Lifetime Film Review: Mommy, I Didn’t Do It (dir by Richard Gabai)


If there’s an Eye Rolling Hall of Fame, the recent Lifetime film Mommy, I Didn’t Do It definitely has earned inclusion.

Seriously, this film was full of some championship-level eye rolling.  It’s a courtroom drama and a murder mystery.  Ellen Plainview (Danica McKellar) is an attorney whose teenager daughter, Julie (Paige Searcy) is on trail for murdering one of her former teachers.  When Julie is first arrested, Ellen rolls her eyes.  When Ellen visits Julie in jail and explains that they don’t have the money to bail her out, Julie rolls her eyes and sighs.  You can just tell she’s thinking, “My God, mom, you’re so lame!”  When Detective Hamer (Jaleel White) explains why all the evidence points to Julie, Ellen again rolls her eyes and Detective Hamer counters her by rolling his own eyes.  When Ellen approaches the dead man’s wife (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), the wife not only rolls her eyes but narrows them as well.

It gets even better once the trial begins.  The prosecutor, Kimberly Bains (Jen Lilley), rolls her eyes whenever Ellen makes an objection.  Whenever a witness testifies that Julie was obsessed with the victim, Ellen rolls her eyes and then Julie rolls her eyes at her mother rolling her eyes and then Kimberly rolls her eyes at both of them.  When the weird boy who is obsessed with her tries to save Julie by confessing to the murder, the amount of eye rolling probably sets a world record.  In the real world, of course, this type of courtroom behavior gets people cited for contempt but, in the world of Lifetime, it’s just the way that people communicate.

Don’t get me wrong.  The film itself did not make me roll my eyes.  Yes, it was totally implausible and it was full of silly scenes but it’s a Lifetime film.  That’s what we expect Lifetime.  Even more importantly, that’s what we want from Lifetime.  When it comes to a quality Lifetime film, there’s really only two rules: 1) the more ludicrous, the better and 2) the more melodramatic, the more entertaining.

While the film’s story might be ludicrous, the mother-daughter relationship between Ellen and Julie felt very real and both Danica McKellar and Paige Searcy gave sincere and believable performances as mother and daughter, which went a long way towards explaining all the eye rolling.  Seriously, when I was Julie Plainview’s age, I rolled my eyes for 24 hours a day and I wasn’t even accused of murder.

Mommy, I Didn’t Do It is actually a sequel to a previous Lifetime movie, The Wrong Woman.  In that one, Ellen was wrongly accused of murder and was arrested by the same idiot detective who arrests her daughter in Mommy, I Didn’t Do It.  (If nothing else, these two films show how vindictive authority figures can be.)  As long as this is going to be a franchise, I’d like to suggest that the next installment could feature Eric Roberts, recreating his role from Stalked By My Doctor and its sequel. Maybe he could treat Julie while Ellen defend him in court.

Seriously, it sounds like a great idea to me.

 

Hallmark Review: Perfect Match (2015, dir. Ron Oliver)


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This Hallmark movies cuts any setup out of it and goes immediately to the couple meeting. The second shot in the movie is of our boy and girl reaching to press the same elevator button. Our boy is Adam (Paul Greene). Our girl is Jessica (Danica McKellar). You know, Winnie Cooper! Last time I saw Danica McKellar it was in an episode of that short lived Fred Savage sitcom Working. I probably could have entitled this Hallmark Horror Review because it’s horrifying that she has been reduced from doing something like The Wonder Years to this. It’s also horrifying that this movie was penned by Patricia Resnick who co-wrote 3 Women (1977), A Wedding (1978), and Quintet (1979) for Robert Altman and co-wrote the screenplay for Nine To 5 (1980). Then again, she also co-wrote the screenplay for Second Sight (1989).

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Our leads decide to take the stairs to the big event room. This is when we find out what they do and why they are going to clash. She’s a wedding planner. Now prepare yourself for this because what he does is so incredibly different. I mean I was just shocked! Ready? Here it comes. He’s an event planner. Yep, did my build up seem like a bunch of BS? Good, because that is what any and all of the conflict between the two characters in this movie is. This may be the lamest excuse for the boy and the girl to dislike each other I have seen in a Hallmark movie. They both want the same space for their own events. But it gets better when we find out the excuse for why they are going to have to spend time together.

After the two of them have a little argument about who gets the space for her wedding and his event, we meet Jessica’s kid (Graham Verchere). He’s a classic movie fan. He brought home a copy of Kansas City Confidential (1952). But the kid is watching it stretched to widescreen.

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Poor kid probably didn’t have a choice. That’s what happens when you buy knockoff OSHIB televisions. Anyways, this is one of those Hallmark movies where the kid is actually a kid. He’s not a cardboard cutout, nor just a plot device. In fact, he’s the most likable character in the whole movie.

Jessica now goes to meet a client. She basically tells the bride everything that sounds good to her, but it’s freaking him out. And I would to if I were him. I can handle a pink themed wedding, but a groom wearing a pink cummerbund and bow tie seems a bit ridiculous to me. But luckily he has a member of the family he wants to bring in to help plan the wedding. Guess who?

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He throws out some ideas that are so stupid I’m surprised the actor could keep a straight face. However, I am curious what his and hers dart boards look like. Jessica leaves, but after being called back by the groom’s mom, Adam and Jessica set out to plan the wedding together.

What follows are the two of them clashing less and less as they begin to like each other more while planning the young couple’s wedding. The only other thing to note is that on his birthday he throws a dart at a map of the world and then takes a trip there. She doesn’t have any adventure in her life because of her kid, but that kid makes it clear to her that she needs to have more in her life cause he’s doing just fine.

You know how the rest plays out. There are more sleepwalking formulaic Hallmark romances out there, but this one is so forced that it hurts. I really can’t recommend it.

A couple things to look for if you do.

It really seemed like they were in front of a green screen for this scene to me.

It really seemed like they were in front of a green screen for this scene to me.

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The license plate says it’s the “Coastal State”, which doesn’t exist.

We see him take the photograph in portrait.

We see him take the photograph in portrait.

But later in the movie the photograph is in landscape.

But later in the movie the photograph is in landscape.

The only other thing is a sound goof right near the beginning of the movie. When the groom’s mom calls Jessica to come back and help plan the wedding, Jessica answers the call on her cellphone. They accidentally start the mom’s audio before they cut back to her. So, for a few seconds, it sounds like the mom is on a PA system since it’s the sound recorded for when we are supposed to be in the same room with her.

What Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #66: Tasmanian Devils (dir by Zach Lipovsky)


(Minor Spoilers)

Last night, the Snarkalecs and I watched the SyFy original movie Tasmanian Devils.  Who are the Snarkalecs?  You can find out here.

Why Was I Watching It?

Seriously, yesterday was a weird, weird day.  I don’t even know where to begin.  In between the pervy guys who have been working on the roof of the house across the alley, and the woman in Georgia who keeps accusing me of having an affair with her husband (another long story that you can read all about here), I was seriously ready to just change my name to Diabla, stop washing my hair, stop wearing makeup, and just move to Vermont.

But, through it all, I took the strength for the knowledge that, at 8:00, there would be an original movie on SyFy and that I would be watching it with my friends, the Snarkalecs…

What’s It About?

I’ll tell you what it’s not about.  It’s not about the spinning cartoon character who was always falling off cliffs and having safes dropped on his head.  No, these Tasmanian devils are vicious killers but, at the same time, they’re also kinda cute and adorable in a chupacabra kind of way.

Anyway, Apolo Ohno and a bunch of his friends go to Tasmania. Apolo jumps off of a cliff, has some trouble with his parachute, and ends up plunging into a hidden cave and getting impaled on the world’s biggest stalagmite.  Apolo hangs around for a bit, squirming like a bug and groaning despite the fact that he’s got a gigantic hole in chest.  Seriously, Apolo must be invincible.  Alas, his blood gets the attention of the Tasmanian devils and, in perhaps the defining scene of 2013, Apolo Ohno is literally ripped into little pieces on-screen.

There is a little bit more that happens in the film.  Apolo’s friends end up running into a park ranger played by Danica McKellar and they soon all find themselves being stalked through the wilderness by the Tasmanian devils.  However, for me, the film was pretty much about Apolo Ohno getting literally ripped into little pieces on-screen.

What Worked?

OH MY GOD!  Apolo Ohno was literally ripped into little pieces on-screen!  This led to me framing the term “Ohnotastic” as a way to refer to any spectacular death in a SyFy film.  This eventually led to the creation of the Ohno Scale, which from now on, will be used to judge the effectiveness of SyFy carnage.  Tasmanian Devils will now forever be one of the pivotal films in the history of the Snarkalecs.

(Hopefully, the next two-headed shark film from the Asylum will feature a Michael Phelps cameo.)

Beyond that, Tasmanian Devils was actually a pretty good film.  It was the epitome of a fun movie to watch with friends and director Zach Lipovsky actually managed to generate some genuine suspense.  Even better, both Lipovsky and Danica McKellar dropped by twitter and interacted with the people commenting on the film.  It’s always really nice whenever filmmakers do this.

On a personal note, I enjoyed Tasmanian Devils because it was filmed in Canada, a country that I am strangely obsessed with.  As for the male snarkalecs, they seemed to largely enjoy Tasmanian Devils because of the low-cut top that Danica McKellar’s park ranger was wearing.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  Life is too short to be critical of a film called Tasmanian Devils.

“OH MY GOD!  Just like me!” Moments

Insert your own low-cut top/heaving boobs comment here.

Lessons Learned

Apolo Ohno is not invincible.