Tuesday, December 22, 2015

TV Movie Marathoning!

Oh, the glamour! 

I made it through another semester, and to celebrate, I watched a gaggle of TVMs! I thought it would be fun to jot down some brief thoughts on each film, making it a one-woman-blogathon!

Eyes of a Stranger 
Network: NBC
Original Airdate: December 7th, 1992

First up was this early 90s curio starring the babe-a-licious Parker Stevenson and the gorgeous Emma Samms as an upper class couple who run afoul of a two-bit hoodlum (Michael Easton), and his lovely professor/girlfriend (Joan Chen, working some nifty silver flats in the last scene). The couple's lives collide during a rainstorm, and all paths lead to accidental murder, badly thought out cover-ups, some not bad small screen sex scenes and exploding boats.

Written and directed by Richard Friedman, the mastermind behind the goofy but lovable Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, Stranger is a bit of a convoluted mess. The worst issue was the timeline. For example, Samms finds a videotape on a boat, and after some major mayhem, the boat is burnt to a crisp, and then at least two days pass before the tape comes into question again. Samms tells someone she found the tape yesterday, which would have been impossible.

It’s also ridiculously predictable, but watchable because of the cast, and the overall confident and slick look of the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if a sexier version of this movie exists, but was edited for television. It has all the markings of those early 90s erotic thrillers that I enjoy so much. Interesting then, that it was produced by Doris Keating, whose father directed such films as The Diary of Knockers McCalla and Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico. I don’t necessarily recommend this to anyone except the Samms or Stevenson completest. Since I fall into the latter, I can’t really complain. Stevenson takes off his shirt just enough to keep me interested! Yes, I'm superficial, and easy to please.

Valentine Magic on Love Island 
Network: NBC 
Original Airdate: February 15, 1980

As if Supertrain wasn’t enough of a disaster for NBC, the execs tried to put a spin on Love Boat and Fantasy Island yet again in this choppy, and chaotic romantic comedy that is somewhat watchable and sometimes fun, but not nearly as great as the similar Three on Date.

Eight singles visit Love Island in the hopes of becoming four couples, and… hmmm… if I do my math correctly, yeah, I think we do end up with four couples. I guess that’s a testament to how haphazard the whole thing is, that I had go back through my mind to remember what happened (and the movie just ended 10 minutes ago). Still, gotta love (even if just a little) anything that stars Bill Daily, Lisa Hartman, Dominique Dunne, Christopher Knight, Janis Page, Adrienne Barbeau and Dody Goodman, right? And that’s just part of the game cast, who make the most of the crap material they were handed. (Random trivia: This was the second time Knight and Dunne appeared in a TVM together. The other telefilm was 1979's Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker)

Paige is the Mr. Roarke who mixes up her “white” magic in the hopes of helping people reach complete coupledom (or consciously couple as the young kids might say). Of course, there has to be a little mismatching and mischief first, where little to no hilarity ensues, but there’s a pretty cool costume party. Unfortunately, this Dick Clark production does not have a good beat and I had a hard time dancing to it (see what I did there). But, like the small screen sucker I am, it was good to finally see it.

Sorry, Wrong Number 
Network: USA
Original Airdate: October 11, 1989

This movie has been on my “To Watch” list for what seems like forever. A TVM based on a theatrical film, which was based on a radio play sparked my interest, and yes, I like Loni’s TVMs quite a bit (thinking of My Mother’s Secret Life right at this moment!), and it’s a USA Original… and… and… well, you get my drift. Despite mixed reviews, there are some films I simply need to see for myself. Luckily, although this remake isn’t, like, the best movie ever or anything, it’s a pretty fun timewaster with a surprisingly suspenseful ending.

Loni is Madeline, a Dynasty-rich invalid who has a wild New Year's Eve getting her lines crossed over and over again. Overhearing two men planning a murder of an unknown woman in Madeline’s neighborhood, this housebound heiress starts to uncover the mystery behind her strained marriage, and the real danger that lurks just outside of her door. Slick and confident, Sorry is also helped by a wonderfully capable cast including Patrick Macnee, Hal Holbrook, and OMG hawt Carl Weintraub. It’s not like you don’t know where this one is going, but the wonderful pacing and crisp and glamorous aesthetics are well worth a look. My favorite of the three films I watched.

I also took two naps. It was a great day.


Wings1295 said...

Emma Samms, Peter Brady and TV movies? Sounds like a great day!

Shell said...

Seen the original movie version, I'm curious to see this one with Loni Anderson.