What Lisa Watched Last Night #125: Perfect High (dir by Vanessa Parise)

Last night, I watched the first post-Deadly Adoption Lifetime movie, Perfect High!

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime and it was about a dancer, of course!

What Was It About?

Amanda (Bella Thorne) is a suburban teen who loves to dance.  But, after an injury, she gets hooked on prescription pills.  She also becomes best friends with druggie Riley (Daniela Bobadilla), Riley’s boyfriend Nate (Ross Butler), and Carson (Israel Broussard).  Soon, Carson and Amanda are dating and they become perhaps the most boring couple in history.  Of course, since this is Lifetime, the prescription drug abuse quickly leads to heroin, death, and a minute-long rehab scene.

What Worked?

The film did a good job of capturing both the excitement of dancing and the sheer terror of being injured and knowing that, as a result, you can’t do what you love.

What Did Not Work?

The whole movie was just so predictable and so slow.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that a Lifetime film about teenagers using drugs isn’t going to exactly be unpredictable.  From the start of the film, I knew that one of the four friends was going to have to die and I easily guessed which one it was going to be.  That’s just the way it works, somebody always has to die in these films.

But the problem is that we are now living in a post-Deadly Adoption age.  After seeing every single Lifetime convention skewered last week, it’s hard to go back to taking any of those conventions seriously.  The whole time I was watching the film, I kept expecting Will Ferrell to suddenly show and start bellowing, “SHE NEEDS HER MEDICINE!”

As well, Perfect High moved way too slowly for its own good.  As characters, Amanda, Riley, Nate, and Carson all fell flat.  Even before they ended up as drug addicts, they seemed like they wouldn’t be that interesting of a group to hang out with.  Before doing drugs, they spent all their time laying on the couch.  After doing drugs … well, that couch became even more comfortable.  For an anti-drug film to really work, you have to mourn what the character could have been if not for their addictions.  But, in Perfect High, everyone seemed to be just as dull regardless of whether they were high or not.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!”  Moments

The movie was about a red-haired dancer who popped too many pills in high school.  Oh my God, just like me!

Lessons Learned

Stay away from that heroin, kids.  Of course, I already knew that.  Even when I was going through my phase where I wanted to experiment with and try everything, I still knew better than to ever use heroin.  (Actually, to be honest, I should say that if I had ever had the opportunity to try heroin, I would have politely declined.  Fortunately, I never even had to deal with being offered heroin, which I guess is the benefit of going to both a high school and a college where everyone was too busy smoking weed to worry about harder drugs.)  Whenever I see a movie like Perfect High, I always wonder how the characters involved have never seen any other movies about heroin abuse.

I mean, don’t they watch Lifetime!?


4 Shots From 4 Films: Enter the Dragon, Lady Snowblood, Black Belt Jones, Three The Hard Way

Everyone, at some point in his life, has wanted to learn karate.  The films featured below are a big reason why.


Enter the Dragon (directed by Robert Clouse, 1973)

Enter the Dragon (directed by Robert Clouse, 1973)

Lady Snowblood (directed by Toshiya Fujita, 1973)

Lady Snowblood (directed by Toshiya Fujita, 1973)

Black Belt Jones (directed by Robert Clouse, 1974)

Black Belt Jones (directed by Robert Clouse, 1974)

Three The Hard Way (directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., 1974)

Three The Hard Way (directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., 1974)



All Hail Slade Craven! A Look At Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal

Slade Craven, the hero of Turbulence 3

Slade Craven, the hero of Turbulence 3

The first Turbulence was a 1997 box office flop that starred Lauren Holly as a flight attendant who must defeat Ray Liotta and land an airplane.  Turbulence 2 was a 1999 direct-to-video release that starred Craig Sheffer as an engineer who must defeat a terrorist and land an airplane.  2001’s Turbulence 3 reuses the special effects footage from the first Turbulence and features Craig Sheffer in a different role but otherwise, it is a completely unrelated to the first two films.  This time, John Mann plays a rock star who must defeat a terrorist and land an airplane.

Slade Craven is a death rocker who, with his white makeup and his long black hair, is an obvious stand-in for Marilyn Manson.  Like Marilyn in his prime, Slade Craven is a controversial artist whose music is critical of religion.  Unlike Marilyn Manson (whose video for Sweet Things Are Made Of This still has the power to shock), the one Slade Craven music video that we see mostly features Slade stumbling around a high school basement and petting a dog.  Marilyn Manson sang about the beautiful people.  Slade Craven’s biggest hit is Love Gun.

Slade Craven has announced his retirement.  His final concert, complete with pyrotechnics and a working electric chair, will be held on an airplane, while the plane is flying from California to Canada.  Only 40 of his most devoted fans will be allowed on the plane but “10 million people” will be watching via the miracle of the Internet.  (Everything about the internet was still exotic in 2001.)

This is what a hacker looked like in 2001.

This is what a hacker looked like in 2001.

On the ground, hacker Nick Watts (Craig Sheffer) is illegally watching the concert when FBI agent Kate Hayden (Gabriella Anwar) shows up to arrest him.  However, before Kate can put on the handcuffs, they notice that something strange is happening on the plane.  Someone has just murdered the band’s manager and has locked Slade in the first class restroom.  A man disguised to look like Slade shoots a co-pilot and announces that he’s going to crash the plane into a cursed cemetery in an area of East Kansas that is so unholy that “even the pope refuses to fly over it.”  The crash will not only be seen by the 10 million people watching on the internet but it will also unleash Satan into the world.

With the help of Nick and Kate, Slade frees himself from his restraints and becomes a hilariously unlikely action hero.  Not only does Slade have to defeat his doppelgänger and the other Satanists on the plane but, after the remaining pilot (Rutger Hauer!) is revealed to be a part of the conspiracy, Slade has to land the plane on his own.  Luckily, Nick has an old NES flight simulator that he can use to help talk Slade down.  “We’re all going to rock and roll!” Slade tells the passengers as he pulls on the throttle.  Meanwhile, on the ground, Kate rewards Nick by handcuffing him and then walking towards the bedroom while unbuttoning her blouse.  Nick hops after her.

Also, on the ground, Joe Mantegna plays an FBI agent.  All of the scenes with Mantegna take place in two locations, suggesting that Mantegna filmed all of his scenes in a day or two.  Turbulence 3 proves that it is impossible to hear Mantegna’s voice without picturing Fat Tony.

Of all the films about heavy metal singers fighting terrorists and landing airplanes, Turbulence 3 might be the best.  All credit belongs to John Mann’s Slade Craven who rocks every day, parties every night, and beats up terrorists all of the time.  Slade Craven proves the nobody saved the world like a shock rocker.  Sadly, there has never been a Turbulence 4.  I would love to see the further adventures of Slade Craven.