Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

It’s a Hard Knox Life

Another week, another terrible made for TV movie. I’ll be honest, I think Lovestruck: The Musical deserves a boatload of Emmys in comparison to this week’s film (sorry, Christa, but it’s true!). See Christa’s thoughts on this week’s pick here!

The Film:

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Guys. Read the title. This is a Lifetime original movie about the Amanda Knox trial. For murder. In Italy.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Since it’s a Lifetime movie based on a true story, we’ve got our news clips, we’ve got our gorgeous Italian countryside, and we’ve got our Hayden Panettiere with brownish hair and a super hipster-y Italian boyfriend.

a young woman stands next to a man who is wearing a large yellow scarf as they face a police officer
I’m wearing this scarf ironically.

The police arrive at the house Amanda shares with three other students after finding her roommate Meredith’s cellphone.

When the police open the door to Amanda/Meredith’s room, they find Meredith’s body on the floor covered with a blanket. As you probably know since this trial was everywhere, Amanda and Raffaele are about to spend years in prison after being implicated for Meredith’s murder.

However, just two months earlier in Seattle, Amanda is a too cheerful barista who is excited to study abroad in Italy. Her family is throwing her a nice normal going away party, and her sister visits after a few weeks. Amanda advises her sister that in Italy “Everything’s illegal and nothing’s forbidden.” Whoa, Amanda.

Around this time, Amanda moves in with the three students, including Meredith, who is super serious and British and studying all the time. Amanda, on the other hand, is busy picking up Italian Steve Jobs. Their first date basically consists of Raffaele sitting next to Amanda after they make sexy eyes for an extended period, Amanda feeding him a chocolate strawberry, and riding a carousel. He does make risotto, though, thus earning major points on the potential boyfriend front. They bond over having divorced parents and being former victims of bullying in school.

a woman gestures to another young woman as they stand next to a stone wall
This was just not the world’s most screen cap-able movie.

Later, Meredith and Amanda have a minor fight b/c Amanda is apparently a slob. This is going to come back to haunt Amanda, along with her strange/apparently indecent behavior in the wake of the murder: PDAs with her boyfriend, doing cartwheels while at the police station, and going lingerie shopping. Also it’s not great to have the nickname “Foxy Knoxy” when the police are investigating a possible rape and murder.

people gathered in a courthouse all stand and face the judges underneath a large dome depicting figures that represent justice
This is the most beautiful court house I’ve ever seen, though.

Okay, I’m going to skip to the end because seriously, the rest of the movie just goes through virtually every detail of the trial that you can read about in a Newsweek article or…Wikipedia.

For whatever bullshit reason, Amanda receives a 26-year sentence, while Raffaele gets 25.

And, as we know, the conviction goes through all kinds of legal mumbo jumbo before the two are acquitted.

The Critique:

Honestly, it’s really hard to be sarcastic about this movie. I was expecting it to be way more melodramatic or at least involve a crazy conspiracy theory. But noooooooooooooo, Lifetime decided to stick to the facts for once, which makes it really difficult to snark about without being a total asshole.

I did get a bit emotional at the end, but I attribute that to recently binge-watching season 2 of Broadchurch, which is just a sucker punch for the soul. (Coincidentally, Sucker Punch for the Soul was the less successful follow-up series to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.)

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I expect more of you, Lifetime. Or possibly less?

Either way, check out Christa’s post here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, a Heartwarming Story about Sticking It to the Man

Yet another edition of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab!  This week’s film is Christa’s pick, which I wholeheartedly endorse, Lizzie Borden Took an AxCheck out Christa’s review on her blog.

The Film:

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Where to Watch:


The Premise:

Lizzie Borden, played by Christina Ricci, is on trial for the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

One of the first outfits we see Lizzie wearing is essentially something Christina Ricci wears in Penelope. So basically I expected this movie to be Penelope but with murder, and I was not disappointed.

Lizzie lives with her sister, stepmother, and overbearing, borderline obsessive-compulsive father. At one point she’s humming to herself while ironing, and he reminds her “I’ve asked you not to make noise while I’m in this room.” Way to be an 1800s dick, Mr. Borden (there are a lot of those in this movie).

It seems Lizzie’s main hobbies are watching dudes, making crazy eyes at everyone, and shoplifting.

“I’ve always wanted more,” Lizzie says as she checks herself out with a new dress in front of a mirror. All essential elements of a Lifetime movie are officially present.

A woman in a dress shop holds up a silky purple dress in the mirror.

Lizzie’s already considering all angles, as she tells her friend about the shady dudes her father refuses to pay for their sub-par labor. Maybe something terrible will happen at the house, like murder, though obviously not committed by me, Lizzie Borden, LOL.

After Lizzie’s father discovers she has stolen a mirror from the dress shop, he forbids her from attending a party that night. Don’t worry, Lizzie, you SHALL go to the ball, aka den of sin.

A note about the music of this film: it’s so hilariously anachronistic, but it completely works in the way it does for Moulin Rouge. Lizzie’s breakin’ all the rules, so she always gets rebellious rock ‘n roll to accompany everything she does.

Overnight, there is a robbery at the Borden residence: their pet(?) pigeons are dead, and some of the stepmother’s jewelry is missing. Prime suspect? Lizzie. Always Lizzie.

This leads to a big fight between Lizzie and her father; essentially, she’s ungrateful, he’s a Nazi.

The next day, Lizzie is acting super sketchy and messing around with shit in the basement. She tells the maid that her stepmother left to visit a sick friend. Later, Lizzie screams as she discovers her father dead with his face bashed in.

A man with his face bashed in lies on the floor.
Photos are always 1000x creepier in black and white.

When questioned, Lizzie says she was in the barn looking for her fishing tackle at the time, then ate three pears (all of this, of course, while making crazy eyes). There is a stain on her dress, which Lizzie explains is an old stain from stew.

The other dude whose job I don’t really understand, blonde 1800s asshole, is suspicious.

Cut to Lizzie and her sister, Emma, attending the funeral (with this gospel/jazzy song that is kind of close to being a dance track). The funeral is interrupted as the bodies are exhumed for the investigation.

The police/lawyers/1800s people whose job descriptions I don’t understand question Lizzie, asking her to bring in the dress for further examination. So, of course, she burns it.

The blonde 1800s asshole is convinced Lizzie did it and points out “Insane asylums are full of insane women.” FUCK YOU TOO, 1800S DUDE.

When Lizzie is interrogated, she snaps a little bit and reveals she didn’t think of her stepmother as a mother.

Shortly after, Lizzie is formally charged with murder and arrested.

There are several pieces of evidence against Lizzie, though none of them make a whole lot of sense: Lizzie never gave her father gifts, she went in to the drug store/apothecary a few days before and asked about rat poison, and skulls! In court! Just because!

On the other hand, Emma claims she told Lizzie to burn the dress because it was old, and there were also those sketchy dudes who were disgruntled that Mr. Borden never paid them.

In the end, Lizzie is found not guilty, and she makes crazy eyes at the 1800s blonde dude to triumphant rock music.

A woman walks by a crowd of men, glaring off into the distance.
The signature “fuck you, motherfucker” crazy stare.

At this celebratory party, Lizzie is getting super affectionate with one of her lady friends, so IDK if Lifetime is implying Lizzie Borden was a lesbian. I’m going with a yes because it explains why Emma freaks out about Lizzie’s life of sin/invitation of attention/lack of real friends. In response, Lizzie tells Emma that she did, in fact, commit the murders. Emma leaves, NEVER TO RETURN.

Then they go for a bit of Psycho ending here because we get skulls/Lizzie’s bloody face complete with crazy eye stare.


The Critique:

You guys, if 1. I had cable and 2. I didn’t have to work, I would almost certainly stay at home watching Lifetime movies all day. I just don’t get tired of movies about women getting fed up with your bullshit, men, and snapping.

I loved this particular LMN offering because at times it felt like watching the angry feminist Drunk History, so it was kind of perfect.  Next dude I see is getting punched.

Also a million Pink Panther Heads for Christina Ricci making crazy/sexy eyes all the fucking time while wandering around in a nightgown.

A young woman sits at a dining table, looking intensely at a teacup.
I will fuck you UP, teacup.

Christa is prob tired of me saying this, but it was like my childhood dream of seeing Wednesday Addams grow up and commit unspeakable crimes was fulfilled.

Apparently the spin-off TV series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles started airing on April 5th. Why am I currently doing anything that isn’t watching that show?

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I LOVED the beginning, but I do admit the second half, which focused on the trial, started to drag. Less talking, more ax-murdering.  IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.

See what Christa thinks here!