By Claudia Everly
If you’re not yet familiar with the veritable treasure trove that is Lifetime Channel for Women’s über-preachy, über-angsty and amazingly addictive movie catalogue, I judge you.
But no worries, the stigma of your ignorance can be easily lifted in about four hours. All you need is a computer, access to YouTube, a steaming bowl of buttery popcorn and an icy glass of Riesling. Herewith, three of the best from the Lifetime Channel’s golden era – the 2000s.
Note: While this period overlaps with the tenure of Tori Spelling, ca. 1994-2005, the TV-movie queen will not make an appearance on this list. Sorry Donna.
3. On third place we’ve got….
Too Young to be a Dad (2002)
The angsty conundrum: A spin on the conventional teen-mom dilemma, Matt Freeman is, at 16, too young to be a dad (Lifetime has a habit of giving away the plot of its masterpieces in the title). Math-impaired temptress and classmate Francesca lures young Matt to her house for a tutoring job, and then proceeds to deflower him in a cringe-worthy manner that will have you reliving your own de-virginisation/seduction attempts in painful detail. When the problem comes to light, both sets of grandparents-to be-clash over what’s to be done. Will the young couple opt for adoption or not? Will Matt step up?
What I learned: I don’t think I’d ever sleep with Paul Dano. So that’ll make my decision easier when he inevitably calls me up in response to my scathing review, then attempts to seduce me with his suave Mac-Daddy moves to prove me wrong.
2. On second place we’ve got a rather scandalous storyline…..ooo yeah…
All-American Girl – The Mary Kay Letourneau Story (2000)
The angsty conundrum: Villi is thirteen, and his bookish, conservative teacher – a married mom of four – wants him. Told largely in flashbacks, an illicit (and, needless to say, highly disturbing) romance unfolds between the unlikely couple, which results in her pregnancy and eventual arrest. Forced to join a counselling group for child molesters in prison, Mary continues to attempt to justify her relationship with the boy, whose “haunting” eyes” and artistic talent proved too much to resist. Will Mary ever make it out of jail? Was Villi a victim or a just a super-suave, albeit miniature, Casanova? And will Mary learn that shoulder pads are not acceptable unless you’re at an 80s party? Based on a true story.
What I learned: I discovered that awkward silences in elevators are not really awkward. Being caught doing the nasty with a tween is, though.
1. And the winner is…drum roll….
Odd Girl Out (2005)
The angsty conundrum: Far better than Mean Girls. Queen bee Stacy Larsen seems super chill on the outside, but inside a Medusa-like demoness lingers. When her bestie Vanessa starts outshining her academically, and when local lothario Tony moves in on Vanessa instead of Stacy, the latter and sidekick Nicki launch a full-blown attack against their former friend. Ousted from the lunch table, Vanessa loses it, especially when Nicki and her cronies set up a “Hating Vanessa” website. Will Vanessa grow a pair and stand up to her bullies? Will hell swallow up Stacy for her evil mind games? Will both girls realise that Tony is a bit of a knob?
What I learned: I don’t ever want to be a teenager again. You tend to only remember the good. Whether popular or nerdy, we’ve all been there, and it’s no fun. And teenagers suck at flirting. And teenage boys are really twerpy and I can’t remember why I had such big crushes on them back in the day.
You hooked? If you want to hear about my top three picks for Lifetime movies of the 1990s (read: Death of a Cheerleader), shoot us a line in the comments below – more good times await.