Hellhound On My Trail: Walter Hill’s CROSSROADS (Columbia 1986)

cracked rear viewer

‘Well the blues had a baby/and they named it rock and roll” –

Muddy Waters

Hi, my name’s Gary, and I’m a bluesoholic! Whether it’s Deep South Delta or Electric Chicago, distilled in Great Britain or Sunny California, the blues has always been the foundation upon which rock’n’roll was built. Yet there aren’t a lot of films out there depicting this totally original American art form. One I viewed recently was 1986’s CROSSROADS, directed by another American original whose work I enjoy, Walter Hill.

Hill was responsible for cult classics filled with violence and laced with humor, like HARD TIMES (with Charles Bronson as a 1930’s bare knuckles brawler), the highly stylized THE WARRIORS , the gritty Western THE LONG RIDERS, and SOUTHERN COMFORT (a kind of MOST DANGEROUS GAME On The Bayou). He scored box office gold with the 1982 action-comedy 48 HRS, making a movie star out of…

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Lifetime Film Review: My Evil Stepdad (dir by Stacia Crawford)


As you can tell from looking at the picture above, the stepdad in My Evil Stepdad is even more evil and pervy and shady than the usual Lifetime evil stepdad.  Lifetime, of course, has a long and proud tradition of airing films about dangerous stepparents.  They all usually seem to follow the same basic plot.  A widow (and it’s almost always a widow as opposed to someone who has just gone through a divorce) meets a seemingly charming man who quickly marries her.  Her daughter is suspicious of her new stepfather.  Around the halfway mark, the stepfather commits a murder, just in case we were still entertaining any doubts about whether or not he’s a really bad guy.  Eventually, the daughter does a Google search and discovers that her new stepfather has either changed his name or is lying about some other important detail from his past.  Eventually, the stepfather is either killed or taken off to prison, the widow realizes that there’s nothing wrong with being single, and the daughter is proven correct.  The most important thing, of course, is that everything returns to normal at the end of the film.

In My Evil Stepdad, the widow is Tracy (played by Jennifer Lafluer).  Tracy has still not fully gotten over the death of her husband and, while she’s open to dating again, she has a strong aversion to Tinder and almost anything else that came into existence after 2011.  Her daughter is Ashley (Addy Stafford), who has inherited her father’s love of photography and who is looking forward to attending college in the fall.  And then, finally, the evil stepdad of the title is Jared (Chris Johnson), who seems to be nice and trustworthy and whose claim that he’s started a wind chime business is kind of charming as long as you don’t think about it too much.

When Jared comes across an online dating profile that Ashley set up for Tracy, he quickly manages to make his way into Tracy’s life.  Of course, he gets a little bit of help from Ashley who, unfortunately, doesn’t realize that he’s totally evil until after he’s already married Tracy.  It’s after the wedding that Jared starts to push Ashley out of her mother’s life.  Not only does he pressure her to take out a student loan to help pay for college but he also takes over her photography studio, changing the locks and turning it into his mancave.  Even worse, he tells Ashley that if she needs any money, she’ll have to ask him for it.  He even says that he will be her “sugar daddy.”  Like seriously, ewwww!

While all of this is going on, Tracy continues to defend Jared even as everyone else in her life tells her that he’s kind of a jerk.  Of course, every since the wedding, Tracy has been feeling ill.  Hmmmm …. could Jared possible have something to do with that?

In many ways, My Evil Stepdad is a standard evil stepparent film but it manages to go through all of the expected paces with a certain panache.  Director Stacia Crawford keeps the action moving at a nice pace and Abby Stafford and Jennifer Lafluer are believable as daughter-and-mother.  Chris Johnson is wonderfully sleazy in the role of Jared and the film also features a good comedic turn from Belmont Cameli in the role of Ashley’s best friend.  If you like Lifetime films, you’ll enjoy My Evil Stepdad.

Music Video Of The Day: Open Your Eyes, covered by David Hasselhoff (2019, dir by Vincent Cordero)

Uhmmm …. okay.

So, this is from David Hasselhoff’s upcoming new album, Open Your Eyes.  The entire album is going to be cover tunes.  This song was originally recorded by a group called The Lords of the New Church, which had a line-up of four musicians who had previously made a name for themselves as members of punk bands in the 1970s, Stiv Bators (The Dead Boys), Brian James (The Damned), Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) and Nick Turner (The Barracudas).

(Why yes, I did copy and paste that from Wikipedia.  Why do you ask?)

Anyway, I know that when I think of punk rock or even post-punk rock, David Hasselhoff is the first name that comes to mind.  In this video, the Hoff’s voice actually sounds okay but he goes a bit overboard with the facial expressions.  To be honest, the whole video has kind of a 90s feel to it but I get the feeling that might be intentional.  Certainly, the wall of TVs feels a bit retro, as does the family watching in amazement.  Families today are more likely to be gathered around twitter than gathered around the television.  My favorite part of this video would have to be the politicians and the bankers throwing the money around.  You can literally hear them yelling, “Look how evil we are!”

As always, the Hoff seems to be having fun and if you’ve ever wanted to see David Hasselhoff sing about income inequality …. well, here you go!