs lady mom, agrees to turn a blind eye to the whole reverse-kidnapping thing and makes a temporary passport. Wait, wasn’t a customs person not doing their job correctly a factor in the original kidnapping? Why do we even have customs officials if they’re just letting kids be whisked away to other countries all willy-nilly?

It wouldn’t be a real Lifetime movie without a final tearful confrontation. This happens when Jeff finds Tiff at the airport and demands custody of Kobe. Tiff isn’t impressed, calls him a dick, and hops a jet. Goodbye Korea, hello Brooklyn. USA! USA!

Awesomeness: 12

Real talk: I liked this movie. It dragged a little in the middle, but it was cheesy and fun. It toed the line between lurid tabloid flick and Lifetime movie pretty effectively, and was whack-a-doo enough that I got some laughs out of it too. I am knocking off 8 points for the movie’s contention that Jesus is the world’s best problem solver and Korea is gross and terrible, because I don’t like it when movies try and tell me what to do.

Star Power: 5

Taraji P. Henson is honestly awesome in this movie. She knows she’s in a campy melodrama and she plays it for all she’s worth. Not since A Little Thing Called Murder have I seen a lead actress so gleefully embrace such a ridiculous script. 4 points are for her, and 1 point is for the guy from Lost, since nobody will shut up about how this movie has a guy from Lost in it.

Lifetimeliness: 10

Uh, women’s intuition turned Tiffany Rubin into the goddamned Batman. I’d give it an 11 if I could.

27 seems fair. If this review made you want to watch this movie, you could kill your time in worse ways. Or you could wait until next week, when I’m going to tell you all about a movie where someone clones their dead baby.

Yeah, you heard me. What?

The Watch February 10, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 25-29, the watch.
4 comments

I know that this is kind of a “duh” statement from someone who reviews Lifetime movies, but LIFETIME HORROR MOVIES ARE SO GREAT!

Good work on that "T," Mr. Poster Designer

The Watch starts with an eight-year-old girl getting abducted in the dead of night by a creepy Ring lady in a white asylum gown. She’s kept in a basement for two days before being rescued so she develops a phobia of being alone in the dark. More of a fear than a phobia, since phobias are irrational by definition. This seems rational to me. I should be afraid of spiders because I was thrown into a spider pit, not because I had a bad dream in second grade. Clearly this lady, Cassie, gets a pass.

Nineteen years later, Cassie is a grad student writing her thesis on children suffering from PTSD. But she is having trouble! And her man crazy roommate with an insanely low voice isn’t helping. I mean, how do you finish a thesis and get over a crippling fear of being alone at the same time? Obviously you take a 30-day job isolated in a cabin in the middle of the woods to serve as a firewatch. What could possibly go wrong?

Cassie’s boss is named Rhett and oh my God how obvious is it that he’s a bad guy. Anytime a dude sneaks up on a vulnerable lady, even if it’s by accident, you know you’re in for some trouble. He gives her a tour, shows her the ropes, and steals her cell phone. He has her sign some job forms (this is the point where I figured out one of the big plot twists), and she buckles down for 30 days of thesis writing and fire watching. Oh, and there’s another lady there sneaking around.

After a rough first night, aided by an encouraging tape recording left by her roommate (along with bourbon and what is suggested to be a vibrator but turns out to be a harmonica), Cassie really seems to be getting the hang of things. Then one night someone is fucking around with the water pump and she sees a face in the woods. Freak out time! Thankfully, a woman named Polly answers the radio. Polly’s in a watch station eight miles east. She shines a light (Overrrrr the firewatch east!*) and, yay, Cassie has a buddy.

*Most strained Rocky Horror reference ever? Yes.

Despite being warned by the evil man, Rhett, that she only has one spare walkie-talkie battery, Cassie spends the next five days chatting on the radio with Polly. They’re playing chess and talking about how hard it is to be a neurotic female in this big, bad, man’s world. Cassie is clearly being fucked with and shame on her for not figuring this out.

Rhett comes by with more walkie-talkie batteries and they have a nice stroll through the woods. She tells him about her abduction and he responds by walking her past a watch station that was burnt to the ground. It was lit up by a former watchman named Polly who went mad from the isolation! She killed herself in the fire! And she haunts these woods!

Cassie doesn’t find that very funny and quits. But she’ll stay an extra two nights to allow Rhett to find a replacement. So Polly, who of course looks exactly like the woman who abducted Cassie 19 years ago, goes on the attack. And because the cabin is outfitted with a bunch of crappy cameras, it looks like The Ring. Finally Polly walks into the cabin and Cassie cowers in fear. Hey, Cassie, you’re like 27. Throw a fucking punch.

She follows my advice! WHAM! Right to the kisser!

Oh. I should probably mention that the school’s guidance counselors had called Cassie’s apartment. Her baritone roomie, Andrea, pretends to be Cassie and finds out that someone had stolen Cassie’s case file. Andrea calls the Park Rangers and discovers that they don’t use firewatches so late in the season. And when she drives down to rescue Cassie, she recognizes Rhett from Facebook stalking dudes she wants to bone. He’s a grad student too.

That’s the plot twist I figured out in the first 15 minutes. Cassie was being used as a psych patient for her colleagues’ theses. Those employment documents were really consent forms! The cabin was under constant surveillance. That’s not how contracts work, but, ok! Anyways, Rhett has a change of heart, grabs the contracts, and throws them in the fire. Cassie agrees not to press charges if all the evidence of her breakdown is destroyed.

This is when I figured out plot twist #2. Why are there 15 minutes left in this movie?

Oh, Jesus Christ.

So the lady thesis writer-slash-forest ghost admits that she was Polly on the radio…but only Polly for some of the time! They just cribbed a real local legend of a real ghost. All that “neurotic women of the world unite!” and playing chess bullshit was just her imagination.

Here is why this doesn’t make sense: In the next two minutes it will be established that other people can hear Ghost Polly. It’s not just Cassie. And the cabin was under constant surveillance. So wouldn’t the bad grad student have been all, “HOLY SHIT!”

So, yeah, after all the bad guys leave, Ghost Polly starts talking to Cassie and Andrea through an unplugged radio. Then Andrea’s phone rings and I wish I could describe the nonchalance in how Andrea answers it. There is all this spooky shit going down and Andrea just could not give a shit. “Hey! I have service up here!”

So of course by answering the phone, Andrea is possessed by Polly. Her skin turns all purple and blistery and her voice actually sounds like an adult woman’s. CGI fire keeps shooting out of the fireplace. Cassie uses her psych skills to convince the poltergeist that it’s time to move on to the next step where she’ll never be alone. That works and Polly leaves Andrea’s body.

So riddle me this: WHY IS THE LAST SCENE IN THE MOVIE POLLY TORTURING SOME UNSEEN FIREWATCH WITH FIRE AND WIND!? I THOUGHT SHE MOVED ON!

And if you think that ending is bad, wait until you hear about the penultimate scene. Cassie turns in her thesis, meets Rhett – her tormenter and borderline kidnapper – and they start making out in the hallway. Let that sink in.

AWESOMENESS: 16

I’ll admit this movie made me jump twice. That happened. Props.

This movie was a sometimes effective, mostly ridiculous ripoff of The Ring. And don’t let anyone tell you differently: The Ring is terrible. But then the last 15 minutes are just off the chain, ya’ll. The bad guy is the prime romantic interest! Possession! CGI! YES YES YES!

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 3

Cassie is played by Clea DuVall. According to Wikipedia, she is not related to actors Robert Duvall or Shelley Duvall. Good to know!

Kate loves Clea DuVall for being “freckly and gay.” Kate also admits that she doesn’t know if Clea DuVall is really gay and she chooses not to know for sure. So don’t spoil that for her.

Two buddies, hanging out.

I do not understand how anyone could love Clea DuVall. Anyone involved in Heroes gets demerits. Considering an exception for Hayden Panettiere’s Amanda Knox movie. Can’t wait. Can’t Hardly Wait. Clea DuVall was in that. Full circle. Good paragraph, Rusty.

LIFETIMENESS: 7

A total lack of women’s intuition and the protagonist getting together with the bad guy deserve serious demerits, but, I’m still giving this a seven? Why? Because there is only one network that would ever show this movie. And that network is Lifetime. It might not be a paint-by-the-numbers deal, but it is unmistakably a Lifetime movie.

GRAND TOTAL: 26

I watched this with a head cold while sipping on chicken soup. I can only imagine how much fun this would be if you were, say, drunk.

A Date with Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster February 6, 2011

Posted by Kate in 25-29, Kate Sullivan-Jones.
Tags: , ,
15 comments

I don’t even know where to begin. I watched this a week ago, and last night was my birthday party. I am wearing a bathrobe, and it is two in the afternoon.

A Date with Darkness is based on the true story of Andrew Luster, the Max Factor heir who drugged and raped a whole bunch of people. Oh, and he videotaped himself doing it.

This movie starts right in with Luster cooking up some homemade drugs.

Then we meet our young protagonist, Connie (Marla Sokoloff), as she goes out to celebrate making the Dean’s list. She takes along her dear friend Daniel, and promises him that she’ll help him pick up chicks. She fails to get Daniel laid, but they are having a good time dancing around like total goons.

Meanwhile, Andrew Luster stands in the middle of the dance floor and dumps the contents of an apothecary vial (which is labeled with the word KNOCKOUT) into a glass of water.

NOBODY WILL NOTICE

Connie is all thirsty from dancing, so she eagerly gulps down half of the water that Luster offers her, then hands the cup to Daniel. Five seconds later, the friends are all sorts of fucked up, so Luster pours them into his car and drives to his beach house. This part is shot in a weird, jumpy, flashbacky way that I assume is meant to convey how the victims feel after being drugged. In a scene that makes you wonder whether the people responsible for this movie have ever had sex or been inside a car, Connie and Daniel have sex in the backseat. I seriously had to rewind it to be totally sure that it was supposed to be sex. This screenshot isn’t even from that scene, it’s from a flashback later in the movie, because when the backseat sex is shown for the first time, Connie and Daniel are never in the same shot. How big is the backseat of this car?

At the beach house, Connie peels off her clothes and jumps into the ocean while Luster cackles and Daniel acts concerned. Because the Pacific ocean is ice cold and horrible on a balmy summer night, Luster fishes Connie out and puts her in a warm shower. Then he rapes her. Cut to Connie and Daniel on the couch drinking bright green drinks. Cut back to shower rape. Cut to Connie crying a single tear as Luster tells her he put “liquid X” in her drink.

Cmon Connie, Midori sours aren't THAT bad.

Cut to the next morning, when Connie wakes up with perfect makeup even though she spent the entire night swimming and getting raped in the shower.

this is how my makeup looked when I woke up this morning, and I had a considerably better night than Connie.

After refusing Luster’s offer to make them a “world class omelet,” Connie and Daniel call a cab. Daniel’s watch is missing, so they leave their phone numbers with the rapist in case he finds the watch that he obviously stole. Daniel and Connie have an awkward conversation about the backseat sex (complete with flashbacks), and then Connie calls the cops.

Here’s where the movie turns into a lesson on what not to do when you’ve committed a whole buttload of crimes.

  1. Don’t videotape your crimes, then attach Polaroids of your crimes to the cassette cases.                                                       
  2. Don’t label the tapes with the names of your victims and the illegal drug you tricked them into ingesting.
  3. Don’t label bottles of said illegal drug with weirdo descriptions. Why do they even need to be labeled? What could you possibly confuse them with? Before he started labeling the bottles,  did Luster ever accidentally use GHB instead of shampoo?
  4. Don’t have a drawer in the kitchen filled with stolen watches. What if somebody tries to look for the silverware drawer? How do you explain a drawer full of watches? Can’t you keep them in your closet, or, I don’t know, pretty much ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE HOUSE?                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The cops find two of the women that Luster videotaped himself raping, Sarah and Teri. First, they bring in Teri, who is pregnant with twins. Without so much as a trigger warning, they show her the tape of her own rape.

no need to shut the blinds or anything

Is it just me, or does that male detective look like he’s enjoying this?

After they’re done traumatizing Teri, they bring in Sarah, a happy-go-lucky teen.

There weren't enough people before. At least three people need to watch the girl watching her own rape this time.

Sarah’s video is extra creepy, because Luster stands over her unconscious body and brags about how awesome it is that he gets to drug and rape a teenager. He says it’s better than Thanksgiving and Christmas. BETTER THAN THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS. The man is a monster.

Now there’s a boring trial part mixed with scenes of how the stress of the trial is affecting the three women. Teri miscarries one of her twins. Sarah starts popping benzos like crazy. Connie yells at a woman who leaves her drink unattended.

Oh yeah, and Andrew Luster escapes to Mexico and goes surfing. It’s okay, though, because the judge is all, “Fuck this trust fund douchebag, I’m trying him in absentia!” Luster’s meticulously labeled rape tapes lead to his conviction, but will he ever pay for his crimes? It seems unlikely.

Cut to Luster being tackled on the beach by a tough looking dude with long blond hair.

Wait, is that a camera crew behind them? Why is there a camera crew?

Is that DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER?

Yeah, I guess it is. How bout that.

AWESOMENESS: 20

This movie ends with fucking Dog the bounty hunter tackling a smug millionaire surfer/rapist. Oh, and the scene is so poorly constructed that instead of watching it and thinking, “Oh yeah, Dog the bounty hunter is arresting this guy as part of his reality show,” the viewer is left screaming at her screen, “Who is that guy with the camcorder? Why does that police officer look like a member of a biker gang? Is this an episode of Dog the bounty hunter? SOMEBODY GOOGLE THIS!” I also loved how the detectives surprised rape victims with videos of their own rapes before telling them they were raped. In a room with the blinds open. With like three other people watching. I seriously hope that those scenes exist because the folks who made this movie are idiots, and not because the real Luster’s victims were treated that way.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 3

I don’t know how famous Marla Sokoloff is, but she sure is cute. My friend recognized her from Full House. This movie had an obvious chance to score a ten in this category, but they failed to cast the real Dog the bounty hunter. How many times have I typed “Dog the bounty hunter”? I feel weird just typing “Dog.”

LIFETIMENESS: 5

I feel like most of the “Lifetimey” parts of this movie were too close to the truth to count toward this score. Andrew Luster really was an evil man who drugged and raped women, and it’s hard to laugh at the cheesiness of the movie villain when the real guy was just as awful. Plus, there was a serious dearth of woman’s intuition.

That said, a good Lifetime movie will leave you screaming “WHAT THE FUCK???” at the screen, and boy, this one sure did.

GRAND TOTAL: 28

I would watch this again just for the ending.

Circle of Friends January 14, 2011

Posted by Rusty in 25-29, circle of friends.
6 comments

Hello, Lifetime, Wow! readers. Welcome to WordPress. Hopefully this will be a better experience for the writers and the readers alike. But enough of that admin crap because, holy shit, Circle of Friends is crazy.

What the Hell is even happening here?

The film opens with a woman running though the woods begging for her life. She falls and the unseen assailant pulls out a pistol and shoots her in a surprisingly graphic head shot. Question: If you have a gun, why are you bothering to run through the woods after this woman? Shoot her in the back! I guess it’s to make it look like a suicide? Because people think it’s a suicide. BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Angle of the shot, distance of the shot, TWO SETS OF TRACKS FROM CHASING SOMEONE DOWN IN THE WOODS. But, fine. Suicide. Whatever.

At the funeral, three women are talking to a dead person. Stuff like, “you were the leader of our group. You remembered all the birthdays,” and then the next person takes over talking in the second person. Did they plan this in advance? This is weird. Then the fourth living member of their clique, Maggie, shows up. She missed the funeral because her flight was delayed.

The movie is set in Connecticut and Maggie lives in New York City, so what an asshole. Rent a car. It’s a three hour drive, max. Isn’t a friend’s funeral important enough to make it on time? Total asshole move.

Actually, this movie goes way out of its way to make everyone pretty unlikeable. These ladies were all a clique in high school and they pride themselves on being “exclusive.” They’re reconnecting over memories of being snotty and picking on people lower down on the social ladder.  I am Team Killer right now.

Maggie’s deal is that her husband (her high school flame, natch) died in a fiery car wreck. Immediately after the funeral, Maggie notices someone else in the Class of 92 died mysteriously. In what might be the land-speed record for women’s intuition, Maggie immediately jumps to the conclusion that there is a murderer who wants them all dead. Her friends politely tell her that she is just trying to convince herself that her hubby didn’t die in a DUI wreck. A DUI wreck where no alcohol was found in the victim’s body.

While trying to solve the case, Maggie also jumps into the sack with her 10th grade boyfriend. There is an astonishing amount of sideboob. Sideboob is the best boob, amiright, fellas? Also, Julie Benz has three moles on her tummy. Just an FYI.

(Also, if you’re going to have a spontaneous bone scene on the living room floor in front of a fire (argh), where does the areolae covering blanket come from? I understand the need for the blanket. Can’t show baby toes on TV. But the blanket needs to come from somewhere! Did the guy (Harry, btw) get up and get a blanket? Why not snuggle on the couch then? Why are you guys lying on a hardwood floor!? THIS MAKES NO SENSE!)

Maggie finds a photo from back in the day that shows half of the dead people at a campfire. Clearly the other people in the photo are in danger too. She takes it to the police, but the lead detective won’t help her on account of what a bitch she was in high school.  Oh, and two more people from the photo die. One is pushed off a balcony (she literally stops investigating a home break-in to step on a balcony to fix one of her plants) and another in some kind of gas explosion. The killer goes after Maggie by, wait for it, opening the fireplace flue. Carbon monoxide, ya’ll! She escapes the silent killer.

So we get more investigating. A huge part of the plot depends on these people HAVING NO CLUE who their high school classmates are. They can’t recognize people in that photo and people literally stop them on the street to tell them they went to high school together. In a small town? Really? I blame public schools. Public schools are gross. (HaromyC and Kate were publicly educated. Obviously.)

Maggie goes back to NYC where she is a famous designer and her stereotype GAY GAY GAY assistant mentions a comedy club. Somehow that’s the key to everything. One of the stand-ups also went to high school with everybody and he was at the camping trip in question. He saw one of the Circle of Friends (the brunette one who is dating a gubernatorial candidate and ALSO HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS) accidentally kill a student and he has been blackmailing her. She has been killing off every last person on that trip to prevent the blackmail. She gets caught and the end.

AWESOMENESS: 19

It’s pretty awesome. Nothing makes sense and there is sex and violence and general zaniness. I was a fan.

HEY! IT’S THAT GUY: 3

Maggie was played by Julie Benz from Buffy/Angel and I guess she was in Dexter. I hated her in the Buffyverse. Here’s a character they kill off six episodes in and yet she keeps coming back! Season 3 of Angel, WHICH IS SIX YEARS AFTER SHE DIED ON BUFFY, and we are still dealing with Darla shit. Boo to Julie Benz.

LIFETIMENESS: 6

I mentioned the women’s intuition and the fireplace coitus, but there has to be a very serious demerit for the bad guy not being a guy at all. Lady serial killers? Come on.

Also, no black detectives or principles.

GRAND TOTAL: 28

A fine way to kick off our WordPress era. Definitely DVR-worthy.

The Boy She Met Online November 10, 2010

Posted by H$ in 25-29, H$, the boy she met online.
Tags: ,
7 comments

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.