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

Film Review: Boyfriend Killer (dir by Alyn Darnay)


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In the Lifetime film, Boyfriend Killer, there was a brief scene that I really liked and I think it epitomizes why I enjoyed this film and why I watch Lifetime films in general.

In the scene, Sandra Durro (Barbie Castro, who also produced this film) shares a hug with Krystal Kellers (Kate Mansi), her son’s girlfriend.  The camera quickly cuts back and forth from Sandra’s face to Krystal’s face and the audience sees that both of them have the same look of irritation and loathing on their face.  That really does get to a basic truth.  A mom is never going to fully trust her son’s girlfriend.  And a girlfriend is always going to suspect that her boyfriend’s mom is judging her.

Of course, Sandra has good reason to not fully trust Krystal.  Boyfriend Killer opens with the death of Sandra’s son, Preston.  Preston, who was handsome and charismatic and had a great life ahead of him, was killed in a car crash and Sandra suspects that it wasn’t an accident.  When Sandra and her friend Carrie (Yancy Butler) are packing up Preston’s things, Krystal suddenly shows up and announces that she wants to help.

From the first minute we meet Krystal, there’s something off about her.  She claims to be sad but her grief is almost too theatrical.  It’s almost as if all she knows about being sad is what she’s seen in the movies.  Add to that, Krystal claims that she and Preston were deeply in love, despite the fact that Preston rarely spoke about her.  Krystal always seems to be sneaking around the house, searching for something.  When Sandra gets near Preston’s computer, Krystal freaks out.  Krystal explains that she and Preston both used that computer so if Sandra touches it, she’ll actually be invading Krystal’s privacy.

Well, what’s a mother to do?

It turns out that things between Preston and Krystal were never as perfect as Krystal claims.  In fact, shortly before his death, Preston had told Krystal that he never wanted to see her again.  Could that have had something to do with the fact that Krystal tried to convince Preston to kill her ex?

Sandra certainly thinks that it might.  However, before Sandra can really pursue her suspicions, she has a funeral to attend, a funeral that Krystal makes all about her.  It turns out that Krystal has an announcement to make, one that catches everyone by surprise…

Boyfriend Killer is a fun melodrama, one that pretty much epitomizes everything that we love about Lifetime movies.  Barbie Castro is relatable and sympathetic as the grieving mother (you really want her to get justice for her son) and Yancy Butler provides good support as her friend.  Kate Mansi, who played a similar role in Unwanted Guest, is a force of nature in the role of Krystal.  Krystal is a familiar Lifetime character — the duplicitous temptress — but Mansi plays the role with such determination and drive that Krystal becomes a wonderfully hissable villain.  Krystal is less defined by the bad things she does than by her total confidence that she’ll never get caught.  You alternate between marveling at how far she’ll go and eagerly anticipating the moment when she gets her comeuppance.

Finally, I have to make special mention of Patrick Muldoon, who plays Sandra’s alcoholic ex-husband.  To a certain group of pop culture fanatics, Muldoon will always be known as Jeff, the handsome college student whose smile and killer dance moves inspired Kelly to dump Zack on Saved By The Bell.  (Hell, I would have dumped Zack for Jeff.  Jeff’s in college, has a great smile, and is a manager at the Maxx.  Zack’s in high school and spends all of his time with Screech.)  And some are always going to think of Muldoon as being the doomed Zander Barclow in Starship Troopers.

However, over the past few years, Patrick Muldoon has given some seriously good performances.  They haven’t gotten the attention that they deserve but he was excellent in both Patient Killer and Deadly Revenge.  And he’s excellent here, playing a well-meaning guy who cannot shake his demons.  It’s a good and poignant performance, one that elevates the film.

One of the great things about Lifetime is that they constantly rebroadcast all of their movies so keep an eye out for Boyfriend Killer!