2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime


Today, I continue my look back at 2015 by posting my picks for the best of Lifetime!  My nominees for the best Lifetime films and performances are listed below, with the winners starred and listed in bold!  Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and thank you for making this one of the most entertaining years in my long history of watching Lifetime movies!

deadly-adoption

Best Picture
Babysitter’s Black Book, produced by Robert Ballo and Ken Sanders.
Cleveland Abduction, produced by David A. Rosemont and Stephen Tolkin
*A Deadly Adoption, produced by Fritz Manger, Max Osswald, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay.*
If There Be Thorns, produced by Richard D. Arredondo and Harvey Kahn.
A Mother’s Instinct, produced by Oliver De Caigny and Timothy O. Johnson
Patient Killer, produced by Barbie Castro.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, produced by Joseph Boccia, Don Carmody, and David Cormican.
The Spirit of Christmas, produced by Andrea Ajemian
Stalked By My Neighbor, produced by Robert Ballo.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, produced by Ian Hay.

Best Director
Jason Bourque for A Mother’s Instinct
Doug Campbell for Stalked By My Neighbor.
*Rachel Goldenberg for A Deadly Adoption*
Alex Kalymnois for Cleveland Abduction
Vanessa Parise for The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
Casper Van Dien for Patient Killer

deadly-adoption-trailer

Best Actor
Shaun Benson in Kept Woman
Dan Castellaneta in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
*Will Ferrell in A Deadly Adoption*
Travis Hammer in The Bride He Bought Online
Adam Kaufman in A Mother Betrayed
Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor

Best Actress
Josie Bissett in A Mother’s Instinct
Anna Camp in Caught
Kimberly Elise in Back to School Mom
Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
*Taryn Manning in Cleveland Abduction*
Kelcie Stranahan in Stalked By My Neighbor

Best Supporting Actor
Ken Camroux-Taylor in Sugarbabies
MacKenzie Gray in If There Be Thorns
Richard Harmon in A Mother’s Instinct
*Patrick Muldoon in Patient Killer.*
Eric Roberts in A Fatal Obsession
Peter Strauss in Sugar Daddies.

Unauthorized Beverly Hills

Best Supporting Actress
Angeline Appel in Babysitter’s Black Book.
Barbie Castro in Patient Killer
Olivia d’Abo in Stolen From The Suburbs
Sarah Grey in A Mother’s Instinct
Jessica Lowndes in A Deadly Adoption
*Samantha Munro in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story*

Best Adapted Screenplay
*Cleveland Abduction, written by Stephen Tolkin*
If There Be Thorns, written by Andy Cochran.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroewritten by Stephen Kronish and J. Randy Taraborrelli.
Seeds of Yesterday, written by Darren Stein.
Turkey Hollow, written by Tim Burns and Christopher Baldi.
Wuthering High School, written by Delondra Williams.

Best Original Screenplay
*Babysitter’s Black Book, written by Richard Kletter and Michele Samit*
A Deadly Adoption, written by Andrew Steele.
The Murder Pact, written by John Doolan
Patient Killer, written by Bryan Dick and Brian D. Young.
Stalked By My Neighborwritten by Doug Campbell.
Stolen From The Suburbs, written by Alex Wright

clevelandabduction

Best Cinematography
*Cleveland Abduction, Richard Wong.*
Fatal Obsession, Ronnee Swenton.
If There Be Thorns, James Liston.
The Murder PactBranden James Maxham.
Patient Killer, Bernard Salzmann
The Spirit of Christmas, Michael Negrin.

Best Costume Design
Grace of Monaco, Gigi Lepage
If There Be ThornsShanna Mair, Rebekka Sorensen.
Kept Woman
*The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Gersha Phillips.*
Seeds of Yesterday, Claire Nadon.
The Spirit of Christmas, Jennifer Lynn Tremblay.

Best Editing
Babysitter’s Black Book, Ely Mennin
Cleveland Abduction, Henk Van Eeghen.
*A Deadly Adoption, Bill Parker.*
A Mother’s Instinct
Stalked By My Neighbor, Clayton Woodhull.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Allan Lee.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
*Cleveland Abduction, Dugg Kirkpatrick, Susan R. Prosser, Tina Roesler Kewin, Alan Tuskes, Alicia Zavarella*
Grace of Monaco
If There Be Thorns, Jenine Lehfeldt, Tana Lynn Moldovanos.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Jordan Samuel, Cliona Furey
The Spirit of Christmas
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Amber Crombach.

Best Original Score
Dangerous Company
Cleveland Abduction, Tony Morales.
Her Infidelity, Russ Howard III
Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story, Matthew Janszen
*The Murder Pact, Matthew Llewellyn.*
Sugar Daddies.  Steve Gurevitch.

heather-graham-if-there-be-thorns

Best Production Design
Cleveland Abduction, Derek R. Hill.
*If There Be Thorns, Linda Del Rosario, Richard Paris.*
A Mother’s Instinct, Jason Sober.
The Murder Pact, Caley Bisson.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Rocco Matteo.
The Unauthroized Beverly Hills 90210 Story

Best Sound
*The Bride He Bought Online*
Dangerous Company
If There Be Thorns
Stalked By My Neighbor
UnGodly Acts
Whitney.

Best Visual Effects
Becoming Santa
If There Be Thorns
Last Chance For Christmas
*Turkey Hollow*
When the Sky Falls
Wish Upon A Christmas

Tomorrow, I’ll post my picks for the worst 16 films of 2015!

A-Deady-adoption-dancing

Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: A Mother’s Instinct (dir by Jason Bourque)


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After I finished watching and reviewing Night of the Wild, it was time to continue cleaning out my DVR by watching A Mother’s Instinct.  A Mother’s Instinct premiered on Lifetime on November 9th.  On that night, I was out celebrating my upcoming birthday with my family.  Fortunately, before I left, I remembered to set the DVR to record A Mother’s Instinct.

Like many Lifetime films, A Mother’s Instinct takes place in the suburbs.  It’s the type of place that is perfect on the surface but the digger you deep, the more ugliness you discover.  It’s the type of place where happy families are never quite as happy as they seem.  It’s the type of place where danger lurks in the shadows, waiting for the chance to make itself known.  It’s the type of place where the pervert across the street takes pictures of his neighbor undressing in front of her bedroom window.  It’s the type of place where pets are kidnapped and killed and left on a driveway as a threat.

It’s also the home of the Bettners, mother Nora (Josie Bissett), teenage daughter Scarlett (Sarah Grey, who had a similar role in director Jason Bourque’s earlier Lifetime film, The Wrong Girl), and youngest child, Gus (Spencer Drever).  When Gus disappears, Nora and Sarah immediately suspect that he’s been kidnapped by Seth Durand (Richard Harmon).  Seth and his mother have just moved in across the street.  Before Gus vanished, Seth was spying on and harassing Scarlett.  After Gus vanishes, Seth taunts the Bettners.  Or, at the very least, it seems that he does.  Is Seth guilty or is he just a jerk?  This is the question that rests at the heart of A Mother’s Instinct.

Nora’s instinct is that Seth is guilty but despite her belief, the police have no proof that Seth kidnapped Gus.  So, with Scarlett’s help, Nora abducts Seth and, after stripping him down to his underwear, locks him in a cage and proceeds to torture and interrogate him.  Soon, that cage becomes Nora’s private version of Gitmo, with Seth as her helpless prisoner.  The more that Seth claims to be innocent, the more extreme Nora’s methods become.  Eventually, even Scarlett starts to worry that they’re going too far…

But are they?  Up until the final 30 minutes of the film (at which point something happens that pretty much answers all of our questions), we’re never quite sure whether Seth is innocent or if he’s guilty.  Our natural instinct is to assume that he must be guilty because the kid is such a creep.  But, as Nora’s methods get more and more extreme, we’re left to wonder if she’s the one making the mistake.  Has she now crossed the lines and become the dangerous one?  Or is she just doing what needs to be done to save her family?  That sense of moral ambiguity is what sets A Mother’s Instinct apart from other abduction-theme Lifetime movie.

Though the plot is similar to 2013’s Prisoners, A Mother’s Instinct manages to establish an identity of its own.  It’s an intense film that will keep you guessing about whether Seth is guilty or innocent.  Richard Harmon gives an excellent performance as the creepy Seth, making the viewers feel both sympathy and revulsion towards the character.  Josie Bissett is perfectly intense as the determined mother while Sarah Grey does a good job of capturing both Scarlett’s anger and her doubts.  A Mother’s Instinct is a good and intense Lifetime movie, the type that will keep you guessing until the end.