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!


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


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


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.


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

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!


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

Adventures in Cleaning Out the DVR: Caught (dir by Maggie Kiley)


Since I’m still in the process of recovering from my sprained foot, I am spending today at home.  And I have to tell you that this whole resting and taking it easy thing is starting to drive me crazy!  Other than a very short police standoff in Arlington, there was absolutely nothing interesting on TV this afternoon.  So, in an effort to stave off impending boredom, I decided to continue cleaning out my DVR.

I just finished watching Caught, a film which made its Lifetime premiere on November 7th.  (I missed it because I was out celebrating my upcoming birthday with my friends in the SBS.  Sexy Bitch Squad Forever!!!)  Much like Stockholm, Pennsylvania, Caught was originally meant to be a theatrical release.  It played at a few film festivals earlier this year until it was finally picked up by Lifetime.

And watching Caught, it’s easy to see why it ended up going straight to television.  It’s not that Caught is a bad movie (especially when compared to the turgid mess that was Stockholm, Pennsylvania).  It’s just that there’s nothing really cinematic about Caught.  There’s no one moment or scene that makes you think, “I really wish I could see this on a big screen.”  From the start, Caught feels as if it was tailor-made for Lifetime and that’s where it belongs.

And again, that’s not a criticism.  I’ve lost track of how many of them that I’ve reviewed on this site but, by now, you should have no doubt that I happen to like Lifetime movies.

Caught opens with teenager Allie (Stefanie Scott) having a bad day.  Because she’s failing some of her classes, she’s been kicked off the school’s track team.  When she’s not sleeping through class or going for a run, Allie works at a resteraunt, where her boss just happens to be her mother (Mary B. McCann).  After a day of dealing with bad grades and rude customers, Allie is looking forward to continuing her affair with the much older, Justin (Sam Page).  However, once Allie’s mom meets Justin, she declares that she no longer wants Allie to see him.

And then, to top it all off, Allie gets kidnapped and ends up chained to a chair in an attic.

Who has kidnapped Allie?  Well, judging from such previous Lifetime movies as The Bride He Bought Online and Stolen From The Suburbs, the obvious answer would be the Russian Mafia but, in Allie’s case, the obvious answer is wrong.  Instead, she has been kidnapped by two sisters who aren’t really sure what they’re planning on doing with her.  The younger of the two, Paige (Amelia Rose Blaire), is a shy introvert who starts to have second thoughts almost immediately.  The older sister is Sabrina (Anna Camp).  Sabrina masterminded the abduction.  Sabrina also happens to be married to Justin…

Now, I have to admit, that I had my doubts when this movie started.  Allie seemed like such a boring character that it was difficult for me to get emotionally invested in … well, in anything that she was involved with.  When her coach told her she was off the team, I thought to myself, “You should have paid attention in class.”  When her mom yelled at her for being late to work, I thought to myself, “I’m glad that I’ve never had to really work hard for a living.”  And when Justin showed up, I shrugged and thought, “Why wouldn’t the two most boring people on Earth be drawn to each other?”

But then Allie got kidnapped and I quickly realized that Allie’s blandness may have very well been intentional.  Because, ultimately, Caught is not about Allie.  Instead, Caught is totally about Sabrina and, even more importantly, it’s about Anna Camp’s thoroughly wonderful performance in the lead role.  Sabrina is totally batshit insane and Camp has a lot of fun playing that aspect of her personality.  And, because she is so insane and so neurotic about trying to hide that fact, Sabrina is also the only interesting person in the entire movie.  Throughout Caught, she struggles so hard to keep the kidnapping from going wrong that it’s hard not to sympathize with her.  It didn’t matter what happened, I found myself on Sabrina’s side.  Really, I found myself thinking, Sabrina just killed a cop?  Well, maybe he shouldn’t have insisted on trying to search the house even after she told him it wasn’t necessary!  Oh, did Sabrina just threaten to kill someone else?  Well, maybe everyone just needs to get off her back, y’know!?  Sabrina’s like a suburban hostess watching in terror as a drunk uncle and an out-of-control pre-schooler team up to destroy her dinner party.  It’s up to her to somehow clean up the mess while continually to assure all of her guests that all is well, even when it obvious is not.  Sabrina may say some hateful things during the movie but she always manages to say them all with a smile.  Quite frankly, we could all learn a listen from Sabrina.

Once you realize that Caught is totally about Sabrina (and, even more importantly, totally about Anna Camp’s lead performance), it actually works fairly well.