Lifetime Film Review: Psycho Yoga Instructor (dir by Brian Herzlinger)

Oh hell yeah!

This Lifetime film had me as soon as I saw the title.  Psycho Yoga Instructor?  Seriously, is that not the most brilliant title of all time?  Apparently, this film was originally called The Perfect Pose and that’s an okay title.  I mean, “perfect” is always a good word to use in a title.  But you know what’s an even better word to use?  Psycho!

Plus, the fact that the title promised not just a psycho but a psycho yoga instructor made me even more excited to see the film.  There’s been countless Lifetime film about yoga instructors who ended up getting stalked.  But this film’s title shakes things up.  This time, it’s the yoga instructor who is the stalker!

Anyway, Psycho Yoga Instructor tells the story of Justine (Ashley Wood).  Justine is married to Tom (Brady Smith), who is the type of guy who stays at work late and then, when he gets home, doesn’t even bother to join his wife in bed.  Instead, he collapses on the couch, where she inevitably finds him the next morning.  Justine is eager to adopt a baby.  Tom barely seems to care.  Justine is haunted by nightmares in which she’s drowning in the tub and, instead of trying to save her, Tom takes a call from work.

Justine’s best friend, Ginnie (Lily Rains), thinks that Tom is cheating on Justine.  She also thinks that Justine should come to her yoga class and ogle the hot yoga instructor, Dominic (Panos Vlahos).  Justine is reasonably sure that Tom is not cheating but she still decides that yoga might help her deal with some of her stress.

Dominic, it turns out, is a very good yoga instructor.  He’s got wild hair and he spends a lot of time talking about toxins and the barriers that people set up to their own happiness.  He takes an interest in Justine and soon, he’s even coming to Justine’s house to give her one-and-one lessons.  Justine thinks that Dominic is helping her get in touch with what she really wants out of life.  Dominic, meanwhile, spends most of his time staring down Justine’s shirt.  Like, seriously, Dom — eyes up!

Tom starts to get jealous and with good reason.  Justine is having all sorts of dreams about Dominic and, for the most part, they never end well for Tom.  Still, it’s just yoga, right?  And Dominic’s not any more quirky than the typical yoga guy, right?  Wrong.  It turns out that Dominic is more than just a somewhat spacey hot guy.  He’s also a …. PSYCHO YOGA INSTRUCTOR!

Admittedly, it does take a while to get around to the psycho part of Psycho Yoga Instructor but I still liked the film.  The character of Dominic was so hilariously vapid and Panos Vlahos seemed to be having so much fun smirking and talking about toxins that it was impossible not to enjoy his performance.  Justine’s recurring dreams were also well-shot and genuinely creepy.  The one where Justine was under water while her husband laughed at her especially got to me.  The film was as cheerfully trashy as you would hope that a film with a title like Psycho Yoga Instructor would be.  In the end, that’s what really matters.

Cinemax Friday: Meatballs IV (1992, directed by Bob Logan)

Neil (Jack Nance … yes, Eraserhead Jack Nance) owns a summer camp where he teaches people how to water ski.  Unfortunately, it’s been a while since Neil’s been a success.  The camp is old and run down and Neil is just too good-hearted to enforce any discipline on his campers or his counselors.  The evil Monica Shavetts (Sarah Douglas) owns the water ski camp on the other side of the lake and she is determined to put Neil out of business.  Fortunately, Neil does have one ace up his sleeve.  One of his former campers, Ricky Wade (Corey Feldman), has gone to become one of the top water skiers in the world and he has returned to help Neil save the camp!

Meatballs IV covers all the usual summer camp hijinks.  The fat kid learns how to believe in himself.  The female counselors all appear in topless.  There’s a shower scene, of course, and there’s also a lot of humor centering around flatulence.  When you’re 11 years old, this movie is pretty cool.  Of course, saving the camp means winning a competition against the evil camp.  At least Sarah Douglas appears to be relishing her evil role.  There is one funny joke where Corey Feldman attempts to hit on a girl by telling her, “I was in Goonies.”  I guess even back then, Feldman knew which one of his movies people would actually remember.

Jack Nance is his usual eccentric self in the role of Neil but he doesn’t get to do much.  Sadly, it was while he was in upstate New York making this film that his then-wife, Kelly Van Dyke, committed suicide in Los Angeles.  Reportedly, Nance had been on the phone consoling her and trying to talk her down.  Unfortunately, a lightning storm knocked out the phones in the middle of Nance’s conversation with Kelly and she hung herself immediately afterwards.  For many of us, Jack Nance would be the main reason we would sit through something like Meatballs IV but knowing that story makes it difficult to watch him in this film.  Both Jack Nance and his wife deserved better.

Meatballs IV started out as a movie called Happy Campers, which was intended to be a low-budget rip-off of the original Meatballs.  Then, someone realized that an even better idea than ripping off a successful film would simply be to change your movie’s title and turn it into a sequel.  Meatballs IV tells the same basic story as the original Meatballs, with a bunch of plucky outsiders proving themselves over the summer.  The main difference is that Meatballs IV has a lot more T&A than the original film and that the first film has Bill Murray as a camp counselor while this one has to settle for Corey Feldman.  It’s not that Feldman’s bad in the role, of course.  Despite what happened to his career in the 90s and beyond, Corey Feldman has always been capable of giving good performances, even if he often didn’t.  (I can’t really blame him.  Would you make much of an effort if you were appearing something like Dream A Little Dream 2?)  It’s just that Corey Feldman is no Bill Murray.  When Ricky first shows up at the camp, he energizes the campers by doing an elaborate dance routine, which he ends by shouting, “Elvis has left the building!”  It has the same energy as that episode of The Simpsons where Homer is hired to voice Poochie on Itchy & Scratchy.  It feels desperate, like the film is trying too hard to convince us that Ricky Wade is as cool as everyone says he is.  If you have to work that hard to convince people that you’re cool, then you’re probably not.

Song of the Day: My Name Is Nobody by Ennio Morricone

My Name Is Nobody (1973, dir by Tonino Valerii)

Today’s song of the day comes from Ennio Morricone’s score for the 1973 Italian comedic western, My Name Is Nobody.  Though Sergio Leone is only credited as having produced the film, most sources seem to agree that he pretty much directed it as well.  As such, it’s certainly appropriate that My Name Is Nobody would have a classic Morricone score.

As befits the film, Morricone’s music is notably light-hearted, especially when compared to some of his other work.  With this score, I think we get to hear Morricone having a bit of fun.

From Ennio Morricone, here’s My Name Is Nobody, from the soundtrack of the movie with the same name.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)

A Pretty Strong “Wimp Digest”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

To address the elephant in the room right at the outset, yes — Josh Pettinger and Evan Salazar’s new eight-page mini, Wimp Digest, is a “gimmick” comic, the stunt in question being that Salazar is writing and drawing a mildly embarrassing anecdote about Pettinger’s childhood, and Pettinger is writing and drawing a mildly embarrassing anecdote about Salazar’s childhood. Got that?

I’m sure you do, as the idea of one cartoonist telling the other a story for them to commit to paper, and the other doing the same, isn’t a terribly difficult conceit to grasp — nor is this comic itself a difficult one to kick back and spend about 15 minutes with. It’s a fun, kinda heartwarming, and certainly well-illustrated little number by two of the more promising new (-ish, at any rate) talents in the “indie”/self-publishing scene (although, as I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover, the…

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