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 #117: Wuthering High School (dir by Anthony DiBlasi)

Yesterday, I finally got around to watching the latest film from both Lifetime and the Asylum, Wuthering High School!

Wuthering High

Cathy and Heath


Why Was I Watching It?

I was late in watching Wuthering High School.  Saturday afternoon, I spent five hours in the Emergency Room, all so I could find out that I have bronchitis.  By the time I finally got home, I was so tired that I slept through the Lifetime premiere of Wuthering High School.  Fortunately, I did DVR it and yesterday, I finally found the time to watch it.

As to why I was watching it — hey, it’s a modern version of Wuthering Heights that’s set in a high school!  And it was produced by the Asylum!

Wuthering Heights, high school, and The Asylum, three of my favorite things.

Seriously, how could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

Wuthering High School is the latest version of Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights.  After his family is deported, Heath (Andrew Jacobs) is adopted by wealthy Mr. Earnshaw (James Caan).  Soon, Earnshaw is viewing Heath as being more of a son to him than his biological child, the drug-addicted Lee (Sean Flynn).  Meanwhile, Heath has fallen in love with Earnshaw’s daughter, Cathy (Paloma Kwiatkowski).  Cathy is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her mother and soon, she and Heath are skipping school, tearing up school books in slow motion, and getting sentenced to community service.  However, when Cathy rejoins the school’s popular clique of mean girls, she starts to grow distant from Heath.  While Heath plots his revenge, Cathy is pursued by the well-meaning but ineffectual Eddie Linton (Matthew Boehm).

What Worked?

At its heart, Wuthering High School was definitely a “look at the pretty clothes and look at the pretty houses” type of film.  And that’s okay because, ultimately, the clothes and the houses were all very pretty and they were all filmed in very loving detail by director Anthony DiBlasi.  At it’s best, Wuthering High School is a pure celebration of melodramatic style.

Modernizing a classic, 19th century novel is always a risky proposition.  Setting it in a high school is equally dangerous as well.  But I actually liked a few of the ways that Bronte’s story was updated.  For instance, I thought it was brilliant to turn the novel’s gambling addicted Hindley Earnshaw into the film’s drug-addicted Lee Earnshaw.  As well, transforming gypsy Heathcliff into Heath, the son of a deported illegal immigrant, worked far better than I expected that it would.

Among the supporting cast, Matthew Boehm and Francesca Eastwood were both well-cast.  Eastwood, especially, seemed to be having a lot of fun delivering her Mean Girls-style dialogue.  (“That’s not the first time you’ve been wet,” she says after pouring a drink on Cathy.)  And James Caan brought a lot of gravitas to his role.

And, finally, Paloma Kwiatkowski was well-cast as the angry and outspoken Cathy.  Many scenes that should not have worked did work because of Kwiatkowski’s sincere and empathetic performance.

What Did Not Work?

So, with all of those good points that I mentioned above, why wasn’t Wuthering High School as much fun as it should have been?  Ultimately, I think the film’s pacing was just a little bit off.  Certain scenes moved just a bit too slowly while other scenes were finished too quickly and, as a result, the entire film had an oddly rushed feel to it.

As well, I had some issues with the film’s ending.  Obviously, this is going to be a SPOILER so, if you want to be surprised, don’t read any further.  *SPOILER BEGINS* Towards the end of Wuthering High School, Cathy chooses to walk out into the ocean and drowns herself while Heath watches.  We are then left with a montage of everyone mourning, Heath digging up her grave and curling up next to her in a coffin, and Cathy — speaking to us from beyond the grave — saying that she’s now finally been reunited with her mother.   And … seriously?  Obviously, Cathy had to die in order to remain true to the spirit of Wuthering Heights but did she have to commit suicide and, even more importantly, did the film have to suggest that she was better off having done so? *SPOILER ENDS*

Finally, of the many actors to have played Heathcliff over the years, Andrew Jacobs was not exactly the most convincing.  He came across as being more petulant than passionate.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!”  Moments

Oh, I totally related to Cathy.  I always do.

Lessons Learned

Avoid the ocean at all costs.