Questions, Comments, Concerns: Beaches

In an attempt to get back into regularly scheduled programming – both on the blog and life-wise – I watched a Lifetime movie this week. It was a remake of Beaches, the classic 1988 Bette Midler/ Barbara Hershey friendship drama that I don’t remember ever seeing. This reboot takes the action to 2017 and stars Idina Menzel and Nia Long. It was exactly what I’d expect out of a Lifetime remake of a beloved movie with good actresses in it. Take that how you will.

Comment: I’m not coming at this with a lot of history with Beaches.

I thought “didn’t I do a monologue from that for auditions for a while as a kid?” but that was Brighton Beach Memoirs. I think I saw Beaches on TV as a child but I don’t really remember it. Guess what I’m saying is, I’m not expecting to have my memories of Beaches tarnished, I’m just expecting a better-than-usual Lifetime movie.

Comment: They did a really good job with the 80s flashback clothing!
Concern: The 80s being a flashback. I was alive then!

Part of the time anyway.

Concern: When you’re such a musical theater nerd that you know the child versions of CC and Hilary.

CC is Gabriella Pizzolo (Fun Home) and Hilary is Grace Capeless (The Lion King). Goes without saying, they’re adorable and talented in that classic older-than-their-years Musical Theater Child way.

Question: Did they just say this was supposed to be Vegas?

For some reason I thought it was meant to take place in Coney Island or something.

(Per Google, the flashback in the original was set in Atlantic City, which makes way more sense. Sorry. Must have misheard something)

Comment: I can see why people love Beaches.

The segment where the letters are going back and forth is really sweet.

Concern: I don’t love Idina in this role ??

OF COURSE I know Idina is talented. Obviously I loved Rent and Wicked. I don’t dispute that Idina Menzel knows what she’s doing. Just what she’s doing here isn’t working for me. I’m willing to admit the problem is probably me, I just wasn’t expecting to feel this way.

Comment: Love the throwback to Idina’s early lounge/wedding/bar mitzvah singer days though.
Comment: PEN PALS ARE LIKE INTERNET FRIENDS.

I don’t know why it took me this long to realize it, but I suddenly relate to this story more.

Question: Is CC’s apartment really messy or just really cluttered or somewhere in between?

(It’s messy, right?)

Concern: I shouldn’t have laughed so hard at “there’s only one dreidel song.”
Question: There’s gonna be singalongs??

They start singing Oh Come All Ye Faithful and my hopes for this movie skyrocket.

Question: Is the show CC’s in SUPPOSED to be bad?

I legitimately do not know.

(They go on to say that it’s supposed to be good. Huh.)

Comment: Nia’s acting at her father’s funeral.

Good work.

Concern: This friendship really isn’t bringing out anyone’s best selves

I just can’t imagine being this mean to one of my friends, ever?

Like I said, I don’t have any history with this movie but I was expecting a lot more warm fuzzies. Someone better give someone else a kidney soon.

Comment: I went from zero emotional investment to crying when Idina sang about “don’t let the last time I hurt you be the last time…”

This is either the magical power of Beaches, which I’ve known about for years but never witnessed, or the magical power of Idina Menzel, which I know very well.

I think my lack of investment may be because I never really have friend breakups on purpose, I just sometimes suck at keeping in touch with people on accident.

Comment: I miss the beginning of the part where they’re putting a crib together because it sounds and looks like a commercial.

Like, where one woman would start explaining to the other why she likes her new brand of tampons.

Question: When is something awful going to happen?

Because Hilary is adorably pregnant and happy and CC and Hilary love each other and there’s, like, an hour to go. I’ve started to emotionally invest. IS THIS WHAT EVERYONE WAS REFUSING TO TELL ME ABOUT BEACHES.

Comment: Hilary delivers the most gorgeous 2-month-old baby ever.
Concern: Shit. Hilary’s gonna die. Isn’t she. ISN’T SHE.
Concern: C.C. is singing I’ll Stand By You.

This can’t be good. Hilary now has a precious, beautiful 7-year-old. Oh, no.

Concern: “Mommy is tired.” “You’re always tired.”

Oh NO.

Comment: You know you watch a lot of Lifetime movies when you get to the last hour and fully realize that the commercials are gonna start coming every 5 minutes.
Comment: This movie is unexpectedly guilting me for being Type O and unable to donate.

SORRY.

Maybe I’ll work on it.

Comment: Now they’re back to the scene they opened with.

Which means Hilary’s gonna die. Come on, Beaches. This is NOT the week for this.

Comment: “Want to know the most magical thing about being a mommy? I’m always with you.”

Beaches can burn in hell.

Comment: “I want you to take Tory.”

What are you trying to do to me, Beaches.

Comment: “I put it in my will.”

You’re really still going, Beaches.

Concern: Is she going to really die right in the middle of Oh Come All Ye Faithful?

(She doesn’t.)

Comment: This movie has been brought to you by Guilt Over Not Donating Blood
Comment: OH WOW. I forgot that (a) Wind Beneath My Wings was from this movie and (b) for whatever reason, I always hated Wind Beneath My Wings.

Like, I’m half sad, half furious that this song is playing.

Comment: I take back what I said about not liking Idina in this role.

Slow burn, was all.

Concern: If little Tory comes on stage to sing I’m going to die.

She didn’t. I live.

But you know who doesn’t?

Hilary Whitney. RIP.

Comment: Going from this to Steel Magnolias feels like a very irresponsible programming choice, Lifetime.

 

 

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story: Live Blog

T: I am going in on this fairly blind folks. As a preface, Saved by the Bell was like the number one show for me. Sure I watched Full House and Boy Meets World and the ilk, but nothing really compared to SBTB. I remember watching it before I went to school in the morning and then again at night. It got to the point where I knew exactly which episode it was just by the first 5 seconds of the opening scene. I once taped (on a cassette) the school song and tried to convince our chorus teacher to let us sing it for our 8th grade graduation (I convinced her to let us sing Seasons of Love from Rent instead). It was the first show that I was every obsessed with and probably the reason why I’m obsessed with TV now. That being said, I hold SBTB and its cast/characters in a special pedestal in my heart, so I’m taking this entire movie with a grain of salt.

T: Ah yes, the movie starts out in Cincinnati, Ohio, where every great story about 90s teen idols begin.

M: These children look like a pack of college kids dressed as Saved By The Bell characters for Halloween. It’s like the Garbage Pail Kids when you’re expecting Cabbage Patch, or that weird baby with the unibrow who’s Maggie’s nemesis on The Simpsons.

T: The kid playing Zack has the DUMBEST face and I’m already annoyed with him. He looks like he’s 10. And The dude playing Mario Lopez is way too ethnic. Yeah, I said it.

I’m gonna start counting the number of times I say ‘I can’t’ outloud to myself whilst watching this trainwreck. (1).

M: FAKE ZACK CALLS A TIME OUT. I’m sort of obsessed with this movie already.

T: The depressing thing about this mob scene is that these girls weren’t even born when Saved by the Bell: The College Years ENDED. 

T: Baby Zack’s IRL time-out only works within the walls of Bayside, duh. Uh ‘Dustin Diamond’ just stole BZ’s thunder by taking control of his time-out. (2)

Hold up – Dustin Diamond was a legit executive producer on this? I know it’s based on his book, it makes sense, but my best guess is that he just tried to make everyone else except ‘DD’ look like shit.

M: Fake Steve Buscemi (okay, a man with deep-set eyes) says they need to set the show in the Midwest, although there’s never been a show set in Indiana before. See, 2014 is all about sitcoms set in Indiana, but the late 80s and early 90s were very Southern California-centric. That’s why everyone was so into L.A. Looks.

[Kids, L.A. Looks was hairgel that every early 90s teen used, and it looked like Aloe Vera. This has been a message from C+S Cares, a social outreach ministry where we teach teenagers what the 90s were like.]

T: So apparently BZ/Mark Paul Gosselaar had the hots for Lark Vorhees from the beginning? Relatedly, this is what Lark looks like when she goes to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

Was it really necessary to point out that MPG is part Indonesian? And that DD commented on his hair?

M: Fake Hayley Mills has major 2014 hair. Inaccurate.

T: True story: My first introduction to Hayley Mills was via Good Morning, Miss Bliss, so I’m probably one of the only few people that doesn’t correlate her with The Parent Trap.

M: The adults in the futuristic office discussing SBTB are so stupid. Like, an unlikely level of stupid. They don’t believe that kids would rather watch a show about kids instead of teachers. They exposition that there has never been a live-action show starring kids before. But even in the 50s and 60s … Mickey Mouse Club? Leave It To Beaver? Lassie? Okay, I guess the last one was mostly the dog.

They also gloss over the existence/firing of Mickey and Girl Mickey. Those kids from Good Morning Miss Bliss? And the girl freed the frogs from the science lab? That might have been Jessie, actually.

T: No, I think it was Nikki (Girl Mickey). Can’t remember Mickey’s real name. Too lazy/don’t care enough to look up.

[ M: Laterblog: I googled it in the morning. Mikey and Nikki. Yeah, I’m just going to keep calling them Mickey.]

Far (L) Mickey or something. Far (R) Mickey the boy version.

T: DD comes into rehearsal lit’rally acting like a quacking duck and everyone – everyone thinks it’s hilarious. Even the dude playing Mr. Belding. BZ/MPG says, ‘He’s awesome!’ about DD. I feel like that sentiment’s not going to last throughout the movie…

M: At what age, if you’re saddled with a name like “Tiffani Amber,” do you say screw it and just introduce yourself as Tiffani? Evidently older than “Tiffani Amber” is here.

T: The original title of SBTB was apparently ‘When the Bell Rings’, which is very similar to ‘As the Bell Rings’, a short (like 5 minute interstitials) on the Disney Channel like 7 years ago. The show was actually kind of similar to SBTB, and took place entirely in a school hallway, starring pre-Demi Lovato Demi Lovato and the white kid in MKTO. I may have been obsessed with this one song, because I am 12 years old.

This blonde casting bitch is really into racial profiling. First she wanted to adhere to Lisa as a ‘Jewish American Princess’ and now AC Slater turns out to be Latino and not Italian.

M: “It’s a comedy about kids, how much range do you need?” LOTS. Tons.

T: Since when was the SBTB casting room Mad Men in 1989?

If I’ve learned anything from this movie so far is that DD’s dad was a real asshole and cared a lot about his car’s mileage.

(3)

This first table read is already a mess. DD realizes everyone is starting to get along without him and he even has to sit next to Dennis Haskins (Belding) because it’s the only seat left.

The Executive Producer Peter Engel tells the gang that they need to keep their relationships professional, but Mario Lopez apparently didn’t get the memo. He also didn’t get the memo that he doesn’t need to dress up like his character at the table read.

UH OH MPG AND LARK ARE HOLDING HANDS UNDER THE TABLE! And by hands, I mean Lark offered her pinky, and MPG is grasping it with his hand.

I have a problem with this set. Mainly because it’s NOTHING like the real one.

M: Fake Bayside is probably the worst casting yet. It looks like a Disney Channel Original Series set.

Real Bayside. BONUS: Those rando twins who must have been recurring contract extras; Jessie Spano being the worst, probably.

M: Now the kids exposit about their talents, interests, and ethnic backgrounds. God. There is nothing more insufferable than someone full of hope and promise telling you what they’re good at.

T: Kelly was urged to talk about her beauty pageant days (Miss Bayside?) and Elizabeth talked about how she’s a dancer. Mario said he was too, and she replied, ‘YOU’RE a dancer?’ and Mario was all, ‘You tell me’ and I legit had to stop to gather myself because, second hand embarrassment. (4)

The people in the live studio audience are definitely not wearing 90s fashion. Who dressed them? I WANT MORE SCRUNCHIES.

M: Wardrobe moment: Lisa’s outfit and hair look so accurate, and Slater has a good jheri curl mullet and crop top, but they’re trying to make Kelly look too “normal” – I think I’ve seen her outfit at Target, and her 90s bangs are M.I.A.

T: But really, was it because the real SBTB set has some kind of copyright on it because this re-creation is not the same.

M: Jessie says she won’t celebrate President’s Day until there is a woman president. And then she calls Slater a chauvinist. Ah, yes. Jessie Spano was probably the first introduction most millennials had to feminism, and she was also awful. Whenever a 20-something celebrity does that “I’m not a feminist but…” thing, I think: Oh. You’re thinking of Jessie Spano. We have Beyonce now. /90s history from C+S Cares.

Shut up, Spano. (Jessie’s ancestors WOULD tho)

T:  … so BZ is actually a good actor as Zack, but not as MPG. He belongs on the Disney Channel. Or on Degrassi. Which he was.

M: Fake Lark Voorhies mentions church – everyone know she’s a Jehovah’s Witness? If Lisa Turtle showed up my door with religious literature, I would actually let her in instead of pretending not to be home – but only so I could pepper her with questions about SBTB.

M: Fake Steve Buscemi is on the phone calling Seinfeld “too Jewish.”

We learn that SBTB’s popularity spread by word of mouth. At this time that meant ACTUAL WORDS out of HUMAN MOUTHS, not texting or tumbling or instafacing.  Remember when the only phone you had was attached to the wall, and you couldn’t stay on it too long because your stupid brother would pick up one of the other phones in the house and listen in?

T: Among those doing the whole grassroots thing were these girls:

M: Sometimes Fake Mario Lopez sounds like somebody doing an impression of Aziz Ansari.

T: We’re back to Cincinnati, which is weird because the flashback should’ve ended with this scene at the end… or at least that’s what a good script would do.

The girls run into teen fans while shopping, and one of them says she was inspired by Kelly to break up with her BF because she knew he was lying. This inspired the actresses to pitch more serious subjects – THERE’S NO HOPE WITH DOPE?!?!?

DD recalls Mario inviting rando fan girls to the stage for a tour then promptly making out with them, as DD creepily looks on. Honestly the worst part of this is that DD is a voyeur.

And THEN he has a daydream JUST LIKE IN THE SHOW. And his daydream makes him look like Stretch Armstrong in a hot tub with bikini-clad ladies. (5)

So this movie makes it look like MPG and Lark were dating for pretty much the entire series. I thought they all dated each other? I mean except for DD. He dated no one.

M: Fake Mark Paul Gosselaar tries to talk up birthdays to Fake Lark Voorhies. And all of us watching who know 2 things about Jehovah’s Witnesses are screaming “nooo!” like he’s walking alone down a dark hallway in a horror movie. Don’t do it, Fake Mark Paul!

T: LARK VORHEES WAS/IS A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS?

MPG and Elizabeth are having a heart-to-heart about his not-real GF Lark and it’s actually really touching. I hope this happened IRL. They’d be like Jessie and Zack BFFs for real!

MPG and TAT rehearsing their kissing scene. Bring on the LULZ

Um my DVR just did this really weird thing where it stopped after an hour of recording and played a promo for the movie then continued where it left off, but stopped recording after a minute? And then the final hour started as a “separate program”? IDK if that even makes sense but basically I just missed 15 minutes AND DOES TIME WARNER CABLE NOT UNDERSTAND THIS MOVIE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME??

M: Seriously, did they buy all of Fake Tiffani’s clothes at Forever 21 last week, because that’s what it looks like.

T: “The networks didn’t kill us but the hormones might.” – something said in the promo by anon bc MY DVR CUT OFF

M: I’ll say it. If Lifetime sold the soundtrack to this movie, I’d buy it.

T: I’d buy anything with Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison’ on it.

T: I picked back up where everyone is sitting except Elizabeth and Zack and Mario calls DD dumb and he storms out? WHAT HAPPENNEDDDD?? WERE STEROIDS INVOLVED??

M: A teen tells Fake Screech “it gets easier” after he spits out whatever was in the flask he just swigged. “It gets easier” was the proto-version of “it gets better,” when teen were taught to drink to forget their troubles instead of waiting them out like they do now.

T: Some muscley Azn dude sitting outside the studio offers DD his first swig of vodka out of a flask.

M: Screech’s flask is back. Bad news. Alcohol is the gateway drug to substances like caffeine pills. By the way, caffeine pills look like a real blast on this show.

M:  Is this squirrelly 90s boy a secret ghost who shows up when Dustin Diamond needs a drink? How is he EVERYWHERE? I think I just guessed the plot twist, guys.

T: Really? Malibu Sands gets like a 2 minute scene? And it includes a crop top-wearing Slater and a crew who didn’t dress up for a movie set in 1991.

“Then I guess we’re just as fake as Zack and Kelly” Lark is PISSED that MPG was out photographed with TAT.

Guys, I’m pretty sure this movie theater DD is at where he beats a kid up for calling him Screech is like minutes from my apartment. Going tomorrow to see if there’s a marker commemorating the scene.

DD practicing his karate is only making me think of Ross Geller.

LOLZ @ TAT and MPG getting to go to Paris to promote the show while DD is forced to go to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

But really who is this Azn enabler that’s suddenly become DD’s BFF????

Peter tells DD that “IT WAS A BIG DEAL” that he was drunk at the fan signing, and again, because this is how my brain works, it reminded me of this

“I got wasted and I got laid!” DD stop. No one wants to hear this. especially your father. (6)

Cut to TAT and MPG having dinner in Paris and being offered wine. Does everyone become an alcoholic? JK MPG just spit his red wine back into the glass.

M: Fake Kapowski just called Saved By The Bell “Bell.” Just about every play I’ve been in has been reduced to a single word by the cast and crew, and you know what? It sounds stupid. If you have enough time to introduce yourself as “Tiffani Amber,” you have enough time to call it Saved By The Bell.

T: “What’s Saved by the Bell without Zack and Kelly?” – MPG. Um, Zack and Tori? Duh.

Speaking of Tori, is she gonna show up? I’d much rather it end like how I’ve been telling myself it ended, with Kelly and Jessie graduating with the rest of the gang.

DD describes the last season of SBTB “a mess” and described Leanna Creel as “tough girl Tori”. I imagine if Tori were real, she would be living in Provincetown with her wife of 10 years, one of the girl twins that was always an extra at Bayside. They ride bikes together.

Yeah, the Azn enabler is clearly just an actor trying to be on the show. And he recorded DD smoking pot, and threatens to blackmail him if he doesn’t get him a bigger part than an extra.


M: Fake Screech actually looks a lot like real Boy Mickey.

Fake Spano says that she’s up for a film role. SHOWGIRLS. Right?

Fake Screech is beating up his Booze Ghost. How about less of this subplot, more of that time they worked at Carosi’s resort with the white and teal uniforms? Or the time the lizard died? I’ve liked this movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also been 2 hrs of missed opportunities.

T: Since TAT and Elizabeth decided to not renew their contracts for all of season 4, they “leave” and come back for the final episode where they all graduate. It’s actually really tender to see them all back together. Also tender: MPG and DD having a moment together where MPG apologizes for being a stupid kid. I appreciate this conversation was put in the movie, because it doesn’t make it look like they were all “against” DD.

Yeah, it’s got to be a trademark situation because I’m so annoyed the set doesn’t look anything like the real graduation set. Also they’re showing mini montages of each character before they cross the stage from that happened in the movie and it’s really not necessary.

GUYS IN THE 15 MINUTES MY DVR SKIPPED, I MISSED “I’M SO EXCITED” WTF

(7)

M: They’re all dressed for graduation, and I swear to God if they waste this opportunity to sing Friends Forever I will be livid. I mean unless Zack Attack still has the rights to it.

T: DD does one final Time-out and walks around describing what each actor did next. And shades the hell out of Elizabeth/Showgirls, IMO. Also, they’re not good at standing still because Elizabeth was just shaking her hand like it was a nervous tick.

Like this? Glad New Jessie Spano is also horrible.

Alas, it ends with an oblig throwing of the caps up in the air and an end credit card that reads “The End…ish” DD says SBTB: The College Years didn’t last long because no one wants to see them grow up – I disagree. I liked the College Years and S2G I still have my VHS of when I taped the SBTB: Wedding in Las Vegas TV special somewhere.

I feel gypped they didn’t sing Friends Forever, so just pretend the movie ended with this, and a good Casey Kasem (RIP) sign-off.

Live Blog: Flowers In The Attic

0:00 I can already tell that if you’re the kind of person who hates creepiness, you should get out now. First of all, the film opens with a pan throughout a Miss Havisham-y house. Second, Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) narrates that she and her siblings were “four beautiful children,” which is just weird. She compares them to Dresden dolls, by which I hope she means this:

0:02 The combined effect of the  1960s/1970s suburban home, with the Dad wearing a suit and hat and carrying a briefcase, and the icy-looking mom (Heather Graham) is really not helping me think of this as anything but a movie about bad stuff happening to Sally Draper.

Mid-Century Mayhem!

0:04 Fake Don Draper announces his promotion and serves some serious Jaden Smith face.

0:07 Fake Don Draper is dead. Well, we got that out of the way fast.

No matter what else happens in this movie, the most unrealistic thing will be the 5-ish-year-old girl voluntarily playing with one of those wooden toys where you move the balls across wires. You know, that lame toy that is required by statute to appear in every pediatric waiting room in the United States?

All you have to do is google “doctor’s office toy”

0:10 The Fake Drapers’ house and its contents are about to get straight repo’ed, and they have to go to Heather Graham’s family’s haunted-ass house under the cover of darkness.

0:12 I only sort of vaguely know what goes down with Cathy and Christopher later, but is it supposed to be foreshadowing that they’re talking all flirty and gross on the train? Note: to me, tweenaged siblings being nice to each other is by default “flirty and gross.” Shouldn’t they be picking on each other?

0:13 Creepy movie pro tip: if you go to a house that has a name (Foxworth Hall), shit’s about to get real. And if an adult refers to his or her parent as “mother” shit’s about to get even realer.hellomother

0:16 Bad Grandma says that Cathy and Christopher can’t share a bed, and Heather Graham responds “they’re children, they’re innocent.” Okay, everyone in this family is an idiot. First of all, in any normal family the mom would be arguing that the kids couldn’t share a bed, not because of any gross stuff with “innocence” but because they “need their space.” Bad Grandma says that the two girls will share a bed, and the two boys will share a bed, which is probably the solution most families would have come up with in the first place — primarily because the twins are smaller so putting one of them in each bed gives everyone more space. Ugh. Dummies.

Also, they have to hide behind curtains or something so their grandfather can’t hear them. Ughhh.

0:17 Graham is trying to win her way back into her dad’s will by hiding her children in her house then reconnecting with him.

Sally Draper is wearing a promise ring, which is probably your first big sign that things are sketchy in this family. I can’t be the only person who has read about them with horror and disgust?

0:23 THERE’S GONNA BE A LIZZIE BORDEN MOVIE! With Christina Ricci, the queen of ethereal yet creepy characters! Looks like I better get my live-bloggin’ pants ready.

[Live blogging pants are like regular pants, but with more elastic. I like to snack.]

0:24 Evil Marilla Cuthbert drops the kids’ food off for the whole day. So, this is like a horrible version of that time Samantha Parkington hid Nellie and her sisters in her attic, right?

Well, she couldn’t leave those bitches at Coldrock House, could she?

0:25 I think Evil Marilla Cuthbert is the only sane person in this family. She tells the kids they are supposed to “be modest while using the bathroom,” and if they don’t have that down by their teenaged years then frankly maybe they should be separated from society.

0:27 We learn the twins’ names: Carrie and Cory. How many bombs do they need to drop telling us this family is creepy? Between the shared first initials and promise rings and scary focus on modesty, I feel like I’m watching 19 Kids and Counting.

0:31 Ellen Burstyn (Michelle Duggar in 30 years??) makes Heather Graham show the children the lashes on her back – including “18 lashes for every year she used her wicked charms on [her] husband.” As in, Heather Graham’s dad. As in, I hate this movie.

0:35 It’s a commercial break, so let me tell you my main association with V.C. Andrews. In junior high, one of my friends found a bunch of V.C. Andrews books in perfect condition at a library sale. She bought them for 25 cents each, read them, then went to Barnes and Noble saying that her grandma got them as a gift for her and she didn’t have a receipt. She returned them for some serious seventh grade bank. This movie is making me realize that her Pretend Grandma, buying her grandkid stacks of V.C. Andrews books, would have to have been a real creep.

0:39 Heather Graham and Fake Don Draper were raised as siblings, and Fake Don Draper was her half-uncle. Ew. They didn’t meet til later in life. I’d think this was crazy, but we did go to high school with a girl who had a child with her surrogate brother (who I think her parents adopted????) shortly after graduation.

0:42 Evil Marilla Cuthbert asks Sally Draper if she poses for her brother’s paintings with her blouse off. Ew. She said “blouse.”

0:45 They’ve been in the House of Horrors for a month, but Heather Graham has been out gallivanting with her father.

0:51 Corey locked himself in a trunk, and Sally Draper gives him a bath because that’s the best way to bring a child back from near-death by suffocation.

0:53 It’s Christmas, and the children Stockholm Syndrome up a present for Grandmother. She closes the door and walks away, overcome with either emotion or shame at how bad the kids’ art project is.

0:54 The kids get a dollhouse for Christmas, because this movie needed to get that much creepier.

Surprise! It’s a toy full of ghosts.

0:55 The teens have to hide in a bar to watch the family’s party.

Let’s just recap a little. The Dollangangers’ father died. The Dollangangers learn that they’re really Foxworths. They have to move to Foxworth Hall Manor Estate, or something that sounds like either a low-rent townhouse development or midrange wine label. The kids have to hide from their grandfather, while their mother puts the moves on him to try to get written into the will. The grandmother, a horrifying blend of Marilla Cuthbert and Michelle Duggar, hits Heather Graham with switches and insinuates that the kids are all gettin’ it on with each other. And now they’re at a Christmas party with Greensleeves playing on a lone violin, because if anything says “hopping holiday bash,” it’s Medieval songs on string instruments.

Everything after Fake Don Draper dying could have been prevented if Heather Graham (Corinne Foxworth, I guess?) would just get a damn job already.

1:01 Heather Graham has turned into her mother, threatening to whip the kids and telling Sally that she can’t leave the room.

1:02 THERE’S A GABY DOUGLASS MOVIE TOO??? Oh, shoot, better get my live-bloggin’ hat ready too.

[My live bloggin’ hat is nothing, because I look stupid in hats, like an Irish orphan from yesteryear.]

1:09 Heather Graham and Kiernan Shipka having “the talk” makes me so relieved that my parents entirely avoided this sort of thing. I’m in my late 20s so I think I’m in the clear now. But, Graham cuts the talk short, which I think means that Kiernan isn’t going to know what sex is and thus obviously she’s going to go have it with her brother.sally

1:10 Bad Grandma walks in while Kiernan is changing and Christopher’s there, which looks bad but isn’t.

Grandma: You think you look so pretty n your new young curves and your long golden hair. [That’s also me, to every annoying teenager in the mall, ever.]

1:11 Bad Grandma’s going to cut Sally Draper’s hair. MAKEOVER!!!

1:12 Nope. Chris and Cath decide that they and their sibs will go without food for a WEEK rather than cut her hair. You’ve got to be kidding. There’s nobody to even look at her hair, except her brother, and if that bothers Cath then she’s not really helping her case, huh?

1:18 Cath’s grandma tars Cathy’s hair in her sleep. Okay, now: MAKEOVER!!!!

It’ll be liberating — just ask Emma Watson or Lena Dunham!

LOL Kiernan’s wig though. She looks like Tina Majorino in Waterworld:

1:20 The twins, looking especially Children of the Corn-y, totally cock block Christopher and Cathy. Praise be.

1:24 Heather Graham got married to her dad’s attorney and went to Venice for two months while her children were locked in an attic … and all they got was this lousy toy gondola!

1:29 Chris gets whipped by Bad Grandma, which isn’t a metaphor or anything, and then Cathy and Chris kiss, because if anything is a turn-on it is your own sibling, who has just been schooled by a frail old woman.

1:34 Cathy and Chris are getting mighty close, and Kiernan’s hair has grown out into a sassy, choppy bob.

1:41 Sally and her brother have planned to leave, stolen money from their mom’s Sterling Cooper Draper Price-y looking husband, made out, then woken up in bed together. I hate it all.

1:42 Corey doesn’t feel well. The makeup people at Lifetime show this by dying his lips blue, like he just ate a raspberry ice pop.

1:43 Sally and Heather stage-punch each other, and I haven’t seen acting combat look so fake since I was 10 years old in the Flower City Youth Players.

Wha-POW!

1:44 Cory is dead. Long live Cory!

Carrie’s super bummed, because now who will she hook up with in high school?

1:52 Oh snap. Grandpa’s been dead for seven months.

Also, the donuts were poison, which is why Cory (and the kids’ mouse) died.

1:56 The kids lock Marilla upstairs and escape. Suck it, Attic Grandma!

Who’s the flower in the attic now, bitch?

Liveblog: Anna Nicole

Because if I’m going to watch a Lifetime movie about Anna Nicole Smith, I’m bringing all of you down with me:

  • Before it even starts, the promo features a minor key rendition of Fame (baby remember my name..) and it shouldn’t be hilarious but it is. It sounds like Fame as played by a musical baby toy that needs new batteries.
  • OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. The film opens with Anna Nicole explaining that she is from Mexia Texas. My grandpa was born in Mexia and nobody has ever heard of it, ever. I usually just say “outside of Houston.” Anna Nicole explains that nobody pronounces it right, and she’s probably correct because I forget how you say it already. So… let’s just say that Anna Nicole is from outside of Houston.
  •  I got curious and looked up Mexia. It’s actually a located such that it’s a 1.5 – 2.5 hour drive from Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. If they don’t use that as a selling point yet they probably should.
  • Cut to dead Anna Nicole doing a voiceover while lying on a coroner’s slab. When I was a kid, a girl went missing in my city. In the scariest dream I ever had, she was narrating her death to me from inside a water tank. Then months later they FOUND HER IN REAL LIFE INSIDE A GOD-DAMN WATER TANK. Anyway, narrations by a dead person are my least favorite plot device, thanks to that one.
  • The font for the credits is really atrocious, even by Lifetime standards. It looks like the cover of a Lurlene McDaniel book.

Lurlene McDaniel? All those books about teens dying of cancer in the 80s?

  • NO. NO NO NO. Little A.N. (Vicky Lynne at the time. Vickie Lynn? Vikki Linn?) lovingly traces the cover of a Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe. Then, a Marilyn-esque version of Vickie’s adult self appears to her in the mirror. So if you want to avert tragedy, don’t let you daughter become obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. Maybe show her some Ask Amy vids instead.
  • Note: Little A.N.’s mom is the victim of domestic violence and that probably did a lot more to screw her up than Marilyn-worship, to be serious.
  • Unintentional hilarity from 13-yr-old Anna: “I ain’t gonna have a baby, Mama, I just wanna go bowlin'”. I think we all know where bowling leads…
  • Older teen Anna has a baby. Why do you think they were so fired up about bowling in that number from Grease 2?
  • Anna Nicole is in a strip club applying for work because this is a film based on the song What Would You Do by City High.
  •   Fact without judgment: Mirror Anna is back and each of her boobs is bigger than my head. I’m kind of surprised they’re not those weird 90s boobs? Remember the implants they used to do that were so far apart you could fit a whole third boob in the middle? Maybe that was the point: room for expansion.
  • Fact without judgment part 2: Anna, wearing overalls, practices her pole moves in the park with her toddler son.
  •   Anna is at the plastic surgeon and they ask her to describe her ideal boob size in terms of fruit. I thought the fruit comparison was only for fetuses (your baby is two months along and is the size of a kumquat!). Anna wants bowling ball-sized tatas, and makes it rain on the plastic surgeon’s desk. Dolla dolla bills.
  •   I seriously cannot and will not judge stripper Anna. She’s buying a house with lots of rooms and a pool. I  have nowhere near that kind of cash yet. Way to go, Vickie.
  •   It’s only been 15 minutes and I’m already bored out of my mind.
  • Anna gives a Lifetime-movie-quality lap dance.  So I’m not a man, and maybe that’s why, but I have so much trouble understanding the appeal of a lap dance. It seems like it would be more frustrating than anything? Like someone walking in with a big box of pizza then being like here, you can hold this slice of pizza for 5 minutes, then I’m taking it away. What is the point?
  • I want some pizza.
  • Somebody PLEASE make a .gif of Anna’s old man future husband’s face while she’s stripping? He’s smiling so wide and big-eyed that he looks like a Muppet.

    Anna and Paw Paw Marshall IRL. My stomach hurts from this pairing and my head hurts from Anna’s dress, which was part of a short-lived fashion line from the publishers of Magic Eye.

  •   Anna’s future husband is that particularly gross kind of old man. He looks like he was created by culturing a scab from one gross old man’s skin in a petri dish until it generated a whole new, crusty person.
  • Old Man Marshall bequeaths Anna his ranch provided she “be intimate.” Aw, Jesus. This whole thing is the worst already. Also that contract is not at all legally binding. Meretricious services are not valid consideration!
  •   Anna and Old Man Marshall seem happy with each other in a weird way, so whatever, if it works it works. I just keep getting skeeved out though. Was J. Howard Marshall a sketchball in real life or is this something Lifetime is doing? As usual, Martin Landau is excellent, though. His skin looks like paper you found in a sewer drain then left in the sun to dry up.
  •   Someone scary offers Anna Nicole some drugs. It plays out like those drug offers we always saw in school videos from the ’90s. Only thing I’m surprised at is the drugs don’t look more like candy. Those videos always made drugs look like delicious candy, and I always thought well, who would say not to that?

    Also kids, if you do drugs then all of your favorite cartoon characters will come hang out with you!

  •   Anna Nicole’s star is on the rise — but if you want to see a really good “star on the rise” montage, you should watch Evita instead.
  • Anna Nicole is giving out Nascar trophies which in certain circles probably denotes success.
  • A crowd starts cheering on a drunk Anna, who flashes them, and I start to feel horribly uncomfortable. Not to leave you hanging, but I might not make it through the liveblog. Then the child actor playing her son Danny confronts Anna Nicole about her drug use, and I really consider turning the movie off. So we used Anna Nicole’s struggles as entertainment when she was alive and now we’re doing it when she’s dead. This is just rotten.
  •   Anna Nicole marries Old Man Marshall. Oddly, the scenes of her dancing with him are the saddest thing yet. Thanks to early poverty and drug addiction, it was Anna Nicole’s best option at the time.  I truly didn’t expect to get so bummed out by this whole thing, I’m sorry.

    And it was every bit as depressing in real life, too.

  • Anna is hovering her boobs at her dying old husband’s face. He says “is that you, mother?” I laugh and I laugh.
  • Did Anna and Danny really do a terrible, off-key rendition of Amazing Grace at Old Man Marshall’s funeral with her in her wedding dress? I assume yes because that detail is too wacky to make up. I bet J. Howard was so happy he was already dead for that.
  • Yes! We’re at the part where Anna Nicole has an E! Reality Show. This is what I was waiting for. I probably could have just found some old episodes on YouTube instead of watching this.
  • Remember Juicy tracksuits you guys?
  •   My favorite thing about the Anna Nicole  franchise – other than hating on the scary, scary weight loss drugs she shilled – was her show’s theme song. Anna Anna Fabulous Anna… I’m assuming Lifetime didn’t get clearance to use it.
  •   Adult A.N. sees Kid A.N. in the mirror. Never before have I seen a TV movie that owed so much to the sleepover game Bloody Mary.
  • The guy they got to play Howard K. Stern (Adam Goldberg) really does look like him. As an aside, Anna Nicole Smith is played by Agnes Bruckner, who I’m not at all familiar with. She’s not half bad, though. In other casting news, Cary Elwes plays Old Man Marshall’s son.
  • Yes! The “trim spa baby!” commercial is on. Ugh, 2006.
  •   Anna Nicole’s mom LOVES wearing robes. Love love loves it.
  • Anna wants to “make a baby” with Howard. Well you BETTER GET BOWLING, woman! Do you all remember the big Dannielynn paternity debacle? I think Larry Birkhead is the better sperm donor, overall. Looks-wise, I mean.
  • I love the Larry Birkhead wig Lifetime has. Needs a few more highlights, though. Howard listens to Larry and Anna having sex through the wall but the only thing I can pay attention to is Howard’s GIANT laptop. Were laptops really that big in 2007?
  •   In one of my favorite cross-sections of American life, not only did the Supreme Court consider Anna Nicole’s claim against “Paw Paw’s” estate, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion. RUTH! There was a procedural hot-damn-mess for years after, BTW. SCOTUS revisited the case in 2011 and Roberts wrote the sassiest opinion!
  •   Danny says “wake up and smell the flowers, Mom!” Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard that phrase. Actually, isn’t it “smell the roses?” Or am I thinking of “stop and smell the roses?”
  • Iconic Anna moment: Anna is painted like a scary clown, cuddles a doll as though it is a real child, and dismisses her pregnancy as “just gas.” God, don’t you remember being so terrified when you saw that video? Only watch this if you are in the mood to get really, horribly angry at the people who surrounded Anna. Except Riley. Riley tried, bless her little heart.
  •   Danny has a trucker hat on. Nice nod to mid-2000s authenticity.
  • Two people have to die in the next nine minutes.
  • Anna Nicole says she’s naming the baby Dannielynn. I thought she named it something else then changed it after her son died? I can really distinctly remember reading a gossip magazine on an elliptical in my college gym and learning that little fact.
  • Now Anna blames her mom for not letting her go bowling, so I guess I read that one wrong. Bowling is maybe really good birth control? Actually that sounds about right, yeah.
  • RIP Vickie Lynn. If this Lifetime movie tells us one thing, it’s that you never had a shot. And for the last two hours, really, neither did we.

Live Blog: I Tried To Live Blog Liz and Dick

7:32 I’m still rooting for Lindsay Lohan. Casually, I mean — the way I still want my high school’s football team to win, but don’t want it-want it, because that would be sad.
The reason I’m casually rooting for Lindsay Lohan is that, if you asked me 10 years ago where I thought she’d be at 26, I would have pictured something better. Not an Oscar winner, but possibly a recent People’s Choice nominee. I thought she could play a pretty lady who falls in love, but also falls down in front of attractive men a lot, and has a quirky friend or a sister with kids. Maybe both!
But here we are instead, on Lifetime. I only read one review of this movie, a NYT piece that was only slightly less scathing than this review I read several years ago that was entitled “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is Really, Really Bad.”
Please prove them wrong, Lindsay. I care, a little.

Cover of "The Parent Trap (Special Editio...

Lohan in kinder times.

8:01 Did the movie start yet? I couldn’t find my remote (it was under my butt.)

8:03 It’s still not on. Lifetime couldn’t fill two hours, minus 45-ish minutes of commercials? This doesn’t bode well.

8:05 This is supposed to take place in yesteryear, but everyone’s clothes look too modern…

8:05 This is not Liz and Dick. Liz and Dick starts at 9. Changing to The Best of Jimmy Fallon on VH1.

8:05-9:00 JIMMY FALLON. Am I right?

9:00 Lindsay looks pretty in the title sequence! I get kind of bummed when people say she’s looking old, because I’m a fellow ginger and realize that only a year or two of hard living stand between my face and Lindsay’s, which looks like broken dreams. By my mid-30s, I honestly expect to have a face that looks like it’s held together with scotch tape and hope.

This mugshot is found from http://www.perezhil...

I guess she looks okay here considering it’s a mug shot [File under:  faint praise]. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9:02 Ouch. This VoiceOver IS really, really bad.

9:03 All black outfits? Directors’ chairs? What even is happening? And where is James Lipton? He should be here.

inside the actor's studio

When you watch Inside the Actor’s Studio, you have to drink every time they refer to acting as “my craft.”(Photo credit: Angela Rutherford)

9:07 First “violet eyes” reference. Fake Richard Burton just said “white hot bosom” with far less irony than I’d like.

9:08 LiLo is really splitting the difference between her Hallie Parker accent and her Annie James accent here.

9:11 Ugh, Caesar haircuts. The last time I found a man with a Caesar haircut attractive was when Joshua Jackson played Pacey Whitter. I can’t be blamed. I was so young then.

Pacey Witter

The Caesar was less-bad than the frosted tips in later seasons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9:15 I tweeted one of my live blog observations, and immediately regretted it. What if Lohan sees it? She’s still just a human, with a twitter account and feelings. A bunch of feelings, I reckon. If she sees it, and insults me back, I just know it would be both accurate and scathing.

9:21 Lily Allen is singing? Distracting.

9:21 It was a Client List commercial. I, um, haven’t been paying much attention to this tele-film.

9:22 Liz and Dick are bathing in a tub that looks like a huge sink. It’s like they’re enormous babies.

9:24 I always feel confused when people named Elizabeth just go by Elizabeth. There are so many nickname possibilities! I’m just jealous because my parents gave me an Irish scullery maid nickname rather than a proper name.

9:28 I bet if Liz Taylor were alive, she’d be real diplomatic about this disaster. What does she care? She has violet eyes and invented White Diamonds, which smells like a really nice-smelling mom or teacher.

This is Elizabeth Taylor not worrying about LiLo because she invented a perfume that can be made into DREAMS.

9:30 Commercial for other Lifetime movies. All I know is, I’m going to watch the shit out of An Amish Murder, if I remember to.

9:38 Liz is truly an almost Dina Lohan-quality mother in this scene.

9:40 My favorite part so far was those 55 minutes when I watched Jimmy Fallon while waiting for this to start.

9:49 What’s going on? I’ve been reading the Internet and forgot to pay attention.

Sometime after 9:49 but well before the end of the movie I fell asleep by accident. I tried, sort of.