Lifetime's stiff treatment of the life of Aaliyah Haughton, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, was not exactly so bad it was good, but it was fun to mock. Basically, you had to put in work to find good in the boring, terribly cast, musically inept slog. Aaliyah died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001; Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B felt longer than her actual, brief life.
Hey teens and adults without a dealer, are you looking for a way to get a extra shot of mojo, just a little boost to make you feel like you can do anything? Why not try the choking game, which has been providing a shot of euphoria through cutting off the brain's oxygen supply to...let's call them curious parties for decades. This weekend, Lifetime investigated this phenomenon in a fictional piece of camp propaganda that was aptly titled The Choking Game.
Last night, Lifetime aired a sequel to its ridiculous adaptation of V.C. Andrews' pulp tale of incest and other parenting no-nos, Flowers in the Attic. Petals on the Wind felt exactly like the rush job it was—the sequel was announced in January a week before Flowers aired because that's how certain Lifetime was that it had a hit on its hands.
In case you missed it, Lifetime (television for women and their friends who love campy shit) aired a brand new version of V.C. Andrews' incest classic Flowers in the Attic on Saturday. Its ridiculous plot, which finds a group of four young siblings imprisoned in their grandparents' attic because their grandfather can't know about them because their mother married her half-uncle and their mother is trying to win back the love of her father so she can inherit his fortune, was delivered ridiculously. (Spoiler alert: The imprisoned brother and sister end up fucking, so that kind of thing runs in the family.)
Lifetime's House of Versace aired last night, and it was excellent to see Gina Gershon in her old thematic stomping ground of playing a coked-up lady boss set on making everyone's lives miserable. Though critically savaged, I'd wager that Gershon's alternately groggy and raving portrayal of Donatella Versace (complete with a caricature of Donatella's rumbling, accented basso) will age about as well as her iconic turn in Showgirls as Cristal Connors.
Lifetime's Anna Nicole movie (directed by American Psycho's Mary Harron) was an upgrade from the 2007 biopic starring Willa Ford and also called Anna Nicole, but that's not saying a whole lot. While Agnes Bruckner did a decent job of conveying Anna Nicole Smith's goofy sweetness and sliding scale of self-awareness, the movie was weirdly still and bland for a life that was bursting with fruit flavor and silicone. (Dan P. Lee's New York story on which it was based, "Paw Paw & Lady Love," was much more vivid and empathetic.) Ignored almost entirely in this movie was Smith's knack for showing up in public an acting like a maniac — crucial to her legend was her long string of awards show appearances, red carpet camping and tabloid-TV outbursts. Smith's real gift for spectacle went mostly unexamined.
Last night, Lifetime aired the quickie cash-in TV-movie version of Jodi Arias' saga that resulted in the murder of her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Perfectly overacted, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret featured Nomi Malone-sized breakdowns, a blowjob-to-Mormon-baptism transition, the line "I feel like a prostitute, Travis — a piece of toilet paper," a murder scene that stretched on for two full minutes and a wannabe haunting rendition of "O Holy Night" sung by Tania Raymonde (as Arias). Those highlights are above.
Last night, Lifetime debuted the first two episodes of The Houstons: On Our Own, the latest chapter in the year-long public grieving of the death of Whitney Houston. The series features Gary Houston (Whitney's brother), Pat Houston (Gary's wife and Whitney's manager/best friend), Rayah Houston (Gary and Pat's daughter), Cissy Houston (Whitney and Gary's mother) and, most voyeuristically, the (by nearly all reports) troubled daughter of Whitney and Bobby Brown, Bobbi-Kristina Brown.
This weekend sees the release of adaptations of two cherished favorites featuring black actors playing characters previously portrayed as white. Andrea Arnold's gorgeous and raw spin on Wuthering Heights opens in limited release and features a black Heathcliff (via Solomon Glave, who plays him as a teen and James Howson, who handles the grown-up portion of the film, which covers only about the first half of Emily Brontë's novel). Meanwhile, Kenny Leon's adaptation of Steel Magnolias features the likes of Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashād and a show-stealing Alfre Woodard among its entirely black principle cast. It airs Sunday on Lifetime.
Lindsay Lohan is back in a tailor-made Lifetime movie (see what I did there?) about Elizabeth Taylor's rocky relationship with her fifth (and sixth) husband, Hollywood icon Richard Burton (played by True Blood's Grant Bowler).
Lifetime, the TV network that "celebrates, entertains, and supports women," has finally pushed its schadenfreude reality programming too far. After airing an extraordinarily child-sexualizing episode of Dance Moms once, the network pulled the episode from rotation and scrubbed it from the internet. The episode in question? "Topless Showgirls," in which a troop of 8- to 13-year-old girls simulate toplessness and perform a burlesque.