What Lisa Marie and Megan Watched Last Night #225: Mommy’s Little Star (dir by Curtis Crawford)

Last night, my sister Megan and I watched Mommy’s Little Star on the Lifetime Movie Network!

Why Were We Watching It?

For the past week and a half, I’ve been visiting my sister Megan and her family.  This is kind of our holiday tradition.  Everyone gets together for Christmas and then, from Christmas Day to New Year, Megan and I catch up and bond and talk about how we’re feeling about the past year and what we’re hoping to get out of the upcoming year.  Plus, we watch a lot of TV and movies!

I’ve always loved watching movies with my family and I especially love Lifetime movies.  (Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to watch as much Lifetime as usual this year.)  So, when I saw that the Lifetime Movie Network was broadcasting something called Mommy’s Little Star, I literally fell on my knees and begged Megan to stay up and watch it with me.

What Was It About?

12 year-old Olivia (Maja Vujicic) thinks that she’s found a way bring her parents back together.  She’ll become a social media star by posting dancing videos online.  If she can get her mother, Lauren (Rebecca Amzallag), to appear in the videos with her, she’ll become an even bigger star and maybe even win a contest because people love to watch young influencers dance with their moms.

Lauren’s new boyfriend, Aiden (Roderick McNeil), offers to act as Olivia’s agent and to guide her to social media stardom.  Olivia is excited but soon, she becomes so addicted to being popular online that she starts neglect her friends, her schoolwork, and her well-meaning but strict nanny.  Meanwhile, Aiden is actually a con artist who is willing to go to any lengths, including murder!, to get what he wants.

What Worked?

I always enjoy a good Lifetime moral panic film.  This film had the typical Lifetime plot of the handsome but sinister man who was trying to take a daughter away from her loving parents but, to that, it also added a fear that I imagine many parents have, the fear of what their children might be doing online.  One thing that both Olivia’s mom and her father (played by David Lafontaine) had in common is that neither one of them was really sure what it was that Olivia was getting so excited about and watching them, I was reminded of my aunt’s reaction when I first tried to explain to her what Twitter was.  The film suggested that all of the trouble that Olivia and her family go through is worth it because it encourages Olivia to eventually take a break from social media.  It’s all rather silly and campy but that’s what makes Lifetime movies so much fun.

I really enjoyed Roderick McNeil’s performance as Aiden.  He had the whole charming sociopath act down to perfection.

What Did Not Work?

The film missed an opportunity by not having Olivia herself turn evil in her attempts to win the big contest.  Maybe Lifetime had already met their quota for murderous children by the time they got around to Mommy’s Little Star.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

Right after my parents divorced, I had a fantasy that lasted for about two years where they would both come to see me performing with the New York City Ballet and they would be so moved by my dancing that they would get back together.  That never happened, of course, but still, I could relate to what Olivia was trying to do even if I didn’t quite agree with her methods.

Both Megan and I agreed that Rebecca Amzallag, who did a great job playing Olivia’s mother, looked just like our friend Lea so that was kind of neat.  We spent a lot of the film asking ourselves, “Is that what Lea would do?”

Lessons Learned

Social media is evil!

Lifetime Film Review: My Mom’s Darkest Secrets (dir by Curtis Crawford)

The special bond between mother and daughter is a theme to which Lifetime often returns.  It’s actually one of the reasons why I love the station and its films.  Whether it’s a case of the mother having to save her daughter from a bad boyfriend or a daughter having to prove that her mother isn’t actually a murderer, it’s rare that I can’t find something to relate to whenever I watch one of those films.  I imagine that’s true for everyone but that seems to be especially true for me.

My Mom’s Darkest Secrets is the latest Lifetime mother-daughter film and, before I get too much into the film and its plot, can I just mention how much I love that title?  I mean that title features everything that we love about Lifetime.  You’ve got the mother-daughter bond.  You’ve got secrets.  And you’ve got darkness.  In fact, the title promises us more than the typical Lifetime film.  We’re not just learning about a mother’s secrets.  And we’re not just learning about her dark secrets.  No — this movie is about her DARKEST secret!  It’s like, “I have many secret and they’re all bad but this one is the absolute worst.”  How can you not find that intriguing?

As for the film itself, it’s all about Ashley Beck-Ford (Nia Roam) and her mother, Sara (Laura Fortier).  When Ashley was born, Sara gave up her daughter for adoption.  Ashley was raised by two wonderful women and Lifetime presents Ashley’s adoptive moms in such a positive and lovable light that, even though the film was inevitably made before the recent controversy, it still feels like a massive “take that!” to Hallmark.  (As often as they’re compared, Lifetime has always been more progressive than Hallmark.)  However, Ashley has now tracked down Sara and she soon discovers that her birth mother is into all sorts of drama.

For instance, Sara’s husband has been murdered and the police suspect that Sara may have been the one responsible!  Even worse, because Sara has arranged for Ashley to eventually inherit the dead man’s fortune, the cops also think that Ashley may have been involved as well!  It’s now up to Sara to dig around and discover the truth and, of course, that’ll mean uncovering some of “my mom’s darkest secrets!”

I enjoyed My Mom’s Darkest Secrets.  Both Sara and Ashley had red hair, so I could relate to them both.  Beyond that, though, Nia Roam and Laura Fortier were both very well-cast.  They had enough in common that you could look at them or listen to the talk and think to yourself, “Yes, they could very well be mother and daughter.”  The credibility of their relationship added some depth and some nuance to the film’s central mystery.  You watch the film and you hope that things work out for them because Sara and Ashley really do seem like they deserve to have that type of relationship that so many other people take for granted.

My Mom’s Darkest Secrets was on the Lifetime Movie Network last night and, with Lifetime being Lifetime, it’ll probably air several more time.  So, keep an eye out for it!

What Lisa Watched Last Night #201: Mommy’s Little Princes (dir by Curtis Crawford)

Last night, as soon as I got home from work, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Mommy’s Little Princess!

Why Was I Watching It?

Why not?

No, actually, I did have a very specific reason for watching it.  Mommy’s Little Princess was a film that I watched earlier this year but, for whatever reason, I didn’t review it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t record it either.  So, by watching it yesterday, I was able to reacquaint myself with the film before reviewing it.

Because that’s what ethical reviewers do!

What Was It About?

12 year-old Lizzy (Sarah Abbott) is haunted by the memories of her abusive mother and a fear that she’s not that special.  In order to make Lizzy feel a bit better about herself, her adoptive mother, Julianna (Alicia Leigh Willis), decides to send away for a DNA testing kit!

When the results are returned, Lizzy discovers that she’s a little bit French, a little bit English, and a whole lot German!  In fact, she’s even descended from German nobility!  Soon, Lizzy is walking around and telling everyone that she’s a princess.  She covers an entire wall of her bedroom with pictures of European nobility and tells everyone that it’s a collage of her real family.

Unfortunately, not everyone is impressed with Lizzy’s heritage.  Some of them even go so far as to suggest that being distantly related to royalty is no big deal.  Those people, Lizzy kills.

What Worked?

I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed the irony of Lifetime broadcasting a movie about someone being driven crazy as a result of obsessing on royalty when Lifetime is also the same network that has, so far, done one movie about William and Kate and two movies about Harry and Meghan!  It was kind of fun, like Lifetime was saying, “Don’t spend too much time living in a fantasy and, by the way, stick around for the next royal wedding movie….” Mommy’s Little Princess felt wonderfully subversive.

Sarah Abbott did a really good job as poor, psychotic little Lizzy.  You feared her but, at the same time, you felt sorry for her.  As a flashback to her time with her birth mother showed, Lizzy really never had a chance.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked!  This was a fun little Lifetime melodrama and it had just the right amount of self-awareness.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

As far as DNA goes, I’m primarily Irish, Italian, and Spanish.  As far as I know, I’m not related to royalty.  If I was related to royalty and in line for the throne of some country, I would totally hold it over everyone’s head.  Seriously, I would find a way to sneak it into every conversation.  “You’re going to the store?  Hey, could you pick me up some a tiara or something because, after all, I am royalty and I could have you executed.”  My friends would probably get tired of hearing about it.

So, all in all, I guess it’s good that I’m not yet a part of the royal family.

Lessons Learned

DNA tests only lead to pain and misery.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Mommy’s Little Angel (dir by Curtis Crawford)

(I recorded Mommy’s Little Angel off of Lifetime on March 17th.)

Katie Porters (Morgan Nuendorf) may only be 12 years old but she’s already had to deal with a lot.

Her mother, Shawna (Kimberly Laferriere), loves her and swears that she would do anything to protect Katie but she’s also a pill-popping drug addict who is constantly on the verge of losing control.  It doesn’t help, of course, that Katie keeps hiding her mother’s pills.  It’s almost as if Kate is trying to get her mother in trouble…

Her father, Darren (Peter Michael Dillon), just spent three years in jail for physically abusing Shawna.  Darren says that he just wants to be with his daughter but Shawna wants nothing to do with him and moves to a different town to get away from him.  Of course, Darren always manages to track Katie and Shawna down.  That probably has something to do with the fact that Katie is always letting him know where she and her mother are hiding.

Katie’s a bad kid with bad thoughts but no one realizes it, largely because she’s only 12 years old and she always knows how to smile and be charming.  For instance, Shawn’s cousin, Nikki (Amanda Clayton), thinks that Katie’s the best!  And Katie likes Nikki, too!  Of course, what’s not to like?  Nikki has a nice big house and, because she’s desperate to be a mother herself, spoils Katie.  In fact, Katie even tells Shawna that she doesn’t care if anything bad ever happens to Shawna.  “I’ll go live with Aunt Nikki,” Katie says.

What a little brat!

Anyway, something bad does eventually happen to Shawna.  She ends up getting tossed off of the top level of a parking garage.  The police and everyone else assume that Shawna committed suicide.  Of course, what they don’t know is that 1) Darren murdered Shawna and 2) Katie arranged for Shawna to be murdered.

So now, Katie is finally living with her Aunt Nikki!  And you would think that Katie would be happy about this!  But no, Katie’s never happy.  As soon as she moves in, Katie comes to realize that there’s all sorts of things competing for Nikki’s attention.  Whether it’s her job or even her husband, Nikki always seems to be putting other things ahead of Katie.

And then, Nikki discovers that she’s pregnant!

Guess how Katie responds to that?

In recent years, Lifetime has shown a surprisingly large number of psycho kid films.  They really do tap into feelings and fears to which all women can relate.  What if your child does grow up to be a psycho?  Also, what if your friend or cousin does a terrible job parenting and then dies and suddenly, you find yourself obligated to take care of their murderous children?  It’s a concern because, deep down, we’re always convinced that most people have no idea how to raise children.

The thing that distinguishes Mommy’s Little Angel from other Lifetime movie about killer kids is just how efficient Katie is in her villainy.  I mean, Katie doesn’t mess around.  When she decides to set a house on fire, it’s obvious that she knows exactly what she’s doing.  When it’s time for Katie to try to convince Nikki to kill for her, Katie chants, “Kill him, Nikki.  Kill him…”  It’s not just that little Katie is evil.  It’s that Katie’s so happy about it!  It all leads to a film that’s enjoyably melodramatic and over-the-top, even by the wonderful standards of Lifetime.

Seriously, don’t turn your back on Katie…

Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: The Psycho She Met Online (dir by Curtis Crawford)

(I am currently in the process of cleaning out my DVR!  It’s probably going to take me longer to do this than it took Theodosia Burr to make her way to Alexandria, Virginia after getting shipwrecked in 1812.  I recorded The Psycho She Met Online off of Lifetime on April 9th!)

Let’s just start with the obvious.

The Psycho She Met Online?

That is, without a doubt, one of the greatest titles in the history of Lifetime movies.  Not only does it tell you exactly what this movie is about (no ambiguity here!) but it also tells you that this film will feature everything that we love about Lifetime films.  When it comes to Lifetime, regardless of the movie, there are two things that will always be true.

First, anyone you meet is going to turn out to be a psycho.

Secondly, anything that begins online is ultimately going to lead to disaster.

In this case, the film is about an EMT named Karen (Chelsea Hobbs).  Karen briefly becomes a minor celebrity when she rescues a man from a serious automobile accident.  The twist is that the man just happened to be her husband, Andrew (Matthew Lawrence)!

With Andrew laid up in the hospital, Karen decides to make some extra money by renting out some of the spare rooms in their house.  She does this be placing an ad online.  Oh, Karen!  Don’t you realize that only crazy people do stuff online!?

(And what does that say about me, posting my film reviews online!?  And you reading them online!?  OH MY GOD, WE’RE ALL CRAZY!)

Anyway, Karen soon ends up with two boarders.  One is a nice old man named Evander Swandson (Robert Welch).  He enjoys going on nature walks and taking photographs.  He respects the rules of the house and does his best to stay out of everyone’s way.  He is apparently among the one percent of internet users who are not insane and, as soon as Evander showed up, I knew he was doomed.

The other room is taken by Miranda (Charity Shea).  Miranda is the psycho of the title.  If her superficial resemblance to Jodi Arias doesn’t convince you of that, just wait until she starts killing people.  Miranda is a dancer at a “gentleman’s club,” though she doesn’t tell Karen that.  Miranda also claims to be Karen’s half-sister and she is just so excited that they will finally have the chance to get to know each other!

At first, Karen is excited too.  She’s always wanted a sister and now, she’ll no longer have to settle for a surrogate sibling relationship with her friend, Aubry (Alexis Maitland).  However, she soon starts to wonder whether she really wants to have Miranda in her life.  Miranda is kind of clingy.  Miranda appears to be a pathological liar.  Miranda gets jealous whenever Karen has plans that don’t involve her.  When Miranda gets upset, she has a habit of ranting to herself.  (Then again, I do that as well.)

And, of course, there’s the fact that Miranda has a habit of killing people…

That’s right, it’s yet another Lifetime movie about an obsessive relationship that goes from being friendly to murderous in the blink of an eye.  Fortunately, this movie was written by Christine Conradt and directed by Curtis Crawford, two Lifetime veterans who know how to make movies like this interesting.  The Psycho She Met Online might never surprise you but then again, the predictability of the format is part of the fun when it comes to Lifetime thrillers.  The best role in any Lifetime film is always the psycho and Charity Shea does a great job as the totally insane Miranda.

All in all, it’s another enjoyable Lifetime film!

Film Review: Mommy’s Little Boy (dir by Curtis Crawford)

On Saturday, Lifetime presented a Mommy Madness marathon, showing a series of melodramas that all, in some way, involved motherhood.  They showed everything from Killing Mommy to Mommy’s Secret to Mommy’s Little Girl.  They ended the night with not one but two premiere films!  Needless to say, I was excited.  After missing last week’s Lifetime movie (though I did DVR it so fear not!), I was looking forward to embracing the melodrama not once but twice!

The first premiere was Mommy’s Little Boy, which naturally came on immediately after Mommy’s Little Girl.  Just judging from the title and Lifetime’s previous record when it comes to children, I assumed that Mommy’s Little Boy would be about a homicidal child.

It turns out I was incorrect.  Don’t get me wrong, of course.  The kid does kill at least one person.  Actually, I think he killed two people but the film is a little bit ambiguous as to whether or not little Eric (Peter DaCunha) meant to let his half-brother Max (Auden Larrat) drown.  You really couldn’t blame Eric if that was the case.  Max was a stone-cold psychopath who started the movie threatening to attack a stray dog with a power drill.  Max got whatever he deserved.  As for that other murder that Eric commits — well, it’s self-defense.  Eric really had no choice.  Eric’s a good kid, dangit!

Instead, it’s his mother who is the problem.  Briana (Bree Williamson) has a really nice house but she’s the type of mother who is too busy sunbathing (while wearing an American flag bikini, no less) to notice that one of her sons is drowning in the pool behind her.  Briana is almost always drunk or stoned.  She brings strange men home with her.  She neglects Eric and sends him to school in grubby clothes.  She murders the neighbor for being condescending, banging her over the head with the same skillet that will later be used to prepare Eric’s breakfast.  Briana’s not the world’s best mother but, at the very least, she has a nice house.

Seriously, you have to see this house.  Have you ever seen House Hunters?  You know how the third house is always a really nice house that, we’re told, is a little bit outside of the house hunters’s budget?  (“Now, this is listed for a little more than you said you were willing to pay but the price may come down…”)  That’s the type of house that Brianna lives in.  Unfortunately, Brianna has kinda trashed the place.  At one point, she explains that she inherited the house after her parents died.  At least, for once, a Lifetime movie took the time to explain why even the trashiest of characters always live in the nicest of houses.

Anyway, Briana’s killed someone and she forces Eric to help her cover up the crime.  That kinda traumatizes Eric.  He’d much rather live with his softball coach, Michael Davis (Paul Popovich).  However, Briana is determined to get in her new boyfriend’s RV and flee to Mexico.  And she expects her only remaining son to come with her.  Whatever is Eric to do!?

Well, you probably already guessed what happens.  Mommy’s Little Boy was a standard Lifetime film but I liked it.  If nothing else, Bree Williamson deserves some sort of award for how totally and completely she throws herself into the role of Briana.  It takes courage to play someone that trashy without winking at the audience but Williamson does it.  Overall, Mommy’s Little Boy was an entertaining addition to Lifetime’s stable of films about mentally unstable maternal figures.

2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Today, I continue my look back at the year 2016 with the best of Lifetime!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2016!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!


Best Picture
Bad Sister, produced by Robert Ballo, Timothy O. Johnson, Rukmani Jones, Ken Sanders
The Cheerleader Murders, produced by Sharon Bordas, Arthur Edmonds III, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, Jennifer Westin
Girl in the Box, produced by Stephen Kemp, Charles Tremayne, Thomas Vencelides
Inspired to Kill, produced by Johnson Chan, Michael Fiefer, Douglas Howell, Stephanie Rennie, Vincet Reppert, Nathan Schwab, Tammana Shah, Shawn Tira
Manson’s Lost Girls, produced by Nancy Bennett, Kyle A. Clark, Lawrence Ducceschi, Joan Harrison, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Kronish, Steven Michaels, Lina Wong
Mommy’s Little Girl, produced by Tom Berry, Steve Boisvert, Neil Bregman, Cinthia Burke, Christine Conradt, Curtis Crawford, Pierre David, Donald M. Osborne, Andrew E. Pecs
*A Mother’s Escape, produced by Sharon Bordas, Lori Bell Leahy, Michael Leahy, Kristofer McNeeley, Fernando Szew
My Sweet Audrina, produced by Dan Angel, David Calvert-Jones, Harvey Kahn, Kane Lee, Tom Mazza, Mike Rohl, Jane Startz
The Night Stalker, produced by Matthew R. Brady, Patrick G. Ingram, Michel Rangel, Alisa Tager
The Wrong Car, produced by Mark Donadio, Miriam Marcus, Molly Martin, Michael O’Neil

Best Director
Doug Campbell for Bad Sister
Megan Griffiths for The Night Stalker
*Blair Hayes for A Mother’s Escape
David Jackson for The Cheerleader Murders
Leslie Libman for Manson’s Lost Girls
Mike Rohl for My Sweet Audrina

Best Actress
*Tara Buck in A Mother’s Escape
India Eisley in My Sweet Audrina
MacKenzie Mauzy in Manson’s Lost Girls
Alyshia Ochse in Bad Sister
Karissa Lee Staples in Inspired To Kill
Addison Timlin in Girl in the Box

Best Actor
Zane Holtz in Girl in the Box
Lou Diamond Phillips in The Night Stalker
*Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor: The Return
Antonio Sabato, Jr in Inspired To Kill
Jason-Shane Scott in The Wrong Roommate
Jeff Ward in Manson’s Lost Girls

Best Supporting Actress
*Toni Atkins in My Sweet Audrina
Eden Brolin in Manson’s Lost Girls
Zoe De Grande Maison in Pregnant at 17
Beth Grant in A Mother’s Escape
Ryan Newman in Bad Sister
Zelda Williams in Girl in the Box

Best Supporting Actor
Blake Berris in Wrong Swipe
Rogan Christopher in Pregnant at 17
*Rhett Kidd in The Wrong Car
Christian Madsen in Manson’s Lost Girls
William McNamara in The Wrong Roommate
James Tupper in My Sweet Audrina

Best Screenplay
Bad Sister, Barbara Kymlicka
*The Cheerleader Murders, Matt Young
Girl in the Box, Stephen Kemp
Mommy’s Little Girl, Christine Conradt
A Mother’s Escape, Mike Bencivenga, Blair Hayes, Kristofer McNeeley
My Sweet Audrina, Scarlett Lacey

Best Cinematography
The Cheerleader Murders, Denis Maloney
Mommy’s Little Girl, Bill St. John
*A Mother’s Escape, Samuel Calvin
My Sweet Audrina, James Liston
The Night Stalker, Quyen Tran
The Wrong Car, Terrence Hayes

Best Costuming
Girl in the Box, Barb Cardoso, Tania Pedro
Manson’s Lost Girls, Dorothy Amos
*My Sweet Audrina, Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh
The Night Stalker, Rebecca Luke
The Red Dress, Sophie Pace
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, Mary McLeod

Best Editing
The Cheerleader Murders, Eric Potter
Girl in the Box, Julian Hart
Manson’s Lost Girls, Josh Hegard
*A Mother’s Escape, Travis Graalman
My Sweet Audrina, Charles Robichaud
The Night Stalker, Celia Beasley

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Girl in the Box, Claudia Breckenridge, Jen Fisher, Oriana Rossi, Alex Rotundo, Collette Tolen
Killing Mommy, Cinthia Burke, Christie Capustinsky, Kevin Crawley, Kirsten Fairfield, Margaret Harding-Crawley, Corey J. Stone
*Manson’s Lost Girls, Jenni Brown Greenberg, Randi Mavestrand, Kelly Muldoon, Natalie Thimm
A Mother’s Escape, Jenny Hausam, Toni Mario
My Sweet Audrina, Alannah Bilodeau
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, Tara Hadden-Watts, Alexandra Holmes

Best Original Score
911 Nightmare, David Findlay
*The Cheerleader Murders, Cladue Foisy
Inspired To Kill, Brandon Jarrett
A Mother’s Escape, Todd Haberman
My Sweet Audrina, Graeme Coleman
The Wrong Car, Ed Grenga

Best Production Design
Bad Sister, Lia Burton, Danielle Lee
Girl in the Box, Andrew Berry, Jere Sallee
*Manson’s Lost Girls, Cynthia E. Hill, Linda Spheeris
A Mother’s Escape, Zackary Steven Graham
My Sweet Audrina, Tink, Janessa Hitsman
Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, James Robbins, Courtney Stockstad, Amanda Christmas

Best Sound
*Center Stage: On Pointe
The Cheerleader Murders
Honeymoon from Hell
I Have Your Children
Inspired to Kill
Toni Braxton: Unreak My Heart

Best Visual Effects
Final Destiny
House of Darkness
The Inherited
Little Girl’s Secret
The Watcher

Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you for keeping us entertained in 2016!

Want to see my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2015?  Click here!

And if you want to see my picks from 2014, click here!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2016 with the 16 worst films of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #3: Mommy’s Little Girl (dir by Curtis Crawford)

Mommy's Little Girl

After I finished up The Other Wife, I continued to clean out my DVR by rewatching Mommy’s Little Girl.

Mommy’s Little Girl, was premiered on Lifetime on March 19th, is a crazy little kid movie.  How crazy?  Well, the film is also known as Mommy’s Little Murderer and for good reason!  Speaking for myself, I always enjoy a good crazy kid movie because this entire genre is built around an uncomfortable truth: Children are creepy!  They’ve got those squeaky voices and they’re always staring and they don’t have a filter so you never know what they’re going to say to you.  Even worse, it’s somehow considered socially unacceptable to snap at a stranger’s child, even if it’s obvious that stranger has no idea how to raise their children.

Plus, you have to consider that every serial killer was a child at some point.  If a child did decide to kill you, he’d probably get away with it.  You wouldn’t think to be cautious if you were alone with him because everyone assumes that children always have the best intentions.  No investigator would give serious consideration to the possibility that you were murdered by a child.  Even if the kid was arrested, he’d only be charged as a minor.  He would ultimately end up with a clean record while you just ended up as some sort of dumbass ghost haunting the landfill where he dumped your body.

Seriously, people need to think about this stuff before they deal with children.

Consider Sadie Connell (Emma Hentschel), the title character of Mommy’s Little Girl.  Sadie is only 11 years old and, as cute and innocent-looking as she may be, when we first meet her, she’s already killed at least one person.  She arranged for her abusive grandfather to take a nasty tumble down a flight of stairs.  In fact, not only did she kill her grandfather but she also stole his lighter.  She claims that it’s a magic lighter and, despite being a non-smoker, Sadie finds many uses for that flame.  For instance, she can use the lighter to threaten her dolls.  And when a classmate bullies her, she uses the lighter to punish his prized action figures.

Over the course of the movie, Sadie commits a few more murders.  She pushes people off cliffs.  She poisons their food.  At one point, she even places her hands over one unfortunate victim’s mouth and helps to suffocate her.  Sadie is definitely a little bit psycho and yet, as a viewer, I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for her.  Both her grandparents treated her so badly that you can’t blame Sadie for being a little bit bitter.  As for her classmate with his precious action figures — well, nobody likes a bully.

At the start of the film, Sadie is finally reunited with her mother, Theresa (Fiona Gubelmann), who has issues of her own when Sadie was born and, as a result, allowed her daughter to be raised by her parents.  However, Theresa now has her life together and is ready to raise her daughter!  Sadie is so excited to finally have a family but she’s also extremely paranoid of losing that family.  Some of the film’s best scenes come when Sadie fears that she’s about to be rejected and sent back to her grandmother.  Sadie never becomes a one-dimensional villain.  The end result is a Lifetime film that actually makes you think.

Keep an eye out for Mommy’s Little Girl!



What Lisa Watched Last Night #152: Killing Mommy (dir by Curtis Crawford and Anthony Lefrense)

Last night, I gathered together with my three older sisters and I tried to make them watch Killing Mommy on Lifetime!  They all abandoned me after thirty minutes but I stayed for the entire film.

Killing Mommy

Why Was I Watching It?

(Awwwwww!  That is one of the greatest tweets in which I’ve ever been mentioned!  Everyone please be sure to check out Awards Watch!)

What Was It Aboot?

Killing Mommy was the latest in a long line of Canadian-produced Lifetime thrillers.  It tells the story of two twin sisters!  Deb has dark hair, a tattoo, and a bad attitude.  She’s a recovering drug addict and she divides her time between having anonymous sex and going to jail.  Julianne has red hair and is about to graduate from college.  She is always smiling and she’s always spending money!

When Deb and Julianne were younger, their father died when a car mysteriously fell on top of him.  Now, their mom — who runs a charity of some sort — is on the verge of remarrying.  Deb is upset.  Julianne is supportive.  Soon, someone with dark hair is attempting to kill mom.  Is it Deb or is it just Julianne wearing a Deb wig?

What Worked, eh?

Killing Mommy was one of those films that got better the longer it lasted.  During the first hour, I thought it was way too slow and awkwardly acted.  But, during the second hour, the film got enjoyably weird and over-the-top.  It’s as if, during the 2nd half of the movie, the filmmakers suddenly realized that they just had to stop pretending like the movie would ever make any sense.  They decided to embrace the melodrama and good for them!

What Did Not Work, eh?

The second hour of Killing Mommy is a lot of fun but that first hour — oh my God.  See, the main problem with having a great second hour is that you have to get through the first hour to reach it and, if you first hour moves too slowly or features some less than impressive acting, you’re increasing the chances that viewers will never make it to that second hour.  The first hour of Killing Mommy was a real struggle to get through.  If you look at my twitter timeline, you’ll see that I tweeted a hundred times more during the second hour than the first hour.

Some of the acting, especially during that first hour, left a lot to be desired.  I think I may have compared some of the performances to the acting that you typically find in one of those “You got insurance?  With your health problems?!” MetLife insurance commercials.  However, I now think that some of what seemed like bad acting may have instead just been foreshadowing of the film’s 2nd hour twist.

Speaking of twists, there’s a flashback where a man working on a car yells at his daughter so much that she finally gets so annoyed that she lowers the car down on top of him.  (That’s not really a spoiler because what happened is pretty obvious from the minute the car crushing is first mention, especially if you’ve ever seen a Lifetime movie before.)  Anyway, I started giggling during that scene and I’m not sure if I was supposed to.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments, for sure

Julianne has red hair and she loves to shop!  How could I not relate to her?

On the other hand, Deb often wears black and has a sarcastic attitude.  How could I not relate to her, as well?

Seriously, other than all the murders, this whole movie had me going, “Oh my God!  Just like me!” over and over again.

Lessons Learned

I love, Canada!


Film Review: Pregnant At 17 (dir by Curtis Crawford)


Before I talk too much about the last night’s Lifetime premiere, Pregnant at 17, I want to share something with you.  As of 10:00 pm on the night at February 20th, this is the imdb plot description, which was posted by Reel One Entertainment:

When Sonia finds out her husband of 10 years is having an affair, she decides to get to know the young woman, Chelsea, he’s fallen in love with. Chelsea, a free-spirit who believes in polyamory, brings a happiness and fulfillment to Sonia that she’s never experienced before– especially since her miscarriage which left her depressed and hopeless. The three form a polyamorous relationship until an unexpected turn of events sends all of their lives into a tailspin.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it!?  Certainly, this is the first time that I’ve seen the term “polyamory” used in a plot description since Utopia went off the air!

However, by the time you read this review, I imagine that the plot description will probably have been changed because it’s absolutely inaccurate.  It is true that Sonia (Josie Bissett) does find out that her husband, Jeff (Roark Critchlow), is having an affair with Chelsea (Zoe De Grand Maison).  However, Chelsea is not a polyamorous free spirit.  Instead, she’s a 17 year-old girl who works at an ice cream parlor.  (The name of the parlor is Stella Lama.)  And, though Jeff does have an affair with her, he never falls in love with Chelsea.  In fact, when Chelsea tells him that she’s pregnant (at 17!), he promptly attempts to pay her off.

That’s right — Pregnant at 17 is yet another installment in Lifetime’s endless series of “…at 17” films.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen everything from Betrayed At 17 to Stalked At 17 to Framed At 17 to Accused at 17.  Seriously, it’s not easy being a 17 year-old girl on Lifetime!  The worst things are always happening to you.  Since I had a lot of melodrama in my life when I was 17, I always enjoy and relate to the “…at 17” movies.  Pregnant at 17 was a film that I could especially relate to because it was about a girl who had both red hair and a boyfriend named Jeff!

Even without the promised softcore polyamory, Pregnant at 17 was still wonderfully melodramatic in the way that only a good Lifetime film can be.  After Sonia discovers that Chelsea has been sleeping with her husband, she goes down to the ice parlor to confront her.  However, within seconds of their first meeting, Chelsea is offering Sonia free ice cream and talking about how difficult her life is.  Sonia feels sorry for Chelsea and, instead of confronting her, ends up befriending her.

And Chelsea really needs a friend!  Not only has she been abandoned by her married boyfriend but she’s also being stalked by Greg Foster (Rogan Christopher).  Apparently, before she met Jeff, Chelsea witnessed Greg robbing a convenience store.  Chelsea identified Greg to the police and Greg has spent the last year in jail.  Now, he’s out and he wants revenge!  Helping Greg is his sister, Laren (Corina Bizem).  We know that Laren is dangerous because she wears way too much dark eyeliner.

When Sonia confronts Jeff about his affair, he replies, “You’re not perfect, either.”  Guys, if you’re reading this — if you are ever caught cheating, do not attempt to excuse your actions by saying, “You’re not perfect, either.”  SERIOUSLY, THAT IS THE WORST POSSIBLE THING YOU CAN SAY IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES.

(Forgive me for the all caps but I think this is an important message to impart.  If I can teach a lesson, I am always happy to do so.)

Now, at this point, I was thinking about a friend of mine who found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her and she responded by supergluing his penis to his stomach.  (Yes, that is a true story and yes, the person who suggested it to her was inspired by Reservoir Dogs.)  However, Sonia doesn’t go that far.  Instead, she just makes Jeff sleep in the guest room.  The next morning, Jeff gets hit by a car and ends up laid up at the hospital.

That now means that there’s extra room in Sonia’s house!  And who better to move in but her husband’s pregnant mistress!?  Of course, by doing so, Sonia is now being stalked by the same people who have been stalking Chelsea…

Seriously, being pregnant at 17 is the least of Chelsea’s problems.  This is pure Choas at 17.

And no, there’s no polyamory.  There’s no threesomes.  I know that the plot description promised a threesome but that’s not the type of movie that Pregnant at 17 is.  This is not Carnal Wishes or Big Bad Mama. And really, that’s okay.  Pregnant at 17 is a lot of fun, just the way it is.  This film epitomizes everything that we love about Lifetime movies.  It’s so over the top that watching it is a pure delight.

Both Josie Bissett and Zoe De Grande Maison also deserve a lot of credit for fully committing to their roles.  Bissett, who was so good in A Mother’s Instinct, gives another excellent performance here.  Meanwhile, Maison does all of us redheads proud!

Keep an eye out for Pregnant at 17!  You will not be disappointed.