Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 04, 2006

Literature & The Lifetime Channel:perfect mix or recipe for diaster?

Kim Basinger makes her made-for-television film debut this month in The Mermaid Chair,which will be on the Lifetime Channel later this month(please click the title link to get exact showtimes). She stars as Jessie Sullivan,a woman having a bit of a midlife crisis that is further compounded by her mother's growing instability. After Mom cuts off one of her fingers,Jessie goes back to see her in the small island community where she grew up and her father was lost at sea. While trying to help her mom,she gets involved with Brother Thomas(Alex Carter),a monk at the local monastary who has some doubts about his calling. Yes,folks-love is in the air!

This may sound like typical Lifetime channel fare,from the folks who have given us such gems as "The Babysitter's Seduction""Co-Ed Call Girl"and the classic"Mother,May I Sleep With Danger" starring Tori Spelling. However,not every piece of cheese tastes the same,even if they're served up on the same platter with Velveeta and Cheez Whiz.

The Mermaid Chair is based on the book of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd,best known for The Secret Life of Bees. Sue seems to be happy with the film version,she's qouted at the LT website saying "Watching and being part of the filming of the movie was magical, and fans of the book will be pleased with how the movie has stayed true to the novel." Sounds like things went well there. I enjoyed TMC about as much as I did Monk Kidd's earlier novel(which was a big reading group hit)and hope the film is as good as it could be.

Doing book-to-movie adaptations is not new for Lifetime;they've also made Dive At Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer(starring Michelle Trachtenberg aka Buffy's little sister) and have had others by Danielle Steel,Barbara Taylor Bradford,James Patterson and so on. However,is it fair to write off what might be a decent flick due to the network it's on? True,the Fantasia biopic was a clunker(didn't see it but that clip I saw on The Soup spoke volumes)but it's something any of the Big Three networks could've churned out back in the days when cable channels weren't kicking their creative asses.

Hey,if you really want to test your endurance,try watching the 1985 Jackie Collins Hollywood Wives miniseries without laughing. It's pretty hard not to,especially during the love scenes between Anthony Hopkins and Suzanne Somers and the craptastic theme song with lyrics like these: "They're spending their lives/On Rodeo Drive!/Truth that cuts like knives/for the Hollywood Wives!" Quite a gem in ABC's crown there.

So,will The Mermaid Chair be a swimmer or a sinker? Having Kim Basinger as the lead is a good sign. The lady can pull off a good performance when given the right material and the novel was a great read. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday night and if this movie gets some folks to pick up the book,it'll be more than worth the effort.


Anonymous said...

Kim still looks great, doesn't she? I happened to see a tabloid this week with pix of Farrah Fawcett--whoa.

Some day I'd like to see you do a whole post about the women of that era, and whose plastic surgery did and didn't help. Some of those women's mouths seem to stretch to their ears by now.

But Kim still looks fantastic.

PJS said...

Ugh... I'm sort of worried for Kim. I saw this advertised and was concerned.

I loved her in "The Door in the Floor" and "L.A. Confidential", but made-for-tv-movies usually spell career trouble...

lady t said...

I'll keep that in mind,Robin. Some of the pictures I'd have to use for a post like that would be very scary,especially the ones of Joan Rivers(she makes Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd look like a starlet!).

Yeah,Kim does look great-I think ditching Alec Baldwin gave her a better foundation than any shot of Botox:)

lady t said...

Have faith,PJS-made-for-tv movies can also usher in a comeback. Farrah got some good mileage out of The Burning Bed,even if she went the way of the wacky later.