#DyingToBelong, #StalkedInParadise, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Dying to Belong – Review

Dying to Belong – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minute(s)

Olivia leaves her unapproving family behind for college life and walks past Riley while looking for her dorm.  Riley’s mom, Dr. Catherine O’Connor, wants her daughter to stay home longer.  But if Riley wants to start school now, Catherine hopes she joins Pi Gamma Beta.  Riley worries her generalized anxiety disorder will hold her back, but Catherine assures Riley that her legacy status and full scholarship will get her in the door.  Olivia goes on a walk and sees Riley in the hallway.  Riley doesn’t want to go out, but Olivia reminds her that she needs to eat.  The two freshmen grab some food and talk all night.  Riley convinces Olivia to be her wingman for sorority scouting.  Olivia says yes, but the journalism student can smell the story.  Jasmine approaches Olivia immediately and holds no punches about wanting Olivia to join.  But Olivia will join if Riley gets a bid.  After making the girls walk on glass, Riley and Olivia get their offers and move into the house.  But it’s not over because hell week starts.  The girls sit in ice water and endure body shaming to stay in the sorority.  While the sisters roll out the red carpet for Olivia, they quietly torture Riley about her disorder with text messages and stickers.  At a party, Olivia drinks under peer pressure, and Riley helps her get home.  The next day, Olivia goes looking for Riley but can’t find her.  Then Jasmine gets a phone call.  Someone found Riley’s body in the woods, and she is dead of an apparent suicide.  Olivia can’t believe Riley could kill herself, and she will put her journalistic knowledge to work to uncover the truth.

remake of the 2002 classic, loosely based on the hazing death of Donna Bedinger, this movie follows the underlying premises of hazing turned deadly but creates an entirely different story (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  There is no clock tower or car in the woods.  But you do have someone dying a mysterious death with a cover-up.  In the previous story, the love interest did the work with the surviving friend.  This time mom was the driving force behind Olivia.  While it doesn’t have the same intrigue as its predecessor, the stats at the end will break your heart.  Hazing continues to be an epidemic across college campuses, and it’s sadly unreported.  As a society, we need to ask ourselves, when does a sorority or fraternity become a cult, and what can we do to stop it?

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Family is a damn minefield – Olivia

You don’t have to start flying solo immediately – Catherine

Now that is legendary – Riley

Am I gonna regret telling you all this – nick

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Stalked in Paradise – Review

Stalked in Paradise – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Tyler lays flowers at Olivia’s doorstep, but Olivia’s neighbor tells Tyler that Olivia moved.  He can’t believe Olivia left and didn’t tell him anything.  Tyler tries to get information about her whereabouts, but the neighbor doesn’t know.  When the neighbor wants more information about Tyler, he kills her.  Tyler goes on Olivia’s social media page to look for breadcrumbs about her current location.  He sees her wearing a helmet with a company logo.  Tyler looks up the company and learns its location on Moorea Island.  Tyler tells his sister, Allison, that he is moving to be with Olivia.  Allison doesn’t think it’s a good idea.  Olivia and Tyler’s relationship is four months old, and she hasn’t met Olivia.  But Tyler tells Allison that he is happy, and he can be a day trader anywhere.  He goes to Moorea and finds the company.  Within the hour, Tyler has Olivia on the back of his jet ski for a photoshoot.  When they need a replacement model for the shoot, the photographer, Dawson, tells Tyler to act like Olivia’s boyfriend.  Tyler is all too happy to oblige.  When Dawson has Tyler fill out the consent form, Olivia kisses Dawson.  She introduces Dawson as her husband, and Tyler’s rage hits DEFCON-1.  Olivia doesn’t know, but Tyler stalks her from her social media and work posts.  He will do anything to make Olivia his.

While it’s not a scary movie, this film is a fun start to the Shocktober series.  And if you watch, watch for Tyler.  He plays the hero multiple times to win Olivia’s affection, but she keeps him at arm’s length because of Dawson.  When someone murders a dog, Olivia and the police don’t take it lightly.  The police call a spade a spade and take the necessary precautions to protect Olivia.  That slight change makes this film believable and watchable.  Also, it gives a warning to those who post.  It doesn’t take much for followers to pinpoint your location with hints from your pictures.  So be aware of what and when you post.  

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

You and this island agree with each other – Tyler

Do you mind being my boyfriend for a while – Olivia

Are you try to get rid of me – Dawson

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One Summer – Review

One Summer – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After his wife, Lizzie, died in a car accident, Jack decided to go to her favorite place with their two kids, Tyler and Mikki.  Lizzie called her family’s home the castle because it was next to an old lighthouse.  As a kid, Lizzie wanted to fix the lighthouse but couldn’t.  Before she passed away, Jack fell ill due to PTSD, and she stayed by his side every day.  When things go dire, Lizzie promises Jack that the family will go to the lighthouse if he dies.  Then, she would fix up the lighthouse and use it to signal him in heaven.  Now, Jack wants to do the same for her, and he has one summer to do it.  But Mikki, the lighthouse, nor his mother-in-law will make it easy.  Mikki hates leaving her friends to stay in a rundown house.  His mother-in-law wants Jack to give her custody of the kids.  And he can’t get the lighthouse running.  But with Lizzie’s spirit guiding him, he will find the tools to navigate through any troubled water, literally and metaphorically.  

Based on One Summer by David Baldacci, this movie is pure love from beginning to end (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It reconnects a family but doesn’t force a love story on the viewers.  While the film pulls out a chunk of the book’s plot, the movie still resonates while drawing attention to PTSD.  Most people know PTSD symptoms have psychological markers, but they don’t understand that these markers can kill.  That isn’t the focus of the story, but the spotlight is there.  Before you get upset with Mikki, you must remember she lost her mom when she thought her dad would die.  This anger she feels is more a sign of depression than a misguided teen.  This film will leave a lasting imprint on anyone who watches.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Then, I’m doing something right – Jack

Why is everyone mad at each other – Tyler

Dad, I said no.  You don’t make every decisions for me – Mikki

Nice attitude mister – Lizzie

That’s not a bad thing – Jenna

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Sex, Lies, & Murder – Review

Sex, Lies, & Murder – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Years ago, Maggie became the only survivor of the East Bay Butcher Ray Colton.  Today, she teaches criminal forensic psychology to students more interested in her history than their studies.  For Maggie, this intrigue is typical since she wrote a book about the attack.  Her estranged husband, Richard, a teacher at the university, cheated on her with one of his students, Sarah.  Richard left Maggie for Sarah, but he is trying to win Maggie back.  Maggie’s daughter, Jenny, thinks Maggie kicked Richard out and resents Maggie.  While Maggie wants Jenny’s forgiveness, Maggie won’t talk bad about Richard to Jenny.  Maggie’s friend, Alyssa, talks Maggie into enjoying the single life and going to a club.  At the club, Kyle approaches Maggie, and they spark a conversation.  While she wants more, she resists her urge until she sees Sarah at the club.  She explains to Kyle about Richard’s infidelity.  And to prolong the embarrassment, Sarah follows Maggie around.  Maggie leaves the club, but Kyle finds her to return her keys.  She asks Kyle for one kiss, and they end up in his hotel room.  After a night of passion, Kyle starts asking Maggie about Ray, and Maggie bolts in disgust.  The next day, Kyle’s presence in Maggie’s class leaves her speechless.  Kyle is her student.  She wants him to drop the course, but he needs it to graduate.  So Maggie tells Kyle to stay away, but he isn’t the only disturbance in her life.  Sarah keeps calling Maggie and hanging up.  Then Maggie finds a dead possum in her car.  Maggie knows someone is trying to terrorize her, but she doesn’t know who.  When the police find a dead body has all the signatures of Ray, Maggie knows her life and Jenny’s is in danger.  She will need to come face to face with evil to uncover the truth.

While the plot is interesting, the trademark Lifetime bratty teen, cheating husband, and non-twisty plot twist will leave you wanting the story to end.  This movie only has one moment that will have you waiting with bated breath.  It’s Maggie confronting her demons head-on.  Other than that, this movie doesn’t make the mark.  While the actors do their best, the script fails to keep your full attention.  This movie is background noise.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

It’s Doctor Morgan, detective, and I wrote the textbook – Maggie

You didn’t seem upset when you talked about it in class – Kyle

Jenny, I love you but shut up and listen – Alyssa

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Love Strikes Twice – Review

Love Strikes Twice – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Maggie is on her way to becoming a law partner but feels like a failure in her marriage to Josh, a history teacher.  Before lunch, she crosses her ex-boyfriend, Rick, a successful lawyer, in the hallway, and he asks her to coffee.  Maggie turns him down and heads home.  As she and Josh pack to visit her parents, George and Estelle, Josh and Maggie argue about how much she works.  This argument continues on the car ride.  Before they get to her parents’ home, Josh and Maggie cross the old library location.  While they were in high school, Josh fought to keep the library open but lost.  When he lost that fight, he met Maggie.  Maggie broke up with Rick to be with Josh.  As Maggie remembers that moment fondly, Josh doesn’t.  He believes Maggie pitied him.  And that’s why they started to date.  When they arrive at George and Estelle’s home, they put on a brave face.  Her parents gush over Maggie’s brother, Ash, but Ash doesn’t possess the confidence to match his intelligence.  Then, Maggie’s parents cheer for her accomplishments too.

Before Maggie and Josh turn in for the night, they argue again.  Maggie asks if Josh wants her to sleep in the same bed as him, and he haphazardly responds.  Heartbroken, Maggie walks to a fountain, throws in a coin, and wishes for a do-over.  She drops her phone and bumps her head picking it up.  She falls back and wakes up in her bed.  Maggie notices Estelle’s and her hair changed, and her dad’s back problems are gone.  She looks at the calendar and realizes it’s 15 years earlier.  Maggie got her do-over! Now, she plans on using her legal expertise to save the library for Josh and continue her relationship with Rick.  But she does so much more.

Props to Hallmark for giving its viewer a new and exciting story! Maggie isn’t a woman trying to find love because she has it.  She forgot her reason to love.  We all ask ‘what if’ to the choice we make in life.  However, so few get an answer.  Maggie fixes the past for others but discovers her destiny.  You will fall in love with each character while cheering as Maggie brings an end to a ladder’s ill will.  During her wild trip down memory lane, Maggie will restore Ash’s confidence while bringing him love.  Let’s hope Hallmark will find a way to give these characters a part two.  

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I was going to make us eggs – Maggie

Now, who’s the criminal mastermind – Josh

And you’re a nut job – Carrie

You don’t throw something away just because it’s a little shaky – George

Er. You’re crazier – Ash

You’re my favorite – Estelle

I asked you to marry me. That should stand for something – Rick

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