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 #168: A Lover Betrayed (dir by Jeff Hare)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere movie, A Lover Betrayed!

Why Was I Watching It?

Ennui, baby!

Seriously, ennui is the best explanation that I can give you.  For the past two and a half months, my weekend has been about watching the latest episode of Twin Peaks and then trying to figure out what it all meant.  Well, Twin Peaks is over now.  Game of Thrones is over.  The Walking Dead isn’t going to be back for another week or so.   Big Brother is still on but all the other TSL writers got together, took a vote, and banned me from discussing it on this site.

ENNUI!

Plus, A Lover Betrayed was on the Lifetime Movie Network and you know that i can never resist a good Lifetime film.

What Was It About?

It was about a lover who was betrayed.

Oh, you already figured that out just from reading the title?

Okay, more specifically, the lover is Tess (Jamie Luner).  Tess used to be a guidance counselor but then she found out that the principal at her school was a perv.  She got him fired so, of course, he showed up at her house with a gun.  He committed suicide but first, he fired the gun randomly at the ceiling, which led to Tess’s son, Mason, getting killed.

Years later, Tess is an internationally renowned blogger and author, who helps grieving parents deal with the loss of their children.  She is separated from Rodger, who has never emotionally recovered from the death of their son.  At a reading, she meets Conall, a handsome young soldier who says that her blog helped him recover after the death of his father.  Conall and Tess end up sharing one night of passion but, because this is a Lifetime movie, Rodger shows up the very next morning and says that he wants to fix their relationship.

Not surprisingly, Conall turns out to be a bit obsessive but there’s more to it than just the typical Lifetime stalking movie.  There’s all sorts of twists and turns, which I won’t spoil here…

What Worked

I was so proud of myself because, last night, I figured out the movie’s big twist after watching for about 30 minutes.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not a good twist.  It just means that I got lucky.  In fact, I thought it was actually a pretty clever twist and I appreciated the fact that the movie didn’t spring it of nowhere.  The clues were there and, for once, I actually managed to pick up on them.

Lifetime regular Jamie Luner did a good job as Tess.  She’s been in a lot of these movies and obviously knows how to sincerely deliver even the most melodramatic lines of dialogue.

What Did Not Work

Oh my God, this was a dark movie.  For a Lifetime movie, I would actually say that it was a little bit too dark.  Lifetime movies are supposed to be fun but, at times, this one was actually rather depressing.  Even when the movie reached a standard Lifetime conclusion, I was still like, “Damn …. Tess is going to be messed up for a long time….”

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Tess’s sister was a gun-toting badass.  My sister is a gun-toting badass.  Woo hoo!

Lessons Learned

Trust no one!

What Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched The Other Night #150: A Mother’s Revenge (dir by Fred Olen Ray)


On Saturday night, my friends the Snarkalecs and I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and we watched the premiere of the latest Fred Olen Ray thriller, A Mother’s Revenge!

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Why Were We Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that the film was on the Lifetime Movie Network and it was directed by Fred Olen Ray!  However, I have to admit that I nearly missed A Mother’s Revenge.  Because it was the night before Mother’s Day, Lifetime was planning on broadcasting a film about a basketball player and his mom.  I was definitely not looking forward to watching that but then my friend Trevor informed me that, on the Lifetime Movie Network, A Mother’s Revenge would be airing at the exact same time!  YAY!

I then went on twitter and I discovered that not only was A Mother’s Revenge the latest film from Fred Olen Ray but that it also involved Gerald Webb, the producer and star of A House Is Not A Home and the favorite actor of snarkalecs everywhere!  Once I discovered that all of my fellow snarkalecs would be taking part in the live tweet, there was no way that I wasn’t going to join them!

What Was It About?

It was about a mother and how she got revenge!

(That’s the one line version.)

More specifically, it’s the story of Jennifer (Jamie Luner), a pill-popping, recovering alcoholic who travels to Buffalo so that she can watch her daughter, Katey (Aubrey Whitby), graduate from college.  From the minute that Jennifer arrives, things refuse to work out the way that she wants.

First off, Katey wants to spend some time with her friends as opposed to hanging out with her mother.

Secondly, Jennifer’s ex-husband (Jason-Shane Scott) has also shown up for the graduation and tension, both sexual and otherwise, is everywhere.

Third, Jennifer accidentally grabbed the wrong bag at the airport.  Supercreepy Conner (Steven Brand) wants his bag back and he’s willing to both commit murder and kidnap Jennfer’s daughter to accomplish his goals.

And finally, Buffalo’s best detectives (played by Gerald Webb and Richard Lounello) suspect that Jennifer may be mentally unstable.  Once a dead body shows up, Jennifer automatically becomes their main suspect.

All in all, Jennifer has quite a bit to be upset about…

What Worked?

I liked A Mother’s Revenge.  Fred Olen Ray kept the action moving at a steady pace and I appreciated the way the film emphasized how one totally random mistake (like grabbing the wrong bag at the airport) can change someone’s life forever.  It nicely conformed into my own point-of-view, which is that the universe is basically as chaotic and unpredictable as a Werner Herzog documentary.

Jamie Luner appears in a lot of these movies and she knows how to balance melodrama and pathos.  She and Aubrey Whitby were totally believable as mother and daughter.  Also believable was Steven Brand, who was properly creepy as the sadistic Conner.

A Mother’s Revenge was shot on location in Buffalo and it must be said that the city looked really good.  The Mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, made a cameo appearance and who can blame him?  A Mother’s Revenge made me want to visit his town.

Another great thing about A Mother’s Revenge is that a lot of the film’s crew and cast joined in with the live tweet and they were all very gracious, informative, and handled the occasional snarkiness with class and good humor.  What I especially enjoyed was seeing some of the tweets from the various citizens of Buffalo who had been involved with the production.  It was one of the most positive live tweets that I’ve ever taken part in and it generated the type of good vibes that you normally don’t associate with film twitter.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked!

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I’ve actually grabbed the worng bag before.  I did not get blackmailed as a result but maybe I was just lucky.  (However, I did get a week’s worth of new clothes, none of which really worked for me.  I was sad.  Hopefully, the Goodwill appreciated my donation.)

Lessons Learned

Be careful about grabbing the wrong bag.  And, if you do grab the one bag, don’t let anyone find out.

Adventures in Cleaning Out the DVR: The Wrong Girl (dir by Jason Bourque)


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After I wrote my review of Caught and watched the latest episodes of Survivor and South Park, it was time for me to continue cleaning out the DVR by re-watching and reviewing The Wrong Girl.  The Wrong Girl premiered on Lifetime on May 16th of this year.  At the time that it originally aired, I was in the middle of doing my Embracing The Melodrama, Part II series of reviews and I simply did not have the opportunity to properly review it.  But fortunately, I did DVR it.

The Wrong Girl tells the story of Sophie Allen (Sarah Grey), a teenager who is intelligent, responsible, fairly chaste, and a talented pianist.  She’s the dream teenager but one day, she meets and befriends the new girl in school, Michelle (Kirsten Prout).

At first, Michelle — with her oversized glasses and her social awkwardness — seems like she’s just shy and introverted.  But, the more that she hangs out with Sophie, the more another side of Michelle starts to emerge.  It soon becomes obvious that Michelle is obsessed with being Sophie’s friend and more than a little possessive.  She’s also a bad influence, telling Sophie that she’s playing well when she clearly is not.  When Sophie’s music teacher says she doesn’t want Michelle hanging out around piano practice, Michelle goes to extreme methods to change her mind.  When a condescending English teacher threatens to fail Sophie, Michelle blackmails him into changing his mind.

But then Sophie starts to feel that Michelle is getting too possessive and Michelle starts to turn against her “best friend.”  Michelle starts to dress and do her hair exactly like Sophie and then Sophie catches Michelle making out with her crush.  Someone breaks into Michelle’s mother’s office and throws stuff around.  When Sophie makes the mistake of telling Michelle that she’s scared of spiders, can anyone really be surprised when a huge spider suddenly shows up creeping across her piano in the middle of a recital?

The Wrong Girl starts out as a typical Lifetime “obsessive friendship” film but, once Sophie starts to investigate Michelle’s background, there’s a plot twist that pushes The Wrong Girl over the line from melodrama to over the top craziness.  And that’s okay!  The over-the-top craziness is one reason why people like me tend to love Lifetime movies!

Sarah Grey and Kirsten Prout are both well-cast, director Jason Bourque keeps the action moving at a good pace, and you get to hear a lot of really good piano music.  Kara Veri is credited as playing the piano and she does a great job!  The Wrong Girl is enjoyable fun, the exact type of movie that justifies why so many of us watch Lifetime.

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(On a purely administrative note: With this review, I have 8 more films to watch and review and then my DVR will be officially cleaned out!)

What Else Lisa Watched Last Night #139: The Bride He Bought Online (dir by Christine Conradt)


Last night, after I watched UnGodly Acts, I watched The Bride He Bought Online.

The Bride He Bought 2

Why Was I Watching It?

The Bride He Bought Online actually premiered a few months ago but, for some reason, I missed it.  Even though all of my friends told me that I had not missed much, I took a solemn vow last December to watch every Lifetime film released this year.  So, when I saw that The Bride He Bought Online would be airing again last night, I made sure to watch it.

What Was It About?

This is the story of three teenage girls who have a blog where the specialize in doing mean things to their friends and occasionally to complete strangers.  Kaley (Annalisa Cochrane) dreams of making the blog so successful that she’ll be able to sell it for so much money that she won’t have to bother going to college after high school.  Mandy (Lauren Gaw) is a former unpopular girl who is now awkwardly trying to decide if she really wants to be a mean girl.  And Avery (Anne Winters) is the responsible one who worries that Kaley is going to go far.

And Avery has ever right to be worried because Kaley does go too far.  Pretending to be a mail order bride, Kaley starts an online relationship with a dorky guy named John (Travis Hammer).  Convinced that he’s finally found a woman who will love him, John sends her money and even takes guitar lessons so that he can serenade his bride to be.  When he spends hours waiting at an airport for his nonexistent bride to show up, Kaley and Mandy record him and then upload the video to the blog.

Up until this point, you’ve been feeling pretty sorry for John.  But it turns out that John is actually a pretty dangerous and unstable guy.  Once he figures out what has happened, he kidnaps the three girls and makes plans to sell them to a group of human traffickers.

What Worked?

A lot of people have told me that they didn’t like The Bride He Bought Online but I thought it was actually a very well-done and well-acted film.  It’s a great example of one of my favorite Lifetime movie genres — the Everything Bad That Can Happen Will Happen genre.  Yes, it’s melodramatic and it’s a bit extreme but then again, that’s kind of what we want from Lifetime.

Plus, I’ve had friends just like Kaley, Mandy, and Avery.  Their friendship felt very real to me.  Also way too plausible was the character of John.  As played by Travis Hammer, he was both pathetic and scary at the same time.

What Did Not Work?

Lifetime movies are always so phobic of the internet.  Anytime someone says that they have a blog, you know that something bad is going to happen as a result.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I’m happy to say that, even at my brattiest, I was never as bad as Kaley.  However, I did know quite a few girls like Kaley and I often found myself wondering just why exactly I was friends with them.  So, in the end, I related to Avery.

Lessons Learned

Be nice or you’ll get sold to the Russian mafia.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #92: The Cheating Pact (dir by Doug Campbell)


Late last night, I watched an original Lifetime movie called The Cheating Pact.

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Why Was I Watching It?

It was on Lifetime.  How could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

The Cheating Pact is yet another Lifetime movie about upper middle class high school girls murdering each other.  The girls also refuse to appreciate or listen to the advice offered up by their mothers and, in typical Lifetime fashion, the movie doesn’t seem to be certain whether it’s worse to be a murderer or a spoiled brat.

(Personally, I was occasionally accused of being a spoiled brat when I was in high school and I turned out just fine…)

Heather (Daniela Bobadilla) and Kylie (Laura Ashley Samuels) are both feeling pressured to get high scores on the College Entrance Test.  Fortunately, Heather’s former best friend Meredith (Laura Wiggins) is a genius.  (Just in case anyone is doubting Meredith’s intelligence, she wears glasses.  So there.)  Meredith agrees to take their tests for them and soon, she’s getting paid thousands of dollars to help her peers get into college.

However, Kylie isn’t happy with her score and feels that Meredith deliberately did poorly on the test.  And so, as often happens in these films, Kylie shoves Meredith to her death and then tries to frame Heather for the murder,

What Worked?

Whenever you watch a Lifetime movie about a teenage girl doing something wrong and then not going to her mom for advice (or, even worse, ignoring her mom’s advice), you always know that the worst possible thing is going to happen as a result.  In these uncertain times, a film like The Cheating Pact is so predictable that it’s actually rather comforting.

I also love how Lifetime movies always present high school as being ruled by an erratic matriarchal society that’s dominated by secret organizations and melodramatic conspiracies,  If anything, I think Lifetime movies probably offer the most realistic depictions of high school that I’ve ever seen.

What Did Not Work?

Hey, it was a Lifetime movie.  Therefore, it all worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Kylie, I once accidentally shoved someone over a stairway railing.  But shhhhhh …. don’t tell anyone.

Lessons Learned

I missed the opportunity to make a lot of easy money in high school.