The only thing worse than a really bad movie is a really bad movie made for Television. These T.V. movies seek to expose the lurid details of fame and misfortune. They contain super-long titles and are churned out to tie-in with a recent (and mostly tragic) event that has grabbed the nation's attention. Usually featuring a name star that (closely) resembles the prominent person in the newsworthy event. Perfect to throw together anytime for a T.V. produced quickie that will draw ratings (like flies).
Take for example, Tonight's world premiere of "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story" on the Lifetime channel at 9 pm (EST). A scandalous tale of teen sex on set based on a tell-all book just published by the beloved child character known as Screech! Unauthorized because no one will admit if this trash is true.
So, one way to digest (or at least, keep down) Tonight's serving of bad taste would be to try and stomach these earlier courses of classic turkeys or what you could call my list of the best/worst movies made for Television.
1. "15 and Pregnant"- A young Kirsten Dunst plays teen Tina Spangler as a pregnant girl whose world is thrown into chaos after her bump starts to show in high school. The true original that birthed all of those T.V. clones like MTV's "Teen Mom." Dunst, wearing a pillow throughout the dreadful bio-pic, barely makes it through unscathed. Dumbfounding!
2. "The Amy Fisher Story"- Drew Barrymore stars as the "Long Island Lolita", in a by-the-numbers dramatization that does nothing to explain this gruesome true life shooting. Three T.V. movies were made detailing the crime shortly after it happened, with this one being the least credible and most sensational of the trio. Jaw-dropping, especially those takes of Barrymore with extremely big hair.
3. "Anna Nicole"- A vapid account of her bizarre rise to fame, first as a Guess? jeans model, B-movie actress, and then, wife to an aged Texas Billionaire. Agnes Bruckner ("Wrong Cops") portrays the buxom blonde bimbo and Adam Goldberg ("The Hebrew Hammer") supports her addictions as her lawyer/lothario, Howard K. Stern. Highlights include a cringe-inducing scene where a drugged-out Smith is wearing clown makeup, screaming at her soon to be dead son, Danny. Truly unforgettable!
4. "The Craiglist Killer"- An atrocious retelling of the online murderer and his nefarious scheme to keep his hook-ups quiet. A retelling with acting so awful that you'll wonder if they didn't find everyone involved on this production on Craig's list! Alleged killer Philip Markhoff, assumed by unknown actor Jake McDorman, Markoff contacts his victims through the social site for sellers, leading to brutal attacks perpetrated by a doctor with a very unfriendly bedside manner. Just plain bad... er, I mean awesome!
5. "Drew Peterson: Untouchable"- Rob Lowe dyes his hair gray and grows a beard to impersonate police officer Drew Peterson. A cop charged with murdering more than one of his wives. This notorious T.V. re-enactment came out before the trial to capitalize on headlines. Kaley Cuoco co-stars as Peterson's fourth and final bride. Untouchable, my ass!
6. "Liz & Dick"- Lindsay Lohan shipwrecks her floundering career on the rocky real-life marriage of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Jump cuts through decades of juicy Hollywood gossip to focus instead, on a small-scale account of love gone wrong. Lohan gives a poor performance of glaring missteps and atrocious awkwardness. Abominable!
7. "Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story"- Laughably inaccurate story about Harry Potter scribe JK Rowling. Aussie-born actress Poppy Montgomery tries to play the British author but, fails miserably in her accent (which goes in and out quite often), a ho-hum script and a terrible idea to film this like it's a fable and not a fact-based journey of overachievement.
8. "Mazes and Monsters"- Not many know about Oscar winner Tom Hanks only made for T.V. movie of the early 80's. Although, those who do know about it clearly will tell of how horribly special this cheap feature really is. Hanks inhabits his role of a young man who plays dungeons and dragons who seemingly goes overboard on this table-top game. Mystifyingly bad!
9. "The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story"- Dean Cain, T.V.'s Superman, feebly attempts to be the perfect husband to a loving and pregnant mother to-be. However, he can't even pull it off in this meritless melodrama. Filmed prior to a true life guilty verdict, this movie has no resolution and many a question goes unresolved. Adding insult to injury over a case that seemed suspicious when first publicized.
10. "She Woke up Pregnant"- Michelle Greene, once a leading lady on CMU grad Steven Bochco's show "L.A. Law", returns to her low-rent roots in this ridiculous movie. A dubious plot is ripped right from yesterday's headlines where a sleazy dentist impregnates one of his female patients while under anesthesia. The title tells you all you need to know! Too bad the bleary-eyed producers didn't think you needed anything else... like say a storyline, credible acting or adequate directing!