Cleaning Out The DVR: My Christmas Prince (dir by Sam Irvin)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 193 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded My Christmas Prince off of Lifetime on December 3rd!)

PRINCE CHARMING IS PRINCE CHEATING!

That’s an actual headline that is seen in My Christmas Prince.  The prince in question is Prince Alexander Theodore William Hendricks (Callum Alexander), who is the next in line to take the throne in some little European country that’s definitely not the UK despite the fact that everyone there speaks with a British accent.

Everyone knows that Alexander as a prince, everyone but his girlfriend, Samantha (Alexis Knapp).  She just thinks he’s a diplomat and technically, he is.  It’s not so much that he lied to her about being royalty.  It’s just that he didn’t tell her the whole truth.  He wants to be judged based on who he is and not his royal heritage.  Of course, by not telling Samantha that he’s a prince, he also hasn’t told her that he will eventually be expected to return home and rule his country.  Samantha has plans of her own, which don’t involve being the Queen of a small European country that is definitely not the UK.  She’s just been hired to design a summer school program for every school in the Bronx!  The children need her!

(Personally, if I had the chance to be the ruler of a small country that pretty much only exists to support its royal family, I would say screw the children and catch the next flight to Monaco.)

Anyway, when Samantha decides to spend her Christmas with her family in Wyoming, Alexander decides to follow.  And no sooner has Alexander stepped into the local diner then a waitress immediately recognizes him as the crown prince of whatever country it is that he is from.  It turns out that she saw pictures of him online, attending a cocktail party with the royal family of Sweden.

(Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lifetime movie if the Internet didn’t somehow threaten to destroy everyone’s happiness.)

Anyway, it takes Samantha a few minutes to get used to the idea that her boyfriend is a royal prince.  Of course, her parents are excited.  The entire state of Wyoming is excited.  But you know who isn’t excited?  Alexander’s mother!  Nope, she is scandalized at the thought of Alexander marrying a common American.  She’d rather Alexander marry a baroness.  Could this possibly lead to a bunch of misunderstandings and unlikely visitors coming to Wyoming?

What do you think?

Every Christmas, it seems like there’s at least a handful of Lifetime and/or Hallmark films that feature obscure European royalty falling in love in small town America.  Once you’ve seen one of these movies, you’ve seen them all.  There’s not a surprising moment to be found nor a disparaging word to be heard in My Christmas Prince, which is a mildly pleasant but eminently forgettable movie.  To be honest, I don’t really demand too much from these movies but My Christmas Prince just didn’t work for me.  For a predictable movie like this to work, there needs to be a real chemistry between the two leads but there really didn’t seem to be much of a spark between Knapp and Alexander.  Much like the movie, they just seemed to be going through the motions.

I’ve often been asked which member of the Royal Family I relate to.  Usually, I say Pippa Middleton but, to be honest, it’s the little girl in the picture below:

Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #21: Hidden Truth (dir by Steven R. Monroe)


(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by Sunday, December 4th!  Will she make it?  Considering that she only has a day left, probably not.  But keep checking the site to find out!)

 

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I recorded Hidden Truth off of the Lifetime Movie Network on September 18th.  It premiered before that on Lifetime and I even live tweeted it but I didn’t record it until it re-aired on LMN.  I’m glad that I did that because, as I rewatched Hidden Truth, I was surprised by how much I had forgotten about the film.

Hidden Truth is one of those Lifetime films that takes place in a small town where everyone knows each other.  It tells the story of a girl named Zoe (Diana Hopper) who is upset because 1) her father, Pace (Brendan McCarthy), may have killed her mother, 2) he’s now an alcoholic, and 3) she’s being raised by her loving but overprotective aunt, Jamie (Sarah Lind).  Zoe is desperate to get out of town so she starts having an affair with a local rich guy, Michael (Shawn Christian).  She wants his money.  He claims to be in love with her….

And then, one day, Zoe turns up dead and floating in the river.  The sheriff (Parker Stevenson) immediately suspects that Pace got drunk and killed his daughter.  Soon, Aunt Jamie is the only person in town who believes that her brother is innocent.  Can she clear his name?  Can she solve her niece’s murder?  Can she uncover the hidden truth…

Ironically, for the viewer, there’s nothing at all hidden about the truth in this movie.  The movie actually opens with Michael murdering Zoe and dumping her body in the river.  So, from the start, we know who the murderer is.  The film instead becomes about watching Michael try to cover his track and wondering when Jamie will finally figure out what happened.

It’s actually a different approach from what we’re used to with Lifetime but I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about it.  The problem is that Michael really isn’t that clever.  He’s a sloppy murderer and he’s sloppy when it comes to covering his tracks and there’s no moment when you think to yourself that he might get away with it.  And since Michael is a thoroughly despicable and inept character, it’s not like you find yourself conflicted as you watch him try to cover his tracks.  At no point do you think, “He’s a bad guy but I kinda hope he gets away with it.”

I guess what I’m saying is that the Hidden Truth would have worked better if the truth had remained hidden until the final five minutes of the film.  Still, you have to give the filmmakers some credit for trying to do something different.

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #9: The Perfect Daughter (dir by Brian Herzlinger)


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After I finished watching Anne of the Thousand Days, the next film on my DVR was The Perfect Daughter.  The Perfect Daughter originally aired on March 26th on Lifetime.  According to the imdb, it was originally called The Carpenter’s Daughter but I imagine Lifetime changed the title so that it could fit in with films like The Perfect Teacher.

(Add to that, The Carpenter’s Daughter sounds like it should be another one of those films where Tom Hanks argues that Jesus survived the crucifixion and ran off with the Magdalene.)

Anyway, the perfect daughter of the title is Natalie Parish (Sadie Calvano).  Natalie seems to have a great future in front of her.  She’s pretty, she’s smart, and she’s responsible.  She has the grades to get into the Ivy League college of her choice.  On top of all that, despite being shy, she has just been elected student council president!

Oh sure, not everything is perfect for Natalie.  She doesn’t have a boyfriend.  She’s frequently insecure.  She idolizes a mother that she’s never met and her father, Martin (Brady Smith), may be a hunky blue-collar type of guy but he’s also extremely over protective.  He worries that Natalie will grow up to be like her mother, who apparently was not the saint that Natalie believes her to be.

Martin grows even more concerned when, while driving home one night, he comes across his daughter in the middle of the road.  She went to a party, she got drunk, and she had sex with popular jock Sam Cahill (Reiley McClendon)!  Martin freaks out and takes his daughter to the hospital, causing her nonstop embarrassment at school.  He also demands that Sam be arrested for raping his daughter.

Of course, what Martin is overlooking is that Sam did not rape his daughter.  As Natalie tells him, the sex was consensual.  Martin is shocked but he’ll be even more shocked when Natalie reveals that she’s pregnant.

Complicating matters is that Martin is working for Sam’s father, the snobbish Bruce Cahill (Parker Stevenson).  The film also suggests that Martin may be in love with Bruce’s wife, Julie (Meredith Salenger).

What I was wondering, as I watched the film, is why Natalie was chasing after Sam when Martin’s business partner, Nick (Johann Urb), was so much hotter.  And he was also single!  Seriously, Sam was a nice guy and everything but Nick epitomized this sort of sweaty, manly glory, the type of sexy that otherwise seems to be limited to the guys that you see in pickup truck commercials.

ANYWAY — The Perfect Daughter may sound like a typical Lifetime film but actually, it’s not.  Though there is a little bit of melodrama towards the end, The Perfect Daughter is more of a character study of an overprotective father struggling to accept that his daughter is growing up.  The story has a bit more nuance than the typical Lifetime story but, at the same time, the decision to tone down the melodrama comes at a cost.  The Perfect Daughter is a well-acted and intelligent film but it’s not a particularly fun movie.

In the end, it’s okay but it’s no Perfect Teacher.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #132: His Secret Family (dir by Michael Feifer)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original movie, His Secret Family!

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Why Was I Watching It?

Last Friday, I not only cried and cried while watching the finale of Degrassi but I also attended a blue moon party that was held in downtown Dallas.  Needless to say, I spent most of Saturday recovering and we all know that the best way to recover from a crazy night is by watching the latest Lifetime original movie!

What Was It About?

Oh my God, poor Haylie Duff!  Earlier this year, she played a woman named Sarah who married a murderer in Til Death Do Us Part.  In His Secret Family, she again plays a woman named Sarah and, once again, she is married to a murderer!  Of course, in this case, her husband is not just a murderer.  He’s got another wife, another family, and another really big house.  It turns out that Sarah is actually the secret wife.

David O’Donnell plays the husband.  When he’s with Sarah, he claims that his name is Jason Goodman.  When he’s with his other family, he uses the name David Marcus.  So is it Jason or David?  Well, regardless of his actual name, he’s more than a little insane.  When he realizes that it’s simply too expensive to support Sarah and their son, Brandon, David decides to both vanish and to frame Sarah for murder.

However, Sarah happens to be best friends with the detective (Parker Stevenson) working her case.  Even though she’s a major suspect in a murder investigation, he allows her to leave town so she can go up to Santa Monica and track down her husband.

Oh, and did I mention that Brandon needs a bone marrow transplant?  And that only David is a match?

What Worked?

This movie was fun in a “how much more batshit insane can this movie get” sort of way.  It wasn’t just that David/Jason was a bigamist with rage problems.  No, this movie also made his a sociopath who coldly refused to do anything to save his son’s life.  Perhaps the film’s best scene was when Sarah confronted David about his secret life, just to have David calmly respond, “Do I know you?”  David O’Donnell was obviously having a lot of fun playing such an insane character and, as a result, he was a lot of fun to watch.

Add to that, since David had two families, he also had two houses.  And seriously, they were both totally to die for!  One thing that I love about Lifetime movies is that everyone owns a big house and the inside of the house is always so incredibly clean and tasteful.  For a hyperorganized germaphobe like me, a Lifetime house would be the equivalent of paradise.  And this film had two of them!

What Did Not Work?

The whole film was full of plot holes and while I usually say that it’s not necessary for a Lifetime movie to make sense, some of the holes in this case were rather deep.  For instance, I could believe that David would end up with two families.  And I could buy that David would eventually realize that it’s cheaper to only have one family.  But, with all that in mind, I never quite understood the whole point of David trying to frame Sarah for murder.  David was already easy enough to hate without tossing in a random murder.  If anything, David just seemed to making things unnecessarily complicated.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Sarah, I often find myself driving to different towns and claiming to be a real estate agent just so I can take a tour of a nice house.  It’s fun!

Lessons Learned

Secrets, secrets are no fun.  Secrets, secrets hurt someone.