How Much Do You Really Know About Him?: The Stepfather (2009)

How Much Do You Really Know About Him?

In 2009, I was 17 years old. A senior applying to colleges, trying to figure out what to do next with my life-planning prom and other senior activities.

I remember when this film came out, it was a big deal at the time as Penn Badgley was super popular from Gossip Girl (it being in its third season) and this was to be his big film role (prior to this he was in John Tucker Must Die! as the little brother). I wasn’t super interested in it at the time- I was more angry about the Fame remake (which sucked as much as I had thought it would), that Where the Wild Things looked depressing instead of the fun book I remembered it being (it was both boring and depressing), and thought Dare, New Moon, and Avatar all sounded dumb. The only thing I was looking forward to was Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Law in Sherlock Holmes.

In fact I never probably would have even remembered anything about this movie, except my mom was so against it. But I was 17, I could watch whatever I wanted. I remember saying some smartmouth reply and getting in trouble for it.

I never did go see it in theaters as I didn’t really care about it.

Flashforward to the beginning of this year and I’m housesitting/catsitting for a friend who has cable-and not just cable, Lifetime!

I LOVE Lifetime and can’t help but watch the Lifetime movie channel. That day it was playing The Stepfather, so I decided what the hey? Why not check it out?

NO! NO! This was not good at all. I should have listened to my mom and passed this one by!

Yes, always listen to your mother!

So typically I do not review a movie without reviewing the original, but I didn’t get a chance to fit it in, so the review of the remake must go on.

So the film starts off with “the Stepfather” (Dylan Walsh) having killed his family and their dead bodies not even phasing him as he leaves and moves on to the next town to find his “new family”.

In the supermarket he meets Susan Harding (Sela Ward), with her two kids-Sean and Beth. He charms them quickly and he, now going by David Harris, and Susan begin a relationship.

If I’ve learned anything from movies and TV is the supermarket is nor the place for women to meet men. I mean the mom gets set up with a Vampire in Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire, Susan gets with a serial killer, and Fran with a liar-guy is a hot dog vendor pretending t be a stock broker in The Nanny. Just cross that place off the list.

Don’t go there to look for men!

So David and Susan become engaged-which is something that really bothers me. I mean it is called The Stepfather, but David is NOT the stepfather. He and Susan live together, but they don’t marry. So why call it that? Because it is better than The Man My Mom Lived With or My Mom’s Evil Fiance or My Mom’s Serial Killer Boyfriend or Don’t Let Mom Marry the Serial KillerActually that last one sounds pretty good. It could be super serious teen drama or ’90s kids comedy-someone write a script, make a ton of money and give me 10% for the title.

Finally! This is almost over!

So anyways, it is the summer and Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) has just returned from military school. He was acting up after his parents’ divorced and was sent away. Depending on his behavior he can stay or will be shipped back.

Choose wisely.

He meets David and feels weird about the whole thing-everything has seemed to move toooo fast and he’s worried his mom might end up with another bad relationship-another guy like his dad.

Now here is where the film first failed with me. This film could have been a lot better if they went in a different direction then what they chose. Now I have never seen the original film this is based on, but think how much more horrifying if David seemed so nice, developed a great relationship with the kids, maybe even Michael opening up and sharing what happened with his dad-what he saw between his parents that made him not be able to stand his father and react so destructively. Then to have him realize David is not who he seems-I think much more interesting.

But instead David tries to bond with him but it is all so fake and creepy-Michael doesn’t tust him, second guesses him, and the suspense/mystery/horror is missing. We know David is a psycho and Michael knows it too-there is no buildup.

I mean Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this much better on their Ted episode. Buffy wanted to like her mother’s boyfriend, she tried to like him-but then felt something off-and she felt bad about being so down on her mom-convincing herself it was her problem not anything wrong with Ted. But then Ted starts being extremely controlling, he threatens her. He continues to treat her cruelly but others nicely, causing no one to believe her or make her think she is imagining it. It is emotional and mental abuse-and makes you wonder what will happen next.

That would have been a better path to take, but they didn’t do that.

Ugh!

Michael isn’t the only one who is unsure about David as Susan’s sister, Jackie, points out that there is a ton about David she knows zero about, although Jackie’s wife/girlfriend (it doesn’t state their exact relationship) thinks Jackie is being overprotective-as David’s hot. So what if they don’t know his family, religion, history, friends where he grew up, etc, and he’s not working-David’s hot.

Yeah, Susan really? I mean you are a single mom, don’t you want someone more stable for your kids? Don’t you think you want someone with a real job?

And David’s plan doesn’t make sense! He creates fake identities but has nothing to back him up? I mean he just plans to move from town to town with no social security number or anything and expect to work and live there? I mean they could have had him buy dead people’s identities and then have Michael do some research and stumble on to it! And then he presents it to his mom and she’s like, “oh that, it’s a common name that’s not him.” And then David doing something creepy like almost kill him, kind of like Joseph Cotton in Shadow of a Doubt when he starts sabotaging things around his niece because she knows too much, and everyone thinks she is just imagining things.

Anyways, one day Sean isn’t listening to Susan, so David decides to “discipline” and chokes him. When Sean and Beth visit their dad, he tells him and when Jay returns the kids he gets in a fistfight with David. Now this is my other issue with the movie-Jay confronts David about choking Sean and is freaking out and DAVID ADMITS IT and what does the mom do? Get angry at her EX-HUSBAND THE MAN PROTECTING HIS CHILD AND NOT THE MAN WHO JUST ADMITTED TO CHOKING OUT HER BABY. And afterwards Sean is all it my fault, and everyone is mad at Jay for making a scene and overreacting, and Sean apologizes to David and everyone is its okay, we forgive you. And later when Sean is freaking out, Michael is all its okay Sean David won’t hurt you again.

Uh, no. NO, NO, NO, NO! Jay was totally in the right and I completely 100% agree with his decision to pummel the guy ABUSING HIS child. And Susan, really? What is wrong with you! This man admitted to abusing your child because “he forgot what it was like being a father and discipling and maybe went too far. But don’t worry, he’ll learn how to do better, Uh, no! Get out of my house and out of my life and I am calling the police on you.”

WHAT!!!??

But Susan loves him. After that I checked out-I just couldn’t get over that scene. Now if they had David not admit to it, and change it around so it sounds like Sean is lying as he is upset at the changes, or Jay made it up, or twisted it in any way-I’ll buy that. But he admits it, and Susan cannot see the warning signs? Now I’ve been in an abusive relationship I now how they can meld your mind and practically brainwash you with their emotional and mental abuse- but your kids Susan! Your kids!!!

So Michael investigates, David goes on an anti-climatic killing spree, Michael’s girlfriend walks around in tiny clothes and bikinis, and the movie is just boring.

There is no suspense or buildup, no twists, it is all bland and very oatmeal-you know what you are getting and it happens-just as expected.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more serial killers, go to It Should Have Been a Movie or a Miniseries: American Gothic (2016)

So with today’s topic and October being national domestic violence awareness month, I felt compelled to share this.

I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

We Are Family: Austentatious (2015)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all the Austen characters were friends and lived in the same town. Hmm, have I asked this before? Oh yeah…

That was a good book, unfortunately this isn’t a review of the next novel in that series but of the TV show:

Yes, all the Austen characters live in the same city, the city of…hmm they never say where this takes place. They all have an American accent except for Emma who is British, sometimes.

Ugh!

I’ve noticed in other episodes it just seems to fade away. She must not be faking it because no one else has one so why would they make her have one? But I cant explain why that happens with her. Anyways

I don’t know

So it says that it is the Austen characters, but only seems to have Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Knightley, and Colonel Brandon. Yes there is no one from Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, or Persuasion.

Forget you!

I mean really? I wish someone would do “all” the characters and actually have “all” the characters.

So the story takes place in modern times. We start of with Elinor Dashwood (Kristen Marie Jensen) who is an IRS and is complaining to her friends Lizzie Bennet (Elise Groves), real estate agent, and Emma Woodhouse (Shona Kay), divorce attorney. Oops, and friend Grant Knightley (supposed to be GEORGE why change to Grant? I mean George is a common name), played by Brad Johnson, and works with Emma? I’m not quite clear.

HOld on…okay Elinor as a tax accountant, okay I can buy that as she is well organized and great with finances.

Lizzie as a real estate agent, I have a hard time seeing. I could see her more as a writer or Park Ranger or manager at something.

Meh.

BUT Emma as a divorce attorney?

That’s just crazy. First of all she hates reading-no way. Second, I don not believe someone who tries to match people up all the time could spend days working with separating couples. That makes no sense to me.

Did you even READ the book!!??

So Elinor is bummed her sister will be moving in as she is flighty, boy-crazy, and has no clue what she is doing. As soon as she moves in she starts shaking things up by redecorating and changing things. Elinor gets angry and flips out on her messing up her apartment.

Now I get that Elinor doesn’t want her sister to take over her space, but seriously? You know she isn’t staying for a few nights, but planning to LIVE with you. Unless you specifically drew up a roommate agreement or told her she only gets her room and a shelf in the fridge you are seriously overreacting.

They try to make it seem like Marianne is just doing what she wants-but Elinor is seriously being a control freak.

Calm down. They eventually patch things up and compromise.

Now the clothes that Marianne wears are really weird. 2015 was only four years ago, I remember what was popular and people where wearing and it was not that. Who picked your wardrobe? It is more 2005 than 2015.

Lizzie Bennet has the client William Darcy (Gavin Bentley) who is such a major jerk I am actually hoping they do not end up together.

Yes, a retelling made me actually wish that.

I think the world is going to explode or I’m going to die…too late

Good-bye, cruel world.

Too late

Sorry, this post will not be brought to you by the undead.

So Darcy in this is a total pain-complete and utter jerk. I really don’t see how they will redeem him.

Jerk

Also Lizzie’s parents are planing on divorcing and she doesn’t want them to as she doesn’t want her mother to try to live with her.

Woooooooow, real daughter of the year that one.

Both of her parents are going to Emma, who Lizzie gets to join her in her plan to reunite her parents. Emma plans a dinner date and before you can say The Parent Trap all is solved and they remember their love for each other.

This was weird to me. Why have that be the center of your episode? And just throwing this out there, maybe they would be better off not together. They fight nonstop (as Lizzie says) which isn’t healthy and a bad example to their children. I’m not for divorce, but if you read the book, they got married for the wrong reasons and were very unhappy with each other. And if they fight constantly, it might be better to at least try counseling or a separation.

Just throwing that out there, but none of my business.

Later Darcy storms in and yells and is a jerk to Emma as he works with her. Ugh, can we cut him out.

Yes, a retelling made me say that. As I said I think the world is going to end.

So yeah, I do not have high hopes for this show, but I’ll keep on watching. The things I do for Jane.

Ouch!

Sometimes when I read/watch a really bad retelling, I’m kind of glad that Jane Austen isn’t alive to see it. I think she’d be mortified at some things we come up with.

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

For more Emma, go to Dull Times Breed Disaster

I Want You to Want Me

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I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick

I LOVE Cheap Trick. I don’t know when I first got into the band but it only took one song and I was hooked. Out of all their songs I love this one the most. It is adorable and perfect, just like Kate says in John Tucker Must Die.

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This song was written by Rick Nielsen and thought of being a fusion of ’70s ABBA pop and heavy metal. They never thought it would become the hit it did. In fact it turned out to be one of their biggest selling singles.

What?!

What?!

My favorite version is the live one as it has the two guitar solos. You know me and the guitar:

BacktothefutureMartyMcflyrocknrollguitarsolo

The song was redone by Letters to Cleo, but I don’t like their version as much. To me this lyric:

I’ll shine up my old brown shoes.
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me.

To me it sounds more like something a guy would do than a woman. I know people might think this is sexist, but I just think that a girl would put in more work into her appearance; you know do her hair, put together a more complete outfit, makeup, etc.

So here we go with the original, and in my opinion, the best version.

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Not only does the music draw you in with its toe tapping, but I just adore the desire and longing in his voice and the words. I think that is why this song was such a hit, you can connect to it as everyone has felt that way. You know what it is like to want someone to want you too. It is just a fantastic song that I can’t get enough of.

Iloveit love

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I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’ll shine up my old brown shoes.
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me.
Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’).
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I’ll shine up my old brown shoes.
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me.
Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’).
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
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For more of my favorite songs, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper
For more Heavy Metal, go to Hail to the King
For more ’70s songs, go to T.N.T.

I’ll Be Alright Without You

NotTalking

So since Michael and I broke up I’ve been looking for a song to listen to to kind of help me through this, as music is always a great solace in any time of trouble. (It’s funny it has only been a week but it seems so much longer) I mean I instantly thought of Breaking Up is Hard to Do, I Will Survive or Missing You; but those just didn’t really seem to be able to capture how I was feeling. So I was thinking I should check out this playlist I made for my friend and see what spoke to me. About seven months ago my friend Jane broke up with her boyfriend, and I made her a care package full of food, games, some lotion/toiletry stuff, etc.; but I also made her a CD full of songs to help her through her breakup that I titled “Heartbreak”. Its actually kind of ironic because after I made it I was going to delete it, but thought hey I should save that in case I need to play it for someone else later (little did I know that was going to be me). So the music ranges from all kinds of songs starting out sad but moving on to things getting better and ending of course in I Will Survive. Maybe I will do that for another post, my recommended playlist for heartbreak, always a possibility. Anyways, so I was listening to it and found the perfect song that really captures how I’m feeling. I’ll Be Alright Without You by Journey.

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I’ve actually been playing it like nonstop (with headphones as not to annoy my roommate). It’s such an amazing song with really great lyrics.

So unlike my other musical posts I couldn’t find a whole lot of background info on the song. It was released in 1986 on their Raised On Radio album. The song was #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #26 on the Mainstream Rock chart and  #14 in the Billboard Hot 100. It was written by Jonathan CainSteve Perry, and Neal Schon. It is one of their most known songs, because of course not only is it amazing but because of the content.

So like I said before the lyrics are really beautiful and truly express trying to get over someone.

I’ve been thinking ’bout the times
You walked out on me
There were moments I’d believe, you were there
Do I miss you, or am I lying to my self again

I do these things…
(It’s all because of you)
I keep holding on, but I’ll try
(try not to think of you)
Love don’t leave me lonely
I’ll be alright without you

There’ll be someone else…I keep tellin’ myself
I’ll be alright without you
Oh…love’s an empty face, I can’t replace
(you don’t need it)

People wonderin’ why we broke apart
The great pretender here I go again
These things I do
(It’s all because of you)

I’ll keep holdin’ but I’ll try
(try not to think of you)
All I wanted was to hold you
I’ll be alright without you
There’ll be someone else, I keep tellin’ myself

I’ll be alright without you
Love’s an empty face…Oh I’ve got to replace
I’ll be alright without you
There’ll be someone else, I keep tellin’ myself

I’ll be alright without you
Oh…love’s an empty place, I can still see your face
I’ll be alright

Breaking up is just hard to do (if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be a song titled that), and this just expresses exactly what I keep telling myself. Its going to be okay, I was fine before June, and I will be fine now in Dec. It’s just hard because all I wanted was to hold him and be with him. And people wonder why we broke apart, I do as well, and I just don’t know. I don’t know what happened. I’m just trying to move on and not think of him, but of course that is always easier said then done. (I don’t remember ever speaking in so many song titles. It reminds me of the Archie comic when Betty does that). It’s weird because it comes in waves. Sometimes I feel just fine and like I used to, getting back into the old routine and everything. But other times I don’t know what sparks it, but I just hurt so much and want the pain to stop.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

And I know that I’ll be okay, and that later I’ll find someone else, the only problem is that I don’t want someone else, I want him. Things were easier when I was the Ice Queen. Well I know the only thing that can end this is time. Time, chocolate, ice-cream, and Clint Eastwood (Hey he’s single, it could happen).

BrokenHeart-Icecream Buffy the VS

Sugar

Chocolate makes everything better

I changed the wallpaper on my computer to a young, shirtless, Clint Eastwood. That always makes me feel better. 😀

I mean look at this man! Can you blame me for being crazy about him?

I mean look at this man! Can you blame me for being crazy about him?

Anyways here is the song, happy listening.

To check out my last musical post go to Jump (For My Love)

CANDY TIME!

CANDY!

I love Candy! One of my favorite movies as a kid was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Not only did I love the story and the songs, but I loved that opening scene when all the kids get free candy. I really wanted to be in that film.

I had this WHOLE song memorized by the first time I watched this film.

Anyways, with Halloween just ending, and me with a huge collection of candy, I wanted to share what my favs that I was able to get are.

First that special thing that only comes out once a year,

CANDY CORN & CANDY PUMPKINS

I love these things and wished they were available all year long. Candy corn always makes me think of Hemlich in a Bugs’ Life. This line always pops in my head:

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GUMBALL NERDS!

They also only come out at Halloween. Every other time they are impossible to find.

Finally something GOOD!

Finally the wait is over!

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Now who doesn’t love Nerds?

Nerds

Nerds are one of my favorite candies, and luckily  I can eat these any time!

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M&Ms! These I can also eat anytime, all the time. Peanut, pretzel, mint, coconut, chocolate, etc.

Chocolate makes everything better

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Also Mike&Ikes! My absolute fave! I hope they get back together soon.

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sugar-coma

What are your fav candies? Comment below!

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For more on candy, go to Candy, Candy, Candy!

For more on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, go to The Hunger Games: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

For more on candy corn, go to A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It

For more on A Bug’s Life, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Line List

For more of my favorite songs, go to On the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, & 1st Days ‘Til Christmas