Music Video of the Day: Blue Monday by New Order (1983, dir by ????)

With Sunday’s release of the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, the choice for today’s music video of the day is an obvious one.  The trailer is memorably scored to New Order’s Blue Monday and the song even trended on twitter as a result.  It’s a good song so here’s the video.

This is apparently the first of four different videos that were released, over the years, for Blue Monday.  Val previously wrote about the 1988 version.  This version is from 1983 and it’s definitely very much a product of the 80s.  The song’s timeless, though.

I know there’s several interpretation as to what this song is about.  I assume it’s about death but then again, that’s kind of my default interpretation as far as lyrics go.


Lifetime Film Review: The Killer Next Door (dir by Ben Meyerson)

Ah, the suburbs!

Listen, it doesn’t matter how big your house is or how nice of a career you’ve got going or how pretty your family might be.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a nice pool or a nice house or if your sister-in-law lives right next door.  It doesn’t matter how friendly the neighbors seem to be or that there’s a really hot guy at your new job.  If you live in the suburbs, you are screwed.

At least, that’s what I’ve learned from watching Lifetime movies.  Now, I should admit that I live in a suburb and …. well, it’s pretty nice.  But I’m guessing that my neighborhood must be the exception to the rule because, as I’ve learned from watching Lifetime, every other suburban neighborhood is a hotbed of murder, betrayal, and kidnapping.

Take The Killer Next Door, for instance!

Julie (Andrea Bogart) and her ten year-old son, Matty (Nicholas Borne), have just moved into a nice, big house in the suburbs.  Julie’s been having a tough time ever since her husband was killed in a tragic auto accident.  But, finally, it looks like things might be getting better!  She’s got a new home and a new job as a personal trainer, where she meets big, handsome Blake (John-Michael Carlton).  Living right next door, she’s get her sister-in-law, Alison (Hannah Barefoot).  As Alison makes clear, she’s more than willing to help Julie in whatever way possible.  Alison definitely wants to look after Matty whenever Julie can’t be there.  In fact, Alison is so determined to be there for Matty that she even seems to get a little bit offended when Julie hires a nanny!  Hmmmm, I wonder where this could be leading….

As Julie soon discovers, she’s moved into a very tight-knit and somewhat gossipy neighborhood.  In fact, there’s even a website where everyone in the neighborhood can post comments about upcoming events, along with totally mean stuff about the newest member of the community!  Julie quickly discovers — with Alison’s help — that her new neighbors apparently don’t like her!  Little things — like taking the trash out on the wrong day — really set them off.  And then there’s the time that Julie thinks Matty has been kidnapped and she gets the entire neighborhood to set up a search party, just for Alison to come driving up in her SUV with Matty sitting in the passenger’s seat.  It was all just a misunderstanding!  Needless to say, Julie’s neighbors are not amused.  All that drama for nothing….

Anyway, no one should be shocked to discover that Alison isn’t exactly the benevolent sister-in-law that she pretends to be.  In fact, she’s setting Julie up.  But will Julie realize what’s happening or will she be too caught up in arguing with her neighbors to notice that Alison is stealing her son away from her?  You’ll have to watch to find out….

I always enjoy a good, “evil in the suburbs” movie so I enjoyed The Killer Next Door.  It’s pretty obvious from the start that Alison is not to be trusted but that’s actually what makes a movie like this fun.  You know that Julie’s being set up and the suspense comes from trying to guess how long it’s going to take Julie to figure it out.  Mostly, I liked the film’s portrayal of all of Julie’s gossipy neighbors.  No matter what was happening, you could always be sure that one of them would pop up in the background with a disapproving look on their face.  The Killer Next Door was a fun trip to Suburban Hell.

Music Video Of The Day: Want You In My Room by Carly Rae Jepsen (2019, dir by Andrew Donoho)

Today’s music video of the day is a fun and energetic little video from Carly Rae Jepsen.  Want You In My Room captures the giddy feel of preparing for a date.  This is classic Carly Rae Jepsen, in that it’s sexy, fun, and kind of innocent all at the same time.  Carly Rae’s from Canada and, based on the video and several episodes of Degrassi, I’m convinced that Canadians have a unique understanding of the joy of dancing on the beach.

This video was directed by Andrew Donoho, who has also done videos for twenty-one pilot, Jai Wolf, Zedd, and Skrillex.  The cute guy at the end is played by producer Jimmy Loweree, who also appeared in Carly’s video for Now That I Found You.


Music Video Of The Day: Cozy Little Christmas by Katy Perry (2019, directed by WATTS)

Tis the season and all that.

Is Katy Perry married to Santa Claus?  I guess I could see the appeal of that.  I mean, Santa seems like he would at least always give you the perfect gift.  For instance, Santa would never give you a Peloton for Christmas.  He knows better.  Actually, though, if I was Mrs. Claus, I might get a Peloton for Santa because I do sometimes suspect that Santa might not be getting much exercise up at the North Pole.


Music Video of the Day: Heal by Jax Anderson (2019, dir by ????)

This is a cute video and I enjoyed it so I’m going to share it.  I encourage everyone to watch and to read along.  Seriously, make sure you read the whole thing.   Jax appears to be doing better in her life, so good for her!

Myself, there were bits of this video that I related to and bits that I didn’t.  That’s the way things go.  We’re all individuals and we’re all going to have different experiences and different reactions.  For instance, I agree with Jax about Long Island ice teas but I don’t drink coffee, either.  Seriously, I have never been a coffee person and I guess that makes me unique among my circle of friends.  Everyone else is like, “Let’s get a coffee and discuss it,” and I’m like, “Let’s do neither.”  Or else they’re like, “Let’s have a glass of wine and talk about how much we love it when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host an awards show.” and I’m like, “Yeah, how about not?”  But, the important thing is not what we drink or what we watch but the fact that I agree with Jax’s overall conclusion.  Chill the fuck out and enjoy life.  Stop worrying about the stuff that doesn’t really matter.  Find yourself.  Host your own awards show and give yourself every trophy.  You’ve earned them.


Lifetime Film Review: Stressed to Death (dir by Jared Cohn)

Stressed to death?

Hey, I hear you, sister.  We live in a stressful world.  I mean, it’s the holidays.  Not only do I have to make sure that all the members of my family have a merry gift-giving season but I also have to make sure that they know exactly what to buy me.  On top of that, I’ve got a hundred movies that I still need to see, I’ve got Oscar season to keep up with, and I’ve got to keep this site updated with interesting information.  Seriously, I can understand how you can get stressed to death….

Of course, the lead character in the Lifetime film, Stressed to Death, is suffering from maybe a little bit more stress than even I am.  Having served in the middle east, Maggie (Gina Holden) has finally returned home and is now working as an EMT.  She’s still haunted by flashbacks to one particularly harrowing firefight but she’s determined to get on with her life.  She’s got a loving husband, Jason (Jason Gerhardt), and a daughter and a job that allows her to help people.  But then, one night, she comes across a robbery taking place in a convenience store.  An obviously deranged man has shot one man and is pointing his gun at a pregnant woman.  When Maggie enters the store, she explains that she’s just an EMT and she’s here to save lives.  She says that she just wants to take the man and the woman out of the store and get them medical attention.  The gunman replies that she can only take one of them out of the store and he demands that she choose which one.  Maggie chooses to save the pregnant woman.  The robber than shoots the man to death.

Ten years later, Maggie is still haunted by that night.  Her husband has a good job and they now live in a big house.  Her daughter, Jane (Taylor Blackwell), is now a teenager and, while she’s somewhat of an outcast at school, she’s also extremely intelligent and appears to have a great future ahead of her.  Maggie thinks that she’s ready to return to work as an EMT but, as her supervisor tells her, PTSD is nothing to take chances with.

Jason’s boss, Victoria (Sarah Aldrich), often complains that Jason isn’t ruthless enough.  While Jason always wants to be a nice guy, Victoria insists that Jason should take no prisoners when it comes to making money.  As critical as Victoria is, she also says that she appreciates the fact that Jane is tutoring her son.  Of course, what neither Jason nor Maggie know is that Victoria is the widow of the man who was murdered in that convenience store.  Victoria has waited ten years for vengeance and now, she’s determined to get it….

Stressed to Death starts with an interesting idea but then it eventually becomes a standard Lifetime abduction film, as two hitmen kidnap Jane and Maggie tries to rescue her daughter.  The PTSD angle is never explored as much as the film’s title might lead you to expect.  I mean, yes, Maggie is stressed but I imagine that even someone who has never served in the military would be equally stressed if their daughter was kidnapped by two hired killers.   That said, Gina Holden did a good job in the role of Maggie and I liked that the character of Jane wasn’t just another typically perfect daughter.  Instead, she was kind of quirky and easy to root for.  As played by Sarah Aldrich, Victoria was an interesting villain.  Though her plans were evil, you could sympathize with her pain and that’s an important thing.  She wasn’t just a cardboard evil person.  Instead, she was someone who was suffering just as much Maggie, Jason, and Jane.

It’s hard not to feel that Stressed to Death missed a few opportunities but it was still a diverting Lifetime film.

Lifetime Film Review: Instakiller (dir by Craig Goldstein)

In a Lifetime film, the value of social media often depends on what time of year the film is taking place.

If it’s a Christmas film, social media is an amazingly helpful tool that helps single young women meet handsome carpenters and which also allows them to keep tabs on whether or not their hometown is going to be able to afford to put on the annual nativity pageant.  Want to find the perfect Santa Claus?  Well, just hop on Facebook and look up Kris Kringle!  Want to discover that, because of a snow storm, you’re going to have to spend the Holidays in a Christmas-themed inn?  Just check on twitter!

Of course, any other time of year, social media is portrayed as being the tool of the Devil.  Social media is how con artists steal identities and how psychotic children track down their birth mothers.  Social media is how lies are spread and how revenge porn pics are sent to everyone on Sunday morning and how stalkers can keep track of your every move.  With the exception of the films that air during Christmas, Lifetime spends most of the year telling us that we all need to get off the grid and consider learning more about the Luddites.  Perhaps we should all go to a religious retreat in the French wine country.  That’s something that my sister Erin and I have often discussed doing.  I don’t drink wine but I do speak French.  She doesn’t speak French but she does drink wine.  A year living offline, we’d make it work and, by the standards of Lifetime, we would both be a lot safer.

Take Instakiller, for instance.  Harper (Lizze Broadway) is an aspiring fashion designer and influencer and her account on …. wait for it …. Instapixer (!) has suddenly become very popular.  (One thing that I always enjoy about these Lifetime films is seeing the names that they come up with for the movie’s version of real-life social media companies.  Degrassi featured two of my favorites, Facerange and MyRoom.)  Unfortunately, Harper also has a stalker.  He sends her creepy messages.  He follows her as she walks home from school and takes pictures.  (When confronted by a bystander, he smashes the man’s face into a car hood.)  When Harper’s mom, Layla (Kelly Sullivan), forces Harper to delete her account, the stalker sits in his car and screams.  Soon, the stalker is attacking people with golf clubs and strangling them with jumper cables.

Who is Harper’s stalker?  Could it be one of the customers at her family’s coffee shop?  Could it be one of Harper’s coworkers or even one of her friends?  There’s one obvious suspect but he’s so obvious that you know from the minute he shows that he’s going to turn out to be geeky but not dangerous.  To be honest, the identity of Harper’s stalker is not that shocking, just because there aren’t that many suspects.  Once you dismiss all of the obvious red herrings, there’s really only one possible suspect left.

But no matter!  Instakiller is an entertaining Lifetime film, which is to say that if you enjoy Lifetime films, you’ll probably enjoy this one.  Kelly Sullivan and Lizze Broadway are believable as mother-and-daughter and I imagine that a lot of moms will watch this movie and find themselves totally relating to Sullivan’s character and her confusion as to why Harper is willing to put her life in danger just to have an Instapixer account.  Seriously, though, once you hit a thousand followers, the risks are totally worth it….