Hey, Lifetime Jokes on SNL! October 18, 2011Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
Holy mother of God it’s difficult to embed Hulu videos on WordPress. Sorry, you have to click to see this great SNL sketch.
Worst part: Describing Lifetime as “television for white women.” Uh, have you seen “Sins of the Mother“? And how could you miss that Lifetime is remaking Steel Magnolias with an all-black cast? (To be fair, if you have diabetes you are probably black or Southern, so that makes sense.)
Best part: “She named the baby Tanya.” “Yes.”That is a perfect description of movies like Sins of the Mother, The Pregnancy Pact, and Fifteen and Pregnant where the physical act of giving birth turns a little girl lost into a strong and forceful mother who puts family first.Makes me want to puke.
Invisible Child September 20, 2011Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
Wow, five weeks since our last post. Even in the bad times, that’s a pretty bad stretch of inactivity. Truth be told, the inactivity was especially unplanned. I started watching Invisible Child two weeks ago. But I couldn’t finish it. It’s not just bad, it’s a special kind of bad. Drop Dead Fred bad. Awkward. Not good awkward. Bad awkward. Just a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach for two hours.
So now that I’ve set the stage, let’s do this:
We meet Annie Beeman posting a help wanted ad at the local college for a nanny. She has three kids and needs some extra help.
A British student, not Louise Woodward, just shows up at the Beeman house a few days later and asks for the job. That’s right, our nanny, Gillian, just appears at this house looking for work. Shows initiative, I suppose.
But lest you think Gillian is a nutso, wait until you meet the Beemans. The architect dad, Tim, has no idea that his wife was looking to hire a nanny. Oh, and one of their kids doesn’t exist. Not even a little bit. This isn’t a “pretend the dead kid is still alive” dealio, this kid is a straight-out invention courtesy of Mom. The husband and the precocious 10-year-old daughter (Her?*) play along for the sake of keeping the family together. The four-year-old son is convinced this fiction, Maggie, is real.
Gillian is way too comfortable with this and takes the job immediately. As in, she moves into their crazy home right away. The mom posted this position in secret a few days ago and they already have full nanny quarters? That is weird? And she immediately starts giving an invisible child a bath! What is going on here!?
So, not to skip ahead, but obviously the nanny is evil. OBVIOUSLY. None of this fazes her and she keeps doing weird things. Her only previous nanny experience is raising her siblings, but she refuses to discuss her family under any circumstances. And she keeps undermining the whole charade! She keeps giving the fake kid seconds on its food knowing that the 10-year-old (Her?**) is going to have to eat it (and it’s always vegetables, not, say, a hard boiled egg and mayonnaise packet***). And, then when the 10-year-old starts to crack, Gillian tries to get her to move to England with her! It’s as 10-year-old as the nose on plain’s face**** that the nanny is crazy!
**** You get what I’m doing here, right? I can stop. Please let me stop.
When the 10-year-old refuses to move spend Christmas in England with her nanny’s family, Gillian goes to a shrink who confirms the effed-upness of the situation. Next step: Social Services! Social services is very interested. Too interested? They start asking too many questions. Green card talk is bandied about. Gillian leaves. Probably because too many questions will reveal her background as a kidnapper, right?
It turns out the movie was playing it straight all along. Gillian is normal. Annie is crazy for some reason that is purported to be legitimate (it is not), so she isn’t looking to cause any problems. The husband just loves his wife so much that he won’t do anything to break the spell. The kids? Well, fuck the kids. They don’t have to deal with adult shit yet. So, if everything is so great, who’s the bad guy?
Social services. They are the bad guys. They show up at the Beeman’s with armed officers. They need to speak to the kids or they will be taken away! I am pretty sure this is not how that works, but, why not. The dad’s lawyer even confirms it.
Gillian admits to being the snitch, but because she is such a good nanny, the family (sans Crazy Mom) decides to work around it. They set up a meeting with social services and deny everything. Gillian even claims she never brought up an imaginary child to the county in the first place. The daughter even goes as far as to claim the imaginary child is like Martin Luther King: She isn’t alive, but she lives in our hearts. The black social service worker is very impressed. (In case this wasn’t clear, that was not a joke. There really is a black case worker who sympathizes with the Beemans once they mention MLK.)
Coaching a pre-teen to lie to the authorities works and they all high-five in the street. The mom is so inspired by her family and nanny working together to trick people dedicated to look out for the welfare of children that she pretends her fake daughter died of a fever in her sleep. THE END.
(What’s amazing about this ending is that there are all of these horrible scenes where the mom is pretending she has an extra daughter and it is so awkward. Hospitals, schools, the boardwalk, etc. But when she “dies,” fuck protocol. THEY BURY IT IN THE BACKYARD.)
I was intrigued when I thought that the nanny was evil. Once that went by the wayside, woof. I repeat, this movie took me three weeks to watch. It’s that bad.
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 10
The Beeman Dad is the ultimate “that guy.” Ladies and gentlemen: Victor Garber. BOOM. Mid-level parts in Titanic, Legally Blonde, and Milk? Garber is in the That Guy Hall of Fame.
Annie is played by Rita Wilson. She is married to Tom Hanks. More importantly, she is in one of my favorite movies of all-time: Now and Then.
Obviously the daughter is Ann from Arrested Development. That was clear, yes?
Surprisingly un-Lifetimey! The demonization of local authorities is pretty spot on, but the movie is about a married young dude and a younger, suspicious nanny teaming up for something other than kidnapping or adultery. That’s nuts.
GRAND TOTAL: 15
Just watch the trailer. It tell you all you need to know and you can save yourself 98 minutes or so of misery.
Devil in the Flesh August 8, 2011Posted by Rusty in 0-12, devil in the flesh.
I may have been too hard on Magic Beyond Words. Sure, the movie was pointless and terrible. But at least I got through it in one sitting. That didn’t happen with Devil in the Flesh. This film was a slog.
A shame, too, since I was kind of excited for it. Rose McGowan stars in one of her patented bad slut roles from the late 90s. And, sure Jawbreaker was terrible (despite my persistent crush on Fern Mayo), but it was glorious schlock. It’s the kind of terrible that you find yourself watching at 2pm on a Saturday while you’re fighting a hangover. So Rose McGowan plus Lifetime should have been a formula for something even grander. Instead, woof.
The movie opens with a slow shot of Rose McGowan (Debbie) with some late-90s post-grunge blasting in the background. It’s dark. Suddenly there is an explosion. Firefighters rush to the scene and ask Debbie if there is anyone else in the house. She doesn’t answer.
We jump forward a few days later and Debbie is being sent to her grandmother’s after the death of her mom and stepdad. They died in an accidental fire, although the police are awfully suspicious when they find a huge knife in what used to be the living room…
Debbie’s grandmother is a real piece of work. She is extremely religious and makes Debbie clean out all sorts of garages and attics. She also attacks Debbie with her cane if she gets any sass mouth. And, of course, it wouldn’t be on Lifetime if the grandmother didn’t give one of the worst performances I’ve seen in the history of TV movies. This is just brutal.
Debbie is forced to go to a new school in a dowdy dress that goes all the way down to her knee! With no bare midriff! This is clearly a death sentence in the late-90s – I refer you to the unpopularity of the gorgeous Alyson Hannigan in the first two seasons of Buffy – because Debbie is immediately picked on by the tough guy jocks and the blonde queen bees. Right. That is a thing that would happen.
While being mercilessly picked on, Debbie watches a teacher, Mr. Rinaldi, challenge a jock to a basketball game over a grade. So we already know this teacher has boundary issues. He doesn’t have issues TAKING IT TO THE HOLE, so he wins the game. Debbie is smitten.
Debbie makes a fellow alternative friend named Jane (the official name for people who befriend outcasts on their first day at a new school) and they decide to go shopping. And by shopping I mean steal some clothes and drink champagne on the bed of a pickup truck.
Somewhere in there Debbie has a fever dream where she is greeted at her grandmother’s by the charred corpses of the people she murdered. It’s weird.
Now when Debbie goes to school she brings an alternate outfit to change into. It is basically underwear. Suddenly Debbie is popular! So popular that the head queen bee, Meegan becomes her arch-rival. (Yes, seriously, Meeee-gan.) Both have obvious crushes on Mr. Rinaldi and both volunteer to help at his annual garage sale with proceeds going towards the school’s art department. This angers Debbie so she pushes Meegan down some stairs and fractures her leg. Jane seems concerned.
Mr. Rinaldi has sex with his girlfriend and she reminds him they are going on vacation that weekend. Sorry, toots, but this garage sale is just too important! She goes without him and they are fighting.
So the garage sale is as inappropriate as you imagined. First, Debbie shows up at her teacher’s house in hot pants and some kind of devious combination of sports bra and bikini top. And Mr. Rinaldi kind of checks her out. It’s gross. He also allows her to walk in his house without supervision and answer his phone. All the dudes on the block buy shit from Debbie because of that sports bikini and they end up with a grand total of $170. DEFINITELY WORTH DITCHING YOUR GIRLFRIEND ON VACATION, RINALDI.
Debbie comes home to only to be confronted by her grandmother. Her grandma discovered her diary (complete with love poems and flower drawings) and is going to beat the wicked out of Debbie. But not so fast! Debbie defends herself, grabs the cane, and beats her grandma to death. She kills grandma’s dog too.
From here on out, Debbie just amps up her inappropriate behavior. Taking showers at Mr. Rinaldi’s, buying him flowers, stuff like that. At some point she tells a jock that she and Mr. Rinaldi are in love and he tries to sexually blackmail her with that information. Then he tries to rape her. So he gets impaled to death. She makes a lot of snide remarks while staring at his corpse and digging a hole in the backyard. It’s played for humor. It doesn’t work.
Here’s what I don’t get about this movie: Debbie is clearly an insane bunny boiler who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. She is a psychotic. But killing her grandmother and her rapist neighbor are heroic killings. They were both abusive and she was defending herself. So why does the movie do that? Who are we supposed to be rooting for? The psychotic avenger or the tattooed, basketball playing teacher with no sense of boundaries? It turns out to be the latter, but then why have every single one of Debbie’s murders be justified?
The coppers finally figure out that Debbie’s parents were murdered and they learn that Debbie has always been infatuated with teachers. When Debbie shows up at a restaurant where Mr. Rinaldi had a date, a fight breaks out. This is the final piece for the cops to figure out Debbie is evil? Somehow?
Debbie barricades herself in her house with a shotgun and shoots a cop. Mr. Rinaldi tries to talk Debbie into surrendering but instead we hear a gun shot. It appears that Debbie has killed herself. Anyone with a brain would know better. I don’t know why Jane was hanging out during a hostage situation, but Debbie shot her face off to fake her own death (VERY X-Files Season 5). Rinaldi figures this out on the drive home and rescues his girlfriend from Debbie’s clutches. But only after Debbie slits a cops’ throat and stabs Rinaldi a couple of times. Debbie gets arrested and that’s that.
Ugggggggh.This movie was directed by a guy who cut his teeth directing Billy Joel’s music videos. The man clearly has no taste. Everything about this was bad. Seriously. Everything. The two points are mostly inflationary since I’m sure I’ve seen worse. I just don’t remember when.
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 6
Rose McGowan isn’t nearly as famous as you’d think. After Jawbreaker and before Grindhouse, the woman was in nothing. But Death Proof is so good that I’m ok with not penalizing her too much.
It was also fun to see a Twin Peaks alum (Nadine/Super-Nadine) as the principal and a Seinfeld alum (Jackie Chiles) as a no-nonsense cop.
Only points come from an understanding minority police officer. The antagonist is a woman. (I think? Again, I never figured out the good guy here.) And even though she is physically attacking a woman, she is stalking and harassing a man. And that man wasn’t pulling a Fatal Attraction. He never slept with Debbie. He never led her on. He may have behaved inappropriately, but certainly not so badly as to earn getting stabbed twice.
How did this get on Lifetime?
GRAND TOTAL: 10
Never watch this. It left me with face:
Magic Beyond Words July 25, 2011Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
I have always been and continue to be a contrarian asshole. This is not a news flash to anyone who has made my acquaintance. But like Jules in Pulp Fiction, I’m trying. I’m trying real hard. I want to be a better man (mostly so I can bang the chick from the song, Better Man). I recently made a huge step in my path towards not being so unpleasant: I started reading Harry Potter.
Harry Potter came out when I was 14. Really the perfect age for a boy to avoid Harry Potter. I was reading Stephen King (scary clowns! swear words!) and Kurt Vonnegut (he sees right through the bullshit, man). A book about an 11-year-old British wizard? I knew even then not to use the word “gay” in a derogatory manner, but that is the gayest shit I had ever heard.
I watched Harry Potter become more and more popular and soon enough a new book coming out was a national event. Because I’m an asshole I ruined a character’s death from the sixth book and had “Hermoine dies” as my status message 48 hours before the final book was released in 2007. I don’t know why I treated Potter fans so scornfully, but I did.
Now I’m an old man. Twenty-eight. That means I work with people who are between the ages of 23 and 26. Jesus Christ, they LOVE Harry Potter. And I would never say this to their face, but they’re all nice, kind, intelligent, quick-witted people who are a pleasure to work with. So I convinced myself that I missed out. A friend lent me the first Harry Potter and I started it a few days ago.
It’s awesome. It’s so good. It’s not perfect (it is a kid’s book for Christ’s sake), but I am very happy and, frankly, excited to enter into this world.
So why five paragraphs of me (figuratively)(you hope) jerking myself off over my life story? Because I just watched a movie where a woman writes, has her mom die, and then writes some more. Then she becomes famous. I can’t imagine anyone other than a typewriter fetishist enjoying Magic Beyond Words. Not a lot of noteworthy stuff happens, and I have to write about something, amiright?
So let’s hammer out some notes on the movie:
1. JK Rowling is unpopular in high school. This makes no sense. She is slender and has a rich girl rack (a big B, think Paltrow and Lively). Her accent is sing-songy and she is obviously brilliant. Still, she is picked on by the Queen Bees of her school. But the Queen Bees are all brunette, overweight, have split ends, and speak in a Cockney accent. Um, the reason Queen Bees have power is because everyone wants to fuck them. There is no school in the entire world where the gorgeous blonde (and I prefer brunettes!) would be lower than these bullies on the social ladder. It’s ridiculous.
But still worth it to see Rowling get beaten down in a hallway.
2. Rowling meets a boy in Portugal and she catches him going through her stuff. His defense: “I am falling in love with you.” Relationship escalates.
Rowling catches boy in Portugal cheating on her His defense: “Marry me.” They get married.
I know Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature, not the Nobel Prize for Good Decision Making, but for a supposedly brilliant person, what the fuck, JK Rowling?
3. Rowling ditches Portuguese husband after he gets abusive. She moves to England and applies for benefits. She protests she can’t live on 69 pounds a week. The caseworker’s response: “You should have thought about that before you left your husband.”
My job is signing people up for benefits, so I pay attention to how these things are portrayed in media. I am happy that the movie goes of its way to make receiving benefits look honorable. But no caseworker in their right mind would ever, ever say that to a woman coming out of an abusive relationship. Has it happened before in the history of time? Yeah, maybe. Probably. But, no.
4. So JK Rowling is apartment hunting and she finds a place that costs 300 pounds a month. She needs to provide an employment history to prove she can afford the place. Obviously that’s a problem. But the landlord lets her stay anyways because “it’s clear you love your daughter.” Wait, what? She makes 297 pounds a month. The place costs 300. But you’ve known this lady for five minutes, so she is obviously Parent of the Year. Another no.
5. The movie ends with a big Harry Potter movie premiere. Rowling leaves and thinks about her life and her (dead) mother. She looks at her own daughter and starts reading to her. Because no matter how successful you are, your worth as a woman is defined by your mothering abilities.
Not the worst thing in the world, just boring. It’s a story of nothing with occasional Sorcerer’s Stone references sprinkled about to keep the Harry Potter nerds in line. “Oh my God, that page says “The Sorting Hat.” This is where she wrote about the sorting! A talking hat! How droll! How whimsical!”
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 0
Nope. Didn’t recognize a single name or a single face. I think this is the first “0” ever.
I don’t know all the details of JK Rowling’s personal life. So maybe this was accurate, but the way her first husband is portrayed is fantastic. It’s like Lifetime panicked that there were no men in the movie and someone had to be the bad guy. Not just bad. Adulterous and abusive. Evil. Welcome to Lifetime!
Sort of off-topic, but I do think it’s awesome that she made it big while living off of the system. That is what the system is around for. I also love that she’s repaid the favor by supporting high taxes for the social safety net and not being a tax exile asshole like Bono or (I’m sorry) Freddie Mercury.
GRAND TOTAL: 13
Woof. I hope Ms. Rowling isn’t offended. She should know that even if her life story is whack, her first book is amazing.
Devil’s Pond July 18, 2011Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
I often wonder about the dynamics of the man-hating Lifetime movie. Lifetime movies rarely hate men wholesale. They hate husbands, boyfriends, anyone who the female protagonist allows to get close to them. It’s trust and intimacy that are threatening, not men. It’s sort of depressing. Who are these movies made for?
So, Devil’s Pond! A man and a woman get married and honeymoon in an isolated cabin. How do you think this goes for the wifey?
The film opens with a wedding. Mitch (Kip Pardue) and Julianne (the rotten Tara Reid) are tying the knot and based on Mitch’s speech, they kind of rushed to the altar. They’ve known each other for less than a year but they are wildly in love and love can not wait! Julianne’s family comes from money and they are unhappy that the honeymoon is taking place in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere instead of at some resort. But Mitch is a country boy and Julianne is a rebel, so into the woods we go!
They drive Mitch’s shitty pick-up truck to this cabin, and not only is the cabin in the middle of nowhere, it’s on a fucking island. And Julianne is afraid of water.
So they paddle over to the cabin and they fuck a lot. Mitch carves and whittles, Julianne paints. It’s all very sweet. But Mitch starts doing some psycho stuff like hiding Julianne’s birth control and keeping his truck’s keys locked in a chest where Julianne can’t get them. And he is always falling asleep after sex! That’s cuddle time, not sleepy time, silly.
In these happy times, Julianne cuddles up to Mitch by the campfire and asks to hear a ghost story. Mitch asks if Julianne has ever heard the one about the serial killer tormenting the married couple. But Julianne doesn’t want to hear that one. She wants to hear a story about a damsel in distress.
1. If you want to hear a fairy tale, ask for a fucking fairy tale. Don’t be all skeeved out when your husband offers to provide exactly what you asked for.
2. I swear to Christ, Tara Reid mispronounced “damsel.” She put the emphasis on the second syllable. Dam-SEL. Tara Reid is the worst.
After ten days of suspicious bliss, Julianne is getting antsy. She hasn’t been off the island and her cell phone isn’t getting any service. She wants out. Mitch freaks. This was supposed to be a two week vacation, not ten days. And Mitch didn’t marry a quitter.
By the way, Mitch is right. How would you feel if someone cut your planned vacation short by four days because they suddenly got bored. Wouldn’t you flip? Or keep that hypothetical person hostage on an island?
Also, it turns out that Mitch and Julianne’s meet-cute was elaborately staged by the former. He had been stalking her. Julianne is kind of pissed off about it. I think. Tara Reid’s pissed voice and her “sexy” voice are the same thing. Although to her credit, that might be on purpose. Even though Mitch has escalated to physical violence, Julienne still envelopes him. Mitch immediately falls asleep. That’s ladies for you, always using sex to get what they want. Amiright, fellas?
Julianne makes a run for it and OF COURSE the truck won’t start. In the background, a flashlight flickers. Mitch is coming. She threatens him with a rifle but she is too tweaked out on estrogen to fire a shot. Mitch beats her unconscious. When she comes to, she finds herself back on the island and chained to an anchor.
Haha, what a great metaphor for Tara Reid’s career.
Mitch takes to destroying all of the rafts and life jackets and what not. (He also non-sensically and conspicuously throws an axe into the lake.) He’s a strong swimmer so this ain’t no thang. But Julienne is apparently so afraid of the water that she will risk uxoricide rather than get wet. To be fair, I would rather die than swim through an ocean of spiders. But I also wouldn’t get on a raft on top of spiders.
Tara Reid’s default expression is open-mouthed confusion, so it is totally unbelievable to watch her devise and then carry out a plan. Well, it’s a little believable when you realize the plan makes no sense. First, she sets all of the matches on fire. Mitch freaks once he realizes no matches mean no cigarettes. He takes off swimming giving Julienne a little bit of time (an hour?) to hatch her brilliant plan. First she fishes the axe out of the lake and chops the anchor chain. Now, that means that there is still a heavy chain around her ankle, it’s just not attached to anything. So shouldn’t paddling be kind of hard with 20 pounds of metal on your ankle? Right?
Julianne gets to the shore and starts digging around for the bear trap that Mitch hid in the woods. She finds it (along with Mitch’s father’s grave…this is barely commented on), digs it up, and paddles back to the island with a motherfucking 25 pound bear trap and a giant-ass chain. WHATEVER.
When she gets back she hides the bear trap and somehow rechains herself to the anchor? Or something? How does one pretend that they are still chained to an anchor when that chain is broken? Did she tie the chain into a knot?
Also, how did she do this in the time it took Mitch to swim to the shore, realize the truck was broken, and swim back?
Out of the scores of Lifetime movies I have watched, this is the one that makes the least amount of sense. Take a bow, Devil’s Pond.
Mitch is back on the island and because Julianne is a moron he notices water everywhere. Then he notices the raft that she didn’t bother to hide. Julianne runs to the area around the bear trap and tries to goad him into stepping on it. That works, but only after Mitch SLASHES HER FACE WITH A KNIFE. What the fuck, Lifetime?
So Mitch’s leg is all mangled and he gets knocked out with a log. But he still has enough power to drag Julianne around by her chain. So she shoots him in the chest. So now a concussion, a compound fracture, and a gaping wound…so OF COURSE he can still tell Julianne how much he loves her. She takes his key, unlocks the chain that she magically welded back together, and chains him to the anchor. She overcomes her fear of water and swims towards shore. She hears a gunshot and it is assumed that Mitch has killed himself. Julianne throws away her wedding ring and walks towards town.
I don’t even know where to start. Tara Reid is the worst actress ever. Nothing made sense. It was gratuitously violent.
I would watch it again.
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 6
I know this is clear, but I hate Tara Reid. And I love stuff she’s been in! American Pie* and Cruel Intentions are fantastic! And she should get credit for being cast in a Coen Brothers movie.
(It helps that American Pie came out when I was 17. And although I wasn’t on a quest to lose my virginity by prom night, I was on a quest to smooch a girl by graduation. Unlike Jason Biggs, I failed. Sad emoticon.)
(I am tempting H$’s wrath here, but The Big Lebowski is not that good. It could be good if they took out all of John Goodman, Julianne Moore, and Flea. Kind of sad that there’s a Tara Reid movie with a lot of problems and Tara Reid is not one of them.)
(Another off-topic question that I posited to H$’s boyfriend: How many people have masturbated to the site of (not really) Tara Reid’s dismembered toe in that movie? At least a dozen?)
Tara Reid also played a lesbian rock star in the only movie ever to be granted a perfect score by Lifetime, Wow!: Girl.
Mitch was played by Kip Pardue. I don’t know what a Kip Pardue is.
There is a startling lack of women’s intuition here and for a Lifetime movie it’s shockingly violent. A woman’s face gets slashed Tina Fey style. Icky.
That being said, it’s a good (albeit shockingly stupid) woman versus an evil man. And then you add in all those trust and intimacy issues that I wrote about earlier, and you’ve got yourself a movie that could only be on Lifetime. Seriously. The movie may not have been made for the Lifetime Movie Network, but it was made for the Lifetime Movie Network, if you catch my drift.
GRAND TOTAL: 25
A surprisingly high score for a real piece of schlock. This movie starts slow before rapidly accelerating into Crazy Town. Recommended.
Safe Harbor 2: Safer Harbor June 22, 2011Posted by H$ in 13-16, H$, safe harbor 2: safer harbor.
Did you know that there are actually TWO Lifetime movies named Safe Harbor? And that I have watched them both? I actually asked Rusty if he’d reviewed Safe Harbor before because it sounded familiar. If you’d like to read the first Safe Harbor review and find out how volunteering will get you murdered by street gangs, it’s right here. For the sake of simplicity, I will be referring to the movie below as “Safe Harbor 2: Safer Harbor”.
So. Safe Harbor 2: Safer Harbor is the story of Carly Segan, a tough lady cop who of course has a heart of boring, boring gold. Just once, I’d love to see a TV movie where the lady cop is a lying scumbag that sells crack to high schoolers. The movie kicks off with her and her walrus-faced partner Joe busting into a beat-up looking house to take down a wanted man. There’s some Three Stooge antics where Tracey ineffectively windmills at the brick shithouse of a fugitive and gets dunked in a bathtub, but she gets the upper-hand in the end. The big fella goes to jail, and Tracey gives his family a manilla envelope full of her own money so they can take a bus home. Joe good-naturedly ribs her for being softhearted, and then asks her over to dinner with the caveat that his sister would try to set her up with his cousin. “The landscaper?” she asks. “Landscaper?” he spits. “HE MOWS LAWNS.” Um, isn’t that kind of a landscaping thing, and maybe not deserving of that level of sheer contempt? She says she’s OK being single and she can take care of herself. He replies (and I swear to God this is in the movie): “When God created partners, he created them for one reason: to watch each other’s backs.” Adam and Eve, Jesus and Paul, Starsky and Hutch. Joe isn’t good for much, but he definitely brings it in the arena of non sequiters.
Things get crazy when someone finds a dead body next to Safe Harbor: a mansion that, inexplicably, is also a foster home. Someone painted a spooky devil face on the wall next to the body, so it’s obviously Satanists. There’s a gross conversation where they try to determine whether the woman was raped or otherwise assaulted, but decide that they can’t find anything conclusive because the leaves on top of her would “absorb the evidence”. Gross. But a valuable lesson to all of your aspiring defilers of life: you can do anything you want to anyone, as long as you kill them and cover them with leaves immediately afterward. They approach the staff of the home and ask to see their records on the kids to look for suspicious characters. The foster care staff says no, so they shrug and leave. So these cops don’t know how warrants work, and also think that leaves remove DNA evidence from bodies. Did anyone train these assholes? It’s a miracle that Joe manages to holster his gun without shooting himself in the fucking leg every morning.
I’ll give Casey a pass, since she’s a bit distracted. Going to Safe Harbor is difficult for her because she actually stayed there as a wayward youth, and has a close relationship with Olivia, the owner. Casey’s dad beat her mom to death in front of her and then went to jail forever, so she was basically orphaned and traumatized in one go. Safe Harbor provided a…hey, wait a minute.
I see what you did there, movie.
Anyway, Casey enjoys the chance to reconnect to Olivia, and they catch up on old times. Olivia is also thrilled to reintroduce Casey to her son Sam, who is a baller investment banker and a total creep. Through a series of contrived events, Casey and Joe end up working security for a fancy party at the mansion, which allows her and Sam plenty of time to catch up. Their flirtation is mercifully cut short when yet another lady is found murdered outside. This party is so exclusive, people are DYING to get in!
No Tales from the Crypt fans out there? Really? Fine, whatever.
After the party, Casey decides to do what she should have done all along and starts Googling Satan. Instead of a plethora of disturbing pornography, she finds that the spookyboo devil face is actually the invention of a local artist who applied to the Safe Harbor art fund for a grant (?!). They go and yell at him for drawing spooky faces for a while, until they come to the very obvious conclusion that someone ripped this demon lovin’ sonofagun off. This places the blame square on Julia, an assistant administrator at Safe Harbor who handles the grant applications. Also pertinent: she accidentally hired a child molester, protected him for two months, and then fired him when Olivia found out. Some looking into Julia’s past reveals that she has a bit of a sordid history, including some substance abuse issues and working as a stripper. As Joe puts it: “She ain’t daisy fresh.” Which is ironic, as Daisy Fresh would be a great name for a stripper. Casey’s female intuition tells her that there’s more to this stripper/molester superteam then meets the eye, and the investigation begins.
In the meantime, Casey and Sam manage to go on a date. Casey is late, so she and Sam miss their dinner reservation. He escorts her to a hot dog cart, which I guess the movie thinks is cute but I think would gross out anyone who has ever seen a hot dog cart vendor in action. Also, he’s supposed to be super-rich, so why not just go to another restaurant? It’s fishy. Casey, you don’t need no scrubs, girl. Also fishy is Sam’s willingness to let her walk home alone to her apartment through the shady hot-dog vendor district. Predictably, the murderer assaults her, and begins to choke her to death. Then he, uh…just stops doing that, and runs away. Casey claims it’s because the murderer (who is coincidentally built just like Sam) yelled and scared him off. Hands up, who thinks that Sam is the murderer?
If you didn’t raise your hand, get ready for the PLOT TWIST OF A LIFE TIME. Also, you are dumb.
Olivia is found dead next to a spookyboo face on the foster home’s big-ass veranda. This leads to Sam having a big baby breakdown and scoring some creepy Lifetime sex from Casey. After the booty call, Casey re-pants herself in time to help question Julia and learn that the majority of the home’s residents eventually fell into lives of crime and poverty. The child molester was blackmailing Olivia to keep this information a secret. Casey doesn’t cotton to this bullshit, and tracks him down in his trashy Chinatown apartment and nails his ass to the wall. Actually, to be more specific, she shoots his ass. The movie has another half an hour to go, but it still thinks that it has tricked us into thinking that she got the killer. Whatever, movie. We aren’t idiots, except for the people who raised their hands a paragraph ago.
Casey’s boss is not cool with the fact that she shot some random dude without a warrant or cause, so she’s put on “administrative duty”. This gets her back to what she does best: hitting the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the Google homepage until it provides her with justification to go rough somebody up. This time, it turns up the fact that her new hubby Sam is actually broke. A secret meeting with Julia confirms this, along with the fact that shortly before she was killed Olivia re-wrote her will to ensure that Safe Harbor would inherit her millions of dollars. Nice of her, but we can see why her primary next-of-kin was not 100% into this plan. Tracy goes and confronts Sam with her Google Search Results. We learn that the molester was never blackmailing his mom, it was just a ruse he concocted to get her off of his trail until he could get rid of the revised will and kill Olivia. She also drops the bombshell that she knows he’s been murdering the hell out of ladies for years, and somehow never got caught. Maybe someone taught him that leaf trick!
He dares her to kill him, she says “fuck you”, he says “no, you”, and then he goes to jail. In the last shot of the film, she’s sitting and reading to some kids at Safe Harbor. Fine by me, let’s see some credits already.
This movie was confusing and boring. I have no idea if the movie did a better job of explaining anything that I described above, because it completely failed to hold my attention despite it’s murderous wackiness. I got some laughs from the general ineptitude of the police and Joe’s nonsensical ramblings, but that’s all.
Star Power: 2
Eh. Casey was played by Carol Seaver from Growing Pains. Who the hell cares about Growing Pains still? Joe was played by somebody whose IMDB bio advises us to “catch him in the upcoming thriller White Noise, staring Michael Keaton”. I don’t know what’s sadder: the fact nobody cares enough about his IMDB page to update it, or the idea of living in a world where that phrase would be met with anything but derision.
Pretty ovaries-to-the-wall here. You got your tough lady cops, you got your murdered ladies, you got your evil boyfriends. Minor point deduction for the fact that Tracy’s women’s intuition was flat out wrong about 5 or 6 times during the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply enjoyed watching her beat on people who did not deserve it, but that’s usually a role reserved for the inept male sidekick in these kinds of films.
So that’s a 15 for Safe Harbor 2: Safer Harbor. It’s a full 8 points lower then the other Safe Harbor film. I guess sequels rarely eclipse originals. God, Hulu has been a ghost town for good Lifetime stuff lately. How about some crazy murdery incest or something? I mean, damn.
Last Exit May 23, 2011Posted by Rusty in 25-29, last exit.
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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Student Seduction April 29, 2011Posted by Rusty in 17-20, 20-24, student seduction.
Fact: I have never seen an episode of Saved by the Bell. I saw a Saved by the Bell TV movie where they all went to Vegas or something, but not a single episode. I guess there are Zach Attacks and Slater is a jock with a heart of gold. And we all know about Jessie’s drug freak out and Screech and all of that. Whatever. That show passed me by.
But oh my goodness do I love Elizabeth Berkley. You know why. Showgirls is one of the greatest movies ever made. If Black Swan (which I also loved) is a dancing movie on PCP, then Showgirls is a dancing movie on a glorious cocktail of cocaine, ecstasy, and boner medication. I know that the line between liking something ironically and liking something legitimately gets very blurry around these parts, but make no mistake: Showgirls is the best.
(Tangent: In high school Kate and I went to the local movie theatre and bought movie snacks like popcorn and Oreo smoothies. Then we rented Showgirls. It deserves the red carpet treatment every single time.)
So an Elizabeth Berkley Lifetime movie about seduction? Count me in! Surely a movie starring someone we love will be great! Like, a sexually focused movie starring our beloved Lizzy Caplan can’t be bad, can it?
And it breaks my heart to inform you that we have two duds in a row. Student Seduction is one of those movies where nothing happens. Not even Nomi Malone could save this mess.
Ms. Berkley plays Christie Dawson, a first year chemistry teacher married to a young doctor. She is young so other teachers don’t like her so much. Criticisms involve her jeans being too tight (they are not) and buying pizza for her homeroom. The humanity!
When the honor student/quarterback/BMOC is flunking Ms. Dawson’s class, his rich parents try to peddle their influence to allow him to drop chemistry after deadline. Ms. Dawson stands firm and offers to tutor the BMOC, Josh, after class. Josh takes Ms. Dawson (no! don’t be stupid!) out for a veggie burger as thanks.
Somewhere in there Josh bones his girlfriend and then gets realllly pushy when he doesn’t get seconds. Also Christie is upset that her husband is working double shifts and she REALLY doesn’t want to get pregnant.
Some more miscellany: Josh’s girlfriend writes “slut” on some other girl’s locker and Josh helps Christie start her car after it won’t turn over. He starts creepily calling Christie by her first name and she puts a kibosh on any conversation that isn’t about ions.
I just described the FIRST HOUR of this movie. What a slog.
After a teacher swim, Josh sneaks up on Christie and pushes her against a wall and kisses her. He gets a slap for that romantic gesture and is reported to the principal. The principal doesn’t do anything because she is an authority figure in a Lifetime movie and it’s WOMYN v. THE WORLD.
Then Josh escalates by breaking into Christie’s house and assaulting her. He leaves pre-rape which was courteous I guess, but, still. Christie goes to the police. The next day the police arrest Christie for having an affair with Josh. His parents concocted some story about a months long affair and Christie’s teachers all verify it with stories of veggie burgers and blue jeans.
Oh and Christie is pregnant. It’s Lifetime so even though she doesn’t want it and there is a very real possibility of getting afterbirth in YOUR JAIL CELL, abortion isn’t even mentioned.
Even though Christie has been suspended without pay, she still has access to the school’s intranet. She realizes that the girl who had “slut” written on her locker, Jenna, missed six weeks of school last year for health reasons and that she used to date Josh. She obviously was raped by Josh. That gets confirmed but Jenna refuses to testify because Josh’s parents are buying her a full ride to Dartmouth in exchange for her silence. The weird part? CHRISTIE IS TOTALLY OK WITH THIS. It’s cool that I will have to move and register as a sex offender for the rest of my life and my career is dead and Josh can go a-rapin’ to his heart’s content. It’s more important to spend your winters in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Ugh. Finally Christie decides to take a misdemeanor plea bargain. With only two minutes left in the movie, I thought that was a strangely pessimistic way for Lifetime to go. Neat.
But, no. Jenna comes around, tells Josh’s parents off, and the next scene is Christie teaching a chemistry class. Fin.
A he said/she said court case sounds kind of interesting, right? Like, maybe it could be compelling television? Well you, viewer, are shit out of luck.
I’ve seen worse?
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 6
Kate and H$ are engaging in some kind of H!ITG inflation war. Ten points for just Lizzy Caplan!? Please. (Although worth it for H$ admitting to watching True Blood while defending Kate’s score. Yikes.) A movie needs more than one famous person to earn a ten in my book. This movie doesn’t have that. And, real talk, Elizabeth Berkley is not that famous.
The doctor husband here is a little bit off. He’s an ally, but he’s the ally who wants to take a plea bargain. But then he wants to compel Jenna to testify against Josh. Basically, he’s supposed to be a good husband but his wife disagrees with literally every single thing he does in this movie.
The rich asshole villain and the one woman vs. an insane world plot also contribute to the high Lifetime score.
GRAND TOTAL: 20
This movie either needed more students or more seduction. A huge disappointment.
But it inspired me to watch Showgirls one more time. Of course I own it on DVD. Why would you even bother to ask?
Everybody’s Doing It April 27, 2011Posted by Kate in 20-24.
Tags: abstinence, armpit sex, box lunch, everybody's doing it, library sex, lizzy caplan, sex
If you like being angry at your government and your television at the same time, you should totally watch Everybody’s Doing It. Like all reasonable people, I love Lizzy Caplan and hate abstinence-only sex “education,” but cute girls and left wing ideals can’t save this didactic mess.
The movie starts by showing Angela (Lizzy Caplan) and Travis (some dude) falling in love throughout their sophomore year, then cuts to them loud slurpy kissing in a car after the spring semiformal. Angela unbuckles Travis’ belt, then decides she’s not ready to have sex and breaks up with him. Angela leaves to go build houses with Habitat for Humanity for the summer, but she and Travis decide to have sex if they still want to in September. The summer apart will prove that their love is real or something; I don’t know, teenagers are the worst.
Angela comes back to school ready to bone Travis, but she can’t because there’s a big assembly about how premarital sex is bad and the library’s been torn down and Caroline, the poor man’s Tracy Flick and the president of the school’s abstinence club, is pressuring everyone to sign virginity pledge cards.
The importance of remaining chaste until marriage is demonstrated with some kind of pizza metaphor.
There’s even a bunch of dancing STDs.
Angela is the only student who thinks this whole thing is ridiculous, and Travis gets totally pissed that she seems to know more about sex than the health teacher. He signs a pledge card without talking to Angela first.
Oh, and it gets worse: there’s a huge whiteboard with the names of all the students who signed a virginity pledge.
Students who break the pledge get their names crossed off.
You’re probably wondering how the school evens finds out who’s been screwing. Well, there’s a scholarship reserved for any students whose names are still on the board at graduation. The fewer students left over, the more money the virgins get. Students are encouraged to spy on one another, and to tell the school whenever somebody has sex.
Angela freaks out when she sees her name on the list, since she was outspoken in her refusal to sign the virginity pledge. She asks the librarian to remove her name from the board, but the librarian refuses to unless Angela admits to losing her virginity. Angela continues to insist that her sex life is none of the school’s business, and storms out. It’s never explained why the empty library needs a librarian. I guess she’s just there to watch teenagers have sex up against the bookless shelves.
Travis becomes super suspicious of any boy that Angela talks to, including her gay best friend and some dude she met through Habitat for Humanity. Poor Angela. She tries to talk to her sister, but her sister’s busy.
Angela continues to be the lone voice of reason in the school as the teachers allow Caroline to create a weird sex court in the library where she bangs a gavel and yells at students for hooking up, then crosses their name off the board while muttering “slut” under her breath. At one point, she draws a line through an entire column, which makes me think that we were cheated out of an orgy scene.
Finally, some other students grow a spine when they realize that oral and anal sex will get them crossed off the list. As confused and horny teenagers bombard Caroline with questions about what exactly they are allowed to do (someone actually uses the phrase “box lunch” in this scene), she yells that no penetration is allowed, not through “the front door, back door, or side door!” I’m confused about the side door thing. Rusty thinks it’s a reference to armpit sex.
Even more confusing than the concept of “side door” is the way Caroline, a crazy bitch with a display rack of eyeglasses in her locker, is allowed to spend the entire school day playing sex police. Everyone at Bonerkiller High must also be abstaining from going to class.
Angela must face Caroline in sex court, where she is accused of sleeping with the guy she met at Habitat for Humanity over the summer. Once again, she insists that her sex life is none of the school’s business, but Travis is pissed that she doesn’t deny it. Angela realizes that Travis must be the one who accused her. When she confronts him, he admits to signing her pledge card, too. Angela has no choice but to take off the promise ring he gave her and leave it in his locker. I guess they’re abstaining from locks at the school, too.
After a rash of students come down with sex rashes, the school reconsiders the effectiveness of the abstinence program. Caroline comes up with some bizarre idea that forces all students to sign up for the virginity pledge again. If all students sign it, they all get the scholarship money, but if less than 100 percent of students sign, nobody gets the money.
Because this movie is such an accurate portrayal of teenage behavior, everyone but Angela signs the pledge again. A meeting is called so that parents, teachers, and students can slutshame Angela into signing, but she tearily holds her ground. Just when you think that she’s going to get beaten to death by the angry, sex-starved mob, Travis walks to the front of the room and crosses his name off the pledge board. A bunch of other kids do the same thing.
Inspired by Angela’s speech and her peers’ support, the school decides to have two separate health classes: a comprehensive one, and an abstinence only one. Victory! Sort of.
Angela gets back with her possessive, controlling boyfriend, and they decide not to have sex. The end.
I’ll give this movie a point for saying “box lunch,” but this movie was billed as a comedy yet was rarely funny, intentionally or otherwise. It wasn’t bad enough to be so-bad-it’s-good, but it certainly wasn’t good, either.
HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!: 10
I love Lizzy Caplan, and she did about as good a job with this shitty movie as anyone could possibly hope.
I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, you’ve got moral panic and a woman who stands up for what she believes. On the other hand, you have a protagonist who ends up back together with her lame boyfriend.
GRAND TOTAL: 21
For a movie that tries so hard to teach a lesson, Everybody’s Doing It is shockingly bad at making its message clear. The moral of the story seems to be, “abstinence only sex ed is bad, sort of, but I guess it’s not that bad, and teenagers should have sex or not have sex or whatever and girls with glasses are nuts.”
Confessions of an American Bride April 19, 2011Posted by H$ in 0-12, confessions of an american bride, H$.
Whatup! I did not expect that I would have much time to work on this blog once I moved to Baltimore, and for a while that was true. It took a week to get my cable switched on, for fucks sake. But now that I am settled and as comfortable as one can be thousands of miles away from all they know and love, I am getting bored. Most nights I sit in my quiet one-bedroom apartment and watch the hookers and the rats edge around the security lights in my alley. I drink a midnight mimosa, which is a can of diet Pepsi that I have drank enough of to pour in about an ounce of citrus vodka. I listen to the same Mountain Goats album over and over again (All Hail West Texas, if you’re curious) and wonder if I have irrevocably ruined my life in pursuit of my dreams.
But hey, my place has a washer/dryer in it, so that’s something.
Anyway, there is nothing that ameliorates loneliness more then a movie that makes you hate humanity in general, so I decided to watch a Lifetime movie in the romantic comedy genre. And hey, it worked! I had to watch “Confessions of an American Bride”, and it’s your fault, so fuck you.
OK, it isn’t your fault, but man what a shitty movie. Sam is a perky lady who wants to get married more then anything in the world. As a child, she’s so into the idea of getting married someday that she’s a bride for every trick-or-treat. This allows her to draw a fun word-picture about how “life is like trick-or-treating, and sometimes you have to take a stupid apple instead of candy, but your wedding is the day that you get everything in the world you really want!” This is a stupid metaphor for life, but a great metaphor for Sam. She cruises through life in a hypothetical princess dress, a beggar and a chooser, whining and obsessing over a hypothetical wedding that will never live up to her expectations but still fuels her self-centered idiocy. I’d love to say this all comes back to bite her in the ass, but it’s a Lifetime movie, so no.
She’s also the most self-conscious, irritating Bridget Jones clone ever. She is utterly incapable of interacting with the world in any way that doesn’t smack of appletinis and snaps for her girlfriends. She’s constantly dropping science like “Dudes have porno, and ladies have wedding websites!” She works for some kind of consulting firm where they make up cereals, and her contribution is low-carb chocolatey cereal for ladies like her. Cause you know, ladies be eatin’ chocolate at breakfast, but ladies also be watchin’ their carb intake. Everything she does is a cry for attention or a cutesy acknowledgment to her low self-esteem. There’s even a scene where Sam is eating some potato chips, stops, and apologizes to the camera for pigging out.
GODDAMNIT SAM. THIS IS YOUR MOVIE. EAT THE FUCKING CHIPS, WATCH A FUCKING PORNO WHERE SOMEONE GETS MARRIED OR SOMETHING, AND RELAX.
Sam finds a perfect punching bag in Ben Rosen, a dude she meets at a bar and is instantly smitten with. Ben is like the generic best friend of a better dude protagonist in a better movie. He’s affable and charming, but he lacks the charisma and character to be a protagonist in his own right. Since the movie can’t be arsed to give him much to do, he overcompensates with showy dramatic gestures of affection that are kind of unsettling. When he and Sam start dating,
she tells this lame pity party story about how nobody asked her to a dance. In response to that, he rents out a high school gym and plays a romantic love theme while they slow-dance. He also decorates the place with crepe paper and balloons and even handmade a banner for the whole affair. I guess the movie wants us to think this is cute, and it is to a point, but if you think about it for too long it gets seriously creepy. Why would you want to date someone who is so obsessed with you that he lavishly re-stages your most disappointing memories? And what the hell is wrong with someone who, in their thirties, is STILL obsessing about shit that happened to them in high school? Ben indulges Sam’s worst qualities with no restraint. So, of course, he asks her to marry him.
By the way, he does this be renting out a hotel room and luring her to it by saying he’s her boss and he wants to meet about a client. She shows up and he pops the question. Then he gets out the ‘cham and they presumably bang all day, or at least until late check-out. Sam complains about her job throughout the movie, but if I worked somewhere that was flexible enough to let me take the afternoon off with no warning to nasty up a hotel room, I’d shut up about it.
Later, we find Sam sitting at a desk, scrambling over her laptop and wedding magazines. Ben asks her to come to bed, and she basically calls him an idiot for not immediately beginning work on their wedding plans. Ladies and dudes sure have different priorities, right? It’s like they’re from different planets or something!
So, since this movie apparently takes place in 19th century goddamn Britannia, the kids don’t live together before they get engaged. Cue some wacky misunderstandings! Oh man, she wants an ANTIQUE CHEST, but he wants A MANLY FISHTANK! He wants A BIGSCREEN TV TO WATCH THE GAME, and she wants A GIANT-ASS PORTRAIT OF PRETTY FLOWERS! Golly, these gender collisions tap a rich, deep vein of hilarity.
Another rich vein of hilarity: racism! There is no more time-honored tradition in lazy entertainment than jokes at
another culture’s expense. Happily Ben is Jewish, or this movie would have really missed out on a golden opportunity to exploit come cultural stereotypes for cheap laughs. Ben’s mom is an overbearing, whiny monster who flips out because her son is willing to wed in a church and serve shellfish at the reception. You get the feeling that it’s supposed to be funny, but there’s an unsettling implication that maybe the screenwriter really thinks that all Jewish people are bundles of neurosis and spite. Mrs. Rosen would kill if she was the warm-up act before Springtime for Hitler, but she’s kind of out of place here. Anyway, Mrs. Rosen and Sam’s WASP-y excuse for a negligent mom butt heads at every turn, further compounding their stress and misery.
So their families hate each other and her tampons are all up on his jock strap. What could the possible resolution to this be? Perhaps the reappearance of a college crush, who is put in the movie specifically to lead Sam astray. Fancypants Luke apparently needs some consulting from Sam’s firm, and admits he has a crush on her way back when. She’s all “oh goodness me” about it, and confides to her bridesmaid/girlfriends that she’s into him too. They’re all horrified, but seriously? If having a crush on someone that isn’t your significant other is so lifeshaking that you consider calling off your wedding over it, then your ass doesn’t need to be getting married. To anyone. Ever. Sam “accidently” kisses Luke and lies to her fiance about it, because hell, why not just make things worse.
The hideous mechanism of the movie lurches forward. Sam says Luke’s name during sex, which she plays off OK until he actually shows up at her house to ask about something or something. Ben is suspicious, and they go to pre-marital counseling. They are counseled not to get married, so good call there, counseling guys. They decide to part on amicable terms, and Sam is free to pursue Captain Hotstuff. Ben’s going to, I dunno, see the world or something.
You know where this is going, right? Sam goes on a date with Luke, and he turns out to be kind of a jerk. She also finds a video of Ben learning to waltz for their wedding, proof positive that he does care about all of her stupid girly bullshit. They have a dramatic meetup and re-fall in love. Then they get married. Some more stuff happens but oh my god I am not talking about this movie any more. I am done. DONE.
That’s right, 0. I dropped the goose egg on this sucker. There was nothing awesome about this movie on any scale. No objective awesome, no ironic awesome, no awesome whatsoever.
Star Power: 1
Shannon Elizabeth probably deserves a point because I knew her name before I watched the movie. Eddie McClintock is apparently NOT the name of a streetwise 20’s pool hustler, but is instead an actor who was in this film. The more you know.
And here’s the sweep. By simultaneously reinforcing every negative stereotype about women and weddings, and throwing in some xenophobia for good measure, this thing is a Roman orgy of Lifetime themes and plot points. But it isn’t the fun kind of orgy. More like one where everyone vomits and somebody dies.
11. I wouldn’t bother. I hated this so much that instead of linking to it, I am linking to the last episode of Parks and Rec. It restores the faith in love that this movie destroys. Cross your fingers that Hulu gets some better movies up soon.