Cleaning Out The DVR: Nightmare Best Friend (dir by John Murlowski)

(I recorded Nightmare Best Friend off of Lifetime on December 29th.)

Everyone’s had that one best friend.

She was the one who gave you the courage to flirt with the hot ones and roll your eyes at the strange ones.  She was the one who taught you how to shoplift without getting caught.  She was there when you had your first drink and the first time you got high.  She was the first one you went to for advice.  She was the one that called when you needed to cry.  She was your sister in almost every way and you swore that the two of you would be best friends forever.

Then you graduated high school and you two drifted apart.  Sure, you’re Facebook friends and you follow each other on twitter and occasionally, you might exchange greetings and an inside joke but it’s not the same.  Usually, it’s a case that one of you has grown up while the other hasn’t.  One of you is busy adulting while the other is still living for the moment.  Though neither one of you admit it, your friendship has now become consumed with a mix of jealousy and barely concealed malice.  You want her life.  She wants your life.  It’s perhaps best that you live in separate states now.

And then one day, your former best friend shows up on your doorstep and all Hell breaks loose….

That’s the situation in which Katy (Rosslyn Luke) finds herself in Nightmare Best Friend.  Katy has a nice house, a nice life, and a nice family.  She’s living the ideal suburban lifestyle.  And then, one day, her old friend Gina (Jackie Moore) shows up.

At first, Katy is excited to see Gina.  They go back to their old high school and run through the hallways, screaming.  They talk about how wild they used to be.  Gina even tries to convince Katy to take part in a little shoplifting.  It’s all wonderful, until Gina’s boyfriend, Ray (Brandon Howell) shows up.  Katy takes an instant dislike to Ray.  (It probably has something to do with the knife that he’s always waving around.)  For his part, Ray doesn’t seem to care much for Katy either.  However, he needs Katy.  It turns out that Ray is a criminal and to pull off his latest scam, he’s going to require Katy to help him whether Katy wants to or not.

Nightmare Best Friend features two excellent lead performances from Rosslyn Luke and Jackie Moore and a convincingly menacing one from Brandon Howell.  Howell played Ray with just the right combination of bad boy charm and psychotic posturing.  You could understand why Gina fell for him, while at the same time also understanding why Gina would be too scared to defy him.  Even more importantly, the friendship between Gina and Katy felt real.  You could imagine that two of them actually being friends in high school but you could just as easily understand why they had eventually drifted apart.  Elevated by a trio of strong performances, Nightmare Best Friend is an enjoyable Lifetime melodrama.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #186: Killer Caregiver (dir by John Murlowski)

Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime movie premiere, Killer Caregiver!

Why Was I Watching It?

Why not?

What Was It About?

While visiting one of her clients, Mariah Wilson (Nicole Hayden) is shocked when an accident leads to not only his death but also to her breaking her arm.  With months of physical therapy ahead of her, Mariah hires a home caregiver.  Tara (Camila Banus) seems like she’s perfect.  She gets along with Mariah’s estranged husband, Greg (George Stults).  She helps Mariah exercise her arm.  Most importantly, Mariah’s son, Jacob (Jaeden Bettencourt), loves her!

It all seems perfect, except … uh oh!  It turns out that Tara is the daughter of Mariah’s dead client and she’s out for revenge!

What Worked?

Oh my God, the houses were to die for!  Seriously, one of the things that I love about Lifetime films is that they always take place in these huge houses, the majority of which have a pool in the back yard.  But, even by the standards of Lifetime, this film featured some nice houses.  In fact, Greg and Mariah’s house was so nice that I was half expecting Greg to reveal that he worked as a money launderer for the mob.  But no, Greg’s job had something to do with computers.  Having seen this film, I’m now encouraging my boyfriend to get an IT-related job because I could have a lot of fun with a house that big.

However, it wasn’t just Greg and Mariah who had a nice house.  Tara also had a really nice house, too.  For that matter, when Greg, Mariah, and Jacob were forced to stay in a motel for a night, the motel looked really, really good.

From her first appearance, Tara established herself as being a classic Lifetime villain and Camila Banus really threw herself into the role.  From the minute Tara showed up, she was like, “This is my film and now, everyone’s at my mercy!”  A film like this is only as good as its villain and Tara was a great one.

What Did Not Work?

What happened to Eugene?  The well-meaning but intellectually disabled groundskeeper (played by David Meyers) seemed like he was going to be an important character but then he just kinda disappeared.  It was hard not to feel that the character deserved a resolution to his subplot, as minor as it may have been.

Other than that, it all worked!  I mean, I could sit here and wonder if perhaps Tara could have come with a simpler revenge scheme (spoiler: she could have) but that would be kind of silly on my part.  Melodrama is one of the reasons why I love Lifetime movies!  Besides, how can you go wrong when you’ve got a great psycho and a big house?

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

While I personally would never plot anyone’s downfall, I still found myself admiring how organized Tara was about it.  You could tell that she probably made out a To-Do List before she set about destroying Mariah’s life:

  1. Become a caregiver
  2. Get hired
  3. Brainwash Jacob
  4. Drug Mariah…

And so on and so forth.  At least, that’s what I would do.

Lessons Learned

With enough planning and preparation, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Plus, computer people make hella money!

Film Review: Fatal Defense (dir by John Murlowski)

Last night’s Lifetime premiere, Fatal Defense, opens with a nightmare scenario.  Arden Walsh (Ashley Scott) is attacked in her home by a masked intruder.  While her daughter, Emma (Sophie Guest), sleeps upstairs, Arden is bound and gagged in the living room.  Fortunately, the intruder is scared off before he can do anything else but both Arden and her daughter are haunted by nightmares afterward.

What can Arden do to reclaim her safety?

Get a gun.

That was my immediate reaction.  Just go out and buy a gun.  The next time you think that you see someone wandering around in the back yard, fire a warning shot.  If that doesn’t work, aim for the head.  See, that’s one reason why I love my sister.  I may be terrified of guns but she’s a great shot.

However, Arden doesn’t get a gun.  Even though her totally kickass sister, Gwen (Laurie Fortier), suggests that Arden take advantage of her constitutional rights, Arden doesn’t want a gun in the house.  Maybe she doesn’t trust Emma.  Then again, she does live in the People’s Republic of California and it would probably be a lot more difficult for her to get a gun than it would be for me to get a gun here in Texas.  Who knows?

So, since Jerry Brown won’t let her defend herself with a gun, what ever can Arden do?

She and Gwen do a google search for self-defense classes and they come across an old Geocities site for Logan Chase (David Cade).  Logan not only knows how to break someone’s arm but he looks good without a shirt as well!  Plus, he apparently teaches his self-defense class in a tiki bar.  Gwen enrolls and, one montage later, she can now kick ass with the best of them!

(While I understand that you can learn how to do practically anything in a montage, I was still impressed.  My knowledge of self-defense is basically either use mace or, if you can’t get to your mace, yell, “I don’t know you!  That’s my purse!”  and then kick like a Rockette.)

Unfortunately, Logan has some issues.  He seems like a nice guy and a good teacher and it’s kind of sweet in a creepy way when he suddenly shows up at the Los Angeles Arboretum, where Arden is apparently one of two employees.  However, Logan is soon talking about how his ex-girlfriend was murdered because she didn’t know to fight back.  He also has a habit of suddenly yelling about how, if Arden doesn’t learn how to defend herself, she’ll never be able to fight off psychos like him.  That may seem like a red flag but he is kind of cute and that GeoCities web site of his was pretty impressive.  But then Logan suddenly puts handcuffs on Arden’s wrists and locks her in the trunk of his car.  Things kind of go down hill after that…

My twitter friends and I had a lot of fun last night, watching and snarking on Fatal Defense.  It was a fun and entertaining Lifetime film, one that mixed over the top melodrama with some real-world concerns.  (I mean, let’s be honest.  We all need to know how to defend ourselves.  It’s a scary world.)  This is one of those films where it’s best not to worry too much about whether or not the plot totally makes sense.  Myself, I was amazed that Arden could afford such a nice and big house.  I guess the Los Angeles Arboretum pays well.  But, at the same time, that’s why we watch Lifetime movies!  We don’t want to see the cramped apartments that most people live in.  We want to see big beautiful houses and big beautiful melodrama.  On both counts, Fatal Defense delivered.

That said, it’s still hard not to feel that Arden could have avoided a lot of trouble if she had just got a gun.

The only defense you need.