People don’t realize that there are killers among them. People they liked, loved, lived with, worked with and admired could the next day turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable
So a few weeks ago I posted my review of The Stranger Beside Me based on the book and life experiences of Ann Rule-the woman who worked and was friends with Ted Bundy. In that review I mentioned watching this film first and that I was working on my review-well that time has come.
So this film is told from the point of view of Ted Bundy’s girlfriend-Elizabeth Kendall and her experiences in meeting, falling in love with Ted Bundy, and then seeing him arrested and on trial for the murders.
The first thing I find interesting is the parallel’s with both were single mothers of daughters, both said that he was incredibly charming, trusted him, believed in his innocence far into the trial-yet when both heard the description of the man the police were looking for mentioned him. I mean they were both utterly shocked when all came out about what he did, but yet at the same time there seemed to always be this thought that not everything was as it seems.
So first off I thought this Netflix film was extremely good. The set design, costuming, etc was amazing. Everything evoked the 1970s and felt firmly like we were stepping back into that world. The Ann Rule film tried to go for a ’70s feel but it was mostly late ’90s/early 2000s.
Zac Efron as Ted Bundy was phenomenal as you could tell he really studied the mannerisms and tone of Ted Bundy as when you watch interviews of Ted Bundy-Efron was spot on. I also liked how the film reenforced what many thought of him at the time, handsome, charming, etc.
So I understand where the film was coming from, they wanted to show it from his girlfriend’s point of view, Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins)-how she saw him, how he loved her, showing that psychopaths aren’t always easy to spot as monsters right away as they are often charming, etc. The only complaint I had was that they didn’t show the abuse his girlfriend received on her side. True, she never mentions Bundy hitting her in her book and of course he didn’t kill her-but he abused her in other ways.
I wished that had shown a little more of how he treated her as it also explains why she called in with his name. Like all victims, she had that moment when she felt something wasn’t right, clarity, but the police didn’t take her seriously.
While it was an interesting view and the acting was fantastic I preferred The Stranger Beside Me. I think that film was more equal in its depiction-showing the charming, kind, attractive qualities-but also the dark side. I think they could have been a bit harsher in the depiction of Ted Bundy, showing more of his dark side-but otherwise it was an interesting film and very informative.
The Stranger Beside Me (2003) is based off the book by Ann Rule about her experiences working alongside and being friends with Ted Bundy (you know before she realized he was killing people). So I really, really want to read this book, but unfortunately we do not have it at the library as someone checked it out and never returned it.
We had the movie, but I of course would prefer to read the book first and then watch the film.
However, then I saw the new film on Ted Bundy, Extremely Wicked and Incredibly Vile (review pending) and then I really wanted to read the book/watch this film.
So instead of waiting any longer I decided to watch the film.
So while it is a TV movie and didn’t have the same amount of money that the Netflix production did, I preferred this film over the new one.
I’m sure you all know by now that I am not a remake fan.
The starts off with Ted Bundy (Billy Campbell) with the dead body of a woman. We then switch to Ann Rule, previously a cop, now a true crime reporter-is close friends with Ted Bundy and talking to him about how she got this great deal to write a book on this person who has been killing people. He asks about the book and she shares a little about it and the crime, the two reconnecting as they haven’t seen each other in a while-we then flash back.
Ann Rule had met Ted Bundy earlier in her life when they both worked at a crisis counseling center and let me tell you that watching it felt like being in a whirlpool. Here is this guy who they estimate ended up murdering and raping over 100 women actually helping and saving people-and being incredible kind and caring while he did it. Ann has said that she witnessed him saving lives and that she trusted him with her own daughter (she has stated that if her daughter was older she would have set them up, she would have made a play for him if she was younger). He used to walk her to car every night and make sure she got in safely.
The thing I really liked about this film is that it is much more balanced than Extremely Wicked and Incredibly Vile as we are shown how Ann views him-but also we see the horrible things he is doing. From how he emotionally abuses and manipulates his girlfriend to him killing women (it doesn’t show anything but alludes to it.) In fact, watching this showed what it is like to be in an abusive relationship-you see the ugly dark side, while the abuser shows the rest of the world the charismatic side.
So in the beginning, Ann Rule didn’t believe Ted could be the killer as all the good he has seen him do. But as events transpired and she began to believe he is he murderer, the film got darker as well.
One thing that I found really interesting, was that before Elizabeth called in her tip about Ted Bundy, Ann shared it with the police as when she heard about the car and the guy being called Ted he popped in her head-but she didn’t really believe it until much later.
I also liked how this showed how he tried to interject himself into her book and have the story written his way. It reminded me of the way he tried to direct the TV interviews .
I thought it was extremely good-even though some of the acting and costumes might not be as good, the story was great and I really liked how it showed how he could charm and be this friendly guy, while in reality he was a dark and twisted man.
So back in December when I was watching a Christmas Film every day, this was suggested by Martha.leith. I enjoyed it, especially one moment, that I’m sharing with you today.
This film is based on a true story. Heather is a nursing student who is tired all the time and not feeling well.
At first she thinks that she is overworked, but then she realizes that something is not right. She goes to the doctor and discovers that she only has a few months to live, unless she can find a living donor for a transplant. As one who has been studying medicine, Heather knows the chances of her getting a transplant and her body accepting it is very slim. Instead she decides to use the rest of her time to make this the best Christmas ever.
Chris, a recently returned marine, hears about Heather and even though she is a stranger, he gets tested and is a match! The two begin to get to know each other and Heather starts to fall for Chris; but does she REALLY love him or does she just feel grateful for what he has done? And will they survive the surgery, or will it be a last Christmas for one of them?
Most Romantic Moment #12: You Don’t Owe Me Anything
This moment comes about 2/3 of the way through the film. Heather has been really chill through the movie-everyone else is sad, worried, freaking out-but Heather has just been enjoying the holidays, no big deal. But the day of the hospital, Heather is prepped and it hits her. She is asking this guy to go under surgery and give a part of himself. He could die, he could never recover, her body could reject it and they would have had him open for nothing. How can she do this?
She can’t do this, she can’t ask this of him, she doesn’t want to do it anymore, but then Chris calm her down. Heather tells him she doesn’t know what she could do to thank him, and he tells her “you owe me absolutely nothing“-he’s freely giving it to her.
Every time I see it, that scene makes my heart melt!
So amazon brought this film back and I just had to watch it again. As you know, I love Lifetime movies, and this was one of the top Lifetime movies. I was only two when it came out, but I have watched it again and again through the years.
It is Lifetime at its best-based on a true story and full of over the top drama!
It is based on a true story of the murder of Kirsten Costas by Bernadette Protti. And I just want to say, this review in no way is meant to hurt or poke fun at the victim or their family, I know what it is like to have someone close to you be stabbed to death-this is just a review of Lifetime’s depiction.
So the film is pretty low-budget and ’90s to the max. One of the many reasons to love it.
We start off with Stacy Lockwood (Tori Spelling) knocking on a door and asking to use their phone. She explains she was out with a friend, but their friend started acting weird so she left. She tries to reach her parents, but no dice.
The father of the family drives her home and drops her off. As he is driving away, he hears screaming. He witnesses her being stabbed by a “friend” and calls the police. When the Lockwoods arrive, they find the paramedics and police outside the home.
They flashback 10 months, to the start of the school year. Angela Delvecchio (Kellie Martin) is going to Santa Mira High this year instead of St. Josephs. Angie is a shy girl who wants to be the best she can be. She wants to be devout, do well academically, be the most popular, most beautiful, and above all-a cheerleader. Just like the beautiful and perfect Stacy Lockwood.
Angie feels this year will be her year-no doubt. Her best friend Jill tries to talk her out of it, but Angie has a manic devotion to her goals. Angie tries as hard as she can to get into the coveted school sorority, the Larks.
By the skin of her teeth she makes it in-and just a short regress in 80-90s book and movies they always had these “special” high school sororities/clubs that were for popular people that did community service and threw all kinds of parties-the Pearls, Unicorns, Pi Belta Alpha, etc. Did people really do that? I never went to a regular school-I went to an art school so my high school life wasn’t normal.
Anyways, she gets in and reconnects with her old friend from Saint Joseph’s, Jamie, and tries to do all she can to get close to Stacy-to be Stacy.
Angela loves the Larks, her favorite thing being the community service.
Jill: Great, Angela, my friend the do-gooder. Honestly, you make me feel like I should go to church and confess or something.
Angela sets herself to her next goal-the school attendance office. To be chosen is to rule the school as you have the power for hall passes. Only the coolest can get it, so when Angie gets picked she is over the moon.
Angela Delvecchio: I got a job in the Attendance Office, and guess who I’ll be working with!
Jill: From the way you sound, it must be someone important. Who is it? Nancy Reagan?
Angela Delvecchio: Stacy Lockwood!
Jill: Oh. Miss Queen Bee herself! What? Are you one of her drones? I’m sorry, Angela, I just don’t wanna see you get hurt.
Jill tries to be friends with Stacy, but Stacy is incredibly mean and cruel-Regina George has nothing on her. Stacy rules the school with an Iron Fist-what she says is cool is cool and what she says or who she says is lame is destroyed!!! Such as a girl Monica who wears all black. Stacy constantly taunts her in class:
Stacy Lockwood: [reading her poem] Face like a ghost, hair black as sin/the witch of Santa Mira scratches her chin/she cackles, she gloats, she summons her broom/and flies like a banshee right out of the room.
Teacher: Monica! [to Stacy] Stacy, I think you better apologize.
Stacy Lockwood: I’m sorry, Mrs. Chadfield. It was just a poem. It wasn’t about her.
Actually, now that I think about it, Stacy is like Regina George and Heather Chandler rolled into one. Speaking of Heathers, this film has the same type of vibe of that with a touch of David Lynch. Beautiful on the outside, with evil and ugliness lurking on the inside.
Angie fawns over Stacy and strives to be her friend. She’s kind of like Anna Kendrick in A Simple Favor.
Angel works hard to go on the Ski Trip with the Larks, even though her family isn’t wealthy. There Stacey steals Monica’s diary and reads it in front of EVERYONE.
[after Monica threatens Stacy about her diary]
Angela Delvecchio: Monica, just let it go. She didn’t mean anything by it.
Monica: [angry] I’d like to kill her.
Angela Delvecchio: No, Monica, you don’t mean it. You’re just angry.
Monica: [to Angela, darkly] What would a wannabe like you know about it anyway, huh? Go on, go. Get away from me, run back and lick her boots. That’s what your dying to do anyway, isn’t it?
As said before-Stacey rules the school. And all must bow to her will.
Angela sets her sights on the next part of her goal-yearbook. But isn’t accepted. She contiues to try for cheerleader and tries to be noticed to be known, but is continuously looked over by teachers and others. She has to be a cheerleader, just has to be.
But she isn’t picked-Stacey is.
That really gets Angela, after all everything on her list-Stacey has gotten it. Sure Angela is a Lark and Office Aid-but she doesn’t have true popularity. Stacey has achieved all she has wanted. She will never be Stacey Lockwood…but maybe she can be her friend?
Jill comes over one night and the two drink and hang out. Jill brings up a party that is coming up. That’s when it hits her-that is how she will become Stacey’s friend. She lies to her parents about baby-sitting and borrows her sister’s car. She calls the Lockwood home and tells them about a party for the Larks that Stacey is invited to, something she will be honored for.
The night comes and Angie picks Stacy up. Stacy is not happy being with a nobody loser like Angie, but she convinces her that she lied about the dinner so her parents wouldn’t find out about the rager they are going to. But things don’t turn out well,
Stacy Lockwood: [looks at a knife and vegetable next to her] What’s this, hors d’ouvres?
Angela Delvecchio: Oh, my sister. She sometimes fixes lunch in the car.
Stacy Lockwood: Mmm, now that’s real class, Angie. So, who did you say was gonna be at this party?
Angela Delvecchio: Oh, the older crowd.
But when Staey pushes for more information, she gets Angie to admit that she wasn’t invited to the party, Jill was. Stacey is not going to crash a party and be laughed at. She starts calling Angie pathetic and refuses to go to the party.
Angela Delvecchio: Why are you so mean?
Stacy Lockwood: [coldly] Come on, put a lid on it. Let’s go.
Angela Delvecchio: I don’t understand – I just wanna be your friend!
Stacy Lockwood: [sarcastically] Sure, and I wanna fly to the moon.
Angela Delvecchio: I admire you, Stacy. I’ve always admired you. You’re so pretty and funny and confident.
Stacy Lockwood: You’re pathetic!
Angela Delvecchio: All I want is to be like you.
Stacy Lockwood: That’s it, I’m out of here.
Angela Delvecchio: Wait! Wait, no!
Stacy Lockwood: You know what, you are even weirder than I thought! [exits the car] Why don’t you give Monica a call. Maybe SHE can be your date.
Angela Delvecchio: [yells] No, Stacy, that’s not what I meant!
Stacey gets out and knocks on the door of the house and uses their phone. With Angie she drives away but all she can think about is Monday at school, all the things that Stacey will say, how her social life will be OVER! She snaps and knows she has to go after and convince Stacey not to make her a pariah, not another Monica, NOT after all the hard work she did!
Angela grabs the knife left in the car by her sister-now this is so weird to me that her sister would carry a knife in her car to cut up vegetables and fruits for snacks. That always rang false with me, it just seemed too weird. And you are talking to a person who used to take her nieces to school in the morning, then go to work for five hours at one job, and then to another for two hours. I spent a lot of time eating in my car, but I wouldn’t bring a knife that would get dirty and make the car gross. Yeah, I don’t buy it. I’m not saying she planned the murder-but there is more there I know it!
Anyways, she speaks to Stacey but it is too late.
Angela Delvecchio: [approaches Stacy, voice breaking in anguish] I would’ve driven you home.
Stacy Lockwood: You are so weird! Just go away! GO AWAY!
[Angela attacks Stacy and stabs her leaving her for dead]
Her family returns home and find the scene of the police, paramedics, etc. Angela hurries home.
Angela is questioned as she fits the description and is a friend, but overlooked as she is nice, quiet, and not memorable.
[after the news on Stacy’s death and describing her killer]
Angela Delvecchio: [in disbelief] I’m a teenage girl with shoulder-length hair and we have a Nova.
Jill: [chuckles] Don’t be ridiculous, Angie, nobody’s gonna suspect you. You’re, like, the nicest girl in Santa Mira.
But Angie isn’t caught. Time passes and soon Junior year is going to begin. They want to disband the Larks, but Angela rouses everybody with a speech about how important the Larks were to Stacy, how they help the community and that it can’t be disbanded. This gains her popularity and title of secretary/treasurer.
She also does peer mentoring, candy stripping and more-being popular, confident, and achieving all she wanted.
I have everything I have ever wanted!
But the guilt starts to eat at her when everyone attacks Monica. They harasses her, attack her, vandalize her locker, and it starts to wreck her.
[Jamie and Angela notice Monica’s locker with the word “Killer” in red]
Jamie: She had an alibi, you know? There’s no way she could’ve possibly done it. And it didn’t matter… they just kept hounding her and hounding her.
Angela Delvecchio: I know.
Jamie: All because she was different. And you know what? I did it too. Stacy mocked her, so I mocked her. Stacy said “jump”, and I jumped. You know, Angie, I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, and I’m ashamed to admit it: I never really liked her. I was just afraid of her. And I’ve been thinking about her killer too. Maybe it was… I don’t know… someone like me.
The FBI comes and resumes investigations, hounding Angie until she finally snaps and confesses to her priest, the police, and family. She is sentenced to prison until she is 25.
The film ends with Jamie writing a letter to Angie, staying her friend and sorry to have not done more. She leaves Santa Mira to go back to Saint Josephs.
I think why this movie has struck a cord with viewers and became so popular is that it is very relatable. Everyone has either been or known the mean popular girl (Stacy), the “weird” girl who is picked on (Monica), the girl who wants to be popular and goes with the crowd (Jamie), the girl who doesn’t care and does her own thing (Jill), and the girl who is desperate to be popular she will do anything (Angie).
Plus there is a fascination with murders over the smallest things. Social reputation, that’s what set her over the edge and its crazy. Either way it is an entertaining film and captures your attention.
“My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name: Susie. I was 14 years old, when I was murdered, on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment. And then I was gone.”
So when this film came out in 2009, I really wanted to see but couldn’t find anyone to come with. Nobody seemed interested, and those that were had already seen it. I decided that I would wait to watch it until after I had read the book it was based on.
So that happened much later than I thought it would. At first everyone wanted to read it so it was hard to get a copy, and then I got busy reading other things.
Anyways, so last month I went to a library book sale and discovered The Lovely Bones on sale for 50¢. Never being one to turn down a deal I bought it and immediately read it. It was different than I thought it would be as we learn the identity of the murder immediately. It was still a suspenseful book and interesting as we see how Susie Salmon’s disappearance affects her and the rest of her family. The other really interesting thing about this book is it really shows the changes that have come along since the ’70s regarding how police work and the forensics that we have. Not to mention criminal profiling.
So, back to the film. While the book is more of a suspense/horror/drama; but the film is mostly a drama with veins of suspense. The film was pretty good although they had to make a lot of changes. Mostly it had to do with cutting as the book is really long and spans about 10 years. The film only covers about a year-18 months. But the film was pretty good otherwise, and I recommend it.
So as mentioned earlier, Susie Salmon is a fourteen year old girl who gets murdered. At first she is presumed missing, and the police begin to investigate. The film details how her disappearance and lack of closure affect her family-father, mother, sister, brother, and grandma; along with friends and the community.
So this is what made the film great.
1. The Artistry/Cinematography
The film is mostly in wide angle shots and they are set up beautifully. As the film is told in flashbacks or from the viewpoint of the spirit of Susie; it works really well. Not only are the regular shots extremely beautiful; but the scenes of heaven/limbo are extremely amazing and artistic. You really get the feeling that you are in a a place created by a child’s mind (as it is supposed to be what Susie wants).
Susie is played by Saoirse Ronan and does a really great job at being a fourteen year old kid. She really makes you believe it as she is shy when a boy likes her, sassy and trying to “rebel” against parents, showing she is moving toward becoming more adult, while at the same time still being very much a kid. You really feel for her as she wants to move on to heaven and a better life, but doesn’t want to leave her family or the boy she cared for.
3. Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon
Mark Wahlberg plays Jack Salmon the father who we adore and wouldn’t mind having. Jack is a caring father that has a really close bond to his children, often being the one they go to as their mother (Rachel Weisz) resents the life she lives. He has an incredibly close bond with Susie, not only because she is the oldest, but they have a lot in common. In fact, she is the only one who enjoys the model ship building he does. When he loses her, he falls apart trying to discover who the murderer is. He also works overtime trying to be there for his other kids. He never gives up, as he can’t just have his daughter disappear. Even when his wife leaves, he continues trying to care for his family and preserve his daughter’s memory. He faces the issue and problems straight on, while his wife runs away. When his wife comes back, he welcomes her back with open arms as he never stopped loving her. He is an amazing father, and you really feel for him and everything he goes through. What makes this performance even more amazing was that Wahlberg only joined the crew a day before filming actually started, knowing next to nothing about the story.
4. Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey
Stanley Tucci deserved his oscar nomination and should have won for his performance.I mean anyone who could go from this
definitely deserves an Oscar.
Every time we see him chills run up and down my spine, he is soooooooooo creepy.