|Table of Reviews|
Deadly Debutante – Review
Deadly Debutante – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Anna and Mia prepare themselves for the Debutante ball. Anna wants to win the Belle of the Ball like her mother did years ago. With the title, Anna can live up to her parent’s legacy. Sophia heard about the ball, but she assumes it’s a beauty pageant. However, her teacher, Ms. Dennison, tells Sophia the contest is more than looks. The Belle of the Ball gets a full scholarship to the school of her choice. And this would be heaven-sent for Sophia. Since her mother died, money doesn’t come easy. This scholarship could be the beginning of a bright future. So, Sophia enters the ball and goes to the meet and greet. Anna sees that bookworm Sophia will be stiff competition and decides to use her wealth to overcome Sophia’s charms. As the competition increases, someone spray-paints Anna’s garage, slashes Anna’s tires, and more. Anna knows who is trying to terrorize her: Sophia. Faking a debutante event, Anna gets Sophia to meet her face to face. Anna tells Sophia that Sophia’s intimidation tactics won’t work. Then, Anna offers Sophia money to stop and drop out. But Sophia is aloof to Anna’s fears. Determined, Anna will stop at nothing to make everyone see Sophia is a con artist. Well, it’s too bad Anna is barking up the wrong tree, and she could pay the ultimate price for it.
Anna has all the money in the world but no clue on how to spend it. First, she pays for a paper but doesn’t validate it. Then, she buys gifts for the children but ignores the children. In a world of money and beauty, Anna’s family forgot to instill common sense and compassion. In the middle of the movie, Anna calls them to task for it. With her flaws, Anna doesn’t see a need to be a better person. And because of that, you will lack sympathy for her pain. Also, it doesn’t take much to unpack the motive of the suspect. This movie displays privilege at its worse, and that gives you a reason to watch.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Don’t be greedy – Anna
My. My. Aren’t you the sore loser – Mia
You’re being disgusting – Sophia
Aly Raisman: From Darkness to Light – Review
Aly Raisman: From Darkness to Light – Lifetime – 3 hours and 0 minutes
In the wake of Athlete A, Aly Raisman rose from shame and reclaimed herself. While she will never speak her abuser’s name, Aly wants to lend a voice to other survivors. Especially children. She feels that society puts too much pressure on children to speak up. But it’s adults that should be looking out for them and the signs of abuse. As Aly travels down the road of advocacy, she needs help figuring out where she starts; and her advocacy ends. She sits with others for counsel on how to keep herself whole while helping others. They discuss triggers, healing techniques, and acknowledging emotions. Aly will learn, discuss, assist, and see laws passed.
Trigger warning: While this documentary can be empowering, thought-provoking, and healing for some people, it could trigger others. And the documentary crew knew this. They input warning messages throughout the broadcast. One common theme is there is no type of survivor. Hurt, healing, and coping skills are different based on each person and experience. While one advocate states that abused children will have declining grades, one person said theirs went up. They wanted control and became hyper-focused on school. As a society, we should look at drastic changes in behavior as potential signs of abuse. And create more safes spaces and less victim-blaming. If you need help, contact Darkness to Light or RAINN.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
You’ll have your day – Aly
You have to prioritize your well-being – Tarana
There is no one way to be a survivor – Erica
The Secrets Lives of College Freshmen – Review
The Secrets Lives of College Freshmen – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Hannah prepares to get out of her mother’s shadow by enrolling in a different university. Hannah wants to be a journalist like her famous mother, Nancy, but doesn’t want the comparisons. On her first day, Hannah’s best friend, Jody, pulled a few strings and got them a better room together. These small changes were the start Hannah needed. But college and time away from home isn’t the only thing that excites Hannah. She is excited to meet her favorite writer and new professor, Andrew. He is a great writer and very handsome. She walks into class and sees her R.A. Daisy sitting at a desk, and Hannah sits next to her. Prof. Andrew gives a writing assignment. They will read it in front of the class, and the writer of the best essay will be his T.A. Hannah goes to her room and starts to write, but Jody has other ideas. Jody wants to go to the freshmen mixer and drags Hannah there. During the mixer, Hannah sees Andrew, and they talk. But they are interrupted when everyone gets a disturbing video sent to their phones. It depicts a girl getting pushed out of a window with a message stating the same. As the police authenticate the video, Daisy tells Jody and Hannah that Amy lived in their dorm room when she killed herself, or at least they thought she did. When they get back to the room, Hannah finds a journal that belonged to Amy. The journal talks about an angry person, Prof. Andrew, and plagiarism. Hannah wants to find the truth but will her budding feelings for Prof. Andrew stand in the way.
While this movie gives you plenty of suspects, it goes for the obvious suspect in the end. Well, at least obvious to Lifetimers. While the plot points out Hannah’s misjudgments, it is careful not to victim blame. Hannah tries to hide parts of her life from Nancy, but others splash them to the world to see. Nancy calls a spade a spade and tells Hannah it fell under a manipulator’s spell. This movie won’t be a favorite, but it’s a carefree watch.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
See I can be woke – Nancy
We don’t judge books by their covers right – Hannah
I’ll give you a discount – Jody
Have you been talking to my therapist – Andrew
Secret Life of a Student – Review
Secret Life of a Student – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
After making plans to help her friend, Chloe, set up a birthday party for Chloe’s daughter, Phoebe, Lauren leaves her teaching job and heads home. When she gets home, David, Chloe’s law partner, calls. Someone attacked Chloe in the parking lot and killed her. He asks Lauren to come to his office as soon as possible. At the office, Phoebe runs to Lauren and hugs her. Then, Nadia enters. Nadia was Chloe’s sister-in-law, and she came to claim Phoebe. But David stops her. Before Chloe’s husband, Brad, died, he had a will that made Nadia the legal guardian if he and Chloe died together. However, Chloe changed that after Brad died and made Lauren the legal guardian. Lauren accepts and wants to start procedures immediately to begin the adoption process. David tells Lauren she needs letters of recommendation from family, friends, and co-workers to speed up the process. Then, Nadia and David both offer assistants if raising Phoebe becomes too hard.
Lauren starts to question her friends and co-workers about a letter of recommendation when she hears about a rumor about a teacher having an affair with a student. Lauren doesn’t want to give the rumor legs, so she refutes it. Later, someone posts a video on the school’s message board. For a while, Lauren ignores it, but the rumors come full circle when she is the one accused. Her student, Conner, expressed romantic feelings for her. Lauren turned him down and refused to be alone with Conner again. But he won’t stop his campaign for her. She tries to ignore it and put her focus on getting Phoebe. However, Lauren can’t because the school suspended her. If her adoption lawyer hears about the accusations and lack of employment, Lauren will lose Phoebe for good. Lauren needs to pull her life together for Phoebe, her job, and her freedom.
This movie is better for shock value than plot because the title is misleading. With the title, you would expect Conner to have a more prominent role in the film. But he doesn’t. However, if you check IMDB, you will see that Lifetime changed the title. The original title, A Lethal Lesson, is better and gives viewers an adequate understanding of the plot. At first, the film does have viewers questioning David’s, Nadia’s, and Connor’s motives. But Lifetimers can see the real evil in Lauren’s life.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
How could you do this to me – Conner
There is no us. You’re my student – Lauren
Influence – Review
Influence – BET Her – 2 hours and 30 minutes
Bradley Hudson walks smoothly out of his opponents’ office after securing a $500 million settlement. As opposed to the $500,000 they proposed. Before Bradley and his daughter, Desiree, enter the elevator to go to their office, Carla, Bradley’s wife, calls Bradley with a situation she can’t handle. A high-profile but non-paying client, Billy, brought them a case. Billy manages Grammy-award winning singer Savannah. And she sits in Bradley’s office covered in her husband’s blood and tells her story. Savannah and Billy went to a club the night before to meet a movie producer. If Savannah wants the part, she must get her husband, Kyle, to be the lead. Savannah agrees before Billy can speak and calls Kyle to tell him. Kyle says he won’t do it and hangs up on Savannah. Savannah rushes home to confront Kyle but gets in the bath first. She falls asleep in the tub and wakes up to find Kyle asleep in the bed. Savannah gets in bed next to him and wakes up covered in blood. Savannah swears she didn’t kill Kyle but knows she will be the #1 suspect. This case will bring unspeakable notoriety to the Hudson and Hudson law firm. So, Bradley takes the case. With the paparazzi, a lying client, and compulsive buying disorder hurting their case, can Hudson and Hudson win?
Based on Influence: Death on the Beach by Carl Weber, this movie will keep you guessing from beginning to end (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). As Bradley takes two steps forward, he gets information about Savannah that pulls him one step back. Since this movie represents the 2nd book in a series, the plot doesn’t explain the character’s relationships. You get a glimpse of the relationships with hallway conversations and backroom arguments but no introspective connections. However, this is fine because the mystery has plenty of depth to keep you wanting more. Let’s hope BET turns the first or next book into a movie. The Hudson family has room to grow.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
At Hudson and Hudson, we work for a living – Bradley
You know what, Billy. For the first time in our life, you may have done something right – Lamont
My husband would do anything for me – Savannah
Pause playboy, you ain’t got s**t – billy
Now, do you want a press conference or do you want to take your m*th*r f*ck*ing client home – Carla
Killer Grades – Review
Killer Grades – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Michelle enters the athletic decathlon team tryout with a winning spirit. She and several students take the qualifying test with Mr. Lou watching. When she walks up with her exam, Mr. Lou assumes she is dropping out. But Michelle finished the test. Later that night, Michelle’s mother, Katherine, takes Michelle out for an early celebration, and Michelle spots Mr. Lou at another table. He comes over and tells Michelle she made the team. Michelle impressed Mr. Lou by completing the test early with all the correct answers. He made the tests intentionally too long to see how the students handled the pressure. Keri, another decathlon tryout, hears this and becomes furious. She wants her boyfriend, Galen, to get information on Michelle. On the first day of practice, Michelle walks in to see Keri, Galen, and Sarah sitting in class. While Keri and Galen keep icy demeanors, Sarah is welcoming. Mr. Lou tells the team they will practice every morning and go off-campus in the afternoon to study more. They need to end all other commitments and give their time entirely to the team. And the lowest grade achieved on a test will be the overall grade for all the students. As they practice, Sarah falls behind, and Keri snaps at Sarah daily. One day, Sarah doesn’t come to class. Michelle finds Sarah unconscious on the locker room shower floor with an empty pill bottle next to her. Michelle can’t believe Sarah would hurt herself because of the team. Now, Michelle can’t focus and wants to quit. But someone will do anything to keep the star player on the team.
This movie gives you three possible suspects for the killer. The power-hungry teacher, the grade-obsessed student, and the dutiful boyfriend have potential, but experience Lifetimers can see the forest for the trees. You watch to see how Michelle and Katherine will uncover the truth behind the lies, deaths, and drugs. Remember, the brain is a muscle. And in this competition, like athletic competitions, someone offers these students drugs to keep up their performance. While Michelle has a powerful mind, the need to win overcomes the need to stay healthy. And that’s the sad reality of this movie.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Get small bills. Don’t kill anyone – Michelle
Oh I promise you, they’ll get over it – Katherine
If you don’t like it, then don’t fail – Lou
Get your head in the game. Got it? – Keri
Finding Love in Mountain View – Review
Finding Love in Mountain View – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes
After landing a new client, Margaret gets a devastating phone call. Her cousin, Susan, and Susan’s husband, Hank, died in a car crash. Margaret immediately inquires about Susan and Hank’s children, Samantha and Joel. The lawyer tells Margaret the children are safe and with their grandmother, Bertha. Also, he mentions that their will refers to Margaret, and she needs to come to Mountain View for the reading. Margaret rushes home to pack and talk to the lawyer. Before heading to Mountain View, Margaret calls her boyfriend, Nathan, to update him. The night before, they argued. He was late for dinner and wanted her to drop everything to go to China with him. He apologies for the night before and offers condolences for her loss.
Margaret visits the lawyer and gets shocking news. Susan and Hank made her the legal guardian of Joel and Samantha. If she takes on the responsibility, Margaret will get the house. If she doesn’t, Hank’s brother will become their legal guardian. Margaret checks on the kids and gets a chilling welcome from Bertha. It’s been five years since Margaret set foot in Mountain View after her mother died, and the kids don’t know Margaret. Also, she missed Susan and Hank’s service. As Bertha airs her grievances, Andrew walks into the room. Andrew and Margaret dated in high school but haven’t spoken since their breakup. The kids love him, and he offers Margaret his help if she needs it. She rudely questions what makes him qualified. He laughs and states his child psychology degree and community center work. Plus, Andrew is a consistent presence in the children’s lives. She accepts his help with no intentions of using it. But motherhood isn’t instant, and Margaret will need to re-evaluate her work, love, and beliefs to instill trust in Joel and Samantha.
Hallmarkies take a deep breath and be patient with Margaret. She expects the kids to love and adapt to her instantly. She wants them to wake up later without knowing their routine and bond with her over losing their moms but losing your parent as an adult versus a child is not the same. Now, Bertha may come off mean to some, but she is the sounding board of reality. Bertha reads Margaret the riot act because Bertha cares about the well-being of her grandkids. Andrew is the voice of reason for both women in this power dynamic. At the core, this movie is about regaining trust after loss. Whether the loss is life, love, or family bonds, one earns that trust.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Like half a loaf of bread late – Margaret
I bet the kids didn’t even know who you were – Bertha
Was that so hard – Andrew
Driven to Kill – Review
Driven to Kill – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
While working in her future mother-in-law’s B&B, Brittany dreams of driving in NASCAR like her stunt-driving dad. On the first anniversary of his passing, Brittany signed up for driving lessons with Andrew. Andrew is an award-winning driver that Brittany admires. And she saw his horrific crash that almost cost Andrew his life. Andrew has Brittany get behind the wheel, and he can tell that she is a natural. As he keeps a close watch on her, Andrew’s attraction grows. Andrew agrees to train her, but she must promise to stay dedicated to her lessons. Brittany mentions that she works with her fiancé, Kevin, and he will be upset if she takes time away from the B&B. His mother, Rhonda, plans on giving the B&B to them after they get married. But Rhonda wants to make sure Brittany commits to the business because the B&B needs two people to run it. Brittany sees Andrew’s frustration grows as she explains her predicament. Andrew tells Brittany to give 100% or leave. Brittany wants her dream, so she promises to commit. In-kind, Andrew tells Brittany to bring Kevin to the track so Kevin can see how good she is.
When Kevin goes to the track, he worries that Andrew is an adrenaline addict that will put Brittany’s life in danger. Brittany assures Kevin she will be safe, and he relents to the lessons. But only if she keeps up at the B&B. With Brittany’s commitment, something still nags at Kevin. Brittany and Kevin don’t know that Andrew’s crash left him with mental scars. His crash caused neurological brain injuries, and Andrew has mood swings, hallucinations, and extreme OCD. His newest fixation is Brittany. One lesson and Andrew is in love. He wants Brittany and will kill anyone who stands in his way.
This movie is the typical stalker movie on a race track. It has a decent body count and gives the lead female an against-type dream. The film adds a reality TV show quality with two driving instructors competing for Brittany and two women fighting for Kevin. And let’s not forget the bomb. Yes, bomb. With a Speed-like ending, the plot tries to pull itself from sipping tea territory and back to nerve-racking suspense. It does succeed, but Lifetimers know how the story will end for Kevin and Brittany. However, you may be wrong about Andrew.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t want to sound like a groupie but I watch you drive in NASCAR – Brittany
Remember, you’re in control. Not the car – Andrew
She hasn’t had her coffee yet – Kevin
Poach is what you do to an egg. I rescue your students – Mario
Hearts on Fire – Review
Hearts on Fire – UP tv – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Jenny works in a 911 call center and is known to the emergency specialist as number 23. And she calls one emergency responder Cowboy. Cowboy is a firefighter for house 654 who loves cooking and magic. Each time Cowboy answers a call that 23 transferred to him, he gives her an update. One day, that update never comes. She finds out that he was hurt on the last call and visits Cowboy in the hospital. Cowboy, whose real name is Jeff, got a displaced fracture on his leg. She brings him apple brown betty, but he wants her number to return the plate. She gives him a flyer with her number. When he opens the flyer, he sees she is offering a room for rent. A few days ago, Jenny’s boss, Bill, had to cut her hours due to a budget cut. With two kids and no husband, Jenny has to fill the stopgap. When she and her kids’ interview candidates, her kids, Elsie and Luke, don’t like anyone. That is until they get a knock at the door. It’s Jeff. Jeff’s doctors told him he couldn’t take the stairs. So he needs a place with one level to stay while he heals up. With her kids’ approval, Jenny lets Jeff stay. Later, Jenny fears they are getting too attached to Jeff because he is impacting her kids like a dad. Jeff and the kids will need to prove that love should conquer fear.
Hallmarkies will remember this story with another title, but it’s not the title that makes the movie. It’s the kids. Elsie and Luke are always a step ahead of everyone. They get jobs, set-up dates, and write books while caring for their mom and going to school. They could complain, but they keep a happy and funny attitude. They will draw you into the story and make you believe in Jenny and Jeff’s love.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
So, this is like a 1021 unplugged – Jeff
Did I mention adults only – Jenny
The Price of Fitting In – Review
The Price of Fitting In – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes
After her parent’s divorce, Charlie used drugs and alcohol to cope with the emotional pain. Sober for months, Charlie starts a new school today. Her mother hopes this is the fresh start Charlie needs to keep clean. On her first day, Charlie bumps into Lexi and spills a drink on her. Lexi angrily walks away. Then, Charlie meets Matt while she looks at club flyers on a bulletin board. Matt urges her to look into the robotics club, but Charlie is a step ahead of him. When she gathers information about the team, Charlie learns that Lexi is on the team. And the school’s guidance counselor, Andrew, is the advising faculty. Charlie decides to join with high hopes, but Lexi dashes those hopes by spreading rumors about Charlie’s past.
Charlie regroups and outshines Lexi with a brilliant idea to improve their robot. Lexi and Brad leave to smoke. Charlie can’t believe they are so bold about smoking weed, but Matt tells her they don’t smoke marijuana. They smoke spice, also known as K2. It’s a synthetic weed that is legal. Charlie plans on staying away from the drug until she attends a party with an invite from Matt. She gets accosted by Lexi again and decides to join in the fun. Charlie smokes spice with Brad and screams at Matt to leave. In the morning, Charlie feels awful, and she has a new reputation at school. It doesn’t take too long for Andrew to see the images on social media. He knows about Charlie’s past and calls her into his office to warn her that this could end her academic career and bring negative attention to the team. Then, he makes a pass at her. Charlie quickly leaves the room disgusted. Overwhelmed with school, rumors, and the fighting between her divorcing parents, Charlie wants to smoke. Although spice is not illegal, it is more dangerous than Charlie will understand. Can Charlie stop before she ends her life?
You will fear for Charlie as she spirals out of control. At home, her mother hovers. From a distance, Charlie’s father unknowingly uses her as a weapon. Lexi teases her, and Andrew’s actions are highly inappropriate. Charlie feels like she has no one to talk to and no one to trust. So she falls in line with her addiction. And the final moments in the movie give the crushing truth to this drug. This movie proves that a legal drug can have deadly consequences. Use this movie as a jumping point for a discussion with your teens.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
I don’t blame dad for wanting to get away from you – Charlie
Your sister was the total package – Andrew
Raise a Glass to Love – Review
Raise a Glass to Love – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Eleven months ago, Jenna failed the Master Sommeliers exam for the second time. She is studying for the exam again. If she passes, she will get paid more, be one of the few women in the industry, and work at her boyfriend’s restaurant. Her boyfriend, Aiden, only hires Master Sommeliers to pick the wines for his restaurant. Her father, Mike, calls to asks Jenna to move up her visit by one week. He is putting together a surprise 40th wedding anniversary for Jenna’s mom, Lynn. However, they need to set up for the Wine Festival on the same weekend. And her idol, Jennifer Huether, a master sommelier, will be there to judge. Jenna could meet Jennifer at the festival and pick her brain. Mike needs her help to get everything together in time. After agreeing to go, Jenna asks Aiden to move his visit up too. Aiden has to decline for his restaurant. But he promises to be there for the party. Back at the family winery, Mike tells her they have a new head winemaker, Marcelo, and Mike thinks he is a godsent. On her first day, Jenna tries to study for the exam. But Mike needs her to do the wine tasting.
Jenna complies and goes over flashcards when a man walks in. She goes over wines with him and how to complete the 5 S’s. When Jenna tries to sell him wine, he laughs and introduces himself as Marcelo. Later, she apologizes for not recognizes him, but he feels the apology is unwarranted. Days before the party, Mike asks Marcelo and Jenna to create wine pairings for the party. As they go through potential wines, Jenna tastes the most exquisite wine ever. But she can’t name it. Marcelo tells her it’s his 100% organic wine. Jenna is stunned. She never tasted an organic wine that was so rich. She calls Aiden immediately to tell him to buy it for the restaurant. But Aiden says no because the wine hasn’t won an award. So Jenna tells Marcelo to enter the wine into the Wine Festival’s Contest. But Marcelo says no, he doesn’t make wine for the attention. Marcelo makes it for enjoyment and believes she keeps failing her exam because she doesn’t have passion for it. He wants her to put down the flashcards and enjoy wine again. While Marcelo helps Jenna get back to basics, Jenna gives him the confidence to share his wine in the competition. With the win, she wants Aiden to trust her palette and her family’s new organic wine. By the contest, someone will lose a job, love, and dream. But get so much more.
Seeing Jenna fail after she wanted something so much will leave you crushed. Witnessing this failure allows this movie to be a story of triumph more than a love story. It doesn’t take long to realize that Jenna is off balance with her life goals. They are Aiden-focused, not Jenna-focused. She wants to become a master sommelier to prove to Aiden that she is good enough to work in his restaurant and add her family’s wine. As she tells her story, you cringe at her lack of self-awareness. You want her to succeed to find her path to glory without living in Aiden’s shadow. Now, if you watch this movie, have a bottle or two of your favorite wine on hand. While the love story is predictable, you wait to see Jenna succeed.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Well, maybe the scars are on my psyche but their still there – Jenna
You say problem, I say challenge – Marcelo
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