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.

2017 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Today, I continue my look back at the previous year with my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2017!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2017!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!

(As a guide, I used the credits for the imdb.  If anyone has been miscredited or let out, please feel free to let me know and I’ll fix the error both here and, if I can, on the imdb as well.)

Best Picture

Drink Slay Love, produced by Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Sheri Singer, Bella Thorne

From Straight A’s to XXX, produced by Austin Andrews, John Bolton, Anne-Marie Hess, Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Sheri Singer

Four Christmases and a Wedding

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell, produced by Deen Dioria, David Manzanares, Ron Schmidt, Judith Verno, Frank von Zerneck.

The Rachels, produced by Paige Lauren Billot, Margaret H. Huddleston, Maggie McFarren, Hannah Pillemer, Rebecca G. Stone.

Running Away, produced by Dureyshevar, Jeff Faehnle, Jack Nasser, Jacob Nasser, Joseph Nasser, Bri Noble.

Sea Change. Produced by Sharon Bordas, Alec Chorches, Adam Fratto, Steven Gilder, David MacLeod, A.J. Mendez, Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan, Stephanie Slack, Fernando Szew

Secrets in Suburbia, produced by Kristopher McNeeley, Jacobo Rispa, Damian Romay, Stephanie Slack, Fernando Szew.

The Watcher in the Woods, produced by Simon Barnes, Alexandra Bentley, Andrew Gernhard, Jennifer Handorf, Paula Hart.

* Web Cam Girls, produced by Tom Berry, Pierre David, Hank Grover, Sheri Reeves, Ken Sanders, Noel Zanitsch* 

Best Director

* Doug Campbell for Web Cam Girls

Michael Civille for The Rachels

Vanessa Parise for From Straight A’s to XXX

Damian Romay for Secrets in Suburbia

Brian Skiba for Running Away

Stephen Tolkin for New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Best Actor

James Franco in High School Lover

Zack Gold in Psycho Brother-in-Law

Stephen Graybill in Web Cam Girls

Timothy Granderos in The Twin

Ted McGinley in Fatherly Obsession

* Ryan Patrick Shanahan in Sinister Minister

Best Actress

Barbie Castro in Boyfriend Killer

Holly Deveaux in Running Away

Sedonna Legge in Web Cam Girls

* Penelope Ann Miller in New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Heather Morris in Psycho Wedding Crasher

Haley Pullos in From Straight A’s to XXX

Best Supporting Actor

Francois Arnaud in High School Lover

Joe Hackett in Web Cam Girls

William McNamara in Running Away

Patrick Muldoon in Boyfriend Killer

Judd Nelson in From Straight A’s to XXX

* Daniel Roebuck in New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Best Supporting Actress

Madison Iseman in The Rachels

Anjelica Huston in The Watcher in the Woods

* Tonya Kay in Web Cam Girls

Paula Trickey in Running Away

Ashley Wood in Wicked Mom’s Club

Lorynn York in Web Cam Girs

Best Screenplay

From Straight A’s to XXX. Anne-Marie Hess.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Stephen Tolkin.

The Rachels. Ellen Huggins.

* Running Away. Sheri McGuinn.

Secrets in Suburbia. Damian Romay.

Web Cam Girls. Stephen Romano.

Best Cinematography

Drink Slay Love. Vic Sarin.

Four Christmases and a Wedding. Mike Kam.

Off the Rails. Denis Maloney.

Running Away. Patrice Lucien Cochet.

* Sea Change. Jackson Parrell.

Ten: Murder Island. Richard Clabaugh.

Best Costuming

* Drink Slay Love. Liene Dobraja.

From Straight A’s to XXX. Liene Dobraja.

The Lost Wife of Robert Durst. Tina Fiorda.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Maria Bentfield.

The Rachels. Courtney Stern.

Stage Fright. Monique Hyman.

Best Editing

* From Straight A’s to XXX. Rob Grant.

Four Christmases and a Wedding. Paul Ziller.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Mark Stevens.

The Rachels. Brett Solem.

Sea Change. Matthew Anas.

Web Cam Girls. Jordan Jensen.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Drink Slay Love. Jessica Green, Catherine Long, Alysha McLoughlin, Sahar Sharelo.

The Lost Wife of Robert Durst. Lorna Bravo, Kelly Grange, Shelly Jensen, Mary Renvall, Melissa Sahlstrom.

* New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Claudia Breckenridge, Daniel Casillas, Nicole Gabaldon, Pepper J. Gallegos, Madeline McCue, L. Taylor Roberts

The Rachels. Taylor Bennett, Austin Cuccia.

Secrets in Suburbia. Andrea Ahl, Trevor Thompson

The Watcher in the Woods. Chloe Edwards.

Best Score

Drink Slay Love. Justin R. Durban

Fatherly Obsession. Aiko Fukushima.

Sea Change. Shawn Pierce.

* Story of a Girl. Travis Bacon.

Ten: Murder Island. Ceiri Torjussen.

The Watcher in the Woods. Felix Bird.

Best Production Design

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Will Albarz, Anthony Medina.

Running Away.   Vincent Albo, Rose Beltran

Secrets in Suburbia. Brendan Turrill.

Ten: Murder Island. Eric Whitney, Caley Bisson.

Tiny House of Terror

* Web Cam Girls. Catch Henson, James W. Thompson Jr., Katherine Bulovic, Valerie Munguia

Best Sound

Britney Ever After

Drink Slay Love

From Straight A’s to XXX

Sea Change.

Under the Bed

* The Watcher in the Woods

Best Visual Effects

* Drink Slay Love

Fatherly Obsession

Sea Change

Stalker’s Prey

Ten: Murder Island

The Watcher in the Woods

And there you have it!  Those are my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2017!  Thank you for your indulgence!  On Friday, I’ll be concluding my look back at 2017 with my picks for the 26 best films of the year!

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017
  11. 2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy by Lisa Marie Bowman
  12. 2017 in Review: 10 Good Things that Lisa Marie Saw On Television in 2017
  13. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 12 Favorite Novels of 2017
  14. 2017 in Review: Lia Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2017

Cleaning Out The DVR: Wicked Mom’s Club (dir by Lane Shefter Bishop)

(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 178 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on February 1st, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Wicked Mom’s Club, off of the Lifetime Movie Network on October 7th, 2017!)

“You know girls.  Friends one day.  Enemies the next.”

— Olivia (Ashley Wood) in Wicked Mom’s Club (2017)

To be honest, before I actually sat down and watched this film, I assumed it was going to be comedy.

I mean check out the name: Wicked Mom’s Club.  Doesn’t that just bring to mind snarky comments shared over wine and dark secrets?

And then I read the plot description, which basically said that the film was about a single mother who had to defeat the evil moms on the PTA.  That sound like a comedy, doesn’t it?

But then I actually started the movie and it begain with a woman sobbing as she committed suicide in her suburban garage.  At that point, it was obvious that Wicked Mom’s Club was not going to be a comedy.

Instead, it’s another “based-on-a-true-story” Lifetime film about all of the sordid secrets of the suburbs.  It starts with Mandy (Jessica Blakemore) and her teenage daughter Riley (Virginia Tucker) moving into a new house.  They’re looking to start a new life.  Mandy is freshly divorced from a husband who used to cheat on her.  Riley is a talented gymnast who got suspended from her previous school when she tested positive for drugs.  It’s time for a new beginning!  Not only do they have a new house but Mandy has a great job and an amazingly popular “mommy blog.”

Mandy meets Olivia (Ashley Wood).  Olivia is the leader of the Gym Moms, a group of mothers whose daughters are all into gymnastics.  At first, Olivia appears to be the nicest person in town.  She talks about how much she loves Mandy’s blog.  Riley becomes best friend’s with Olivia’s daughter, Chelsea (Bekka Walker).  Mandy even confides in Olivia about Riley’s drug problems…

Uhmm, maybe she shouldn’t have done that.

From the beginning, there are hints that Olivia might not be as friendly as she seems.  For instance, she deliberately knocks over a bag in order to distract Riley in the middle of her routine.  Olivia always seems to be ordering the other Gym Moms around.  Plus, a former Gym Mom approaches Mandy and warns her not to trust Olivia….

When Riley turns out to be a better gymnast than Chelsea, strange things start to happen.  For instance, when Mandy tries to get a sponsor for her blog, she is shocked to discover that someone else has started a blog about what a terrible mother Mandy is.  Since the entire town is obsessed with not only Mandy’s blog but also the random comments that are left on it, everyone starts to turn against Mandy.  No one wants anything to do with you when you’re a bad blogger.

But, it doesn’t stop there.  For instance, Mandy ends up getting arrested  for drug possession.  She starts to hear strange noises around her house.  She grows paranoid, wondering if maybe Riley actually is blogging about her.  Is Mandy being set up?  And is this the end of the world’s most important mommy blog?

Wicked Mom’s Club may sound melodramatic but, honestly, I think everyone has had to deal with someone like Olivia at some point in their life.  They may not all be as clever as Olivia is at destroying people’s lives but they’re out there, grown up bullies who live vicariously through their children.  I grew up dancing and I’ve always been so thankful that my mom never put me under the type of pressure that the majority of my friends had to deal with.  Ashley Wood did a good job bringing Olivia to villainous life and Jessica Blakemore and Virginia Tucker were believable as mother and daughter.  Their difficult but loving relationship felt real.

I have to admit, though, that I was a little amused by how the entire world of Wicked Mom’s Club pretty much revolved around blogs and bloggers.  I had no idea we were so powerful!