Saturday, May 19, 2012

Falling for You


"Falling for You" is a quality Lifetime movie by any LMN junkie's measure: It has a former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star, there's a club scene, and it's from the 90s, which means cheesy saxophone and inexplicable fog fills the city streets.

The "90210" star in question is Jennie Garth, who plays Meg Crane, a young city woman who's been hardened after a lifetime of orphanhood. One night while eating dinner alone at a nice restaurant, a guy sees her from outside, says something horribly condescending like, "I can tell you're lonely!" and walks into the restaurant. Who wouldn't be charmed by that?

So they set off to cure Jeannie's loneliness with some unforgettable wackiness (city variety) in the middle of the night. Jennie and her new beau go about this by forgoing a meal at the nice place she was sitting at and instead, stealing some room service from a hotel and eating it by their pool. Unfortunately, the movie shows all the giggling hilarity of stealing ice cream in the hallway, but not the part where they manage to break into the hotel's pool area, which also happens to contain a dangerous concrete ledge than Jennie climbs up on.

Jennie Garth living on the edge
When Jen's mystery man is all, omg, what the hell are you doing up there? she stoically says, "I've lived on the edge so long I've just about made friends with it." Ooo, hardcore. Did I mention this movie started off with a different blonde being thrown out the window? But don't worry, a detective played by Billy Dee Williams is looking into it.

The next morning, Jennie's in her red silk bath robe feeding pigeons out her window when she receives flowers from the mystery man...or are they from her ex? Her ex has been showing up in creepy places, like asleep in her bedroom (he still had keys) and when she's on a date. And it's clear that one of Jen's paramours is connected to the blonde-out-the-window because creepy violin music plays every time they're on screen.

In fact, according to the violins, even Detective Billy Dee Williams is suspicious. He has a rooftop greenhouse where he grows pink roses, which keep showing up elsewhere in the movie. So...that's something, right? As he's a cop in a 90s movie, it won't surprise you to hear he has a partner that he begrudgingly respects even though they have their differences. (In this case, Billy Dee Williams is black and his partner is white, or as the partner says, "I'm civilized, he's not.")

Billy Dee gets dissed on by his obnoxious partner
near the club's house ladder
This isn't the first murdered blonde case Billy has worked on, either! And in the last one, the key witness was killed! While staking out a club full of strobe lights and people wearing black, the civilized partner says he wants to set the record straight: he doesn't believe what "they" say about him: "If you'd planned it, you would have gotten meaner, not weaker." Ouch!

Anyway, it doesn't take long before all the suspicious music--and even the entire ex-boyfriend and Billy Dee greenhouse subplots--are rendered useless, because we figure out that Jeannie Garth's new boyfriend is the killer. How? Well, because he comes over one night and throws her out the window. **But! She lands on  the pigeon ledge a few stories down, and doesn't die!

She's soon ensconced in a fuzzy blue bathrobe at the hospital, and has the most popular illness in the history of film, amnesia. She refuses to talk to Billy Dee and his partner, but makes sure to tell the press that she can't remember the past few months, including meeting a mystery man who probably killed a bunch of other ladies.

Meanwhile, the killer has removed his glasses, and we get a rare peek at him inside his home, doing some mad pull-ups. And uh oh, we see on that all over his walls are carefully matted and framed news clippings about various high-rise murders! That must be awkward when the super stops by unexpectedly! The camera zooms in dramatically on an impressionist painting of a blonde lady and hovers there for a melodramatically long time while the killer grunts in the background.

A rare scene in the movie that isn't incomprehensibly blurry
due to being in a dark room or alley in a 90s TV movie 
But because he's a crazed killer, he can't stay in his high-class killer pad forever. He moves into Jennie Garth's apartment building just to be closer to her. I spent the next 15 minutes of the movie yelling "he's gonna get you, Jennie!", and I definitely thought she in for it when he followed her down the stairs on her way to go jogging. (Unless you're going jogging while gabbing about your man troubles to your gal pal, you run a 85 percent chance of dying on your jogging trip in a Lifetime movie.) Eventually, she strikes up a conversation with him, and love is in the air once more....

But just when you think he's going to try to kill her again, you realize she's been faking her amnesia all along!! It was just a clever ruse so that he wouldn't try to kill her again...and so that she could kill him!

Veteran TV movie bit player Gerry Quigley happens
to show up at the same precinct that Billy Dee works at
to explain the Robert Frost connection
Meanwhile, back at the police station, a gay dude in a leather jacket has shown up to report one of the senior citizens from his poetry class missing. "It was the class about Robert Frost, she'd never miss that!" he yells at the guy at the counter.

Now, here's where I have a real bone to pick with the realism in "Falling for You." (Besides the fact that there is fog in every scene, making the 90s-TV-movie blurriness even worse.) I happen to teach a creative writing class for seniors, and I can say from personal experience that their attendance record is spotty at best, even when you're discussing one of the most generic American writers in history. Besides the countless doctors' appointments to schedule around, there's the real possibility of breaking your hip if it's been raining.

The next thing that happens is that Billy Dee Williams (who is hangin' out by the front desk, like all the coolest homicide detectives do) is like, "Wait, where did she live?!" and the gay teacher goes, "uhhhmm, I think she said the East Side." BD quickly looks her up in the phone book that he keeps nearby, sees she has the same address as Jeannie Garth, and realizes that the killer has murdered the old lady so he can move into Jeannie Garth's building and try to kill her again!!! (The realism of this part I had no problem with.)

BD busts into the old lady's apartment just as the killer has wrestled away a gun that Jennie had pointed at him. But before anyone can shoot anyone else, the killer leaps through the window--the irony!! Perhaps it's because they didn't get to see it in slow-mo like we did, but Billie 'n' Jennie don't notice that the killer did a perfect stunt-man jump, carefully turning into the broken glass as he jumped and going out with his feet first. They assume he's dead, and Billie goes downstairs to draw a chalk outline while Jeannie lays down with her eyes closed and all the lights off on her couch--why not!?

Jennie Garth relaxing after her second near-murder,
shortly before her third near-murder
Well, let this be a lesson to all of us to make sure the person who was just trying to kill us is dead before we decide to take a little nap. Especially if, like Jennie, you happen to be such a sound (and immediate!) sleeper that you don't hear someone climbing into the window that is ten feet away from you!!

Luckily, this time she's able to fend him off with some karate skills (oh yeah, there was one scene in the movie earlier on where it's established that she's learning karate). And then she tosses him through the window--how even more ironic! This time he goes ass-first, and it's confirmed that his body needs to be scraped off the sidewalk.

After some buddy cop summation lines with his partner, Billy heads upstairs to Jeannie's balcony, where he puts a coat over her shoulders, calls her "kid," and gives her some sage advice: "Sometimes it's hard to see the danger in things until it's too late." Jeannie puts her head on his shoulder and some fog floats over them. Yes, that's really how this movie ends.

You can watch "Falling for You" in 10 parts on YouTube, and it's currently on LMN On Demand, which can be found under "Free Movies on Demand" on some cable systems.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yay! I'm so glad you finally updated. I must admit - I've been checking the site for a new update a LOT. I love reading your scathing commentary when I'm supposed to be sleeping but the Benadryl has't kicked in yet, haha. Your review was spot-on. Gotta love those '90's-era TV movies before all that texting-induced teen suicide ruined the crazy drama. Please don't stop updating! If you're at a loss for what to review, I could offer suggestions. Or not, if you've just got, like, one of those "life" thingies, or something.

    ReplyDelete

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