|Table of Reviews|
The College Admissions Scandal – Review
The College Admissions Scandal – Lifetime – 2 hours and 3 minutes
Bethany has two daughters. One attends a top college and her other, Emma, is a junior in high school. Bethany wants Emma to attend Yale to have a better future and create top-notch contacts. Emma wants to attend because her boyfriend, a freshman in college, will be close by her. Emma loves social work and reporting but her grades and SAT scores are subpar for Yale. Her counselor believes Emma will be a shoo-in for George Washington. Bethany only wants Yale for her daughter. Danny is the son of Caroline and Jackson. Danny plays guitar and writes songs. He hopes to make it as a musician. His parents, especially Caroline, want him to go to Stanford. They believe making millions as a musician is rare. Without a college education, they worry he will be a waiter. But Danny just doesn’t have the grades or the scores for Stanford. Bethany and Caroline are mothers on the edge and want to give their children every opportunity of the future. So, they hire Rick Singer to coach their children. At first, Rick gets them a tutor, tells them to sign up for online college courses and get involved in extracurriculars, and study for the SATs twice a week. Six months later, they both get an average score on the SAT again. Caroline and Bethany don’t believe this is enough. When their friends and co-workers rave about their children getting into the Ivy League, Caroline and Bethany ask Rick to do more. Rick tells him about the side door into college admission. The front door is the typical application process. You have the same chance of getting in like everyone else. The back door is legacy admission. You have a better chance of getting in but the board can still say no if you don’t have the grades. Rick’s side door uses college athletics to get students into college. Rick will alter photos to make Emma and Danny look like student-athletes and the college coaches will pick them for a fee. Before they start freshman year, they will feign an injury and still be able to attend. Unlike some student-athletes, these kids won’t be on scholarship. So their ability to play doesn’t determine their ability to pay. This side door still needs help. Danny and Emma need the SAT score to get into college. Rick’s foundation can help with that too. He will get the students more time to take the SATs, special facilities, and extremely helpful test proctors to ensure they get the right scores. Bethany and Caroline believe their children should get a leg up like every other legacy or minority student. Rick’s foundation is their leg up. Both women take the deal and donate to his foundation. The difference: Bethany tells Emma everything. Caroline and Jackson keep Danny in the dark. With one FBI sting, the college admission process will be under scrutiny for years to come.
Inspired by true events, this is still an open wound for those who applied and are attending college especially the Ivy League. If you are looking for the story of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, then this isn’t the movie for you. It’s a mash-up of the 800 Rick Singer stories that spanned the United States Collegiate system. It’s outrageous to hear the parents justify their actions. It’s hard to determine if they consider affirmative action and legacy admission as cheating or they see their actions as another preference, not cheating. It is disgusting to watch because Danny and Emma really don’t want to go. They want to pursue other avenues for their lives. Of the two kids, you have more sympathy for Danny. His parents did all this behind his back. On the other hand, Emma was complicit in the deception. This movie is a good warning for helicopter parents who go to the extreme. Children need to fail to learn to persevere. If you want a real documentary of what happened, watch American Greed (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
I guess math will come in handy when I have a table that wants to split the check – Danny
Don’t let them bully you. Only you know what’s right for you – Rick Singer
This is some twisted revenge on the one percent – Bethany
I wanna do it – Caroline
Oh my god, if people had any idea this was possible – Emma
It’s not something that happened to us. It’s something that you made happen – Jackson
Erasing His Dark Past – Review
Erasing His Dark Past – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Karen is a successful photographer who got a second chance at love with businessman David. She never thought she would find life again after losing her husband. Not only did she find love but she found a man her daughter Annie gets along with too. Although her daughter isn’t getting along with her as much. While helping David get ready for a business trip, Karen finds a hotel key in his pants pocket. He explains it from last week’s conference. She accepts his explanation but is constantly interrupted by bank calls. David tells her to ignore the call and he will handle it in the morning. Twenty-four hours later, Karen gets the call every spouse dreads. Her husband died in a plane crash. Karen and Annie can’t believe they lost the man of their household again. After David’s funeral, Karen answers a phone call from the bank. They inform her she is 2 months behind on the mortgage. Karen believes this was a mistake because she paid off the mortgage after her first husband died. The bank manager shows Karen the signed agreement for a second mortgage. Karen has never seen the document. And to make matters worse, David filed it. Over the next few days, Karen will find out David has a dark side for money, women, and crime. She will learn everything from David’s mouth.
This plotline is infuriating. Power can be taken away but Karen just gives up all of her control to David. How can someone, empty your 401K, your money market account, your CDs, and your child’s 529 without you noticing. This is a wife who is ignorant of the financial dealings in her household. This ignorance makes it easier for Annie to fall victim to David as well. You should watch this movie for some great one-liners. If you root for the bad guy, you will be laughing for 2 hours.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
You’ve got to shuck a few oysters before you find a pearl – David
When am I not on thin ice – Annie
I’ll talk to you when your check doesn’t clear – Neil
Why’d you do it? Why’d you marry me – Karen
Sinister Seduction – Review
Sinister Seduction – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Widowed Sharon is ready to get back to work at her real estate company. Her friend, Teddy has not been able to find her husband’s killer, he is still trying. And against orders, he is keeping Sharon up-to-date on the case’s progress. Sharon can’t help but notice her son’s life is falling apart. She asks Anthony if his bully, Brent, is starting to hurt him again. He grunts ar her and heads to school. It’s not long before Brent is in Anthony’s face with pictures of his mother in her underwear. Before Brent’s bullying gets worse, Dylan steps in and starts asking Anthony questions about joining the football team. With strength in numbers, Brent walks away. During tryouts, Dylan proves his loyalty to Anthony again. Brent “accidentally” tackles Anthony. Anthony and Dylan are fast friends and Anthony invites Dylan over. Sharon is so excited Anthony has found a friend. So she doesn’t hesitate to say yes when Anthony asks to throw a pool party at the house. During the party, Dylan “gets lost” and ends up in Sharon’s bedroom. The two sneak a private kiss and walk away. That kiss was all a part of Dylan’s plan to destroy Sharon’s life.
The movie is too easy to pull apart and the plotline is overdone. While the actors give it their all, the movie just doesn’t grab your attention. This is 1.5 hours of typical build-up to an average climax. Sharon’s declaration of independence was unnecessary and a desperate ploy to connect to female viewers. This one can be skipped.
I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars
Any punk with 15 bucks and Google can hack into an email – Teddy
Yeah, Brent, my mom in her underwear. Are you trying to be an embarrassing character of 1980’s masculinity or does it just come easy to you – Anthony
Good genes I guess – Dylan
You’re right. It does really good to say that out loud – Sharon
MatchMaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement – Review
MatchMaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Angie “Dove” Columba is a matchmaker with her own T.V. show. She studies lip profiles, color palettes, body language, etc to find people their perfect match. She isn’t surprised when Aaron wants to propose to Emma 6 months after she paired them. Aaron runs a successful company with his COO Rachel and CFO Phillip by his side. His lawyer Rose has been watching his back for years and always makes Aaron her first priority. On the surface, everyone loves Emma, but Aaron’s son Declan does not. Declan sees Emma as a golddigger and another wedge between him and his father. All of Emma and Aaron’s loved ones gather to their home for their engagement party. Including Angie. Angie notices Emma looking stressed after answering a phone call but Angie is sidetracked. In addition, Aaron’s absence at his engagement party leaves Angie befuddled. As Angie looks up and sees Emma at the top of the steps, she doesn’t see anything wrong. As Emma falls, everyone runs to her aid. Emma was murdered. Within a few hours, Detective Carter is questioning Angie. When her interview is over, his notebook is full of her astute observations. When they discover Emma’s killer, Angie’s love for detective work will blossom with a lipstick stain, $117,500, and an iPhone.
This movie is well written and draws the viewer in. Of course, HMM watchers know to never go for the obvious guess. So, you are able to narrow the suspects down. But with a lot of sketchy behavior and side deals, you will have a hard time picking just one. For the first episode, several of the characters’ backstories are provided in a manner that isn’t overwhelming. You learn that Angie was adopted by a detective and a free-thinker. While her parents aren’t divorced, her mom moved away to find herself. This is a first for any Hallmark channel movie. It will be amazing to see how this dynamic affects Angie’s skills.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
Complement acknowledged and appreciated – Angie
Sorry, they just look like regular lips to me – Paige
She doesn’t look like you – Carter
My Wife’s Secret Life – Review
My Wife’s Secret Life – Lifetime – 2 hours and 3 minutes
Laurel and her husband, James, are never on the same page. They spent time in counseling trying to repair their marriage after James’s affair. However, James wants to be spontaneous but Laurel feels left out the planning. They get in a huge argument over family vacation before Laurel goes to a conference for her company. She plants her foot on the ground and refuses to budge. They promised the kids the family would go to a theme park and that’s that. She won’t hear James’s idea of going on a couple’s vacation. Before the conference, Laurel is mystified to discover her hotel room was canceled. The hotel is sold out so they tell her to stay at their sister motel. Stressed, she tries to focus on the conference and goes to the next event. She accidentally bumps into Kent. They make brief apologies and go on their way. Later, they sit in a restaurant and talk. Two hours past and Laurel is flabbergasted at the amount of time she spent with him. Then, they kiss. Laurel runs back to her hotel. She calls James and has another argument. Then, Kent calls her. Kent’s hotel room was canceled too. They are just a few doors apart. After spending a steamy night together, Laurel goes home and tries to forget. Kent won’t let her. He recorded their encounter and is threatening to tell James if she doesn’t leave him. Laurel has to stop Kent or her world will fall apart.
Kent is a devious man but Laurel and James make textbook mistakes. So many that you stop feeling bad for them. Most Lifetime watchers will be able to see that Kent has a bigger motive in play. He wants revenge and will hurt James, Laurel, their kids, and their relatives to get it. This movie has one or two jump scares but everything else is predictable. Great acting pushes it over the edge. It’s best to have the volume turned up. The background is often louder than the foreground.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
You know what our real problem is: we fight with each other and not for each other – Laurel
More like a sunrise to sunset adventure quest – Kent
Over the Moon in Love – Review
Over the Moon in Love – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Twelve years ago, Devin wanted to write a hit song and Brookly wanted to start her matchmaking company. The two friends promised to keep in touch before heading off to college. Now, Brookly has a boutique still matchmaking company with a 100% success rate. Devin writes and performs songs with his band but they still haven’t had their big hit. Brooklyn comes into work and her assistant, Mia, tells Brooklyn she has a strange request. A client wants to meet her at a food truck. Brooklyn normally meets clients at the office. However, when Brooklyn reads the request, she knows it’s Devin. He is in town looking for a new band member and wanted to touch base with her. She tells Devin about the great news she has for her company. Lifestyle Magazine is doing an article on matchmakers. The writer, Stephanie, will come to talk to her. If Brooklyn wins, she will get the cover. This will mean more clients and Brooklyn could triple her rates. Later, Brooklyn meets Stephanie at Over the Moon in Love Matchmaking. Stephanie was surprised that Brooklyn didn’t rely on questionnaires or personality tests. Brooklyn just waits on a “tingle from her nose to her toes”. So, Stephanie wants to put Brooklyn’s skills to the test and hire her to find true love. And she gives Brooklyn 2 weeks. If Brooklyn can find a match, she is a shoo-in for the cover. Then, Devin walks in. Stephanie is smitten and decides she wants him. Brooklyn is thrown for a loop. To make matters worst, Brooklyn must play Cyrano to Stephanie’s Christian for several dates (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). When the truth is revealed, can Brooklyn keep up the lie for the sake of her company?
This movie follows the Hallmark format but the sincerity of the actors makes the love story believable. You will get the ‘tingle’ when Stephanie meets a guy you never expected. Also, you will laugh when Devin mistakenly takes vegetarian Stephanie to a rib restaurant on their first date. As a viewer its easy to see it won’t work but they try to make it work. This happens so much in life. You want something so bad you will try anything to keep it together. But you can’t lie to love. Seeing the love unveil itself naturally will make this movie an instant favorite beyond the season.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
I don’t promise. I pinky swear – Brooklyn
I don’t want any other options. I want him – Stephanie
You mean lie to them – Mia
She asked you to ask me out. This is high school – Devin
Categories: Danica McKellar, Erasing His Dark Past, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, HMM, Jason Cermak, Jessica Lowndes, Kristina Klebe, Laurie Fortier, lifetime, lifetime movie network, lmn, Made for TV, Matthew MacCaull, Mia Kirshner, Michael Shanks, Michael Welch, movie, My Wife's Secret Life, Over the Moon in Love, Penelope Ann Miller, review, Sebastian Cabanas, Sinister Seduction, Tanner Buchanan, The College Admissions Scandal, Tommi Rose, Victor Webster, Wes Brown, Zak Santiago