I Watched Mingle All The Way


On Saturday night, I needed some cheering up so I watched Mingle All The Way on the Hallmark Channel.

Mingle All The Way is a Hallmark Christmas movie, which means that everyone in the movie goes from Grinch to angel in just two hours.  Molly (Jen Lilley) has created an app that pairs professionals together so that they can attend events together without having to worry about it turning into a romance.  Jeff (Brant Daugherty) works in public relations and is a single father.  When Molly allows her co-worker to set up her profile and Jeff lets his sister to do the same thing for him, the end result is that they end up getting paired together.  At first, they don’t like each other, because Molly thinks that Jeff is rude and Jeff thinks that Molly is to wrapped up in her work.  Then, Molly meets Jeff’s daughter and Jeff meets Molly’s family and they all come to loe each other.  It’s a Christmas miracle!

There was nothing surprising about Mingle All The Way but that’s not a problem.  It’s a Christmas Hallmark film so it’s not like I was expecting it to reinvent the wheel or anything like that.  I just wanted it to be a sweet and cute movie about people falling in love during the holidays and that’s what the movie delivered.  Hallmark movies have become as much a part of Christmas as the tree, the stockings, and old St. Nick coming down the chimney.  The holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of people and Hallmark movies like Mingle All The Way are there to provide an escape.  On Hallmark, every gift is perfect, every season is merry and bright, and we all get to experience our ideal Christmas.

As for why I needed to cheered up, it all has to do with baseball.  Ever since Adrian Beltre announced he was retiring, I’ve been feeling down.  If my Rangers couldn’t make it to the World Series with Adrian batting for them, how are they going to do it without him?  All I want for Christmas is a home run hitter who can play third base.  Until that happens, at least I know I can turn over to Hallmark and watch movies like Mingle All The Way.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #178: Evil Doctor (dir by Brian Skiba)


On Sunday night, immediately after watching Twin Betrayal, I watched and, working with TSL contributor Case Wright, live tweeted a film called Evil Doctor!

Why Was I Watching It?

The first reason was an obvious one.  It was a Lifetime movie and, as our regular readers know, there’s no way that I would ever miss the chance to watch a Lifetime film.

The other reason was that the film was named Evil Doctor, which made it sound like the origin story of perhaps the greatest MCU villain of all time.  As a general rule, any Lifetime film that has the word “evil” in the title is going to turn out to be good.  Evil is right up there with “Bad,” “Confessions,” and “…at 17” as far as words in Lifetime movie titles are concerned.

What Was It About?

Everyone wants something.

Aubrey Lewis (Jen Lilley) just wants to have her baby in peace.

Aubrey’s husband, Matt (Corin Nemec), wants to be a respected television writer, even if he is stuck writing for a sitcom called Family Phun.

And what does Dr. Natalie Barnes (Dina Meyer) want?  She wants to have a baby and she wants a baby now!  She also wants to deal with all of the unresolved issues that she had with her dead father, who happened to look just like Matt!  What better solution to Natalie’s problems than seduce Matt, steal Aubrey’s baby, and kill anyone who gets in her way?

Seriously, she’s not called an evil doctor for nothing.

What Worked?

Obviously, with a film like this, success is going to depend on how effectively the title character is played.  Fortunately, Dina Meyer really threw herself into the role of the evil doctor, kidnapping babies, seducing starlets, and murdering anyone who looked at her the wrong way.  Dina Meyer has always done a good job when she’s been cast as a Lifetime movie psycho and Evil Doctor was no different.  As well, Corin Nemec and Jen Lilley were likable as the objects of her obsession.

Evil Doctor was one of those Lifetime films that showed no hesitation about going totally and completely over-the-top.  Between the evil doctor plotting and the wayward husband trying not to get caught and the poor wife just trying to have her baby in peace, there was not one ounce of drama that this film did not explore.  It was outlandish, flamboyant, silly, and a hell of a lot fun!

What Did Not Work?

I think that the film missed a huge opportunity by not recruiting Eric Roberts to reprise his character from Stalked By My Doctor in a cameo appearance.  I would have ended the film with Matt and Aubrey going to see their new doctor and discovering Dr. Beck waiting for them in his office.  That would have been a legendary ending!

(For the record, according to the imdb, Eric Roberts currently has 57 films that are either currently filming or in post-production.  That has nothing to do with Evil Doctor but it is a fun piece of trivia.)

Other than the glaring lack of Eric Roberts, everything worked in Evil Doctor.  I mean, let’s be honest.  When you watch a film with a title like Evil Doctor, you know what you’re going to get.  You watch a film like this because you want to embrace the melodrama and you’re looking forward to trying to predict every outlandish twist.  Evil Doctor delivered exactly what it promised.

“Oh my God!  Just Like Me!” Moments

I totally related to Janelle (Kelsey Griswold), who was Aubrey’s sister and who moved in to help around the house while Aubrey was pregnant.  Janelle had this wonderfully sarcastic, no-bullshit approach to life, to which I totally related.  Janelle disliked almost everyone who came by the house and never made any attempt to hide that fact.

Lessons Learned

Always trust your sister’s instincts.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #177: Twin Betrayal (dir by Nadeem Soumah)


On Sunday night, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, Twin Betrayal!

Why Was I Watching It?

The obvious answer is that it was on Lifetime.  However, I also have a weakness for films about evil twins.  Don’t ask me why, I just do.

What Was It About?

Poor Jessica Klint (Jen Lilley)!  Not only is she struggling financially but her estranged husband (Peter Douglas) wants custody of their daughter.  We know her husband is a bad guy because he wears a suit even when he’s at home and his name is Lars.  Never in a Lifetime film has anyone good been named Lars.  (Before anyone mentions Lars and the Real Girl, allow me to point out that 1) that’s not a Lifetime film and 2) even if it was, it would be the exception to the rule.)

However, following a business trip to Dallas, Jessica’s problems get even worse!  After having a one-night stand with a cowboy named Henry (Nick Ballard), Jessica finds herself being blackmailed!  Where can she get the money?  Her wealthy father isn’t going to be much help.  How about from her twin sister, Alessandra (Jen Lilley)?  Sure, Jessica and Alessandra have a strained relationship and haven’t spoken in years but surely one twin will help the other, right?

And surely, no matter what personal issues there may be, one twin would definitely never try to frame the other for murder, right?

Right?

Watch the film to find out!

What Worked?

I enjoyed this one because, as any film about a twin betrayal should be, it was totally melodramatic, over-the-top, and very self-aware.  Whenever I give a film like this a good review, I always seem to get at least one comment from someone complaining that the film was too silly or implausible but I think those people are missing the point.  You don’t watch a film like Twin Betrayal because you want to see a serious exploration of what it’s like to be a twin.  You watch a movie like this because you want to have fun!  Twin Betrayal promised twisty entertainment and it delivered and, in the end, that’s all that really matters.

Jen Lilley obviously had a blast playing the twins, especially the wonderfully decadent Alessandra.  Alessandra had obviously been waiting for years for the chance to make her sister uncomfortable and she did not let the opportunity pass her by.

What Did Not Work?

On the one hand, I was really happy that part of the film took place in Dallas.  I don’t know if they actually filmed in Dallas but, at the very least, they at least included a shot of the Dallas skyline.  (Whenever a movie spends any time in Dallas, you always know that you’re going to get at least one shot of Reunion Tower and one shot of Bank of America Plaza.)  However, in reality, it’s doubtful that Jessica would have met any cowboys in Dallas.  Football aside, cowboys are really more of a Fort Worth thing.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Jessica Klint, I have a weakness for cowboys.  Seriously, who doesn’t?  I’m also close to my sisters but, fortunately, none of us are twins.  If there’s anything that I’ve learned from watching Lifetime films, it’s that you can always depend on your sister unless she’s your twin sister.  Sadly, there’s always one evil twin and it seems like the good twin always ends up getting framed.  Hopefully, Lifetime will continue to explore this theme whenever they get around to making the inevitable Mary-Kate and Ashley biopic.

Actually, I guess if I was a twin, I probably would end up being the evil one.  Seriously, it just seems like it would be too much of a temptation to resist…

Lessons Learned

As I stated above, one twin will always be evil.  The trick is figuring out which one.

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.

 

Cleaning out the DVR: The Spirit of Christmas (dir by David Jackson)


After watching Becoming Santa, it was time to continue cleaning out the DVR by watching The Spirit of Christmas, which originally premiered on Lifetime on December 19th.

The-Spirit-of-Christmas-1

According to the imdb, The Spirit of Christmas was originally titled Hollygrove.  I imagine that, as often happens when Lifetime picks up a film, the network changed the title to make it a little more “Lifetimey.”  And The Spirit of Christmas is a totally appropriate title.  It takes place during Christmas and some of the main characters are spirits.  However, I have to say that I really prefer Hollygrove as a title.  Hollygrove sounds like the title of one of those gothic romances that my sisters and I love to read, the type where the covers always feature a woman in a nightgown staring back at a big dark house.  (The house is usually sitting on a cliff and waves are crashing below.)  This film may technically be a Christmas film but, at heart, it’s really a tribute to those wonderful paperback novels.

Kate (Jen Lilley) is a broker who, when we first meet her, is relieved that her boyfriend is breaking up with her.  Kate doesn’t have time for love.  Instead, she’s all about her career.  She also doesn’t have time for Christmas and, therefore, she doesn’t complain when her boss asks her spend the early part of her holiday driving out to a deserted inn and assessing the property.

The inn’s pretty nice but nobody wants to spend too much time there because, according to local legend, it’s haunted by its former owner, a bootlegger named Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin).  Well, you should never be too quick to dismiss local legend because, in this case, it’s true!  Spending the night at the Inn, which she believes to be deserted, Kate is shocked when she runs into Daniel wandering around the hallways!

Daniel, as she soon learns, was murdered 90 years ago on Christmas.  Daniel is hanging out around the Inn, still trying to figure out who murdered him and mourning his lost love, Lily (Kati Salowsky).  As Kate helps Daniel try to solve his murder, she finds herself falling in love with the spirit with the hipster beard.  But the holidays are nearly over, and with them Daniel’s time on Earth.  And, of course, Kate’s boss is demanding that she wrap up her appraisal and get back to work…

Anyway, I totally loved The Spirit Of Christmas.  Unlike some of the other Lifetime holiday movies, The Spirit of Christmas managed to mix the holidays with everything that we love about Lifetime movies — there was romance, there was murder, there was interior design, and most importantly, there were elaborate historical flashbacks.  Thomas Beaudoin had great chemistry with both Jen Lilley and Kati Salowsky and the whole film ended with a wonderfully romantic dance scene.  (And I absolutely loved that red dress that Kate was wearing!)  This was the perfect mix of Lifetime and the holidays.

Definitely, keep an eye out for The Spirit of Christmas!