Cleaning Out The DVR: My Husband’s Secret Life (dir by Philippe Gagnon)


I recorded My Husband’s Secret Life off of Lifetime on March 25th.

Agck!

That looks like quite an accident, doesn’t it?

Lying on the ground is Freddy (Brett Donahue).  Freddy owns a flower store so you might wonder how exactly he ended up lying in the middle of the street, covered in blood.  Some of it could have to do with the fact that Freddy is the husband who is mentioned, in the title, as having a secret.  Freddy may seem like a nice guy but he sure is shady about certain aspects of his past.  For instance, why does he carry a lighter that was made in Russia?  And when he talks in his sleep, why does he speak with slightly foreign accent?  And then there’s his slightly creepy and rather overprotective mother.

As for why he’s lying in the middle of the road, he’s just been run by a man named Arthur (Joe Cobden).  Arthur drinks too much and is frequently a nervous wreck.  Interestingly enough, he once had a respectable job and a strong family.  Whenever Freddy and Arthur meet, it’s on one of those park benches that practically screams, “Secret spy meeting place!”

Hovering over him is Jennifer Jones (Kara Killmer).  Jennifer is Freddy’s wife and, to be honest, she was a bit concerned about her marriage even before Freddy ended up in the middle of the street.  They’ve been married for seven years and yet, there’s still things that Jennifer doesn’t really known about Freddy.  And when she just happens to spot him in the city, getting yelled at by an angry woman, Jennifer’s suspicions become even stronger.  It gets even worse when she twice tries to call him and, after first ignoring her, he answers the second time and blatantly lies about where he is.

Later, when she confronts him, he admits that he was lying about where he was but then asks her why she didn’t call him out if she knew he was lying.  I mean, how dare she allow him to lie!?  That’s classic gaslighting and enough to make everyone watching the film shout, “Get away from him!”

But, shortly afterward, Freddy ends up in the middle of the street and, suddenly, the whole idea of leaving him gets a lot more awkward.  Freddy’s in a coma now and how can you leave someone when they’re in a coma?  While Jennifer waits for Freddy to wake up, her mother-in-law continues to push her away.  What was Jennifer’s husband hiding and why is his mother searching through his house in the middle of the night?  Jennifer is determined to find out!

In all probability, you’ll figure it out long before Jennifer does.  I mean, honestly, when a guy starts speaking in a foreign accent in his sleep, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s probably not who he says he is.  In fact, it takes a certain suspension of disbelief to accept that Freddy could have fooled Jennifer for all this time.

But — hey, this is Lifetime and Lifetime is all about suspending your disbelief and having a good time!  Kara Killmer gives a sympathetic lead performance and Joe Cobden has a few good scenes as the perpetually shaky Arthur.  At its most effective, My Husband’s Secret Life deals with a question that we’ve all asked (whether we admit it or not): How well do we know the people we love?

My Husband’s Secret Life is also known as Sleeper.

Drive-In Saturday Night 2: BIKINI BEACH (AIP 1964) & PAJAMA PARTY (AIP 1964)


cracked rear viewer

Welcome back to Drive-In Saturday Night! Summer’s here, and the time is right for a double dose of American-International teen flicks, so pull in, pull up a speaker to hang on your car window, and enjoy our first feature, 1964’s BIKINI BEACH, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello:

BIKINI BEACH is the third of AIP’s ‘Beach Party’ movies, and this one’s a typical hodgepodge of music, comedy, and the usual teenage shenanigans. The gang’s all here, heading to the beach on spring break for surfing and swinging. This time around, there’s a newcomer on the sand, British rock star The Potato Bug, with Frankie playing a dual role. Potato Bug is an obvious spoof of the big Beatlemania fever sweeping the country, with all the beach chicks (or “birds”, as he calls ’em) screaming whenever PB starts singing one of his songs, complete with Lennon/McCartney-esque “Wooos” and “Yeah, yeah, yeahs”…

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Cleaning Out The DVR: Family Vanished (dir by Mark Sanderson)


I recorded Family Vanished off of the Lifetime Movie Network on July 6th!

“Give me my wedding ring, you white trash bitch!”

— Lisa (Kelly Packard) in Family Vanished (2018)

Here’s two lessons that I learned from Family Vanished:

  1. Be careful how much information you post online.

Seriously, Lisa (Kelly Packard) thought it would be a good idea to post how much she had sold a painting for online.  She also thought it would be a good idea to let the world know that she, her husband (Madison Dirks), and her daughter (Elisa Luthman) would all be in Hawaii on a work vacation.

What happened as a result?  Well, Mike (Todd Cahoon), Carol (Jennifer Taylor), and their daughter (Megan Littler) saw Lisa’s posting.  And they decided that Lisa and her family must have a lot of money.  So, they broke into the family’s house.  They lived there for several days.  They tried on everyone’s clothes.  They slept in everyone’s beds.  They made the house their own and, since they never took off their black gloves, they managed to do it without leaving behind any DNA or fingerprint evidence.

Of course, they quickly discovered that Lisa and her family wasn’t as rich as they assumed.  In fact, a quick perusal of Lisa’s diary revealed that the family itself wasn’t particularly happy.  Still, Mike and Carol were determined to get something for all of their trouble so they stayed in the house until Lisa and the family returned from their vacation.

Second lesson learned:

2. You can only push people so far before they snap.

Sure, Mike and Carol had a lot of fun tormenting Lisa and her family.  They revealed that Lisa had been unfaithful.  They forced Lisa’s husband to bark like a dog.  They taunted Lisa’s daughter for having won so many trophies in school.  Mike and Carol had a lot of fun but they failed to consider just how far some people will go to get revenge.

When their initial ordeal finally ended, Lisa and her husband were not happy to learn that the police had no real leads as to where Mike and Carol went off to.  So, they decided to investigate on their own.  And when they did track down Mike and Carol, well, let’s just say that even the most normal-seeming people can be pushed too far…

So, Family Vanished was a film that I had mixed feelings about.  I’m not a huge fan of movies about people being held hostage.  Films about hostage situations are always a bit too predictable for me.  It always starts with the hostages pleading for their lives and then the nosy neighbor comes over and there’s the big tense scene where the main hostage has to try to get rid of him while someone stands behind the front door with a gun or a knife pointed at his back.  The hostage takers always start taunting the hostages.  I’ve seen it so many times that I just automatically get bored with the situation.

So, the first half of Family Vanished didn’t do much for me but then Lisa and her husband set out to get revenge and it became this totally different, wonderfully over-the-top movie!  I loved watching Kelly Packard and Madison Dirks get mean and vengeful.  Kelly Packard has appeared in many Lifetime movies but I think this is the first one where she actually gets to kick some ass and both she and Dirks seemed to be having a lot of fun with the role reversal.  Add to that, Mike and Carol were so obnoxiously cruel that it was impossible not to get some guilty pleasure out watching Lisa demanded the return of her wedding ring.

With its theme of a terrible crime leading to an even worse revenge, Family Vanished is what I imagine a Wes Craven-directed Lifetime movie would have been like.   It’s Lifetime’s Last House On The Left.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #186: Killer Caregiver (dir by John Murlowski)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime movie premiere, Killer Caregiver!

Why Was I Watching It?

Why not?

What Was It About?

While visiting one of her clients, Mariah Wilson (Nicole Hayden) is shocked when an accident leads to not only his death but also to her breaking her arm.  With months of physical therapy ahead of her, Mariah hires a home caregiver.  Tara (Camila Banus) seems like she’s perfect.  She gets along with Mariah’s estranged husband, Greg (George Stults).  She helps Mariah exercise her arm.  Most importantly, Mariah’s son, Jacob (Jaeden Bettencourt), loves her!

It all seems perfect, except … uh oh!  It turns out that Tara is the daughter of Mariah’s dead client and she’s out for revenge!

What Worked?

Oh my God, the houses were to die for!  Seriously, one of the things that I love about Lifetime films is that they always take place in these huge houses, the majority of which have a pool in the back yard.  But, even by the standards of Lifetime, this film featured some nice houses.  In fact, Greg and Mariah’s house was so nice that I was half expecting Greg to reveal that he worked as a money launderer for the mob.  But no, Greg’s job had something to do with computers.  Having seen this film, I’m now encouraging my boyfriend to get an IT-related job because I could have a lot of fun with a house that big.

However, it wasn’t just Greg and Mariah who had a nice house.  Tara also had a really nice house, too.  For that matter, when Greg, Mariah, and Jacob were forced to stay in a motel for a night, the motel looked really, really good.

From her first appearance, Tara established herself as being a classic Lifetime villain and Camila Banus really threw herself into the role.  From the minute Tara showed up, she was like, “This is my film and now, everyone’s at my mercy!”  A film like this is only as good as its villain and Tara was a great one.

What Did Not Work?

What happened to Eugene?  The well-meaning but intellectually disabled groundskeeper (played by David Meyers) seemed like he was going to be an important character but then he just kinda disappeared.  It was hard not to feel that the character deserved a resolution to his subplot, as minor as it may have been.

Other than that, it all worked!  I mean, I could sit here and wonder if perhaps Tara could have come with a simpler revenge scheme (spoiler: she could have) but that would be kind of silly on my part.  Melodrama is one of the reasons why I love Lifetime movies!  Besides, how can you go wrong when you’ve got a great psycho and a big house?

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

While I personally would never plot anyone’s downfall, I still found myself admiring how organized Tara was about it.  You could tell that she probably made out a To-Do List before she set about destroying Mariah’s life:

  1. Become a caregiver
  2. Get hired
  3. Brainwash Jacob
  4. Drug Mariah…

And so on and so forth.  At least, that’s what I would do.

Lessons Learned

With enough planning and preparation, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Plus, computer people make hella money!

August Lipp’s “Roopert” : Smarter Than The Average Bear


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

There’s no doubt about it : “funny animal” comics aren’t what they used to be.

Then again, they never really were, at least not the good ones — one way or another, they were always at least a little bit subversive, and whether we’re talking about Walt Kelly’s open socio-political commentary in Pogo or Carl Barks’ knowing winks to the audience showing that he understood, accepted, and derived something very much like joy from working around, the limitations of form and function supposedly imposed upon his limitless imagination in his various “Duck Books,” our anthropomorphic stand-ins have always been one of the very finest means by which skilled and inventive artists communicate largely-unspoken truths about ourselves to ourselves.

In that sense, then, Philadelphia-based cartoonist August Lipp’s late-2017 Revival House Press release Roopert carries on an already-proud tradition — but this 56-page oversized magazine (a real bargain at ten bucks, trust me)…

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Music Video of the Day: Dangerous by Big Data (2014, dir by Chris Ledoux)


This is actually one of several videos for Big Data’s Dangerous.  Val shared two of them previously, here and here.  However, the one above is my personal favorite because it features kitties!

This video was written and produced by Tom Borden and directed by Chris Ledoux.

And it features a lot of cats!  Did I mention that?

Enjoy!