2018 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 2018!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2018!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!

(As a guide, I used the credits for the imdb.  If anyone has been miscredited or left 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.)

(For my previous best of Lifetime picks, click on the links: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Best Picture

The Art of Murder, produced by Neil Elman, Bryce Fishman, James Lourie, Hannah Pillemer, Edgar Rosa, Fernando Szew

The Bad Seed, produced by Justis Greene, Harvey Kahn, Elizabeth Guber Stephen, Mark Wolper.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Produced by Mary Petryshyn, Charles Tremayne, Jeff Vanderwal

Cocaine Godmother, produced by Jamie Goehring, S. Lily Hui, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Michaels, Andrew Molina, Alisa Tager, Shawn Williamson.

Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill, produced by David Manzaners and Judith Verno

*The Girl in the Bathtub, produced by Kevin Leeson, Emanuel Pereira, Diane Sokolow, Rachel Verno*

Girl in the Bunker, produced by Kim Bondi, Stephen Kemp, Thomas Vencelides

I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter.  Produced by Len Murach and Rick Van Meter.

No One Would Tell. Produced by Shawn Angeliski, Paddy Bickerton, Martin Fisher, Lisa Richardson, Danielle Von Zerneck

Terror in the Woods. Produced by David Eubanks, Les Franck, Adam Freeman, Leslie Greif, James Heerdegen, Ashley Hudson, Christina Ricci, Eric Tomonsanus, DJ Viola

Best Director

Jim Donovan for Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

Gail Harvey for No One Would Tell

Seth Jarrett for I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Rob Lowe for The Bad Seed

*Karen Moncrieff for The Girl in the Bathtub*

Guillermo Navarro in Cocaine Godmother

Best Actor

Burgess Abernethy in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Kevin Fonteyne in Lover in the Attic

Rob Lowe in The Bad Seed

Austin P. McKenzie in Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill

*Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge*

Henry Thomas in The Girl in the Bunker

Best Actress

Haylie Duff in Deadly Delusion

McKenna Grace in The Bad Seed

Caitlin Stasey in The Girl In The Bathtub

Bella Thorne in Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill

Megan West in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

*Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother*

Best Supporting Actor

Juan Pablo Espinosa in Cocaine Godmother

David Fierro in Lover in the Attic

Joel Gretsch in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Patrick Muldoon in A Tale of Two Coreys

*Jason Patric in The Girl in the Bathtub*

Rossif Sutherland in Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

Best Supporting Actress

Krista Allen in Party Mom

Cara Buono in The Bad Seed

Angela Kinsey in Terror in the Woods

*Lydia Look in Mistress Hunter*

Jenny Pellicer in Cocaine Godmother

Katherine Reis in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Best Screenplay

The Bad Seed.  Barbara Marshall.

Believe Me: The Abudction of Lisa McVey. Christina Welsh.

Cocaine Godmother.  Molly McAlpine, David McKenna.

The Girl in the Bathtub. Karen Moncrieff.

*No One Would Tell. Caitlin D. Fryers*

Terror in the Woods. Amber Benson.

Best Cinematography

The Bad Seed. Peter Menzies, Jr.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Sasha Moric.

Cocaine Godmother. Guillermo Navarro.

Girl in the Bunker. Fraser Brown.

*I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter.  Brian J. Reynolds*

Terror in the Woods. David McGrory.

Best Costuming

*The Art of Murder. Steviee Hughes.*

Cocaine Godmother. Jori Woodman.

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Claudia Da Ponte, Diah Wymont.

I Killed My BFF: The Peacher’s Daughter.  David Anthony Crowley.

Psycho Prom Queen.  Anie Fisette.

A Tale of Two Coreys.  Jennifer Garnet Filo.

Best Editing

The Bad Seed, Eric L. Beason.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Lisa Grootenboer.

Cocaine Godmother. Luis Carballar.

*Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill.  Henk van Eeghen*

The Girl in the Bathtub.

Girl in the Bunker.  Stephen Kemp.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Cocaine Godmother.  Laura Copó, Victoria Ferguson, Brittany Isaacs, Andrea Manchur, Joanna Mireau, Adam James Phillips, Trefor Proud, Juanita Santamaria, Ronnie Sidhu, Vicki Syskakis

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance.  Lorna Bravo, Helena Cepeda, Jenni Brown Greenberg, Shelly Jensen, Melissa Rankl, Cydney Sjostrom

I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter. Missy Scarbrough and Christina Kim.

*Lover in the Attic. Crystal Broedel, Brittanie Cruz, Robin Styles, Diana Valerie, Nataleigh Verrengia*

A Tale of Two Coreys. Katherine Chandler, Lynnae Duley, Monique Hyman, Katie Kilkenny, Kaity Licina, Megan Nicoll, Rebecca Violet Schroeder, Adina Sullivan

Zombie at 17.  Jessica Awad, Cinthia Burke, Christine Capustinsky, Shannon Doyle.

Best Score

Cocaine Godmother. Eduardo Aram.

The Girl in the Bathtub.  Adam Gorgoni.

Lover in the Attic. Ozzy Doniz.

No One Would Tell. Mark Lazeski.

A Tale of Two Coreys. Jim Dooley.

*Terror in the Woods. Ozzy Doniz.*

Best Production Design

*The Art of Murder. Yana Veselova.*

Cocaine Godmother.  Eric Fraser.

The Girl in the Bathtub. Laura Lola Maier.

Girl in the Bunker. Andrew Berry.

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Mayne Berke, Ashley Swanson, Vincent Wright

Lover in the Attic. Lindsay Glick.

Best Sound

Cocaine Godmother

*Deadly Delusion*

House of Darkness: New Blood

Killer Under The Bed

Lover in the Attic.

Terror in the Woods

Best Visual Effects

The Bad Seed.

Cocaine Godmother

Deadly Delusion

House of Darkness: New Blood

*Killer Under The Bed*

Zombie at 17

And those are my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2018!  (Lifetime had a pretty good year.)  Now, I’m off to make my selections for the best of SyFy 2018!  I’ll be back …. well, maybe not soon.  It took me about three hours to do my Lifetime post.  So, I’ll be back eventually.

Lisa Marie’s 2018 In Review:

  1. The 10 Worst Films of 2018

 

The Babysitter, Review by Case Wright


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The Babysitter, directed by McG- Lethal Weapon, Supernatural, Aim High, and Citizen Cane.  Ok fine, the last one was a bit of a fib, but he’s had an amazing career known for shows that are action heavy, pop, and have a lot of humor.  I did watch this one on the elliptical as a to refresh my memory, but I first watched it on a date night for a Netflix and Chill session.  The Babysitter was so fun; it doesn’t take itself seriously, until it has to.  Like Supernatural, the movie balances the horror with the character arcs to pull you into the story.  By the end, you genuinely care about how these characters end up.

Horror is often treated as the stepchild of film because people are attracted by the low budget/high profit payoff potential and think anyone can do it: so wrong.  In fact, there are times you have an immensely talented director, but he or she is not meant for this genre – see- https://unobtainium13.com/2018/10/01/all-the-boys-love-mandy-lane-aka-all-the-bland-love-blandy-lane-review-by-case-wright/

Also, writing horror can create masterpieces like 28 Days Later- https://unobtainium13.com/2016/10/24/28-days-later/ .  Horror screenwriters can also create misery-inducing steaming piles of terribleness for me or for whomever will have the excruciating experience of having to review it- see- https://unobtainium13.com/2016/11/20/channel-zero-welcome-home-season-1-ep-6-alt-title-so-very-boring/ In The Babysitter, Brian Duffield (Quarantine and soon to be released Vivian Hasn’t Been Herself Lately) delivers a fun popping script with fast moving acts, clear arcs, humor, gore, and clever buildups and payoffs.  I am looking forward to seeing the rest of his art and you should too!  The Babysitter is not in the Oscar worthy category of The Shining, but it is still brilliant because it succeeds in doing what is most important – it entertains.  You care about the protagonist and where he’s going and amazingly sometimes root a little for the villain because she is acted by the uber-talented Samara Weaving.

The film is basically Satanic Home Alone; in fact, they reference Home Alone in the film.  Cole, the protagonist, is a bullied awkward 12 year old with a heart of gold and no self-confidence.  Yes, I know that reads like a fairly common protagonist, but his nerdiness is so authentic and the dialogue is so real that you buy it.  Trust me, I’ve never led you wrong before.  Cole has a quasi-friend in the Girl Next Door- Melanie, but Cole’s true friend (seemingly) is Bee (Samara Weaving) his babysitter.  She genuinely likes movies and nerdy things just like Cole and we learn she was also an awkward teen herself prior to meeting Cole.

Bee seems to be perfect, but she is a satanic worshipper who wants to sacrifice one nerd, harvest some of Cole’s blood, and read from I guess the Necronomicon to be granted a wish of her choosing from Satan.  Then again, we all have our faults.  We get to see and not be told how close Bee and Cole have become over the years.  They love film and goofy dancing.  Cole stays up past his bedtime to spy on his beloved Bee to see what she is up to after he purportedly asleep.  Sadly, he watches Bee commit an over the top murder of a seduced nerd.  The deaths in this film are Final Destination awesomepants!  Watch The Babysitter just for the deaths alone! Bee has cohorts: Robbie Amell who is very good in this.  He plays the murderous jock expertly and if you’re so inclined he’s shirtless A LOT with aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabs.  There’s also a lot of great humor with the somewhat bumbling satanic worshippers that are also out to get Cole and his sweet sweet AB Negative.

They need to harvest Cole’s blood to finish the evil wishing spell because he’s an obvious virgin, but he fights back.  It’s not corny like Home Alone; he mostly gets lucky or barely survives by finding weapons along the way- No booby traps.  The lack of traps and gags during the fight scenes keeps the story in the horror realm with the comedy sprinkled like a Mrs. Dash that doesn’t make you want to vomit.

There is a eventually a final battle between Bee and Cole.  She offers to make him part of the wish and live with him forever.  Now, I’m not saying he should’ve immediately taken her up on this offer. Maybe some negotiating would’ve been worthwhile, but really Cole…not even taking one beat to consider this pretty awesome offer.  I think that would’ve been fun as an alternate ending, but without fighting the final battle, Cole would not have realized his story arc as a true hero.  I have to admit if I were the 12 year old nerdy boy and Bee had made the same offer to me, I would have just been trying to figure out how many sock pairs I needed for our evil journey!

I want to make a special note here for the amazing performance of Samara Weaving.  She played the heck out of this role.  She could believably turn from evil to seductress to friend to good on a dime.  With the right opportunities, Samara Weaving will be the next Nicole Kidman!  Really!

Happy Horrorthon! Please check out my other stuff and tell your friends to read it as well!

Cleaning Out The DVR: Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill (dir by Stephen Tolkin)


I recorded Conrad & Michelle off of Lifetime on September 23rd.

In 2014, 18 year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide in Massachusetts, poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes while sitting in his truck.

Conrad was an outstanding athlete and a good student but he has also struggled with social anxiety and depression and had reportedly often insisted to various therapists that he wanted to die.  Some reports stated that Conrad had attempted suicide at least once before, with an attempted drug overdose when he was 17.  Any suicide, regardless of the circumstances, is a tragedy but making Conrad’s story all the more disturbing was that, minutes before his death, he was texting with an acquaintance named Michelle Carter.  Supposedly, a few years earlier, Michelle had talked Conrad out of a suicide attempt.  This time, however, she insisted that he grow through with it.  Even when he texted her that he was scared and that he had gotten out of his truck, Michelle texted back that he needed to get back in truck and go through with what he was planning.

After Conrad’s death, Michelle reportedly used the tragedy to generate as much attention for herself as possible.  She described herself as being Conrad’s girlfriend and his soulmate.  At the same time, Conrad’s friends and family said that Conrad had only met Michelle face-to-face a handful of times and that their relationship was almost entirely conducted online.  Some friends went as far as to say that they had never even heard Conrad mention Michelle’s name and that Conrad had actually been doing better before Michelle started sending him text messages in which she goaded him into committing suicide.

When Michelle was arrested and put on trial, it made national headlines.  Attorneys for the defense argued that Conrad had a history of suicidal behavior and that he was ultimately responsible for his own actions.  The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that Michelle was a narcissist who heartlessly manipulated a vulnerable acquaintance.  In the end, Michelle’s was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.  Specifically, she was convicted because of the text in which she told Conrad to get back in the truck.  In August of 2017, she was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison.

Given the sensational nature of the case and the fact that the trial made national headlines, it’s not particularly shocking that Lifetime would make a movie about it.  Starring Bella Thorne as Michelle and Austin P. McKenzie as Conrad, Conrad & Michelle does a good job of presenting the basic facts of the case.  We watch as Michelle and Conrad first meet while on vacation on Florida and then we follow along as both of them spend the next few years texting each other, taking different psychiatric medications, and attending various therapy groups.  Conrad struggles with his depression while Michelle deals with, among other things, an eating disorder.  After Conrad’s death, we watch as Michelle awkwardly forces herself into the lives of his friends and family.

Some people will probably complain that the film never solidly takes a side as to whether or not Michelle was truly responsible for Conrad’s suicide.  Though we see Michelle texting Conrad to get back in the truck, the film leaves it ambiguous as to whether it was specifically Michelle’s text that caused Conrad to follow through with his suicide.  Still, after Conrad’s suicide, the film leaves no doubt that Michelle relished her new-found fame and her status as a self-declared tragic heroine.  (After learning that Conrad’s suicide note was addressed to her, Michelle brags to her friends that Conrad didn’t write a note to anyone else.  Later, when Michelle sets up a charity softball game in Conrad’s memory, she breathlessly reminds everyone that it was her idea and worries that someone else might try to take credit.)  Bella Thorne does an excellent job in these scenes, playing Michelle as an unstable narcissist who is incapable of understanding why no one else is as excited for her as she is.  In these scenes, Michelle’s monstrous selfishness is revealed and Thorne gives a chilling performance.

Like the story that inspired it, Conrad & Michelle is a sad and disturbing movie and one that I would recommend catching the next time that it’s on.

Weekly Trailer Round-Up: Glass, Aquaman, Shazam, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gridenwald, Patient Zero, I Still See You, Second Act, On The Basis of Sex, The Walking Dead


First, in 2000, there was Unbreakable.  Then, 16 years later, there was Split.  This January, M. Night Shyamalan brings us the third part of his Eastrail 177 trilogy, Glass.  The first trailer for Glass was dropped at SDCC this weekend and it leads off this week’s trailer round-up.

Also dropping at SDCC was the first trailer for Aquaman.  The DC hero that everyone loves to ridicule is finally get a movie of his very own.  The trailer hints at the origins of Arthur Curry, features the expected underwater action, and features enough ironic line readings that it could almost pass for the latest entry in the MCU.

If Glass and Aquaman are not heroic enough for you, there is always Shazam.  Back in the 1940s, Shazam was known as Captain Marvel and his adventures were published by Fawcett.  Claiming that Captain Marvel was clear rip-off of Superman, DC attempted to sue Fawcett out of business and then purchased the character, renaming him Shazam.  Now, Shazam is coming to theaters.  Shazam’s appeal has always been retro so, naturally, the trailer is full of references to Game of Thrones and self-reflexive humor.

Following the 2014 Godzilla reboot and Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third chapter in Legendary’s Monsterverse.  This one will see Godzilla meeting Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah.  Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be released on May 31st, 2019.

Also released at SDCC was the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gridenwald.  Fantastic Beasts will be released on November 16th.

In Patient Zero, Matt Smith and Natalie Dormer try to find a cure for a virus that is transforming humanity into zombies.  The film is scheduled to be released through video-on-demand on 14 August 2018, before a limited theatrical release on 14 September 2018.

I Still See You is the latest B-movie to feature Bella Thorne getting stalked.  Will you see I Still See You when it’s released on October 12th?

In the upcoming comedy, Second Act, Jennifer Lopez plays an ambitious woman who is mistaken for a high-level business consultant.  With a plot like that, Second Act sounds like it could be the funniest film of 2004.  Second Act will be released on November 21st, 2018.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already been the subject of one of the year’s most successful documentaries.  She gets the biopic treatment with On The Basis of Sex.  Felicity Jones plays Ginsburg while Mimi Leder returns from her cinematic exile to handle directing duties.  On The Basis of Sex will be released on December 25th.

Finally, the trailer for the 9th season of The Walking Dead dropped at SDCC and promised a new world with new rules.  Season 9 premieres on October 7th.

 

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

Music Video of the Day: Call It Whatever by Bella Thorne (2014, dir. Mickey Finnegan)


I figured since I did Anger by Thor yesterday, I would jump forward about 30 years to a music video just as cheesy that I still enjoy regardless.

I think director Mickey Finnegan did this perfectly. The songwriters also deserve credit. Lets face it. Bella Thorne can’t sing to save her life. She also can’t do dramatic acting. However, she is funny. One of the things that made The Duff (2015) so bad was that Bella Thorne was criminally underused. The few minutes where she shows up to push around Mae Whitman–who is about 10 years her senior in real life–made me laugh, which is more than I can say for the rest of the movie. She’s funny. I think this music video is a great example of working around an artist’s limitations and playing off their strengths instead of trying to make them something they aren’t, like Hailee Steinfeld in Starving.

The diner is Cadillac Jack’s Diner in the San Fernando Valley and is part of a structure that includes The Pink Motel, a drive-in, a pool, and other easily identifiable structures. The same diner used in at least Want U Back by Cher Lloyd, Fuck You by CeeLo Green, La Da Dee by Cody Simpson, Free by Haley Reinhart, and Candy by Mandy Moore. There’s probably a good reason that diner has been reused so many times. Want U Back, Fuck You, and I Feel Everything all used the same location services company called The Pink Motel. There are other music videos that use the same sets next to the diner as well such as Good Girls (Don’t Grow On Trees) by Cris Cab feat. Big Sean and Wyclef Jean and Let’s Get It Crackin by Deuce. The drive-in was used by Neon Trees for their song Everybody Talks, which is also the Drive-In from Guys My Age by Hello Violet. The motel even got its own movie back in 1982 called The Pink Motel. It was used in Drive (2011), The House Bunny (2008), House of Sand and Fog (2003), Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), The Whole Ten Yards (2004), Grease 2 (1982), and many other places, including an episode of The Rockford Files and MacGyver. The more I look, the more things I find were shot at this placed that at least in the case of the diner, opened in 1946.

You can read more about them here. Someone compiled a little history and list of places, with screenshots, of films and television shows that have used the location. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for them in music videos from now on. It seems to be the Tommy-Verse of music videos.

I was able to find quite a few people who worked on this music video. I have included them in the tags. The noteworthy ones are Luga Podesta, Brandon Bonfiglio, and Trevor Durtschi who have each worked on 100+ music videos.

Enjoy!

Halloween Film Review: R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014, dir. Peter Hewitt)


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You might have noticed that I referred to the recent R.L. Stine movie The Cabinet Of Souls as “Children’s Horror”, but call this one “Halloween Film Review”. That’s because this movie and that one are miles apart from each other. While The Cabinet Of Souls was geared towards children, it was still a legit horror movie with genuinely creepy bad guys who did truly evil things. As you may remember, we see Dr. Hysteria kill a kid right in front of us and then say, “you were a good worker.” This is a series of lame sketches that happen to involve supernatural forces. At least this time I recognize more of the Disney crew.

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That’s Eric Allan Kramer from Good Luck, Charlie that plays the dad, or for bad movie lovers: Ator from Quest For The Mighty Sword (1990) AKA Troll 3. Calum Worthy from Austin & Ally is in this as the brother of the main character. Roshon Fegan I recognize from Shake It Up and he plays one of the ghosts from the first Mostly Ghostly movie. And for some reason they also roped Bella Thorne into this. I say it that way because she is barely in the movie. I know it’s cause her mom Tamera Thorne is a co-producer, but it’s a complete waste having her in this. Speaking of other well known actors who are barely in the movie. This was the last onscreen appearance of Joan Rivers. Who I believe is one scene.

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The movie begins with our main character Max Doyle (Ryan Ochoa) walking past a graveyard. Apparently, he has some ring that protects him from this guy.

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That’s Toni Basil who is going to give us a big exposition dump. I apologize, but after reviewing Slaughterhouse Rock, I will think every supernatural character who only exists to explain things is Toni Basil. This is actually some creature named Phears (Charlie Hewson). Because he plays on your worst fears of bad children’s cartoon villains. He resurrects Emma Twitchel (Caroline Lagerfelt) who was once the star of The Moscow Circus. What a star of The Moscow Circus is doing buried in an American suburban neighborhood might confuse me if I didn’t know that Bruce Lee is buried in Seattle. He then tells us, I mean her the backstory on why he needs her. It’s a lot of crap to say that there are two teenage ghosts, a world domination plan, and a magic ring that Max has that prevents it. Phears wants her to go and posses Max to drive him crazy since Phears himself can’t leave the cemetery. What follows is a bunch of stupid comedy sketches. Seriously, the film barely cares about it’s own plot.

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Like this scene where the ghosts help lift Max up the rope during gym class. I’m sorry, they help him up Lester. The gym teacher names all of her equipment. The side horse is Jimmy, the medicine ball is Eric, and the high bar is Tiffany. That combined with the scene where one of the ghosts looks inside of him to find a sleeping woman means if I were in middle school I might think this movie has LGBT subtext in it. Has as much basis in reality as the Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) stuff. I’ll review that soon.

As you can imagine, the rest of the film is just a series of stupid jokes revolving around being possessed and having two invisible people help out Max. It’s all super childish stuff.

The only other things I want to mention are technical.

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When they look at this computer screen in the movie we see it as if we are the computer screen. Why?

Then there’s shots like these.

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I can sort of understand the blurring on the ring, but what’s with the other ones? I seriously doubt anyone would be confused about where to look without the blurring.

The worst and best part is that the ending of this that seems to be setting itself up for another sequel. The worst part is that a sequel could still be in the works, but the best part is that maybe it isn’t since The Cabinet Of Souls is what they made this year. This one is a total skip.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #125: Perfect High (dir by Vanessa Parise)


Last night, I watched the first post-Deadly Adoption Lifetime movie, Perfect High!

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime and it was about a dancer, of course!

What Was It About?

Amanda (Bella Thorne) is a suburban teen who loves to dance.  But, after an injury, she gets hooked on prescription pills.  She also becomes best friends with druggie Riley (Daniela Bobadilla), Riley’s boyfriend Nate (Ross Butler), and Carson (Israel Broussard).  Soon, Carson and Amanda are dating and they become perhaps the most boring couple in history.  Of course, since this is Lifetime, the prescription drug abuse quickly leads to heroin, death, and a minute-long rehab scene.

What Worked?

The film did a good job of capturing both the excitement of dancing and the sheer terror of being injured and knowing that, as a result, you can’t do what you love.

What Did Not Work?

The whole movie was just so predictable and so slow.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that a Lifetime film about teenagers using drugs isn’t going to exactly be unpredictable.  From the start of the film, I knew that one of the four friends was going to have to die and I easily guessed which one it was going to be.  That’s just the way it works, somebody always has to die in these films.

But the problem is that we are now living in a post-Deadly Adoption age.  After seeing every single Lifetime convention skewered last week, it’s hard to go back to taking any of those conventions seriously.  The whole time I was watching the film, I kept expecting Will Ferrell to suddenly show and start bellowing, “SHE NEEDS HER MEDICINE!”

As well, Perfect High moved way too slowly for its own good.  As characters, Amanda, Riley, Nate, and Carson all fell flat.  Even before they ended up as drug addicts, they seemed like they wouldn’t be that interesting of a group to hang out with.  Before doing drugs, they spent all their time laying on the couch.  After doing drugs … well, that couch became even more comfortable.  For an anti-drug film to really work, you have to mourn what the character could have been if not for their addictions.  But, in Perfect High, everyone seemed to be just as dull regardless of whether they were high or not.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!”  Moments

The movie was about a red-haired dancer who popped too many pills in high school.  Oh my God, just like me!

Lessons Learned

Stay away from that heroin, kids.  Of course, I already knew that.  Even when I was going through my phase where I wanted to experiment with and try everything, I still knew better than to ever use heroin.  (Actually, to be honest, I should say that if I had ever had the opportunity to try heroin, I would have politely declined.  Fortunately, I never even had to deal with being offered heroin, which I guess is the benefit of going to both a high school and a college where everyone was too busy smoking weed to worry about harder drugs.)  Whenever I see a movie like Perfect High, I always wonder how the characters involved have never seen any other movies about heroin abuse.

I mean, don’t they watch Lifetime!?

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