Lifetime Film Review: Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare (dir by Jeff Hare)


Look out everyone!  Dr. Beck is back!

Played by Eric Roberts, Albert Beck is the anti-hero at the center of the Stalked By My Doctor films.  He was once a brilliant heart surgeon, up until he grew obsessed with one of his patients and was forced to go on the run.  That happened in 2015’s Stalked By My DoctorStalked By My Doctor was so successful that it has inspired, to date, three sequels.  Each film features the same basic plot, in which Dr. Beck assumes another doctor’s identity, becomes obsessed with another patient, and ends up murdering the usual collection of dumb boyfriends and nosy coworkers.  Ever since the third film, Dr. Beck has spent a lot of time talking to himself, which the franchise usually represents literally by having two Doctor Becks appear on screen at the same time and arguing with each other.  The real Dr. Beck usually wears a suit and a lab coat and is prone to thinking that he’s finally going to find true love.  The imaginary Dr. Beck wears a Hawaiian shirt and is always holding a tropical drink.  Of course, this means that you get twice as much Eric Roberts as advertised!

And indeed, Eric Roberts is the main reason why this franchise has thrived.  Lifetime is full of movies about stalkers but only the Stalked By My Doctor franchise features Eric Roberts at his most demented.  (We make a lot of jokes about Eric Roberts on this site but the truth of the matter is that he’s actually a very good actor and he’s given some very good performances over the course of his long career.  If nothing else, he’s a more consistently interesting actor than his better-known sister, Julia.)  In the role of Dr. Beck, Eric Roberts never makes any attempt to be the least bit subtle and that’s exactly why the films work.  If you take every creepy doctor and touchy-feely male friend that you’ve ever had to deal with and combined them into one ubercreep, the end result would be Dr. Beck.  He’s arrogant.  He’s condescending.  He’s got the creepiest smile in the world.  And yet, despite his personal issues, he’s also a lot of fun to watch.  Eric Roberts always seems like he’s having fun in these movies as he discovers new ways to communicate the fact that Dr. Beck is an absolute creep.

There are two things that I especially like about the Stalked By My Doctor films:

Number one, they take place in a world where someone who looks and sounds like Eric Roberts can somehow evade detection despite making absolutely no effort to disguise his appearance or change his voice.  For instance, in the franchise’s fourth film, Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare (which aired on Lifetime this weekend), we find Dr. Beck working as a server at a roadside diner.  As in the previous films, he’s still frequently distracted by wild fantasies and elaborate schemes for revenge.  But what’s hilarious is that Dr. Beck is apparently one of the most wanted men in America but none of the customers at this seemingly busy diner ever says, “Hey, that mysterious server looks just like that murderer who was all over the news!”  To the film’s credit, it also makes it clear that the film itself is in on the joke.  We’re supposed to enjoy the rather odd sight of Eric Roberts pouring coffee and awkwardly flirting with his customers.  We’re not supposed to worry about whether or not it’s a plausible development.

Number two, I love the fact that there’s literally nothing that Dr. Beck cannot do.  Seriously, Dr. Beck has got to be the most brilliant medical mind of all time because there’s not a single field of medical care that he cannot conquer.  When we first met Dr. Beck, he was a heart surgeon.  In the fourth film, he steals the identity of a specialist in sexsomnia.  He manages to do all of this without missing a beat or giving himself away.  All you have to do is give Dr. Beck a lab coat and he can basically do anything!

This time around, Dr. Beck is obsessed with the niece (Angeline Appel) of one of his patients, Michelle (Emilie Ullerup).  Once again, Dr. Beck is breaking hearts and ending lives while, at the same time, arguing with his Hawaiian shirt-wearing alter ego.  And again, there’s murder, love, and melodrama.  It wouldn’t be a Stalked By My Doctor movie, otherwise!

And it’s all lot of fun.  Just when you think that the franchise has run out of gas, Eric Roberts adds another layer of quirkiness to his performance and you find yourself enthralled again.  As I hinted at above, the best thing about the Stalked By My Doctor films is that they know that they’re ludicrous and they make no apologies for being what they are.  Much like A Deadly Adoption, the Stalked By My Doctor films poke fun at the Lifetime format while still showing enough respect for the audience that no one watching is going to feel as if they’re being condescended to.  The film is totally over-the-top and silly but it’s Eric Roberts so who cares?  What else would you expect?  Are you not amused?

When watching Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Revenge, keep an eye out for Felissa Rose.  Rose plays one of Beck’s colleagues.  Horror fans know her best from her starring role in the original Sleepaway Camp.  Her casting is one of those touches that sets Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Revenge apart from other Lifetime films.

In its way, the Stalked By My Doctor franchise has the potential to be Lifetime’s equivalent of the Sharknado films.  Personally, I can’t wait to see where Dr. Beck turns up next!

 

Cleaning Out the DVR, Again #22: Broken Promise (dir by Nadeem Soumah)


(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

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The 22nd film on the DVR was Broken Promise, which I recorded off of Lifetime on May 22nd.

Before I get into the film itself, let me just say this about the title: Broken Promise is the perfect generic Lifetime title.  I mean, it tells you absolutely nothing and yet it somehow tells you everything as well. If I hadn’t told you that I recorded this movie off of Lifetime, you would have guessed it just from the title, wouldn’t you?  There’s an art to coming up with perfectly generic titles and Lifetime has mastered it.

Anyway, Broken Promise opens in 1992!  Two high school seniors — Mina (Angeline Appel) and her boyfriend, Reese (Mickey River) — are driving around in Reese’s canary yellow car.  If you watch that movie, pay attention to the car because you’ll be seeing it again.  It’s like the canary yellow harbinger of death and doom.  Anyway, Mina and Reese are young and in love so, naturally, they decide to break into a house for a romantic evening.  However, the romance is interrupted when the owner of the house shows up with a shotgun.   There’s a struggle.  The homeowner is killed.  Reese tells Mina that she needs to leave and that he’ll take the blame when the cops show up.  Mina promises to wait for him to get out of prison.

However, promises were made to be broken…

Jump forward 25 years!  Reese Sinclair (now played by Louis Mandylor) is finally being released from prison.  However, no one is waiting to greet him on the outside.  While he manages to get back his yellow car, his girlfriend is nowhere to be seen.

That’s right — Mina broke her promise!  No only did she not wait for him but she also got married and now has a sullen teenage daughter, Hali (Lauren York).  Making matters even worse, Mina not only got married but she married a cop!  Ben Gardner (Nick Baillie) may be a nice guy and a good cop but that doesn’t stop Reese from fantasizing about murdering him.

Well, you can probably guess what happens.  Reese tracks down Mina and her family.  Reese tries to ingratiate himself with the family.  Rebellious Hali starts to get too close to her mom’s ex-boyfriend.  It’s really pretty much a typical Lifetime film, with all that implies.  It’s well-made and well-acted and it won’t surprise you one bit.

In fact, to me, the most interesting thing about the film was looking at the cast and remembering all the other Lifetime films that they’ve appeared in.  Ashley Scott was in 16 and Missing.   Nick Baillie was in Full Out, which I will be reviewing soon.  Lauren York was not only in The Perfect Daughter but also co-starred in Babysitter’s Black Book with Angelina Appel, who plays the younger version of her mom in this movie!  According the imdb, York will also be appearing in the sequel to Lavalantula.  They all do a pretty good job in this movie and so does Louis Madylor.

Let’s put it like this: if you like Lifetime movies, you’ll like this.  If you don’t, you won’t.

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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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

What Lisa Watched This Afternoon #114: Babysitter’s Black Book (dir by Lee Friedlander)


Earlier today, I watched last night’s Lifetime original movie, Babysitter’s Black Book!

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Why Was I Watching It?

I love Lifetime movies about out-of-control teenagers.

What Was It About?

Ashley (Spencer Locke) wants to go to a good college and is terrified of getting stuck at a community college.  She’s even started a babysitting service in order to help pay for school.  However, she soon finds herself having an affair with one of her clients (Ryan McPartin).  Meanwhile, one of her employees has turned the babysitting service into a prostitution ring.

And while that may seem extreme to some, never underestimate the lengths people will go to avoid having to enroll in a community college…

What Worked?

Before I watched this film, I thought there was a very good chance that either Sugar Daddies or Back to School Mom would be the best Lifetime film of 2015.  But then I watched Babysitter’s Black Book and oh my God!  Babysitter’s Black Book is one of the best Lifetime films that I have ever seen.  How good was it?  It’s almost as good as Confessions of a Go Go Girl!

(And that’s pretty freaking good…)

Babysitter’s Black Book features everything that you could possibly want from a Lifetime film.  Melodrama, comedy, pretty clothes, sordid happenings in artfully decorated settings, and wonderfully over-the-top dialogue.  When Rachel tries to convince her friends to have sex for money, she very reasonably says, “Use it before you lose it.”  When Mark offers Ashley something to eat, he tells her, “Try it and you’ll never want to have another thing in your mouth.”  How can you not love this film?

The film was also remarkably well-directed and acted.  In the role of the greedily pragmatic Rachel, Angeline Appel stole every scene that she appeared in.  Another scene stealer was an actor named Jeff L. Williams.  Playing the role of the decadent Walker, Williams only appeared in a handful of scenes but he definitely made an impression.  The minute he smirked and said, “Let’s take some real pictures,” you just knew that bad things were going to happen.

This was exactly the type of film that we watch Lifetime to see.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  This was a perfect Lifetime movie.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Not that we ever would but, if for some reason we did decided to start a prostitution business, I would hope that my best friends and I would be as cheerful, giggly, and supportive about it as the girls in this film.  And I really do think we would be.  That’s one of the best things about Babysitter’s Black Book.  It’s a film that — much like Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring — is honest about the fact that sometimes it’s fun to be bad.  (Especially when you’re still too sheltered and naive to understand the consequences…)

Babysitter’s Black Book perfectly captured the feeling of just how exhilarating and scary it can be to have your entire future in front of you.  Whenever Ashley dreaded the prospect of having to stay home and attend a community college, I found myself nodding and thinking, “Oh my God.  Just like me….”

Lessons Learned

Actions have consequences but it’s still fun to have money.

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