Cleaning Out The DVR: Escaping Dad (dir by Ross Kohn)


(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 Escaping Dad off of the Lifetime Movie Network on December 16th!)

One of the good things about Escaping Dad is that the film’s premise is right there in the title.  Not only does it let you know exactly what type of movie you’re about to watch but it’s also helpful if you’re like me and you only have a ten minute attention span.

“What movie is this again?”

Escaping Dad.”

“Oh yeah.  What’s it about again?”

“Escaping Dad.”

See, how that works?

Anyway, in this case, the Dad in question is Darren (Jason Wiles).  Darren is abusive, manipulative, and unfaithful.  He’s just the type of Dad that anyone should want to escape from.  However, Darren is also the district attorney.  That means that, if you try to escape from him, he can bring the entire police force down on you.  He can issue an Amber Alert and he can control the media coverage of the escape.  In the world of Lifetime, district attorneys are all-powerful.  You don’t want to mess with them.

However, Darren’s wife, Erin (Sunny Mabrey), decides to flee Darren and she takes her teenage daughter (Grace Van Dien) and her diabetic son (Andy Walken) with her.  (Her son has a habit of going into shock whenever the film needs an additional moment of drama.)  Erin has gone out of her way to keep Darren from tracking them down but her daughter has a boyfriend and, as soon as you see her texting him from the cheap motel where they’re staying for the night, you just know that Darren is going to be able to track them down.

Fortunately, just when things are starting to look hopeless, Erin meets a kind-hearted trucker named Wes (Trevor Donavon) and Wes not only helps them out but he also saves the entire movie.  Or actually, I should say that Donavon saves the movie by giving such a good performance as the tough but good-hearted Wes.  He and Sunny Mabrey have a lot of chemistry and it’s entertaining to watch them play opposite each other.  The film goes out of its way to show that Wes is everything that Darren is not.  “This is a real man!” the film seems to be shouting and Donavon gives a performance that proves that point.

Actually, I liked Escaping Dad even before Trevor Donavon showed up.  Yes, it’s yet another Lifetime film about an abused woman trying to escape her psycho husband.  But it’s well-made and well-acted, as well.  Jason Wiles is totally hissable as Darren and the scenes between Erin and her children felt totally authentic and believable.  The film makes good use of the scenes of Erin driving down one endless highway after another, leaving us with no doubt that she’s not only on a journey of escape but she’s also on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

All in all, I liked Escaping Dad.  Keep an eye out for it.

2014 in Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy


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Hello there and welcome to January!

This is the time of year that the Shattered Lens usually takes one final look back at the best and worst of the previous year’s offerings in cinema, television, literature, and music!  Last year, I kicked things off by taking a look at the best that the SyFy network had to offer.

Unfortunately, SyFy didn’t produce as many original films in 2014 as they did in 2013.

However, my beloved Lifetime network remained a consistent showcase for some of the best and worst melodrama that one could hope for.

With that in mind, here are my nominees for the best films and performances that were featured on either the SyFy or the Lifetime network last year!  As always, winners are listed in bold.

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Best Film

Battle of the Damned

Flowers in the Attic

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

*Lizzie Borden Took An Axe*

Sharknado 2

Starving in Suburbia

Best Actress

Kate Beckinsale in The Trials of Cate McCall

Maria Bello in Big Driver

Annie Heise in The Good Mistress

Tara Reid in Sharknado 2

*Christina Ricci in Lizzie Borden Took An Axe*

Kierna Shipka in Flowers in the Attic

Best Supporting Actress

Kendra Anderson in The Good Mistress

*Ellen Burstyn in Flowers in the Attic*

Clea DuVall in Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

Heather Graham in Petals on the Wind

Tina Ivlev in Death Clique

Izabella Miko in Starving in Suburbia

Best Actor

Trevor Donavon in Bermuda Tentacles

Mason Dye in Flowers in the Attic

Michael Keaton in Blindsided

Dolph Lundgren in Battle of the Damned

Patrick Muldoon in Finders Keepers

*Ian Ziering in Sharknado 2*

Best Supporting Actor

James Cromwell in The Trials of Cate McCall

David Field in Battle of the Damned

*Griff Furst in Status Unknown*

Judd Hirsch in Sharknado 2

Mark McGrath in Sharknado 2

John Savage in Bermuda Tentacles

Best Director

Doug Campbell for Death Clique

Deborah Chow for Flowers in the Attic

Anthony C. Ferrante for Sharknado 2

*Nick Gomez for Lizzie Borden Got An Axe*

Christopher Hutton for Battle of the Damned

Tara Miele for Starving in Suburbia

Best Screenplay

Kayla Alpert for Flowers in the Attic

Tim Hill and Jeff Morris for Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

Stephen Kay for Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

Thunder Levin for Sharknado 2

*Tara Miele for Starving in Suburbia*

Griff Furst and Marcy Holland for Status Unknown

Flowers in the Attic

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2014 by revealing my picks for the 16 worst films of 2014!

Previous Entries in Our Look Back At 2014:

Things That I Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of My Head

 

 

What Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #102: Bermuda Tentacles (dir by Nick Lyon)


Last night, the Snarkalecs and I turned over to SyFy so we could watch and live tweet the latest offering from the Asylum, Bermuda Tentacles!

Why Were We Watching It?

Because it was the first SyFy original film of 2014, that’s why!  Seriously, yesterday should have been a freaking national holiday.  (Sad to say but rumor has it that the SyFy network may be looking to phase out original films — like Bermuda Tentacles — in order to devote more time to episodic television.  I sincerely hope that the network will reconsider that plan.)

What Was It About?

The President (John Savage) has gone missing in the Bermuda Triangle.  It’s up to rebellious Chief Petty Officer Trip Oliver (Trevor Donavon) to save him!  But while Trip and his crew float around under the sea in a submarine, gigantic CGI tentacles attack Admiral Linda Hamilton and the entire U.S. Navy.  Could the two events be related?

What Worked?

What do I always say about Asylum films?  It all worked.  Asylum films are the epitome of low-budget fun and that was certainly the case here.  To be honest, those who criticize a film like Bermuda Tentacles are missing the point.

Asylum films are designed to be watched by large groups of snarky individuals.  That’s why I always look forward to watching them with the Snarkalecs.  And I have to say that we, as a group, were on fire last night!  We were all in full snark mood and it was a wonderful thing to behold.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get #BermudaTentacles trending, largely because there were thousands of tweens tweeting about fucking Ashton Irwin at the same time we were tweeting about the movie.   But still, it was a good effort and everyone should be proud.

One thing that the Snarkalecs seemed to especially appreciate about Bermuda Tentacles was just how long, by Oval Office standards, the President’s hair was.

Thank you, John Savage, for not getting a haircut!

What Did Not Work?

I have to admit that, unlike TSL editor-in-chief Arleigh Sandoc, I’m hardly an expert as far as military history or ranks are concerned.  However, it was obvious, even to me, that the Navy in Bermuda Tentacles didn’t appear to follow any sort of real-world protocol.  Quite a few people on twitter doubted that an admiral would be on a destroyer and some had issues with a scene where the President referred to Oliver as being a “soldier” as opposed to being a “sailor.”  This really wasn’t a big deal to me because, quite frankly, I hardly expect Asylum films to be documentaries.  However, judging from some of the comments on twitter, it was a big deal to quite a few people who had actually served in the Navy.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I had a harder time than usual relating to the characters in Bermuda Tentacles, largely because they were all career military whereas I majored in art history.  I was happy to see that the Admiral was a woman and that none of the men in her command had any problems with taking orders from her.  I would hope that, if I was an admiral, I would be just as effective.

Lessons Learned

There’s nothing quite as uniquely fun as watching a SyFy film with the Snarkalecs.  I’m already excited for the SyFy premiere of Big Ass Spider next Saturday.