Lifetime Film Review: Saving My Baby (dir by Michael Feifer)


Poor baby Lilly!

She’s only a few weeks old and her life is already all drama all the time!

First off, Lilly was born slightly premature, shortly after her mother, Sarah (Brianne Davis), was involved in a serious and suspicious auto accident.  Then, while her mother is still in a coma, her father, Travis (Jon Prescott), decides to take Lilly and run off to Palm Springs with her.  Accompanying Travis is his overprotective mother, Virginia (Kathleen Quinlan) and Jessica (Tonya Kay), who just happens to be the friend who introduced Sarah to Travis in the first place.  Speaking of just being friends, that’s what Travis swears that he and Jessica are but we all know that’s not the case.  We know this because this is a Lifetime film and it’s rare that anyone’s ever just a friend in the world of Lifetime.  Of course, Sarah’s parents and her sister object to Travis taking the baby to Palm Springs but what can they do?  He’s the father.

Of course, eventually, Sarah wakes up and she’s like, “Where’s my baby?”  When she hears that Lilly has been taken to Palm Springs, she quickly calls up Travis and demands to know what’s going on.  Travis assures Sarah that his mother is looking after Lilly and promises that they’ll return the following morning.  Sarah then hears Jessica talking in the background.

“IS JESSICA THERE!?”  Sarah asks.

Travis, not surprisingly, doesn’t have a quick answer for that.

As should already be obvious, there was a lot more to Sarah and Travis’s whirlwind romance than just love.  Unlike the attempted murder, the baby was never a part of the plan.  However, now that Lilly’s been born, Travis definitely wants to keep her.  Jessica, meanwhile, is concerned about how much Sarah and her family are willing to pay for the return of Baby Lilly….

Kidnapped children are pretty much a staple plot point when it comes to Lifetime movies.  That really shouldn’t be surprising.  The most effective Lifetime films are the ones that deal, however melodramatically, with real-life fears and what could be more scary than the thought of losing your baby?  Whereas other mothers in Lifetime kidnapping films at least get to spend some time with their child before the abduction happens, Sarah wakes up to discover that her baby has been taken to another city.  When she desperately asks her sister for information of how the baby looked before she was taken away, it’s a moment of intense emotional honesty.

Saving My Baby is a bit unique among Lifetime kidnapping films in that it actually spend more time with the kidnappers than with the family of the kidnapped.  Don’t get me wrong.  Sarah is a sympathetic character and Brianne Davis does a good job playing her but the film is far more interested in Jessica, Travis, and Virginia.  As played by Jon Pescott, Travis spend most of his screentime wearing the haunted expression of someone who knows that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life.  Not only does he have his wife angry at him but his mother won’t stop telling him that he’s a terrible father and his girlfriend keeps demanding that he get rid of both his mother and his daughter.  Kathleen Quinlan does a great jon, keeping you guessing about Virginia.  You’re never quite sure how much she knows about what Travis and Jessica are planning.  However, the film is totally stolen by Tonya Kay, who is like a force of destructive nature in the role of Jessica.  Jessica may be evil but you can’t help but sympathize with her frustration at times.  I mean, everyone around her is just so incompetent!

Saving My Baby is an entertaining Lifetime kidnapping film.  Wisely, the film eventually moves the action to Las Vegas, which is the perfect location for the movie’s melodrama.  For the film’s finale, Saving My Baby makes good use of the Nevada desert, with the desolation perfectly capturing the feeling of hopelessness that Sarah’s been feeling ever since the disappearance of her daughter.  It all leads to gunfire and tears and hopefully, a lesson learned about letting your no-good son-in-law take your granddaughter to Palm Springs.  We can only hope.

2017 in Review: The Best of Lifetime


Today, I continue my look back at the previous year with my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2017!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2017!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!

(As a guide, I used the credits for the imdb.  If anyone has been miscredited or let out, please feel free to let me know and I’ll fix the error both here and, if I can, on the imdb as well.)

Best Picture

Drink Slay Love, produced by Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Sheri Singer, Bella Thorne

From Straight A’s to XXX, produced by Austin Andrews, John Bolton, Anne-Marie Hess, Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Sheri Singer

Four Christmases and a Wedding

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell, produced by Deen Dioria, David Manzanares, Ron Schmidt, Judith Verno, Frank von Zerneck.

The Rachels, produced by Paige Lauren Billot, Margaret H. Huddleston, Maggie McFarren, Hannah Pillemer, Rebecca G. Stone.

Running Away, produced by Dureyshevar, Jeff Faehnle, Jack Nasser, Jacob Nasser, Joseph Nasser, Bri Noble.

Sea Change. Produced by Sharon Bordas, Alec Chorches, Adam Fratto, Steven Gilder, David MacLeod, A.J. Mendez, Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan, Stephanie Slack, Fernando Szew

Secrets in Suburbia, produced by Kristopher McNeeley, Jacobo Rispa, Damian Romay, Stephanie Slack, Fernando Szew.

The Watcher in the Woods, produced by Simon Barnes, Alexandra Bentley, Andrew Gernhard, Jennifer Handorf, Paula Hart.

* Web Cam Girls, produced by Tom Berry, Pierre David, Hank Grover, Sheri Reeves, Ken Sanders, Noel Zanitsch* 

Best Director

* Doug Campbell for Web Cam Girls

Michael Civille for The Rachels

Vanessa Parise for From Straight A’s to XXX

Damian Romay for Secrets in Suburbia

Brian Skiba for Running Away

Stephen Tolkin for New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Best Actor

James Franco in High School Lover

Zack Gold in Psycho Brother-in-Law

Stephen Graybill in Web Cam Girls

Timothy Granderos in The Twin

Ted McGinley in Fatherly Obsession

* Ryan Patrick Shanahan in Sinister Minister

Best Actress

Barbie Castro in Boyfriend Killer

Holly Deveaux in Running Away

Sedonna Legge in Web Cam Girls

* Penelope Ann Miller in New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Heather Morris in Psycho Wedding Crasher

Haley Pullos in From Straight A’s to XXX

Best Supporting Actor

Francois Arnaud in High School Lover

Joe Hackett in Web Cam Girls

William McNamara in Running Away

Patrick Muldoon in Boyfriend Killer

Judd Nelson in From Straight A’s to XXX

* Daniel Roebuck in New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell

Best Supporting Actress

Madison Iseman in The Rachels

Anjelica Huston in The Watcher in the Woods

* Tonya Kay in Web Cam Girls

Paula Trickey in Running Away

Ashley Wood in Wicked Mom’s Club

Lorynn York in Web Cam Girs

Best Screenplay

From Straight A’s to XXX. Anne-Marie Hess.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Stephen Tolkin.

The Rachels. Ellen Huggins.

* Running Away. Sheri McGuinn.

Secrets in Suburbia. Damian Romay.

Web Cam Girls. Stephen Romano.

Best Cinematography

Drink Slay Love. Vic Sarin.

Four Christmases and a Wedding. Mike Kam.

Off the Rails. Denis Maloney.

Running Away. Patrice Lucien Cochet.

* Sea Change. Jackson Parrell.

Ten: Murder Island. Richard Clabaugh.

Best Costuming

* Drink Slay Love. Liene Dobraja.

From Straight A’s to XXX. Liene Dobraja.

The Lost Wife of Robert Durst. Tina Fiorda.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Maria Bentfield.

The Rachels. Courtney Stern.

Stage Fright. Monique Hyman.

Best Editing

* From Straight A’s to XXX. Rob Grant.

Four Christmases and a Wedding. Paul Ziller.

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Mark Stevens.

The Rachels. Brett Solem.

Sea Change. Matthew Anas.

Web Cam Girls. Jordan Jensen.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Drink Slay Love. Jessica Green, Catherine Long, Alysha McLoughlin, Sahar Sharelo.

The Lost Wife of Robert Durst. Lorna Bravo, Kelly Grange, Shelly Jensen, Mary Renvall, Melissa Sahlstrom.

* New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Claudia Breckenridge, Daniel Casillas, Nicole Gabaldon, Pepper J. Gallegos, Madeline McCue, L. Taylor Roberts

The Rachels. Taylor Bennett, Austin Cuccia.

Secrets in Suburbia. Andrea Ahl, Trevor Thompson

The Watcher in the Woods. Chloe Edwards.

Best Score

Drink Slay Love. Justin R. Durban

Fatherly Obsession. Aiko Fukushima.

Sea Change. Shawn Pierce.

* Story of a Girl. Travis Bacon.

Ten: Murder Island. Ceiri Torjussen.

The Watcher in the Woods. Felix Bird.

Best Production Design

New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell. Will Albarz, Anthony Medina.

Running Away.   Vincent Albo, Rose Beltran

Secrets in Suburbia. Brendan Turrill.

Ten: Murder Island. Eric Whitney, Caley Bisson.

Tiny House of Terror

* Web Cam Girls. Catch Henson, James W. Thompson Jr., Katherine Bulovic, Valerie Munguia

Best Sound

Britney Ever After

Drink Slay Love

From Straight A’s to XXX

Sea Change.

Under the Bed

* The Watcher in the Woods

Best Visual Effects

* Drink Slay Love

Fatherly Obsession

Sea Change

Stalker’s Prey

Ten: Murder Island

The Watcher in the Woods

And there you have it!  Those are my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2017!  Thank you for your indulgence!  On Friday, I’ll be concluding my look back at 2017 with my picks for the 26 best films of the year!

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017
  11. 2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy by Lisa Marie Bowman
  12. 2017 in Review: 10 Good Things that Lisa Marie Saw On Television in 2017
  13. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 12 Favorite Novels of 2017
  14. 2017 in Review: Lia Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2017

What Lisa Watched Last Night #172: Web Cam Girls (dir by Doug Campbell)


Last night, I watched one of the final Lifetime movies of 2017, Web Cam Girls!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that I was watching it because it was on Lifetime and our regular readers know how much I love Lifetime!

However, from the minute that I saw the first commercial for Web Cam Girls, I grew convinced that it would be better than the average 2017 Lifetime film.  The commercials were just so melodramatic and wonderfully sordid.  If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that the best Lifetime films always seem to be about capitalizing on people’s fear of the dark web.  (Then again, people probably should be scared of the dark web…)

Finally, I knew that I was going to have to review this film just because of the title.  Now, whenever someone does a search for “web cam girls,” there’s a good chance they’ll end up on this site.  They’ll probably get mad once they arrive here but a click is a click.

What Was It About?

Carolyn (Lorynn York) needs money so she becomes a web cam girl.  Her cousin, Alex (Sedona Legge), says it’s a bad and dangerous idea but Carolyn claims that it’s actually the safest way to make money.  She never meets the men who watch her.  All she has to do is undress a little on camera and, pretty soon, she’ll be able to get an apartment in New York and make all of her dreams come true.

But then, one night, Carolyn gives in to temptation to agrees to meet one of her admirers in a sleazy motel.  She promptly vanishes, leaving Alex and their friend Shawn (Liam McKanna) to try to figure out what happened.  Was she kidnapped and, if so, by whom?  There are suspects all around and it’s starting to look like the only way Alex is going to find her is by going on camera herself.

What Worked?

Oh my God, Lifetime really did save the best for last!  After a year that left many longtime Lifetime viewers feeling somewhat disappointed, Lifetime finally gave us the type of movie that made us fall in love with the network in the first place.  Web Cam Girls is wonderfully melodramatic, over the top, and incredibly entertaining.  The houses are beautiful, the villain is perhaps one of the most evil characters to ever appear in a Lifetime film, and the whole thing is full of details that will reward the observant viewer.

For instance, Carolyn, Alex, and Shawn discuss watching Sunrise in film class.  Sunrise, of course, is a film about an innocent who is tempted by the sinful city, much in the same way that Carolyn and Alex are tempted by the sinful internet.  Later, another teacher tells Alex that he was impressed with her essay about H.P. Lovecraft.  References to both Lovecraft and F.W. Murnau in a Lifetime movie?  How can’t you love that?

It was also well-acted.  Stephen Graybill and Joe Hackett were memorable as two sinister teachers.  I liked both Jon Bridell as Carolyn’s drunk but ultimately heroic father and John Dinan as his best friend.  In the role of Carolyn’s mentor, Nikki, Tonya Kay made such a strong impression that a lot of us on twitter were demanding that Nikki get a spin-off film of her own.  Down to the smallest part, everyone made their character interesting.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When I was in high school, I also used to dress in black and write essays about H.P. Lovecraft.

Lessons Learned

Beware the dark web!

 

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #2: The Other Wife (dir by Nick Lyon)


Tonight, after I watched the 18th season premiere of Big Brother (that’s right, I love reality TV almost as much as I love Italian horror films, almost being the word to remember), I continued to clean out the DVR by watching The Other Wife.

The Other Wife, which premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network on March 13th, is another thriller from our friends at The Asylum.  The film opens on a fairly suspenseful note, with Kate Jennings (Kimberly Hewes) preparing to take a shower when she heard someone walking around her house.  At first, she assumes that it’s her husband, Billy (George Stumpf).  However, she then gets a text from Billy informing her that he’s on his way.

And seriously, that is such a HOLY SHIT moment that it carries the first hour of the entire film.  Seriously, there is nothing scarier than suddenly realizing that you are not only not alone but that you have no idea who the other person is.  That’s the type of nightmare fuel that gives birth to grisly urban legends!

Kate looks around the house and suddenly spots a hulking, bald man (Nick Principe) searching Billy’s office.  Though Kate doesn’t know it, that bald man is named Ed Warwick and he’s very dangerous.  He chases her through the house until she can call the police and he leaves her so terrified that she doesn’t even notice that he somehow knows her first name.

When the police arrive, they accidentally arrest Billy and Ed escapes.  After getting things sorted out with the cops, Billy assures Kate that Ed was just a random burglar and that everything will be okay.  But, if that’s true, why does Kate come home the next day to discover that Billy has hung himself?

With her husband dead, Kate’s seemingly perfect life falls apart.  She discovers that Billy was in debt when he died and her credit has been destroyed.  Even worse, she discovers that Billy was apparently seeing a woman named Deb (Tonya Key).

In many ways, Deb is Kate’s exact opposite.  Kate is polite and refined.  Deb is the type who will stand outside and scream at a delivery driver.  Kate has been unable to get pregnant.  Deb is pregnant.  In fact, it would seem that the only thing that Deb and Kate have in common is that they were both married to Billy.

That’s right — Billy was a bigamist!  He was also a bigamist who owed a lot of money to the mob.  The mob has hired Ed to get their money.  Ed delivers an ultimatum to both Billy’s wives.  If he doesn’t get the money that Billy owed, Ed will murder Deb and frame Kate.  From totally different world and linked only by their husband’s treachery, Deb and Kate will have to work together to get out of this mess.

There’s a great moment in The Other Wife where a police detective is talking to Deb and Kate.  “Mrs. Jennings,” the detective said.  Both Deb and Kate looked up at the same time and say, “yes?”  In many ways, that scene epitomizes The Other Wife.  Despite the announcement, during the opening credits, that what we’re watching is based on a true story, The Other Wife is not a movie that is meant to be taken all that seriously.  The Other Wife is silly entertainment in the style of most Asylum films, featuring a likable cast and an enjoyably melodramatic storyline.  Tonya Key especially seems to be having fun in the role of the outspoken Deb.  That said, the real star of the film is Nick Principe, who is thoroughly menacing as the psycho hit man.

The Other Wife was directed by Nick Lyon, who also did the enjoyably pulpy They Found Hell.  He does a good job here of keeping the action moving and encouraging the audience not to worry too much about any holes in the plot.

All in all, it’s another enjoyable melodrama from The Asylum!

The Other Wife