Friday, May 08, 2009

The Nora Roberts Collection: Sexy Danger

Okay, so I finally had to break down and comment on something that's been driving me crazy for the past month or so. (It's also a painfully slow week in the entertainment world, so I've got nothing else. These monkeys just won't dance for me.)

They've since been taken down, but every day on my way home from work, I was forced to gaze upon this horrible quartet of Lifetime movie posters - each advertising a new movie in the "Nora Roberts Collection." I guess I was intrigued by these ads because I am consistently amazed that there are so many gifted and penniless writers out there with great screenplays and/or novels in their dresser drawers, yet someone like Nora Roberts writes the same book 100 times and not only do people want to read each slight variation, but they can't wait to see the screen adaptations on Lifetime, a network that prides itself on churning out hundreds of movies based on three to five story templates, tops.

The posters also intrigued me because it's rare that I see such truth in advertising. It's pretty brave of Lifetime to honestly portray these films as the ridiculous slices of cheese that they are. (No, I haven't seen any of them. And I have never read a Nora Roberts book. That doesn't make me unqualified to bash these things. I mean, I've never watched "2 Girls, 1 Cup" either, but I think I can safely assume that it's disgusting.)

So, pour yourselves some wine, lovahs, and let's get lost in the sensual delights of The Nora Roberts Collection.

Midnight Bayou, starring Jerry O'Connell and Lauren Stamile

The first time I saw this poster, I seriously couldn't stop laughing at it. Please tell me - in what country, land, galaxy, or dimension is this clinch sexy? Does that woman look like she's turned on or having any fun at all? Did she just pull a muscle in her neck? Did she just find a giant skin tag on Jerry's back? And what's up with Jerry? Is he supposed to be blind and having trouble navigating his way to Lauren's lady parts? Was he in mid-caress and then remembered that he forgot to call his Mom and wish her a happy birthday? Or was he stopped in his tracks by a water moccasin slithering across the floor? They are in the bayou, after all.

Judging from the compelling trailer, Midnight Bayou follows story template #2. (Thankfully, Nora Roberts doesn't specialize in stories that follow template #1 - "battered woman beats the odds and gets a makeover and/or revenge" - because Lifetime really doesn't need any more of those. And Meredith Baxter Birney is exhausted.) The basic components of this template are:

  • Woman/Man longs for change
  • Woman/Man moves to a new town and into a beautiful new home that she/he could never afford in reality
  • Weird things start happening
  • Sexy stranger enters picture
  • Sexy things start happening
  • Sexy couple investigates weird things and discovers a dangerous and/or shocking secret
  • Worlds are rocked; sexy couple's future is uncertain
  • Love conquers all; sexiness resumes
Tribute, starring Brittany Murphy and Jason Lewis

I didn't really think much of this poster until just now. But it might be worse than the first one. First of all, that wallpaper is horrible. (Are these two actually going to get it on in grandma's room? Gross.) Secondly, was this really the best shot the photographer could get? It just looks like a picture of two people who weren't ready for the camera.

While the two actors in the Midnight Bayou poster look completely nauseated by each other, these two seem much more comfortable. It's a little more believable that they would have sex. But what are they looking at? His junk?

Sexy guy: Wow. Will you look at that?
Sexy girl: That's impressive. Holy moly.
Sexy guy: I know, right? I've never seen it look like that. I must really like you.
Sexy girl: So...are we going to have sex?
Sexy guy: I know we should. I mean, I don't want to let this thing go to waste. But I can't stop looking at it. Let's just hold each other for a while.

That seems a little racy for Lifetime, though. Maybe Brittany's character is narcoleptic? Of course, there's always a chance that they just spotted a water moccasin slithering across the floor. They are on a farm in Virginia, after all.

As the trailer shows, this movie also follows template #2.

High Noon, starring Emilie de Ravin and Ivan Sergei

This poster is probably the best of the bunch, although, based on his facial expression, it looks like Emilie might be standing on Ivan's foot. She also looks like she's into that erotic asphyxiation that all the kids are into these days.

High Noon follows story template #3:
  • Woman/man needs a break from her/his dangerous and high-stress job
  • Woman/man meets handsome rogue/independent, tough-as-nails woman
  • Sparks fly; feelings are denied
  • Woman/man finds herself/himself in peril due to a random psychopath/vengeful enemy from the past/trusted friend/evil co-worker
  • Woman/man turns to handsome rogue/independent woman for comfort; sexy things happen
  • Everyone woman/man loves is suddenly in danger
  • Worlds are rocked; sexy couple's future is uncertain
  • Regardless of their roles, man has to rescue woman
  • Love conquers all; sexiness resumes

Northern Lights, starring Leann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian

This one also follows template #3.

I don't know what to say about this poster other than Eddie looks like he's having a great time and Leann looks pissed. It kind of looks like a lot of girls' uncomfortable experiences with their over-eager high school or college boyfriends.

Actually, I think Leann must be warning him through clenched teeth, "If you tell anyone about our affair, I will make sure you never work in this town again!" And even though there was a good chance Eddie wasn't going to get any more work anyway, he did deny it all like a good boy.

I just wish that Lifetime would kick Nora Roberts to the curb and go back to giving us instant classics like Mother, May I Sleep With Danger (don't tell Emilie de Ravin, but Ivan Sergei is "Danger," and Tori Spelling is sleeping with him), and Friends 'Til the End, aka The One in Which Shannen Doherty Tortured Everyone With Her Horrible Singing and Then Didn't Even Die.


words...words...words... said...

What a magnum opus. It should please you to know that I got to the second poster before I realized this wasn't all an elaborate ruse.

SkylersDad said...

It must be a sick puppy because erotic asphyxiation was the first thought in my head when I moved to #3.

Kristi Mantoni said...

I can't believe they would torture people with those posters. Just one more reason I'm glad I leave in Nowheresville!

Soda and Candy said...

This is fantastic.

What the eff happened to Brittany Murphy's neck? Is she part owl???

PS - There is only one good Lifetime movie, and that is that one where Alec Baldwin sleeps with his stepdaughter and they plot murder.

Gwen said...

I'll watch Lifetime when there are more burning beds.

BeckEye said...

S&C - YES! Mini's First Time! I just saw that AGAIN a couple of months ago. The slutty teenager was played by the girl who played the slutty teenager in Thirteen. That movie tries so hard to be's fantastic.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Leann looks like she just broke a nail and is about to stab him in the throat with her nail file. Don't fuck with Leann when she's pissed!

Soda and Candy said...

Alec Baldwin being a sleaze... I don't know, there's just something delicious about him in oily bastard mode.

Thirteen is one of the best worst movies ever.

Also, Lifetime's network slogan ought to be "Lifetime: If you've a Y chromosome, just change the channel now."

gizmorox said...

Wait, what slutty teenager from 13? Evan Rachel Wood who went on to date Marilyn Manson or the one that wrote the script that has done nothing with her career since then?

Anyway, I refuse to watch Lifetime on principal, but I'm kind of scared by how many names I recognized from these posters. I mean, I fully realize that Brittany Murphy has about the talent level that warrants a Lifetime film, but doesn't the sheer hotness that is Jason Lewis warrant something better? God, he was the only thing I ever liked about Sex and the City...

Anonymous said...

Oh man, you are FUNNY. Hasn't Brittany Murphy come a long way since she used to have a career! And the Emilie De Ravin (she annoys the shit out of me, for the record) looks like a strangler victim for sure. Every one of those movies looks like something that would provoke homicide in me within minutes. But then most chick flicks have that effect on me.

Also re: The Jerry O'Connell one - have you seen him lately? That poster must have had the living shit airbrushed out of it. I mean I know they all have but that one is just ridiculous.

elaine said...

I love how "Friends til the End" is such an egofest for Shannen. Apparently she (or her character) is so awesome that another girl will stop at nothing to be just like her; it's too bad that they cut out the scene where the bad seed stalks Pearl Jam.

My favorite Lifetime movie is "My Stepson, My Lover."

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

The men in these posters all look so unsexy and their expressions are almost as if they are contemplating how to murder their agents. It's bad.

Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

mylittlebecky said...

"But what are they looking at? His junk?"

fantastic! very funny.

Falwless said...

Oh dear jesus that was fucking hilarious. I don't even know what else to say. This is one of your all-time best posts. Hands down.

Billy Bob said...

First, thanks for the comments. My apparently random connection between Flesh for Lulu and The Gaslight Anthem is just one small example of why I'd never make a good music critic. That you had both bands on your radar places the two of us in small company.

Obviously I came trailing to your site and found myself guffawing at this post. The actors participating in these movies... have they conceded to career decline when they take these roles, or is this considered a valid way to keep your name "out there"?

Les Becker said...

You know, I have ALWAYS maintained that "romance" novels are just variations of the same story, too. Every now and again, I get so disgusted with my own lack of progress in the writing game and swear I'm going to start writing romance just so I can say I'm an "author" rather than "just a writer".

But then I consider that there's probably even more money in porn...

CDP said...

This was hilarious. "The Nora Roberts Collection" ha ha!

Gifted Typist said...

Those pictures are just too much. Must go have nap now and dream deliriously

red said...

This is why I don't even know what channel Lifetime is on. What to do about ProjRun...

dguzman said...

Since when did Jerry O'Connell start looking like Cro-Magnon Man?


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