Movie A Day #120: Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde (1993, directed by John Shipperd)

Scott Wolf plays Clyde, a nerdy high school student who has a go-nowhere job at a burger place.  Maureen Flannigan, best known for starring in Out Of This World, is Bonnie, who likes to steal stuff and have fun.  Unfortunately, Bonnie’s father (played by Tom Bower) is not an avuncular alien who sounds like Burt Reynolds.  Instead, he’s the extremely strict and controlling police commissioner of their hometown.  Clyde like Bonnie but Bonnie wants nothing to do with him.  It’s not until Clyde spies Bonnie shoplifting in a record store that he realizes that larceny is the key to her heat.  When Clyde steals a van and Bonnie steals her father’s guns, the two of them head for Mexico, robbing banks, shooting guns, making love (which, judging from the comments I have found online, is the main reason the film found an audience once it started showing up on HBO) and becoming media celebrities along the way.

An attempt to do a teenage version of Bonnie and Clyde, Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde predates Natural Born Killers by a year with its critique of the public’s fascination with sex and violence.  While the film was hurt by its low-budget, both Maureen Flannigan and Scott Wolf were ideally cast as the young lovers and the entire movie is a hundred times better than anyone would ever expect something called Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde to be.  After being typecast of Out of this World‘s wholesome Evie, Maureen Flannigan tried to change her image with this violent film.  Unfortunately, the movie ended up exiled to late night showings on HBO where it guaranteed that kids like me would never look at reruns of Out of This World the same way ever again.

AMV Of The Day: Something For You (Sekirei)

Anime: Sekirei

Song: Something For You by Highway Saints

Creator: GSSJ70

Past AMVs of the Day

What Lisa Watched Last Night #164: Running Away (dir by Brian Skiba)

After I watched Deadly Sorority, I watched the second Lifetime premiere of the night, Running Away!

Why Was I Watching It?

I nearly missed Running Away, which would have been a shame.  After being disappointed with Deadly Sorority, I was seriously tempted to go down to my neighbor’s 3-day Cinco de Mayo party.  But, somehow, my cinematic instincts knew that I should take the time to watch Running Away.  I’m glad that I did because Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.

What Was it About?

Peg (Paula Tricky) is a single mother, struggling to raise two rebellious daughters even as the bank attempts to take her home away from her.  However, salvation comes in the form of Richard (William McNamara).  Richard is never quite clear about what he does for a living but he’s rich.  He has a great (and big) house.  He drives a red sports car and has no problem about honking the horn at people crossing the street and shouting, “Yeah, you better be watching!”  He’s more than a little creepy but he appears to worship the ground that Peg walks on.  Add to that, when he asks her to marry him, he gives her a really nice ring.

After the wedding, Peg’s two daughters have differing reactions to Richard.  The youngest, Lizzie (Madison Lee Brown), loves their new home and decides that Richard isn’t as bad or as creepy as he originally seemed.  Maggie (Holly Deveaux) knows that Richard is a creepy perv, the type who walks in on her when she’s in the shower and who, when he discovers that she’s been drinking beer, uses the knowledge for sexual blackmail.  Being molested and abused by her stepfather, Maggie resorts first to self-harm and then to running away.

Maggie finds herself living with a drug dealer and his traumatized girlfriend.  Both Richard and Peg are searching for her but both have different plans for what to do when they find her.

What Worked?

I know that the plot probably sounds extremely melodramatic and, in a way, I guess it was.  But, that’s okay.  This is a film that used melodrama to make a very real and important point about the consequences of abuse.  This a very well-done and very heartfelt film.

It took me a while to recognize William McNamara, who gives an all-too realistic performance as the monstrous Richard.  When we first meet Richard, the film wisely plays up his dorkiness.  We know he’s a bad guy but we’re still shocked by just how bad and dangerous he ultimately turns out to be.  Paula Trickey also does a good as Peg, portraying her with a combination of regret, disillusionment, and, as the same time, a cautious hope for the future.  However, the film really belongs to Holly Deveaux, who gives an empathetic and compelling performance of Maggie, one that reveals both her pain and her inner strength.

What Did Not Work?

I have to admit that, towards the end of the film, I kind of rolled my eyes when one final secret about Richard was revealed.  At that point, he was already such a bad guy that revealing the reason why he was so rich felt like overkill.  Other than that, though, I would say that the entire films worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

As someone who was an angry, rebellious, and often self-destructive teenager, I related to Maggie.  Holly Deveaux’s performance captured all of the emotions.  Though the whole movie, I was cringing as I had flashbacks to all the times that I was tempted to get on a bus and go wherever it took me.

(Seriously, for about a year and a half, I had this ludicrously romanticized fantasy about getting on a bus, traveling to random towns, and spending a year filling up my notebooks with my thoughts on America.  After I talked about it one too many times, my sister Megan drove me down to the Greyhound station in downtown Dallas and we spent an hour watching people get on and off buses.  The sights and the smells — well, mostly the smells — of actual bus living pretty much ended that fantasy.)

Lessons Learned

You can’t run away from your problems but you can beat them over the head with a baseball bat.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #163: Deadly Sorority (dir by Shawn Tolleson)

Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Deadly Sorority!

Why Was I Watching It?

You have to give the people at Lifetime some credit.  I often give them a hard time for the way that they retitle movies to give them more of a “Lifetime-y” feel but Deadly Sorority is a perfect title.  According to the imdb, this movie was originally called Undergrad Nightmare.  Deadly Sorority is such an improvement that I don’t even know where to begin.  It was enough to convince me to watch.

(Of course, I would have watched anyway because the movie was on Lifetime but, for the purpose of this review format, let’s pretend like the title was the sole reason.)

What Was It About?

Sam (Greer Grammer) and Kris (Emilija Branac) have been BFFs since high school but, once they arrive at Barclay University, things start to change.  Kris gets accepted into an exclusive sorority and soon, her new “sisters” are telling Sam to stay away.  When Kris is murdered, Sam suddenly finds herself as the number one suspect.  Everyone says that Sam was obsessed with Kris and jealous over her new friends.

In order to prove her innocence, Sam is going to have to catch the real murderer.  Was it Kris’s frat boy boyfriend?  Was it the lecherous professor or his wife?  Was it the creepy guy who lives upstairs from her?  Was it one of Kris’s sorority sisters?  Was it … well, actually, that’s all the suspects.  It’s a small school.

What Worked?

I absolutely loved Barclay University, which was located up in the mountains, had nice, big dorm rooms (during my first year of college, I lived in a dorm that didn’t even have air conditioning), and — as far as I could tell — only three or four professors.  There weren’t many students either.  Sam and Kris’s history class only had about 12 students in it.  As someone who hated the anonymous feeling of being one of many students in a gigantic lecture hall, I appreciated that.

The sorority was effectively creepy.  However…

What Did Not Work?

…the sorority itself really didn’t figure much into the plot.  There were a few effective scenes of all of the sisters staring at Sam dismissively but otherwise, the sorority was just a big, pink-clad red herring.  Deadly Sorority is a great title but Undergrad Nightmare was actually a more accurate title.  Usually, I don’t mind a misleading title but, when you promise a deadly sorority, you need to deliver.

The identity of the murderer also felt a bit random to me.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Sam, who had a wonderfully snarky attitude and said whatever was on her mind.  Unlike Sam, I was actually invited to join a sorority but I turned them down because I was busy being a nonconformist.  I kind of regret that choice because, according to what I’ve seen on Lifetime, joining a sorority would have led to several years of adventure and melodrama.  At the very least, I would have had a few hundred more closets to borrow from.

Oh well!

Lessons Learned

I should have applied to Barclay University.

A “Black Bolt” Of Lightning?

Trash Film Guru

If there’s a tough character to write in comics, it’s Black Bolt. The king — or, at least as of this writing, former king — of the Inhumans is, of course, famously silent, not because he’s mute, but because the mere sound of his voice is powerful enough to level cities. It was a great gimmick when Jack Kirby came up with it way back when, but it’s been a tricky conceit for subsequent creators to build upon. Paul Jenkins gave it a pretty good effort in his fine Marvel Knights Inhumans series done in collaboration with artist Jae Lee, but since then, no one’s really seemed to know what to do with this guy.

Apart from Marvel’s “suits,” of course, who had Black Bolt set off the so-called “Gene Bomb” a few years back that’s been utilized as the company’s preferred method for writing Mutants out of their corporate…

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