Last night, a friend and I celebrated our almost-mutual birthdays by watching, in its entirety, the Lifetime “unauthorized” Saved By The Bell movie. To say that I want those two hours back would, first of all, be unfair to my friend, who opened up her house to me and whose company I cherish — also, it wouldn’t quite be true, because during the course of those two hours, I came up with several ideas for better Lifetime movies that I assume some television executive will see here (because all of television reads my blog), not steal, and subsequently pay me large amounts of money to bring to fruition. 

So, sure, I spent the evening, as my friend put it, neither so excited nor so scared, unless you count the fear I felt when a warning light came on in the car on the drive to-and-from, that I can only describe as instructing me to dive very swiftly into the Himalaya range (I looked it up; the coolant was low). Sure, I spent most of the movie wondering if the director had learned the storied art of filmmaking by doing nothing other than repeatedly viewing Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. Indeed, the pacing, lack of character development, over-reliance on a single conceit, and stilted dialogue and inexplicable jump cuts reminded me exactly of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats — the primary difference between the two filmic masterpieces being that Death Bed’s conceit was better, and its budget was actually about $32, in stark comparison to SBTB, which seemed to have had a $9 billion budget, $8.99 billion of which went to obtaining the rights to “Poison” and “Baby Got Back.”

So here, as I watched 120 minutes of mild arguments between well-mannered teens, with barely a mention (much less evidence) of sex, drugs, or eating disorders (all of which were allegedly rampant), wherein the main dramatic event was NBC network exec Brandon Tartikoff’s debilitating car accident (in which case, they should have titled the movie: TARTIKOFF’S CRASH, AND ALSO SCREECH), were my competing Brilliant Ideas. You’re welcome, television:

1. A behind-the-scenes making-of of 90210

2. A behind-the-scenes making-of of Showgirls

3. Actual Showgirls, especially the edited-for-TV version, which, since most of the film is so obscene, is about 57 minutes long, fully nonsensical, and contains Roger Rabbited cartoon brassieres

4. A Weird Al biopic

Think these ideas are underwhelming and pedestrian? That’s how debilitatingly not-even-so-bad-it’s-fun bad that movie was. I know, I know, what did I expect? I cannot begin to tell you how low my expectations were going in. That this film managed to disappoint even me, who watches The Carrie Diaries religiously, is a feat unto itself.  Its best parts — and I’m talking by considerable measure — were the re-enactment of actual scenes from the actual show. It’s clear that even though the movie was “unauthorized” it was obviously authorized, because there is no explanation for how mind-numbingly free of even the remotest hint of scandal or intrigue it was other than “all the original cast and producers threatened to sue and if they’d won, there go the rights to ‘Poison.'”

 

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