2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Today, I continue my look back at 2015 by posting my picks for the best of Lifetime!  My nominees for the best Lifetime films and performances are listed below, with the winners starred and listed in bold!  Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and thank you for making this one of the most entertaining years in my long history of watching Lifetime movies!


Best Picture
Babysitter’s Black Book, produced by Robert Ballo and Ken Sanders.
Cleveland Abduction, produced by David A. Rosemont and Stephen Tolkin
*A Deadly Adoption, produced by Fritz Manger, Max Osswald, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay.*
If There Be Thorns, produced by Richard D. Arredondo and Harvey Kahn.
A Mother’s Instinct, produced by Oliver De Caigny and Timothy O. Johnson
Patient Killer, produced by Barbie Castro.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, produced by Joseph Boccia, Don Carmody, and David Cormican.
The Spirit of Christmas, produced by Andrea Ajemian
Stalked By My Neighbor, produced by Robert Ballo.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, produced by Ian Hay.

Best Director
Jason Bourque for A Mother’s Instinct
Doug Campbell for Stalked By My Neighbor.
*Rachel Goldenberg for A Deadly Adoption*
Alex Kalymnois for Cleveland Abduction
Vanessa Parise for The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
Casper Van Dien for Patient Killer


Best Actor
Shaun Benson in Kept Woman
Dan Castellaneta in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story
*Will Ferrell in A Deadly Adoption*
Travis Hammer in The Bride He Bought Online
Adam Kaufman in A Mother Betrayed
Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor

Best Actress
Josie Bissett in A Mother’s Instinct
Anna Camp in Caught
Kimberly Elise in Back to School Mom
Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
*Taryn Manning in Cleveland Abduction*
Kelcie Stranahan in Stalked By My Neighbor

Best Supporting Actor
Ken Camroux-Taylor in Sugarbabies
MacKenzie Gray in If There Be Thorns
Richard Harmon in A Mother’s Instinct
*Patrick Muldoon in Patient Killer.*
Eric Roberts in A Fatal Obsession
Peter Strauss in Sugar Daddies.

Unauthorized Beverly Hills

Best Supporting Actress
Angeline Appel in Babysitter’s Black Book.
Barbie Castro in Patient Killer
Olivia d’Abo in Stolen From The Suburbs
Sarah Grey in A Mother’s Instinct
Jessica Lowndes in A Deadly Adoption
*Samantha Munro in The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story*

Best Adapted Screenplay
*Cleveland Abduction, written by Stephen Tolkin*
If There Be Thorns, written by Andy Cochran.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroewritten by Stephen Kronish and J. Randy Taraborrelli.
Seeds of Yesterday, written by Darren Stein.
Turkey Hollow, written by Tim Burns and Christopher Baldi.
Wuthering High School, written by Delondra Williams.

Best Original Screenplay
*Babysitter’s Black Book, written by Richard Kletter and Michele Samit*
A Deadly Adoption, written by Andrew Steele.
The Murder Pact, written by John Doolan
Patient Killer, written by Bryan Dick and Brian D. Young.
Stalked By My Neighborwritten by Doug Campbell.
Stolen From The Suburbs, written by Alex Wright


Best Cinematography
*Cleveland Abduction, Richard Wong.*
Fatal Obsession, Ronnee Swenton.
If There Be Thorns, James Liston.
The Murder PactBranden James Maxham.
Patient Killer, Bernard Salzmann
The Spirit of Christmas, Michael Negrin.

Best Costume Design
Grace of Monaco, Gigi Lepage
If There Be ThornsShanna Mair, Rebekka Sorensen.
Kept Woman
*The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Gersha Phillips.*
Seeds of Yesterday, Claire Nadon.
The Spirit of Christmas, Jennifer Lynn Tremblay.

Best Editing
Babysitter’s Black Book, Ely Mennin
Cleveland Abduction, Henk Van Eeghen.
*A Deadly Adoption, Bill Parker.*
A Mother’s Instinct
Stalked By My Neighbor, Clayton Woodhull.
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Allan Lee.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
*Cleveland Abduction, Dugg Kirkpatrick, Susan R. Prosser, Tina Roesler Kewin, Alan Tuskes, Alicia Zavarella*
Grace of Monaco
If There Be Thorns, Jenine Lehfeldt, Tana Lynn Moldovanos.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Jordan Samuel, Cliona Furey
The Spirit of Christmas
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story, Amber Crombach.

Best Original Score
Dangerous Company
Cleveland Abduction, Tony Morales.
Her Infidelity, Russ Howard III
Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story, Matthew Janszen
*The Murder Pact, Matthew Llewellyn.*
Sugar Daddies.  Steve Gurevitch.


Best Production Design
Cleveland Abduction, Derek R. Hill.
*If There Be Thorns, Linda Del Rosario, Richard Paris.*
A Mother’s Instinct, Jason Sober.
The Murder Pact, Caley Bisson.
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.  Rocco Matteo.
The Unauthroized Beverly Hills 90210 Story

Best Sound
*The Bride He Bought Online*
Dangerous Company
If There Be Thorns
Stalked By My Neighbor
UnGodly Acts

Best Visual Effects
Becoming Santa
If There Be Thorns
Last Chance For Christmas
*Turkey Hollow*
When the Sky Falls
Wish Upon A Christmas

Tomorrow, I’ll post my picks for the worst 16 films of 2015!


Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy

What Lisa Watched Last Night #134: Sugarbabies (dir by Monika Mitchell)

Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Sugarbabies!

Sugar Babies


Why Was I Watching It?

The main reason, of course, is that it was on Lifetime.  But beyond that, I was watching the film because I was genuinely curious to see how Sugarbabies could possibly be any different from Sugar Daddies and Babysitter’s Black Book.

What Was It About?

It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect.  Katie (Alyson Stoner) wants to go to an expensive university and study art history but her bald father is kind of a jerk and her family is supposed to be so poor, despite the fact that they live in a huge house.  Once Katie enrolls in school, she discovers how expensive an education can be.

Fortunately, her friend (Tira Skovbye) has a suggestion.  All Katie has to do is join a website called Sugarbabies.  (It’s always the internet’s fault.)  Wealthy businessmen pay her for her companionship.  Soon, Katie is spending all of her time with the wealthy James (Giles Paton) while ignoring Sean (Keenan Tracy), another student who has a crush on her.  (Sean doesn’t help himself, however, when he gets drunk and throws up on her shoes.  Seriously — ewwwww!)  However, when Katie starts to get too serious about their “realtionship,” James stops paying Katie and Katie is forced to look for a new sugar daddy.

Meanwhile, Katie’s other friend, Rochelle (Sarah Dugdale) has a similar arrangement with a much older (but surprisingly nice) businessman (Ken Camroux-Taylor).  Will Rochelle be able to secure her financial future before her sugar daddy dies of the heart attack that everyone will see coming from a mile away?

And, while all of this is going on, how is Katie going to explain to her parents where all of her new money is coming from?

And will all of the characters in the film ever realize how silly they all sound every time they use the term “sugar baby” in a sentence?

What Worked?

This was a fairly good example of a “Let’s see what everyone’s wearing and where they live!” type of Lifetime movie.  The clothes, the offices, and the apartments were all to die for.

(Plus, seeing what everyone was wearing provided a nice distraction from the rather predictable storyline.)

Among the supporting cast, Ken Camroux-Taylor gave a good and sympathetic performance as a lonely businessman.  He wasn’t in many scenes but he took full advantage of every minute of screen time that he got.

What Did Not Work?

Ultimately, Sugarbabies just could not escape the twin shadows of Sugar Daddies and Baby Sitter’s Black Book.  Sugarbabies was alright but it was just never as much fun as Sugar Daddies, nor did it have the subtle hints of existential crisis that distinguished Baby Sitter’s Black Book.

Add to that, Katie was not exactly the most sympathetic of protagonists.  She came across as being rather bland and judgmental.  If you’re going to embrace the Lifetime version of what it is to be bad, at least have fun while you’re doing so.  What you should not do is be like Katie and spend the entire movie wandering around with the same glum expression on your face, angry that you’re actually going to be able to get an education.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Rochelle had red hair and liked to wear black lingerie.  OH MY GOD, JUST LIKE ME!

One thing that definitely did NOT make me go, “Oh my God!  Just like me!” was the film’s depiction of what it was like to an art history major.  We only saw Katie attend one art class and it was taught in a lecture hall that was always half-empty.  Whenever the film wanted to remind us that Katie was supposed to be a design genius, it would have her either say that she needed to go work on her term paper or else have her look at a nondescript piece of furniture, get excited, and say, “Oh, I love pieces from that period!”

(That’s the equivalent of having a character look at a painting and say, “Look what the artist does with color here.”  It may sound good to people who don’t know any better but for those of us who actually studied art, comments like that are the sure sign of someone with no idea what he or she is actually trying to say.)

Speaking as someone who majored in art history (and who is proud of her degree, regardless of what the President says about it), I really wish I had gone to Katie’s college because it appears to be home to the easiest art history program in the North America!  Seriously, I could have saved myself a lot of time that was spent studying.

Lessons Learned

Never turn down a handout.  And if you do turn down a handout, you lose the right to then start whining about how you don’t have any money.