So, this is an odd one.
Tonight, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere. The film was called High School Lover and, in many ways, it was a typical Lifetime film. As you might guess from the title, it’s tells the story of a teenage girl who defies her overly protective father and enters into a relationship with an older man. Since it’s never a good idea to defy your parents in a Lifetime film, the older man turns out to be an obsessive psycho, the type who shows up at his ex-girlfriend’s house with a crowbar and demands that she love him.
As I said, typical Lifetime film. Plotwise, this was almost identical to almost every thriller that Lifetime has premiered on Saturday night.
However, there were a few things that set High School Lover apart from something like Killer Coach.
Number one, the obsessive psycho was a movie star. That’s right — Christian Booth (Francois Arnaud) is a celebrity. He’s such a celebrity that, at one point, his teenage girlfriend is upset when she reads an article in US Weekly that claims that Christian is getting back together with his ex. And yet, for a celebrity who is well-known enough to appear on the cover of US Weekly, it was remarkable just how much Christian was able to do without anyone noticing. For instance, if Justin Bieber showed up at someone’s house with a crowbar and started breaking all the windows, you can be sure that the paparazzi would be right behind him, taking pictures and shouting out questions. If Ryan Gosling picked up a teenager in a limo and then flew her around in his own private helicopter, you imagine that it would at least be mentioned on TMZ. Yet, somehow, superfamous Christian Booth is able to do all of this without anyone noticing.
This leads me to suspect that Christian may not have been human. Though it’s never specifically stated, I suspect that Christian may have been a vampire, an alien, or a time traveler. He had to have some sort of mystical power to get away with everything that he did.
Secondly, this film was not only executive produced by James Franco but it also starred Franco as well! What’s strange is that this wasn’t a parody like A Deadly Adoption or Franco’s previous Lifetime film, the remake of Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? Instead, this was a totally typical Lifetime movie with James Franco in the role that would usually be played by a former cast member of One Tree Hill.
And yet, James Franco fit right in. He gets to flash his winning smile and there’s a scene where he shows off some dance moves that deserves to be put in the Hall of Fame of Fearless Franco Moments. Watching the film, one gets the feeling that James Franco woke up one day and said to himself, “I want to make some movies for Lifetime just because.” And that’s what he proceeded to do! And let’s give some credit where credit is due. Instead of slumming his way through the film, James Franco gave a good and sincere performance, as did Paulina Singer in the role of his daughter.
Anyway, if it sounds like I’m struggling to be objective when it comes to reviewing this film, you’re right. I love Lifetime melodrama and, though Arleigh likes to make fun of me for this, I love James Franco too. And really, that’s the best review that I can give you. If you like Lifetime movies and/or James Franco, you’ll like High School Lover.
It’s just an odd little movie. When I get around to writing my study of the career and accomplishments of Mr. James Franco, High School Lover will, at the very least, get a chapter or two.