Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lifetime Movie Review: IFMDTGAFMAH

Confession: Sometimes, I watch Lifetime. Not because I'm drawn to overly predictable "true stories" of women who are forever getting chased, hit, punched, strangled, shoved, stabbed, hurled, murdered, kicked, stomped, smacked, slapped, scammed, raped, manhandled or otherwise wronged.

It's because the stories and the acting are worse than a low budget daytime soap opera.

Case in point, the movie I happened to catch the other day. I forget the name, but for blogging purposes, I'll call it, "I Faked My Death to Get Away From My Abusive Husband."

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IFMDTGAFMAH is pretty much standard Lifetime fare. The wife fakes her death by taking her husband rock climbing - at night. She "falls" into a dark crevice, and because her husband has never gone rock climbing before, has no choice but to run off and find help. Her cunning and thorough planning works when she hides in the darkness of the cave, and escapes before help arrives. She has even gone far enough to put dead batteries in her husbands helmet mounted light, so that he can't try to find her in the cave.

A lengthy (and very boring) montage of fake newspaper stories takes us all the way from "Wife Missing!" to "Wife Declared Dead" as her body is never found. Hold onto your seats.

18 months later, the husband has decided that it's time to move on with life and begins packing up her photos. This is where the comedy kicks in. Taped neatly behind a picture frame is her "escape kit," which includes (surprise!): a pamphlet entitled, How To Change Your Identity, as well as a bank statement that reveals that she not only had $200,000 in a secret bank account, but that she mysteriously wired it all out a few days before she "disappeared." He also notices, for the first time, a picture of his wife on a rock-climbing expedition, which proved that she had gone rock-climbing, despite her claims to the opposite.

Ladies, take note: When faking your death, make sure that your abusive husband can unravel the entire plot as easily as possible, all in one convenient package. And don't bother hiding those essential clues in, say, a safe deposit box. You might as well leave your diary open on the kitchen counter, with the first entry reading, "By the time you read this, I will have sloppily faked my death and moved to West Virginia."

But I digress. Cut to shots of the husband throwing a massive tantrum, smashing all her photos against the wall, downing a glass of liquor, then shattering that against the wall, too. It's really hard to see why she left him in the first place. What a cuddly teddy bear!

Next, we are treated to scenes of the husband hiring a private detective to track her down, handing over the bank statement and showing him the pamphlet.

PI: The money was wired to West Virginia, but unless I go down there, that's where the trail ends.
HUSBAND: Then, go down there.

(Wow. The writers should be getting their Emmy nods right about now)

The PI returns with a collection of photographs of the wife - and her new boyfriend. They're exactly what you'd expect them to be. Shots of them in the street, holding each other arm in arm. Shots of them getting in the car. It's a $5,000 budget version of Unfaithful.

As the wife's new life is revealed, we learn that she has changed her name - and nothing else. $200,000 in the bank and she can't afford to buy a wig or hair dye?

By now, you know where this is going. The husband is irate as he is shown the pictures. He mysteriously kills the PI on a rooftop (because that's where all PI's and their clients meet), steals his gun and goes down to West Virginia, which is made to look like LA or something - very cosmopolitan and chic.

But before going down to West Virginia, the husband checks into a hotel in "New York," and picks up a rental car.

The only thing remotely New York about that set was the blurry yellow cab which was driven through the foreground of the shot.

SET DESIGNER: What does New York City look like?
PRODUCER: The cabs are yellow. Just go with that and use a lot of closeups. No one will ever know the difference.
SET DESIGNER: But what about sound? Aren't there a lot of honking horns and traffic noise?
PRODUCER: Shut up and do what I told you. We can't afford sound effects.

Cut to the husband calling up the ex-wife and hanging up. This is a mild scare tactic that does nothing but become repetitive. Zzzz.

Cut to the husband breaking into her house while she's sleeping at her boyfriend's house. Curiously, he knows exactly where the bedroom is, despite having never been there before.

Cut to the husband killing her best friend.

Cut to the wife confessing everything to her current, wimpy boyfriend. And he is dumb enough to stick with her.

Cut to the husband tricking the boyfriend into driving out into the middle of nowhere, knocking him unconscious, chaining him up in an abandoned barn and waking him up via cold bucket of water to the head) The dialogue takes a fatal turn here:

BOYFRIEND: What do you want with me?
HUSBAND: I want you to break it off with her.

I'm sorry, but "break it off with her" is a term only my mother would say.

I lost my patience and changed the channel. You don't need to know the ending because it's likely that the wife narrowly escaped being killed by her ex-husband before getting shot by her boyfriend, who was probably able to magically escape his constraints just in time.

Lifetime. Television for Idiots.


Hamamama said...

this sounds like a poor man's "Sleeping With The Enemy" -- did you ever see that one, with Julia Roberts?

Vidis said...

Wow, sorta reminds me of a tv movie I saw years back where the husband wants to kill his wife and they go with her sister to take pics near a cliff and he's rigged it so that when she leans on the ledge she falls off.
When she's not making a nice enough pose, the sister goes and takes her place to show her how to stand and instead she falls through the railing and hangs on to the intended victim's (sister's)hand.
It's super dramtic and there's close-ups of the two sisters' hands clinging to each other, little by little sweating apart, begging not to let go and she falls off the cliff screaming to her death. So the husband gets stuck with the hag anyways.

Don't forget though... Lifetime is good for Golden Girls!

Chris said...

Sleeping with the Enemy was a great movie - full of suspense. This was a comedy compared to that.

I miss the Golden Girls. Who was the asshole who decided it needed to be pushed out to a 1:00 a.m. time slot?

pcsolotto said...

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