Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #27 and #28: Who Killed JonBenet? (dir by Jason Lapyre) and JonBenet’s Mother: Victim or Killer (dir by Siobhan Walshe)


(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by the end of Tuesday, December 6th!  Will she make it?  Keep checking the site to find out!)

jonbenet

On November 5th, Lifetime aired a film about the murder of six year-old JonBenet Ramsey, Who Killed JonBenet?  They followed this film with a documentary called JonBenet’s Mother: Victim or Killer?  I did not watch the films when they originally aired, largely because, much like Girl In The Box and Cleveland Abduction, the subject matter sounded way too disturbing to me.  Instead, I just recorded them and, for a few weeks, both programs sat unwatched on my DVR.

Until earlier today, that is!

I watched both of them and then I quickly deleted both of them as well.  And now I’m going to write a few words about them.  In fact, I’m going to try to devote as little time as possible to these films.

Normally, I’m the first one to defend Lifetime and their movies.  If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know how much I love Lifetime movies.  I love them for the exact same reason that most people claim to disdain them.  It’s rare that I ever see a Lifetime film that I can’t enjoy or, at the very least, defend.

But, seriously, Who Killed JonBenet? was such a misfire that I barely know where to begin. In many ways, it’s a typical true crime film.  Suspects are identified.  Detectives find themselves caring about the case … TOO MUCH!  It ends on a note of surface ambiguity that’s deceptive because the film all but comes out and accuses Patsy Ramsey of murdering her daughter.

That thing that sets Who Killed JonBenet? apart is that the film is narrated by JonBenet Ramsey, who is apparently speaking to use beyond the grave.  JonBenet tells us that she’ll always be six.  And she tells us that one of the detectives is a nice lady.  And it’s such an icky technique that it pretty much makes the entire film nearly unwatchable.  Every time that we hear that cloying little voiceover, we’re reminded of two things: 1) this film is based on the real life rape and murder of a six year-old and 2) this movie was made specifically to exploit that event.  In the end, you feel guilty for watching the damn movie in the first place.

Seeing as how Who Killed JonBenet? basically accuses Patsy Ramsey of murder, it’s interesting that it was immediately followed up by JonBenet’s Mother: Victim or Killer?  JonBenet’s Mother explores Patsy’s life and pretty much comes to the conclusion that, while Patsy may have been a bit odd, she did not kill her daughter.  If anything, the documentary shows that Patsy was largely the victim of a vicious media.

Like, to name just one example, Who Killed JonBenet?

Anyway, let us never speak of these two movies again.  When I think of a Lifetime movie, I’d much rather think of Confessions of Go Go Girl.

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2 responses to “Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #27 and #28: Who Killed JonBenet? (dir by Jason Lapyre) and JonBenet’s Mother: Victim or Killer (dir by Siobhan Walshe)

  1. Umm. No. I disagree with this critique, because it doesn’t critique the movie on it’s merits or lack thereof. Rather, it critiques the choice of subject matter, so I don’t know whether or not it’s worth watching for someone who is interested in the case, because those who are not interested or can’t stomach what happened in Boulder in 1996, shouldn’t be reviewing it. It sort of like a lurker who feels obliged to enter a discussion on an automobile review. They’ll see a vehicle or a brand they don’t like up for review. They’ll skim through the video looking for points to make fun of, and then comment just so they can diss the product or the manufacturer on totally unrelated issues with respect to the actual review. Those people have no business in the discussion, because they are already biased against the product or against the manufacturer due to prior experiences, and are not really there to give an opinion for those who are truly interested in thoughtful opinions.

    The more times we can look at this case and not let it be forgotten or rest, and the more times we can highlight the significance and the grotesque nature of this crime or set of crimes that may have been committed, the better. What better way to remind the world of what a terrible, and awesome and unlikely event or set of events that must have occurred that Christmas night and in to the next morning than to show it from the victims point of view if such a thing could happen in the real world.

    I’ve not seen the movie. I came to this revisiting the “crime” or “crimes” to see what else has been shown or documented on these events since I last looked in on it, because I won’t to see everything I can on it that is at least somewhat competent in nature. I have seen Lifetime’s documentary and found it worth watching from a learning standpoint and from even another perspective standpoint even though I didn’t agree with their conclusion, and that’s because my conclusion may not be right.

    This is an unprecedented, unsolved mystery “killing”; we can’t say it’s “murder” as this reviewer does, because there is no proof that the homicide was intentional, which is, by the way, my best-guess theory as to what happened. It was a covered-up accident. It’s the only theory that makes any sense from a motive standpoint except for the pedophile theory, but the latter is just so unlikely in this case. Unlikely, but possible.

    This review assumes it’s a murder, because she says so in the review. This reviewer thinks we should not keep putting this crime or set of crimes out there in front of the public to see over and over until it is solved or the city of Boulder is gone from the earth. I disagree. If the product was sloppily done; if it has poor direction; if it is poorly produced; had poor acting, or the producer made conclusions that contradict facts; then bringing up those points as why this is a bad television movie is a professional review, but to dislike it only because of the subject matter is a lazy, or in this case, a review based on fear or lack of courage to watch it.

    Imagine if…the Manson case had not been solved. Imagine if those horrible, unlikely, unprecedented crimes had been committed way back then, with no apparent motive, and still no one knew who committed these awful acts of horror. We would not and should not let those type crimes go without constant revisiting. This crime, whether it’s an unprecedented, brutal, almost impossibly-executed murder as it visually looked to be; or a covered-up accident made to look like a unprecedented, brutal, almost impossibly-executed murder to fool the world is an absolutely amazing story of an unsolved crime in our society; much like Jack the Ripper almost 150 years ago that is still not forgotten or the infamous Alcatraz escape; both of which are revisited even today and through technology and other ways of investigating new leads are found every few years.

    Unsolved cases like these are not and should not ever be forgotten unless they are one day resolved. This case is just as fascinating as those others from the past, and so I don’t understand some elements of the media constant disregarding the importance of a continued effort to solve this crime in the absence of real police work by showing frustration over the revisiting of this crime and the investigation. And also disagree with the media’s assumption that the reason there is so much fascination with this case has to do with the family’s wealth or the whole beauty pageant theme. While these factors do add intrigue, drama and entertainment value to the case, they are not the reason that serious people care about this case and want to know more. If this case happened in my home town, to middle-class Americans, and we did not know if there was a pedophile on the loose or if the family had engaged in a plan of world deception, it would be just as fascinating and important to solve.

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  2. And there is no evidence of rape in this case. Sexual assault was determined as possible, but even that assertion can be explained by other health issues and factors with respect to Jonbenet’s biology at the time prior to her death.

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