Eurocomics Spotlight : Disa Wallander’s “Becoming Horses”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It might be fairly stated that Swedish cartoonist Disa Wallander appears to have one over-arching concern running through all her work, but given that said concern is the nature of the creative process itself and its centrality to the phenomenon of identity, it’s at the very least a perhaps-infinitely expansive one that’s more than able to subsume any number of “smaller” ones within it, cast them in a new and more considered light, and then return to taking a more “macro,” all-encompassing view. The remarkable thing, though, is that she’s got, for lack of a more readily-available term, a “knack” for transitioning from one exploration to the next with such fluidity that no matter how complex the conceptual themes she’s tackling may be, it all seems incredibly, well — basic? Simple?

Which sounds like either a polite brush-off or a roundabout compliment, I’ll grant you, but it points to an…

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What Lisa Watched Last Night #206: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (dir by Caroline Labreche)

On Friday night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!

Usually, I make it a point to watch every single Lifetime film.  Unfortunately, last year, I got a bit sidetracked and I missed quite a few.  I’m determined to not let that happen this year.  I’ve got quite a few curretly on the DVR and since I’m going to be working from home for at least next month (thank you very much, Coronavirus panic), I’m looking forward to getting to watch them all.  Since No Good Deed Goes Unpunished was the first Lifetime premiere since I returned home from my vacation, there was no way I was going to miss it.

What Was It About?

Karen (Michelle Borth) has some problems.  Her husband just recently died and, despite the help from her sister-in-law Sophie (Cristina Rosato), Karen is having trouble holding it all together.  She’s struggling financially, to the extent that she’s actually had to take in a border, Calvin (Oliver Price).  Calvin has taken over the room that used to belong to Karen’s resentful, young son, Max (Noah James Turcotte).  Karen is up for a big promotion at work but everyone but Karen can see that the obvious favorite for the job is the sleazy Lance (Jason Deline).  Lance is an old friend of the boss and, of course, he’s also a man.

One night, while Karen’s at the grocery store, she finds herself in the middle of an attempted robbery.  When the robber points the gun at another shopper, Jeremy (Mark Rendall), Karen steps in and basically saves Jeremy’s life.  After the police show up, Karen just wants to forget about the whole thing and move on with her life.  However, Jeremy is now obsessed with Karen and he has decided that he’s going to do whatever it takes to become a part of her life….

As the title says: No good deed goes unpunished!

What Worked?

So, I absolutely loved this movie.

Seriously, this was one of the best psycho stalker films to ever premiere on the Lifetime Movie Network.  Not only did the plot fully embrace the melodrama (which is always the key to any successful Lifetime film) but it featured some pretty good performances from Michelle Borth, Mark Rendall, and Christina Rosato to boot!  Mark Rendall played Jeremy with a creepy smile and an unhinged eagerness to please and it was a lot of fun to watch him and wonder just how far he was going to go to try to get close to Karen and Max.

One thing that I really liked about this movie is that, from the minute she first met Jeremy, Karen was like, “Okay, this guy is weird.”  So many Lifetime films are overly dependent on everyone acting like an idiot until the final third of the movie.  Not so with this one.  Karen suspects that Jeremy has issues from the start.  What makes Jeremy an effective villain is that, even though almost everyone wants him to leave, they somehow can’t ever seem to make it happen.  Jeremy slides into their lives and basically just refuses to go away.

I also liked Oliver Price’s performance as the hilariously entitled Calvin.  Calvin was like every boomer’s nightmare of what my generation is like and Price appeared to be having a lot of fun with the role.  His incredulous look of shock when Karen demanded that he actually pay his rent was one of my favorite moments.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked!  This was a great Lifetime film.

“Oh my God! Just Like Me!” Moments

I totally related to Sophie, who had a good attitude and absolutely no fear of suggesting that a young child walk home and cook his own dinner.  I know that some people would say that was irresponsible on her part but I like to think that she was preparing Max for life in the real world.  You can’t always depend on your wacky aunt to come pick you up after karate class.  When she has things that she would rather do, you need to be able to get back home and make yourself something to eat without burning down the apartment.

My other favorite Sophie moment was when her sister demanded to know if she was high and Sophie waited like two minutes before replying that she was.  Seriously, if someone asks you if you’re high and you hesitate by answering, you might as well just say “yes” because everyone knows.

Sophie deserves her own movie.

Lessons Learned:

Don’t ever save anyone’s life.  It’s just not worth all the trouble afterwards.  Don’t be a hero as the movie villains like to say.


Cinemax Friday: Hard Vice (1994, directed by Joey Travolta)

Who doesn’t love some Hard Vice?

Someone’s killing businessman in Las Vegas and it’s up to the vice squad to figure out who.  Captain Bronski (James Gammon) knows that his cops are going to need some help so he brings in a detective named Joe (Sam J. Jones).  Joe is a tough-talking, hard-drinking modern day cowboy who even owns a hat.  He doesn’t think that women should be investigating major crimes and that brings him into conflict with his new partners, especially Andrea (Shannon Tweed).

Despite not being happy about having to work together, Joe and Andrea put aside their differences long enough to investigate the murders and fall in love.  They discover that all of the men used the same escort service.  Could the murderer be a pimp named Tony (Branscombe Richmond, who played Bobby Sixkiller on Renegade) or could it be a renegade prostitute (played by Rebecca FerattI) who is called Christy in the movie but who is listed as being named Allison in the end credits?  Or could it be someone closer to the vice squad?

Hard Vice is a typical late night Cinemax crime movie, heavy on the neon and the synthesized music but light on unexpected plot twists.  There are still a few things about the movie that set it apart from other movies of the era.  First off, this movie features a man armed only with a handgun managing to blow up a helicopter.  Secondly, even though the film is set in the 90s, the vice squad is stuck using bulky computers from the 80s and the scene where they use the computer to look up information on the victims has to be seen to be believed.  Finally, any movie that brings Shannon Tweed and Rebecca Feratti together is worthy of a little appreciation.  Toss in Sam J. Jones and James Gammon sounding like he’s been smoking six packs of cigarettes a day and you’ve got a film that’s almost worth watching.

Hard Vice was directed by Joey Travolta, who is best known for being John’s younger brother.  This was the first film he ever directed and, checking with the imdb, I was surprised to discover that he’s directed a lot more since.  Joey’s direction in Hard Vice isn’t that bad, though Las Vegas is one of those cities where it’s probably impossible not to come up with an interesting shot or two if you’re filming there.  Travolta tosses in a few flash forwards to make sure that we know we’re watching a real film and not just your run-of-the-mill neo-noir.  They don’t add much to the plot but when you’re trying to establish your auteur credentials, I guess you do what you have to do.

Happy Friday the 13th From All The Humans And The Cat At The Shattered Lens

Happy Friday the 13th!

Today is the greatest Friday of the year because today is the 13th!  Some people consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky but those people have obviously never been the only virgin at a weekend party up at Camp Crystal Lake.  Ask any of them and they can tell you just how lucky Friday the 13th can be.

Today, we are aware that many of our readers may be locked away in their homes, practicing social distancing or freaking out because they’ve been watching the 24-hour news stations.  To you, we make the following suggestion: Turn off twitter.  Turn off MSNBC.  Turn off Fox.  Definitely turn off CNN.  And why not just sit back and enjoy the antics of those fun-loving kids up at Camp Crystal Lake?

In fact, in case you need help picking which movie to watch, the flame-haired one has reviewed every single one of them here on the Shattered Lens!  She personally recommends that you watch parts 1, 2, and 4 but it’s totally up to you!  Here’s some links to her reviews:

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th: Jason Lives

Friday the 13th Part VII: A New Blood

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

Jason X

Freddy vs Jason

Friday the 13th: The Pointless Remake

And then be sure to check out: 12 Thing You May Not Have Known About Friday the 13th and then read the flame-haired one’s review of Camp Crystal Lake Memories!

The world will still be here when you get back, we promise.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Music Video of the Day: Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees (1989, dir by ????)

Are they Bee Gees or are they The Bee Gees?  I’m not really sure and, quite frankly, I’ve seen it listed as both on several reputable sites.  Regardless, this is a good song.  “The New York Times‘ effect on man” is a nice and random little lyric, even though Tony Manero really didn’t come across like a reader of the Times in Saturday Night Fever.

If you’re ever giving someone CPR, they say that you should do it to the tune of Staying Alive so, if you memorize this song, you’ll be able to save a life.  That’s the type of helpful information that we happily provide to our readers free of charge here at the Shattered Lens.

According to the YouTube description, this from the “One for All Tour” Live concert at the National Tennis Centre in Melbourne 1989, Australia.