Lifetime movies are similar to driving along the freeway and seeing a terrible car accident– filled with blood, death and disaster, you shouldn’t look, but you can’t help it. Since the 80’s, this cable channel, whose motto is “Television for Women,” has been pumping out some of the most ridiculous campy classic television movies and we can’t stop watching them. From fact-based stories, to ridiculous fabrications with A-List and F-List stars alike, Lifetime puts out some of the best of them. Here are ten you need to watch. A few of these might be older than you are and several are from this year, but they all have one thing in common– you need to watch them. Several of these rerun every now and again, but most have been released on DVD. Either way, there’s no guiltier way to spend two hours.
10. Saved By The Bell: The Unauthorized Story
Saved By The Bell: The Unauthorized Story is the most recent movie on this list, having premiered just a few weeks ago, on Labor Day 2014. It is based on Dustin Diamond’s (Screech) autobiography, Behind The Bell. Although he has a producer credit on the film, he actually had nothing to do with the production, and reportedly didn’t even read the script. This movie is about the Saturday morning classic comedy Saved By The Bell, starring actors who look close enough to their counterparts to almost pull off the ridiculous scenarios and bad acting. For those who wondered what happened behind the scenes of the show, this movie allegedly reveals all, from Mario Lopez forgetting his lines, to Tiffani-Amber Thieseen’s minimal personality, to Diamond’s own pot smoking, While it’s a fun flick, it’s probably most enjoyable for fans of the show.
9. Anna Nicole
Anna Nicole is a 2013 biopic of the late actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, played by Agnes Bruckner. This movie is as campy as Anna was herself. Anna Nicole Smith was a Guess Jeans model, and an actress who basically played herself in every movie she did, but perhaps she is best known for marrying billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was old enough to be her great grandfather. From stripper to model to laughingstock, to having a comeback and her infamous reality show, to the tragic death of her son, followed by her own death; this dramatic cautionary tale actually throws out many laughs.
8. Kate’s Secret
Kate’s Secret was a 1986 movie about a seemingly perfect housewife who has, as the title suggests, a secret. She’s bulimic and can’t stop throwing up. Starring Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame, as Kate, who one day cracks under the pressure of trying to keep up appearances. She ends up going to a rehab center for her eating disorder where she meets a model named Patch Reed, played by Tracey Nelson, in a great supporting role. The movie also stars Summer Phoenix, Shari Belafonte, Ben Masters and Edward Asner. Although it’s an older movie, the story is relatable and not as humorously dated as you would expect.
7. Flowers in the Attic
2014’s Flowers In The Attic and its sequel, Petals In The Wind are both based on the classic books by V.C. Andrews. A delightfully naughty tale of wealth, sex, love and incest, this series doesn’t fail on any account. It has two huge stars in it, Oscar winning actress Ellen Burtsyn, who won an Emmy award for her role as Olivia and screen star, Heather Graham. Heather Graham plays Corrine Dollanganger, a beautiful 1950’s housewife whose husband dies tragically, so she takes her four children to live in a beautiful mansion owned by her own abusive parents, whom she has been estranged from (you’ll find out why) because she has nowhere else to go. There are many plot twists and turns. These two films were so successful, two more sequels are set for release in 2015, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday.
6. Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story
Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story is a 1995 biopic about the news anchor “golden girl” Jessica Savitch, played brilliantly by actress Sela Ward (as a blonde). Jessica Savitch was one of the first successful and popular female news anchors. Her looks and talent enchanted the public, but her life behind the scenes was anything but golden. She was a cocaine addict and alcoholic, whose first husband commited suicide. The movie has a reenactment of her rock-bottom movement, being too intoxicated to properly deliver a newscast on live television. Ron Silver and Judith Ivey play supporting roles. While the movie probably doesn’t do justice to Savitch’s real life, it’s a great ride filled with drama, drugs and tears.
5. Shattered Innocence
Shattered Innocence is a 1988 classic that was so racy and filled with drug use, there’s no way a television movie would ever be produced like this today, which is perhaps why it’s not re-run very often. It is based on the true story of Shauna Grant, who is named Colleen/Pauleen (Colleen is her stage name) the tale of an innocent cheerleader who moves to Los Angeles, becomes a nude model and eventually an award-winning porn star. Of course, along the way, there’s a requisite criminal boyfriend and cocaine and alcohol addictions. The acting in this movie is actually less campy than expected and the climax of the story (I won’t spoil it) is as expected, extremely tragic. This movie will hook you in.
4. Too Young To Die
Too Young To Die stars screen favorites Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, way before Pitt was married to Angelina Jolie. The 1990 movie is based on the true story of Attina Marie Cannaday, who is called Amanda Sue Bradley in the flick, a 15-year-old girl who gets involved with drugs, stripping, prostitution and eventually the murder of an Air Force Sergeant. Bradley gets sentenced to die from lethal injection, but as the title implies, she is too young to die and is resentenced. The movie is very dark and gritty. It’s far less campy than many Lifetime movies and a whole lot more sad.
3. Death Of A Cheerleader
Death Of A Cheerleader, which is also known as A Friend To Die For, stars 90210’s Tori Spelling and Kellie Martin of Life Goes On fame. Tori Spelling plays popular cheerleader, Stacy, who is idolized by less-than-popular Angela. Angela wants so badly to be friends with Stacy, but when she tricks her in hanging out, Stacy is none too pleased and tells Angela she will tell everyone in school what she did. Afraid of rejection and rumors, Angela stabs Stacy and almost gets away with it. The scariest part of this movie? It was based on a true story.
2. Mother, May I Sleep With Danger
Mother, May I Sleep With Danger has perhaps the best title ever. Starring Tori Spelling as Laurel and Ivan Sergei as her crazy, stalker boyfriend Billy (who actually is named Kevin, but if Tori had Google in 1996 when this movie was released, she would have known that). The film was originally supposed to be released to theaters (hopefully with a less hilarious title), but didn’t quite make the grade. NBC was actually the first network to show it, but it’s been re-run on Lifetime exclusively.
1. Liz & Dick
2012’s Liz & Dick was supposed to be actress Lindsay Lohan’s big comeback. Unfortunately, this movie turned out to be more of a fun guilty pleasure for the audience, than a brilliant Emmy winning performance. It was actually the fourth highest rated Lifetime movie of the year, pulling in 3.5 million viewers. The movie tells the story of one of Hollywood’s most infamous couples, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who is played by Grant Bowler. The movie generally received negative reviews, but everyone knows this movie is really so bad, that it’s good.