Spring Breakdown: Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach (dir by Brian Skiba)

When last we checked in with the McCarthy family, Samantha (Samaire Armstrong) and her daughter Ellie (Alexandria DeBerry) were kidnapped while on vacation and ended up getting stranded on a remote beach.  Fortunately, they were saved by the combined efforts of the FBI and Samantha’s husband, David (Corin Nemec).  One of the kidnappers, Ian (Jonathan Bouvier), managed to escaped and a few people got shot but, fortunately, it appeared that everyone was safe.

That all occurred in the 2019 Lifetime film, Deadly Excursion.

Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach checks in with the McCarthy family a year or two later and we discover that 1) David and Samantha’s marriage is now a lot stronger and 2) the family apparently didn’t learn much from their last time they got kidnapped while on vacation.  This time, ignoring the warnings of the FBI, Samantha and David go to Florida to support Ellie as she leads her beach volleyball team to a national championship.  Unfortunately, Samantha and David are also followed by Cesar Rodriguez (Matt Cedeno) and Cesar’s son, Miguel (David Meza).  Cesar and Miguel have plans to kidnap the entire family.  Meanwhile, Ian is still wandering about and looking for a chance to redeem himself, despite the fact that he’s currently #15 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Got all that?

The question is, “How many times can the same thing happen to the same family?” and the answer here seems to be “At least twice.”  Indeed, it may require a certain suspension of disbelief to buy that the McCarthys could actually learn so little from their last vacation but, then again, suspension of disbelief is what Lifetime movies are all about.  As I’ve said many times, you don’t necessarily watch a film like this because you’re looking for a realistic film about kidnapping.  You watch a film like this for the beach scenery and the melodrama and for the familiar faces of the likable actors who play the film’s lead roles.  Say what you will about David McCarthy and his decision-making abilities, it’s always fun to watch Corin Nemec play a role like this.  Nemec always throws himself into it, delivering his lines with just the right mix of drama and humorous self-awareness.  And, again, he’s a likable actor.  You like David because it’s impossible not to like Corin.  You hope that he’ll get back together with his family because the three of them just seem like they belong together.

Of course, there are a few differences between the first Deadly Excursion and the second.  The first Deadly Excursion found the family being held hostage on an island.  This time, they’re held hostage in a luxury hotel and I have to say that the hotel is really quite impressive.  If I was going to be held hostage, I’d want to be held hostage there.  It also leads to an interesting scene where one of the family members manages to briefly escape, just to discover that even the people who aren’t involved in her kidnapping don’t necessarily want to get involved.  Sadly, that’s probably very true to life.  You can be just as isolated in a city as you can be on a deserted island.

Deadly Excursion: Kidnapped From The Beach won’t take you by surprise but the beach scenery is gorgeous and the cast is likable and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Previous Spring Breakdown 2021 Entries:

  1. The Beach Girls and the Monster
  2. Top Secret!
  3. Jaws: The Revenge
  4. Hunk
  5. Love In A Goldfish Bowl
  6. Eureka


What Lisa Watched Last Night #199: Deadly Excursion (dir by Brian Skiba)

Last night, while overseeing the first day of horrorthon, I still found the time to turn over the Lifetime Movie Network and watch the 2019 thriller, Deadly Excursion!

Why Was I Watching It?

The film premiered way back in January.  I watched it on Lifetime but, for some reason, I didn’t get a chance to review it.  I may have been busy trying to keep up with all the Oscar news.  Who knows?  So, when I saw that Deadly Excursion would be re-airing on the Lifetime Movie Network last night, I was like, “Yay!  It’s a second chance to do the right thing!”

What Was It About?

Sam (Samire Armstrong) needs a vacation!  Not only is she recently separated from her cheating husband (Corin Nemec) but her daughter, Ellie (Alexandria DeBerry), will soon be leaving home.  Sam and Ellie head down to Florida where, during their first night in paradise, Sam meets the charming Javier (Callard Harris) and Ellie meets Javier’s brother, Ian (Jonathan Bouvier).  Javier invites Sam to spend the day on his boat.  Despite barely knowing him, Sam agrees and decides to bring along her daughter.

Well, as you probably already guessed, Javier is not the nice guy that he pretends to be.  Anyway, one thing leads to another and soon Sam and Ellie are trapped on an island where they have to figure out how to survive while being stalked by international criminals.

What Worked?

Paradise may be deadly but it’s still very nice to look at.  The ocean, the island, the beach, the blue sky, the green trees, this is a film full of pretty views.  This is one of those films that will make you want to take a vacation, though hopefully not a deadly one.

Samaire Armstrong and Alexandria DeBerry was well-cast and convincing as mother-and-daughter while Callard Harris and Jonathan Bouvier were both properly menacing.  Harris especially did a good job of playing up Javier’s sleazy charm.  And, of course, Corin Nemec was his usual likable self.

What Did Not Work?

Obviously, any melodrama is going to require a certain suspension of disbelief but Deadly Excursion occasionally took it a bit too far.  Samaire Armstrong did the best that she could with the character but, at the start of the movie, Sam was often just too naive to be believed.

“Oh my God!  Just Like Me!” Moments

I related to the relationship between Sam and Ellie.  It reminded me of my own relationship with my mom, back when she was newly single and I was a bratty teenager.

The film also reminded me of the trip that my mom, my sisters, and I all took to Hawaii the summer after Erin graduated from high school.  It was a fun trip to paradise but it was also kinda disturbing because there was this obviously sleazy beach bum who totally fell in love with my mom and who just would not stop showing up and trying to convince us all to come party with him at some isolated spot that apparently only he knew about.  Finally, we were all just like, “Dude, it’s not going to happen!”  He looked really depressed at the news but he stopped following us around.  If only Sam had been willing to say the same thing to Javier.

Lessons Learned

Don’t get on a boat with a strange man that you barely know.  Actually, if you needed a movie to teach you that, you should probably be a little bit concerned.  I mean, it’s just common sense, right?  But, still, it’s a good lesson.  Another good lesson is that, if you ever do find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a good plan is to call Corin Nemec.  He’ll do his best to rescue you.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #178: Evil Doctor (dir by Brian Skiba)

On Sunday night, immediately after watching Twin Betrayal, I watched and, working with TSL contributor Case Wright, live tweeted a film called Evil Doctor!

Why Was I Watching It?

The first reason was an obvious one.  It was a Lifetime movie and, as our regular readers know, there’s no way that I would ever miss the chance to watch a Lifetime film.

The other reason was that the film was named Evil Doctor, which made it sound like the origin story of perhaps the greatest MCU villain of all time.  As a general rule, any Lifetime film that has the word “evil” in the title is going to turn out to be good.  Evil is right up there with “Bad,” “Confessions,” and “…at 17” as far as words in Lifetime movie titles are concerned.

What Was It About?

Everyone wants something.

Aubrey Lewis (Jen Lilley) just wants to have her baby in peace.

Aubrey’s husband, Matt (Corin Nemec), wants to be a respected television writer, even if he is stuck writing for a sitcom called Family Phun.

And what does Dr. Natalie Barnes (Dina Meyer) want?  She wants to have a baby and she wants a baby now!  She also wants to deal with all of the unresolved issues that she had with her dead father, who happened to look just like Matt!  What better solution to Natalie’s problems than seduce Matt, steal Aubrey’s baby, and kill anyone who gets in her way?

Seriously, she’s not called an evil doctor for nothing.

What Worked?

Obviously, with a film like this, success is going to depend on how effectively the title character is played.  Fortunately, Dina Meyer really threw herself into the role of the evil doctor, kidnapping babies, seducing starlets, and murdering anyone who looked at her the wrong way.  Dina Meyer has always done a good job when she’s been cast as a Lifetime movie psycho and Evil Doctor was no different.  As well, Corin Nemec and Jen Lilley were likable as the objects of her obsession.

Evil Doctor was one of those Lifetime films that showed no hesitation about going totally and completely over-the-top.  Between the evil doctor plotting and the wayward husband trying not to get caught and the poor wife just trying to have her baby in peace, there was not one ounce of drama that this film did not explore.  It was outlandish, flamboyant, silly, and a hell of a lot fun!

What Did Not Work?

I think that the film missed a huge opportunity by not recruiting Eric Roberts to reprise his character from Stalked By My Doctor in a cameo appearance.  I would have ended the film with Matt and Aubrey going to see their new doctor and discovering Dr. Beck waiting for them in his office.  That would have been a legendary ending!

(For the record, according to the imdb, Eric Roberts currently has 57 films that are either currently filming or in post-production.  That has nothing to do with Evil Doctor but it is a fun piece of trivia.)

Other than the glaring lack of Eric Roberts, everything worked in Evil Doctor.  I mean, let’s be honest.  When you watch a film with a title like Evil Doctor, you know what you’re going to get.  You watch a film like this because you want to embrace the melodrama and you’re looking forward to trying to predict every outlandish twist.  Evil Doctor delivered exactly what it promised.

“Oh my God!  Just Like Me!” Moments

I totally related to Janelle (Kelsey Griswold), who was Aubrey’s sister and who moved in to help around the house while Aubrey was pregnant.  Janelle had this wonderfully sarcastic, no-bullshit approach to life, to which I totally related.  Janelle disliked almost everyone who came by the house and never made any attempt to hide that fact.

Lessons Learned

Always trust your sister’s instincts.

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

What Lisa Watched Last Night #164: Running Away (dir by Brian Skiba)

After I watched Deadly Sorority, I watched the second Lifetime premiere of the night, Running Away!

Why Was I Watching It?

I nearly missed Running Away, which would have been a shame.  After being disappointed with Deadly Sorority, I was seriously tempted to go down to my neighbor’s 3-day Cinco de Mayo party.  But, somehow, my cinematic instincts knew that I should take the time to watch Running Away.  I’m glad that I did because Running Away is one of the best Lifetime films of the years so far.

What Was it About?

Peg (Paula Tricky) is a single mother, struggling to raise two rebellious daughters even as the bank attempts to take her home away from her.  However, salvation comes in the form of Richard (William McNamara).  Richard is never quite clear about what he does for a living but he’s rich.  He has a great (and big) house.  He drives a red sports car and has no problem about honking the horn at people crossing the street and shouting, “Yeah, you better be watching!”  He’s more than a little creepy but he appears to worship the ground that Peg walks on.  Add to that, when he asks her to marry him, he gives her a really nice ring.

After the wedding, Peg’s two daughters have differing reactions to Richard.  The youngest, Lizzie (Madison Lee Brown), loves their new home and decides that Richard isn’t as bad or as creepy as he originally seemed.  Maggie (Holly Deveaux) knows that Richard is a creepy perv, the type who walks in on her when she’s in the shower and who, when he discovers that she’s been drinking beer, uses the knowledge for sexual blackmail.  Being molested and abused by her stepfather, Maggie resorts first to self-harm and then to running away.

Maggie finds herself living with a drug dealer and his traumatized girlfriend.  Both Richard and Peg are searching for her but both have different plans for what to do when they find her.

What Worked?

I know that the plot probably sounds extremely melodramatic and, in a way, I guess it was.  But, that’s okay.  This is a film that used melodrama to make a very real and important point about the consequences of abuse.  This a very well-done and very heartfelt film.

It took me a while to recognize William McNamara, who gives an all-too realistic performance as the monstrous Richard.  When we first meet Richard, the film wisely plays up his dorkiness.  We know he’s a bad guy but we’re still shocked by just how bad and dangerous he ultimately turns out to be.  Paula Trickey also does a good as Peg, portraying her with a combination of regret, disillusionment, and, as the same time, a cautious hope for the future.  However, the film really belongs to Holly Deveaux, who gives an empathetic and compelling performance of Maggie, one that reveals both her pain and her inner strength.

What Did Not Work?

I have to admit that, towards the end of the film, I kind of rolled my eyes when one final secret about Richard was revealed.  At that point, he was already such a bad guy that revealing the reason why he was so rich felt like overkill.  Other than that, though, I would say that the entire films worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

As someone who was an angry, rebellious, and often self-destructive teenager, I related to Maggie.  Holly Deveaux’s performance captured all of the emotions.  Though the whole movie, I was cringing as I had flashbacks to all the times that I was tempted to get on a bus and go wherever it took me.

(Seriously, for about a year and a half, I had this ludicrously romanticized fantasy about getting on a bus, traveling to random towns, and spending a year filling up my notebooks with my thoughts on America.  After I talked about it one too many times, my sister Megan drove me down to the Greyhound station in downtown Dallas and we spent an hour watching people get on and off buses.  The sights and the smells — well, mostly the smells — of actual bus living pretty much ended that fantasy.)

Lessons Learned

You can’t run away from your problems but you can beat them over the head with a baseball bat.