Cleaning Out The DVR: Story of a Girl (dir by Kyra Sedgwick)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 163 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on February 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Story of a Girl off of Lifetime on July 23rd, 2017!)

Michael (Kevin Bacon) owns a pizza place in a small town.  He’s just hired 16 year-old Deanna Lambert (Ryann Shane) to work for him over summer.  Deanna shows up for her first day of work.  Deanna apologizes for being late.  Michael points out that he has no costumers so it doesn’t matter.  Michael then introduces Deanna to his other employee, Tommy (Tyler Johnston).  Deanna looks shocked.  Tommy looks shocked.

“You two know each other?” Michael asks.

“In the biblical sense,” Tommy replies.

And so it goes from there…

Seriously, what was I doing on July 23rd that kept me from watching Story of a Girl?  Was I watching a shark movie on SyFy?  I do remember that Story of a Girl was very aggressively advertised in the days leading up to its premiere and I did actually mean to watch it.  I’ve read the Sara Zarr penned book on which it was based and the commercials made it look fairly good.  Add to that, it was directed by Kyra Sedgwick and co-starred Kevin Bacon and they seem like such a nice couple that I was naturally hoping it would be a good movie.

Three years ago, a sex video featuring 13 year-old Deanna and 17 year-old Tommy went viral.  While Tommy (who, as Michael points out, was committing a felony) suffers not a single bit for taking advantage of his best friend’s younger sister, Deanna is branded a slut and sent into social exile.  Her father, Ray (Jon Tenney), refuses to forgive her.  Tensions at home are exasperated by the presence of Deanna’s brother, Darren (Iain Belcher), his girlfriend, Stacey (Sosie Bacon), and their baby.  Darren and Stacey are planning on moving into a place of their own and Deanna is planning on going with them.

Though it may not be obvious from that plot description, Story a Girl is not a typical Lifetime film.  It takes place in a thoroughly blue-collar milieu and the Lamberts live in perhaps the ugliest, most cluttered house that I’ve ever seen.  Between that house and Ray acting like an asshole 24/7, it’s easy to understand why Deanna wants to get away from these people.  The problem, however, is that, after only a few minutes, most viewers will be desperate to get out of there as well.  And, unlike Deanna, viewers actually have a way of doing that.  They can just change the channel.  The film does have a good and important message but the characters are all so off-putting that a good deal of the audience probably won’t stick around to hear it.

Story of a Girl is a disappointingly superficial film.  The Juno influence is obvious but Story of a Girl never comes to life in the same way that Juno did.  Kevin Bacon is solid as Michael and Ryann Shane does a passable Ellen Page impersonation but everyone else is trapped in a film that’s long on plot but short on depth.  I really wanted to like Story of a Girl but I just didn’t.

2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Ten Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2017


A word about Paperbacks From Hell, my favorite nonfiction book of 2017.  One of my goals for 2018 (and probably 2019, as well) is to read every single book mentioned in Paberbacks From Hell.  I’ve been told that it won’t be easy because several of the books are apparently no longer in print.  But that’s okay.  I’m looking forward to searching for them almost as much as I’m looking forward to reading them!

  1. Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix
  2. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  3. Broad Strokes: Fifty Women Who Made Art and Made History (in that order) by Bridget Quinn
  4. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca
  5. We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Legend and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Film by Noah Isenberg
  6. Ava Gardner: A Life in the Movies by Anthony Uzarowski and Kendra Bean
  7. How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
  8. Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder by Piu  Eatwell
  9. High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic by Glenn Frankel
  10. The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost by Peter Manseau

On Wednesday, I’ll be listing my picks for the best of Lifetime and then, on Friday, I’ll finally wrap up my look back at 2017 with my picks for the best 26 movies of the year!

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017
  11. 2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy by Lisa Marie Bowman
  12. 2017 in Review: 10 Good Things that Lisa Marie Saw On Television in 2017
  13. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 12 Favorite Novels of 2017

Art Profile: Covers Of Fate


First published in 1948, Fate is the world’s longest-running magazine devoted to the paranormal.  Along with its articles about the mysterious and the unknown, Fate is also well-known for their covers.  Though the magazine has changed in many ways over the past seven decades, it has always used the same now retro style for its covers.

Here is a small sampling of their covers:

 

Cleaning Out The DVR: Fatherly Obsession (dir by Daniel Ringey)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 166 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on February 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Fatherly Obsession off of the Lifetime Movie Network on December 26th, 2017!)

Alyssa Haroldosn (Molly McCook) is a stand-up comedian who has recently moved from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Los Angeles.

That makes sense, doesn’t it?  I mean, I’ve never been to Wyoming, though I did once live in Colorado and I imagine that’s kind of like being in Wyoming.  Still, I imagine that there’s probably more opportunities for a comedian in L.A. than in Jackson Hole.  Then again, it also seems like there would be considerably less competition in Wyoming than in California.  Actually, if Alyssa really wanted to go some place with no competition, she should have moved to Colorado.  Nobody’s funny in Colorado…

But, to get back to the movie, it turns out that Alyssa didn’t just move for her career.  She also moved because 1) her family was way too clingy and 2) she had a stalker.  When we first meet her, she’s living in a cheap motel room and calling 911 nearly every night.  But then she’s lucky enough to meet a handsome realtor named Oliver (Jack Turner).  Oliver not only appreciates a good fish taco but he also knows of a good, empty apartment!

There’s only three issues with the apartment:

  1. It’s in Oliver’s building and, if you live near Oliver, that means that you’re somehow obligated to share a fish taco with him.  Seriously, Oliver never shuts up about his love for fish tacos.
  2. The apartment is empty because the previous tenant — who looked just like Alyssa — was found dead in her bathtub.
  3. The landlord, Robert (Ted McGinley), is a mentally unbalanced stalker who is desperately looking for someone to take the place of his daughter!

You can probably already guess what happens but Fatherly Obsession does add a few new elements to the typical Lifetime stalking formula.  When Robert — like all Lifetime stalkers — spies on Alyssa’s apartment, he doesn’t just watch her on his computer.  No, Robert uses virtual reality glasses!  What that means is that, at random moments, Robert materializes in Alyssa’s apartment and watches her go about her day.  It’s a nicely creepy twist to the usual Lifetime formula.

The biggest problem with Fatherly Obsession is that Alyssa’s a comedian and, as a result, the dialogue is often excessively quippy.  I spent the first half of the movie worried that Alyssa was going to spend the whole movie almost exclusively speaking in one liners.  Then Oliver started talking about fish tacos and I was just like, “Oh my God!  MAKE IT STOP!”

But the film got better as it went along.  Though her character sometimes drove me crazy, Molly McCook did a good job of capturing both the pain of being a stalked and the difficult of recovery.  Ted McGinley was also incredibly creepy as Robert.  Fatherly Obsession was a typical Lifetime stalking film but it had enough interesting moments to make it worthwhile for fans of the genre.

Music Video of the Day: Ridin’ The Rails by Johnny Cash (1974, dir by Nicholas Webster)


When I saw The Commuter at the Alamo Drafthouse yesterday, this video was shown as a part of the pre-show.  It’s actually taken from a 1974 ABC special, Ridin’ The Rails: The Great American Train Story.  Apparently, the entire special was Johnny Cash riding trains across America, while singing some of his favorite train-related songs.

I imagine that it was ultimately meant to be something of a commercial for Amtrak, which was only 3 years old when Ridin’ The Rails aired.  Myself, I’ve always found trains to be very romantic and one of my most beloved memories of Italy is riding the train into and from Venice.  I’ve never been on Amtrak, though.  I guess that’s because I’m a Southern girl and, down here, we love our cars too much to ever ride a train.

(I do remember, a few years back, watching a bunch of people from up North having a televised conniption over how little we care about Amtrak in the South.  It struck me as being kinda weird and petty but anyway…)

Ridin’ The Rails was directed by Nicholas Webster.  If that name sounds familiar, that might be because Webster also directed my favorite Christmas movie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

Enjoy!