What Lisa Watched Last Night #203: Designed to Kill, a.k.a. Deadly Runway, a.k.a. Fatal Fashion (dir by Doug Campbell)


Last night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Channel and I watched a movie that has many names.  When it was originally released on Netflix last year, I believe it was called Deadly Runway.  According to the imdb, it’s also known as Fatal Fashion.  Lifetime aired it under the title Designed To Kill.

Well, no matter which title you want to go with, I watched it!

Why Was I Watching It?

How can I review it without watching it first?  This isn’t rocket science, people!  Beyond that, though, I was in the mood for a good Lifetime melodrama.  Of course, right now, Lifetime is currently only showing Christmas movies from here to eternity.  So, if you want to see the type of Lifetime film that we all know and love, you’re only place to turn is the Lifetime Movie Network.

What Was It About?

Basically, it’s a murderous remake of Pygmalion!

Oh, you doubt me?  Well, consider this — Jennifer Higgins (Linsey Godfrey) — is given a job at the local high school, teaching a class about fashion.  David (Joshua Hoffman) ends up in her class, hoping that he can practice his skills as a photographer.  David is awkward, shy, wears glasses, has no fashion sense, and his hair is almost always a mess.  Jennifer takes one look at him and decides to prove that she can turn anyone into a super model.  Next thing you know, David has new clothes, a new haircut, and a new career.  He almost gets a new girlfriend until Jennifer gets jealous and pushes her off a ledge.

See, there are a few differences between Jennifer and Henry Higgins.  Some of them are obvious.  Jennifer is a woman and is flirtatious.  Henry was a man and a bit of a prick.  But perhaps the biggest difference is that Jennifer Higgins has a tendency to get obsessed with her models and, as mentioned above, Jennifer’s willing to kill people.

Anyway, David is enjoying his new life as a model and Jennifer is enjoying being his mentor but then it turns out that David’s friend, Caitlyn (Ellen Michelle Monohan) has model potential as well!  How will Jennifer handle it when Caitlyn and David are soon appearing on covers together?

What Worked?

Oh Hell, it all worked.  This was so over the top and fun and melodramatic that there was no way not to love it.  Linsey Godfrey was wonderfully insane as Jennifer Higgins and Monhan and Hoffman made for a very adorable couple.  This movie was a lot of fun.

And before anyone starts nitpicking this film or debating whether or not the plot fully made sense, allow me to remind you that if you’re taking a film like this seriously, you’re doing it wrong.  This film was designed to deliver pure entertainment and that’s exactly what it does!

What Didn’t Work?

It all worked!

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Caitlyn, mostly because we both have red hair, bad eyesight, and a low tolerance for alcohol.

Lessons Learned

Henry Higgins could have been worse.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #197: My Daughter’s Ransom (dir by Doug Campbell)


On Thursday, I watched the first Lifetime film of 2019, My Daughter’s Ransom!

(a.k.a. My Daughter’s Ransom)

Why Was I Watching It?

New year, new lifetime movies!  Every year brings changes but one thing that will never change will be my love for these films and the enjoyment I get from reviewing them.

What Was It About?

Rachel (Scottie Thompson) has a good life.  Her husband, Tony (Matthew Pohlkamp), is a successful businessman who is on the verge of finalizing a big deal.  Her daughter, Lindsey (McKinley Blehm), is intelligent enough to know all about the theories of Charles Darwin.

Unfortunately, Rachel also has an ex-boyfriend named Carter (Lucas Kerr).  Carter’s just been released from prison and, as quickly becomes apparent, his incarceration did not lead to rehabilitation.  After spending months stalking Rachel and her family, Carter kidnaps Lindsey at the zoo.  If Rachel doesn’t do everything that Carter orders her to do, he’ll kill her daughter.

As Rachel tries to figure out a way to save her daughter, she also has to keep following Carter’s orders, which are not only increasingly outlandish but also increasingly dangerous for both Rachel and everyone that she loves….

What Worked?

As anyone who has spent any time watching the channel can tell you, the theme of abduction is a popular one when it comes to Lifetime movies.  That’s because these films deal with the fears that every parent has, not only that your child will be abducted but that you’ll be powerless to rescue them.  My Daughter’s Ransom did a good job of making that fear feel real, especially in the early moments when Rachel was desperately running around the zoo, looking for her daughter.  (The camera holds Rachel in a tight close-up while she searches for her daughter, emphasizing Rachel’s desperation to find her.)

For a film like this to work, you need a good villain and Lucas Kerr did a great job making Carter into the type of creepy, hissable bad guy who you just couldn’t wait to see get his comeuppance.  In the role of Rachel, Scottie Thompson also did great work and it was impossible not to sympathize with her as she tried to get someone to notice that she was in trouble without Carter figuring out what she was doing.

In fact, the entire cast did a great job.  My two favorite supporting characters were Gina (Davida Williams), the wife of Tony’s business partner, and Skates (Erika Fong), Tony’s secretary.  Neither one of them was willing to put up with any nonsense.  Personally, I think we need a sequel where Gina and Skates team up and solve crimes.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked!  My Daughter’s Ransom got the year off to a good start.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Rachel, I once had a weakness for bad boys.  Actually, now that I think about it, I still do.  That said, the character I most admired was Skates because it didn’t matter how much Carter ordered Rachel to yell at her and threaten to fire her, Skates wasn’t going to let anyone stop her from doing her job.

Lessons Learned

Bad boys never change.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #182: Stalked By My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge (dir by Doug Campbell)


On Sunday night, I watched the third chapter in the Stalked By My Doctor franchise, Patient’s Revenge!

Why Was I Watching It?

The obvious answer is that I was watching it because it was on Lifetime.  This summer, Lifetime is going to be premiering a new movie every Sunday.  Given my obsession with Lifetime movies, it shouldn’t be hard to guess what I’ll be doing on most Sunday nights.

Of course, at the same time, I absolutely loved both Stalked By My Doctor and Stalked By My Doctor: The Return.  There was no way that I was going to miss the next chapter in the saga of Dr. Albert Beck.

And finally, there’s the Eric Roberts factor.  Quite a few of us here at the TSL Bunker are fascinated by the always interesting, often downright bizarre career of Eric Roberts.  He’s a talented and always quirky actor who apparently really likes to work.  The appeal of Eric Roberts is you never know where he’s going to turn up.  You can find him in theaters.  You can find him on Lifetime.  You can find in him in blockbusters and you can find him in short students films.  You can even find him in music videos.  Eric Roberts is everywhere!  And, even more importantly, he’s always willing to throw himself into every role that he plays, no matter how bizarre that role may be.

What Was It About?

Following the events of the second Stalked By My Doctor film, Dr. Albert Beck (Eric Roberts) was put on trial for kidnapping Sophie Green (Brianna Joy Chomer).  Despite all of the evidence against him, Dr. Beck was acquitted.  (Perhaps it had something to do with the way he smiled and waved at one certain juror during the trial…)  Now, Dr. Beck is teaching at a college in Arizona.  To most people, Dr. Beck appears to be perfectly normal, if understandably anxious.  However, it doesn’t take long to discover that Dr. Beck still has plenty of issues.

For instance, the first time he steps into a classroom, he immediately imagine all of his students undressing in front of him.  Whenever Beck talks to himself, he imagines that he sees another Dr. Beck sitting in front of him.  The imaginary Dr. Beck wears a Hawaiian shirt and always seems to disagree with whatever the real Dr. Beck wants to do.

Following Beck’s acquittal, Sophie has started dressing in all black.  She’s also secretly transferred to Dr. Beck’s school, where she immediately starts to circulate a petition to get him fired.  However, Dr. Beck apparently has a new girlfriend.  Her name is Melissa (Anna Marie Dobbins) and she appears to be just as obsessed with Dr. Beck as Dr. Beck once was with Sophie.  When Melissa says that she’ll do anything to protect Dr. Beck, she’s not exaggerating.  Soon, Melissa is taking things further than even Dr. Beck could have predicted…

What Worked?

Three words: Dancing Eric Roberts.  At one point, out of nowhere, Dr. Beck starts to sing to Sophie.  He takes her hand and the two of them start to dance by the side of the road.  Of course, it’s another one of Dr. Beck’s fantasies but who cares?  It’s a brilliantly strange and unexpected moment and it’s also a perfect example of what makes the Stalked By My Doctor films so much fun.  Dr. Beck is such a flamboyantly unhinged character that literally anything can happen.

Just as in the previous two films, Eric Roberts appears to be having the time of his life in the role of Dr. Beck.  He’s just so weaselly and desperate to be viewed as normal that it becomes fascinating to watch him try to fool everyone.  Each Stalked By My Doctor film starts with the question of just how far Dr. Beck is going to go this time and, thanks to Roberts, it’s always a lot of fun to discover the answer.  Rather brilliantly, in this installment, Roberts plays up Beck’s befuddlement.  Often times, not even Dr. Beck can believe how crazy he is!

(“Did I do that?” Beck sincerely asks himself at one point.)

Brianna Joy Chomer and Anna Marie Dobbins also did good work in their roles.  Dobbins, especially, seemed to be having a lot of fun outcrazying Dr. Beck.

There’s a twist towards the end of the movie, of course.  You might see the twist coming but it’s still entertaining.  In fact, the whole film is entertaining.  This is a fun and over-the-top Lifetime melodrama, one that knows better than to take itself too seriously.  With each wink at the audience, it invites us to relax and enjoy.

What Didn’t Work?

It all worked!

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Sophie, I used to always wear black.  And, much like Melissa, I’ve learned that pretending to faint is a good way to become the center of attention.

Lessons Learned

You can’t keep a good doctor down!

 

 

4 Shots From 4 Films: Star 80, Doctor Who, The Dark Knight, Stalked By My Doctor: The Return


4 Shots from 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots from 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Eric Roberts, who turned 62 years old today, has appeared in over 500 movies since 1978.  Here are 4 shots from 4 of them.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Star 80 (1983, dir by Bob Fosse)

Doctor Who: The Movie (1996, dir by Geoffrey Sax)

The Dark Knight (2008, dir by Christopher Nolan)

Stalked By My Doctor: The Return (2016, dir by Doug Campbell)

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 #172: Web Cam Girls (dir by Doug Campbell)


Last night, I watched one of the final Lifetime movies of 2017, Web Cam Girls!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that I was watching it because it was on Lifetime and our regular readers know how much I love Lifetime!

However, from the minute that I saw the first commercial for Web Cam Girls, I grew convinced that it would be better than the average 2017 Lifetime film.  The commercials were just so melodramatic and wonderfully sordid.  If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that the best Lifetime films always seem to be about capitalizing on people’s fear of the dark web.  (Then again, people probably should be scared of the dark web…)

Finally, I knew that I was going to have to review this film just because of the title.  Now, whenever someone does a search for “web cam girls,” there’s a good chance they’ll end up on this site.  They’ll probably get mad once they arrive here but a click is a click.

What Was It About?

Carolyn (Lorynn York) needs money so she becomes a web cam girl.  Her cousin, Alex (Sedona Legge), says it’s a bad and dangerous idea but Carolyn claims that it’s actually the safest way to make money.  She never meets the men who watch her.  All she has to do is undress a little on camera and, pretty soon, she’ll be able to get an apartment in New York and make all of her dreams come true.

But then, one night, Carolyn gives in to temptation to agrees to meet one of her admirers in a sleazy motel.  She promptly vanishes, leaving Alex and their friend Shawn (Liam McKanna) to try to figure out what happened.  Was she kidnapped and, if so, by whom?  There are suspects all around and it’s starting to look like the only way Alex is going to find her is by going on camera herself.

What Worked?

Oh my God, Lifetime really did save the best for last!  After a year that left many longtime Lifetime viewers feeling somewhat disappointed, Lifetime finally gave us the type of movie that made us fall in love with the network in the first place.  Web Cam Girls is wonderfully melodramatic, over the top, and incredibly entertaining.  The houses are beautiful, the villain is perhaps one of the most evil characters to ever appear in a Lifetime film, and the whole thing is full of details that will reward the observant viewer.

For instance, Carolyn, Alex, and Shawn discuss watching Sunrise in film class.  Sunrise, of course, is a film about an innocent who is tempted by the sinful city, much in the same way that Carolyn and Alex are tempted by the sinful internet.  Later, another teacher tells Alex that he was impressed with her essay about H.P. Lovecraft.  References to both Lovecraft and F.W. Murnau in a Lifetime movie?  How can’t you love that?

It was also well-acted.  Stephen Graybill and Joe Hackett were memorable as two sinister teachers.  I liked both Jon Bridell as Carolyn’s drunk but ultimately heroic father and John Dinan as his best friend.  In the role of Carolyn’s mentor, Nikki, Tonya Kay made such a strong impression that a lot of us on twitter were demanding that Nikki get a spin-off film of her own.  Down to the smallest part, everyone made their character interesting.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When I was in high school, I also used to dress in black and write essays about H.P. Lovecraft.

Lessons Learned

Beware the dark web!

 

Film Review: Double Mommy (dir by Doug Campbell)


Lifetime followed Mommy’s Little Boy with the American premiere of Double Mommy.

Double Mommy is another Canadian-produced Lifetime film.  This one is a bit of a spiritual cousin to Double Daddy.  Like Double Daddy, Double Mommy starts with a high school party, ends with the arrival of two babies, and finds the time to include some homicide in between.  It’s also something of a class drama, with the rich being very evil and the middle class being very saintly and the lower class being pretty much nonexistent.

In Double Mommy, Jess (Morgan Obenreder, best known to readers of the site for playing Charisma Carpenter’s daughter in Bound) is pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl.  However, she’s not sure who the father is.  She wants the father to be Ryan (Griffin Freeman), her perfect boyfriend.  But she suspects that the father might be Brent (Mark Grossman), Ryan’s former best friend.  One night, while Ryan was away, Brent gave Jess a drink.  He said it was nonalcoholic and the can said “Cola.”  But the way the camera lingered on that can before Jess actually drank it, everyone watching the movie knew that it was drugged.  Jess has only vague memories of the rest of the night but she knows what happened.

A paternity test reveals that one twin was fathered by Ryan and the other by Brent!  At this point, I said, “So, which one is going to be the evil twin!?”

Well, the film never really got around to answering that question.  Instead, it focused on the attempts of Brent’s rich father (Bruce Boxleitner) to pay Jess and her family off.  It turns out that Jess is not the first girl that Brent has raped and his father has been covering up for him.  Jess is determined to expose Brent as a rapist.  Jess hangs banners at school.  She posts Brent’s picture on social media.

Let’s give Double Mommy credit where credit is due.  In the characters of Brent and his father, the film makes a point about how one generation enables the bad behavior of another and how misogyny can be passed down from father to son.  Furthermore, Jess never allows herself to simply be a victim.  She’s a fighter who never apologizes for standing up for herself and who, most importantly, never blames herself for the rape.  But, with all that in mind, Double Mommy would have been so much better (and certainly more empowering) if Jess had gone all Ms. 45 or I Spit On Your Grave on Brent’s ass.

I mean, it’s true that, as a result of Jess’s efforts, Brent loses a scholarship and gets booed at a soccer game.  That’s all good but Brent was such a loathsome character that he deserved much worse.  If there’s ever been a character in a Lifetime film who deserved to be locked in a cage and beaten until he confessed to his crimes, it was Brent.  After an hour of Brent smirking, bragging, and drugging, I was ready to see Jess pick up a gun and blow his head off while uttering a priceless one-liner.  Instead, Brent just got embarrassed and eventually ended up running around with a gun of his own.  What could have been an empowering little revenge flick turned into a typical Lifetime movie.

That said, the film was well-acted and nicely put together.  Mark Grossman turned Brent into a disturbingly familiar villain.  (We’ve all known a Brent.)  I just wish the film had gone a bit further in giving Jess her revenge.