Lifeless, Unnecessary ‘Grace of Monaco’ Finds Its Level at Lifetime

Grace of Monaco isn’t a Lifetime Original Movie — it’s quieter and less sensational than the network’s biopics, and doesn’t take too much interest in destroying its subject, Grace Kelly — but it’s certainly a good fit on the network. Prior to its Cannes premiere (and subsequent panning by critics)Grace of Monaco was met with criticism for being an inaccurate portrayal and a “farce,” just like basically every other Lifetime biopic. It also has all the general staples of a Lifetime flick: embarrassing acting, shoddy writing, a general disconnect between scenes, and most of all, utterly boring. … Read More

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From Cannes to Lifetime: A ‘Grace of Monaco’ Disaster Timeline

Dozing off on the couch Memorial Day evening with a belly full of improperly cooked-out burgers and cheap beer is a bit of a holiday tradition (in our house, anyway), but this year, there’s a particularly fascinating bit of television programming for you to nod off to: Grace of Monaco, in which Oscar winner Nicole Kidman plays iconic movie-star-turned-princess Grace Kelly. This was supposed to be a giant movie: opening the Cannes Film Festival, awards season push by the Weinstein Company, Oscar glory. Instead, it’s quietly making its stateside debut on Lifetime, a network better known for cringe-worthy original biopics and tales of women in jeopardy. So how did such a prestige project end up on a punchline network? Let’s roll the tape. … Read More

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Lifetime’s Disturbing Obsession With Kidnapped Women

This month, Lifetime is airing three different movies about women who get kidnapped. Last week was Cleveland Abduction, tomorrow night is the premiere of Stockholm, Pennsylvania, and later this month (May 23) the network will air Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story. The movies vary in quality — though none are especially memorable, as is Lifetime’s way — but each remarks on Lifetime’s ongoing and increasingly unsettling obsession with kidnapped women.  … Read More

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Lifetime’s ‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’ Makes the Case for Women Serial Killers on Television

As weird as it may have sounded when originally announced, a television series centered around Lizzie Borden is actually a sound idea. Borden, the woman tried and acquitted for brutally murdering her parents with an axe, remains a notorious figure today (the first timeI heard of her was, like many others, through the popular schoolyard rhyme). It’s also a good time for serial killers on television: Dexter ended a while ago but it’s been replaced with HannibalBates Motel, The Following, and others. These shows all focus on male serial killers; Lifetime premiering a cat-and-mouse detective series about a female serial killer is, surprisingly for the network, a near-genius idea.  … Read More

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Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig (Maybe) Made a Secret Lifetime Movie, And Then Cancelled It

Presumably anticipating the widespread “Yeah, riiiiiiight” response to breaking such a story on April 1, The Hollywood… Read More

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Lifetime’s Brontë Update ‘Wuthering High School’ Is No ‘Clueless’

There are certain works of literature that make the most sense when you understand their characters as adolescents, even if they were written before teenagers were considered a discrete demographic. Jane Austen’s Emma, for instance, clicks into place when you understand Emma as a teenager figuring out her world and growing up, which is why Clueless is such a perfect adaptation. Romeo and Juliet, and the Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli adaptations which emphasize the characters’ youth, passion and immaturity, bring forth these elements in Shakespeare’s work. … Read More

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Bobby Brown Is, Unsurprisingly, the Romantic Hero of Lifetime’s Infuriating ‘Whitney’

It’s peculiar that Lifetime once branded itself as “television for women” when its programs, particularly its celebrity biopics, are only concerned with the men in their subjects’ lives. Brittany Murphy, Aaliyah, and Whitney Houston were all immensely talented women whose lives were ripe with interesting tales and themes that could be explored on screen, yet Lifetime’s biopics tend to focus not on their work or struggles but on their romantic relationships. The most egregious example is last year’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, which largely ignored Aaliyah’s musical accomplishments in favor of tackling her “love story” with R. Kelly, and then with Damon Dash, even ending with an emphasis on Dash rather than on Aaliyah’s death. Lifetime’s latest entry in its “male-dominated biopics about women” genre is Whitney, which premieres tomorrow night and unfortunately — though certainly not unsurprisingly — follows the same infuriating and disrespectful format as the network’s previous movies about iconic women. … Read More

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Jesus Is “The Best Boyfriend Ever” on Lifetime’s Surprisingly Insightful ‘The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns’

The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns is the anti-reality show reality show. It’s not anti-reality but anti-what we’ve come to know (and enjoy) about the reality genre. There is absolutely no sex or drugs or alcohol. No one is hooking up — any relationships are ended during the first few minutes of the pilot episode, as the girls must remain celibate — and there is not a single man in sight. The cast lives in a peaceful environment where catfights are against the rules. The girls are not competing against each other to find a husband but working together as they all prepare to give themselves to Jesus. The Sisterhood is only technically a reality show, which makes it inherently interesting, but it does slip into reality clichés every once in a while, which allows it to remain compelling to those with no interest in the religious aspects of the show. It sort of works. … Read More

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‘Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever’ Is Every Bit as Awful as You Feared

About halfway through Lifetime’s Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, there is a poor special effect featuring two Grumpy Cats flying red and green airplanes across the screen. The planes carry banners that read, “If you’re still watching this, I worry for you.” Well. At least this movie is self-aware, I suppose. There are multiple self-deprecating meta moments throughout the movie that break the fourth wall and laugh at the audience for watching this strange, too-early, and pathetic Christmas “special.” The joke’s on us for watching, sure, but the joke is also on Lifetime, and on Grumpy Cat (and his owners), and on Aubrey Plaza (who voices the cat), and on everyone else who had anything to do with this movie. … Read More

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Lifetime’s Disastrous ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B’ Paints Her Teen Marriage to R. Kelly as a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Story

During the past year or so, Lifetime’s reputation has changed. Once a network that aired unintentionally funny made-for-TV movies about tragic (but ultimately triumphant!) women and the men who wronged them, it has become a network that now regularly releases weak, pseudo-controversial, and above all, too-awful-for-words biopics about celebrities: the unfathomably bad Liz and Dick, the sleepy and boring Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story, and the utterly shameless The Brittany Murphy Story. The network’s latest mistake is Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, another horrendous mess to throw on top of Lifetime’s growing pile of crap. … Read More

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