Written and directed by Angie Wong
Back in the 1980s, much of the MDMA in the Bay Area came from a surprising source – a college student making it herself. The story is even largely true, with certain events and people amalgamated together and switched around for dramatic effect. But Angie Wang is real, she did make drugs while at Stanford, and survived to write and directed this autobiographical tale called Cardinal X
Angie Wang (Annie Q.) travels from New Jersey to not-Stanford to begin college, and her wild side lets her live a fun life. She immediately bonds with her roommate and they are soon partying it up at night and taking classes all day. There is trouble behind the scenes, her dad can’t afford the tuition, and Angie can’t escape flashbacks to tragic events in her life such as family discord and sexual assaults. Angie is smart, and quickly sees a need for a supplier in MDMA in the local party scene, and thanks to a new job as a lab assistant and a loophole in the law, she’s soon manufacturing a pile of pills to bring in extra money. We all know this is going to spiral out of control, so hang on for the ride!
Angie sees herself as broken, beyond the rape and assaults, her mother left her with her father when she was young, and her father was always working and emotionally distant. He is constantly worried about money. Angie internalizes the bad things that happened to her in life and her wild party behavior, thinking she’s too flawed to be with anyone normal. Nice guy Tommy (Scott Keiji Takeda) befriends her during the first few weeks of school, and she even spends part of a holiday with his normal, happy family. It’s just too much, she thinks she can’t have that life, that she’s too messed up to deserve it, and quickly leaves. That’s why Angie connects so well with her roommate, Jeanine (Francesca Eastwood), she appears to come from a nice, upper class family, but that hides her mom’s drinking and non-stop insults, causing her to escape via chemical means, as well as cutting and bulimia.
Written by Philip Fracassi
Directed by Joel Soisson
Girl Missing is another Lifetime flick featuring dangerous family secrets and a woman in trouble. Is there an evil man? Of course! There is also murder and a mystery child, and even a bit of atmosphere. It suffers from having few enough characters that the obvious outcome stands out too easily, though the actors try to make up for it by giving great performances.
A young girl is found wandering the forest with no memories of where she came from. 15 years later, she’s turned into Francesca Eastwood and is known as Jane (as in Jane Doe, I’m guessing!), and is a struggling artist collection rejections from galleries and living with her childhood orphan friend, Finch. Things change when she gets a letter about a possible parent match.
Meets her “mom”, Sylvia Knowles, and both of them are all smiles and giggles over the objections of the case worker, Gwen, who points out the DNA test hasn’t even come back yet. No bother, Jane agrees to go visit Sylvia for the weekend, Sylvia convinced she is her missing daughter, Savannah.
It turns out Sylvia is loaded. As in billionaire loaded. And Jane/Savannah’s dad is dead from suicide, Sylvia having married the charming Carlo in the intervening years. If you sense some sort of twisted inheritance plot coming up, congratulations! Besides the obvious direction that turns, Jane occasionally spies a young girl running around the estate. The girl is played by the same actress that played young Jane, and we skirt across spooky right to psychological, as she’s the manifestation of Jane’s missing memories.
If you thought high school sucked, just be glad you didn’t go to Wuthering High School! I’d rather be stuck at that high school where everyone sings! How much the new high school version will follow the novel Wuthering Heights remains to be seen, but if we don’t have a high body count from people making themselves sick out of spite, then what’s the point?
In this modern retelling of Emily Brontë’s classic novel Wuthering Heights, Cathy Earnshaw is an outcast at her wealthy Malibu high school, where she struggles to cope with her mother’s tragic death. Sadness turns to exhilaration when her father brings in Heath, a troubled kid whose mother, a long-time employee of Mr. Earnshaw, is suddenly deported. Cathy and Heath are irresistibly drawn to each other, desperately filling the voids in each other’s lives. But theirs is a destructive love, they rarely show up to class, and when they do it’s chaos. As Cathy’s friends mock the unconventional, arrogant Heath, she feels even further isolated. Finally, Cathy caves to social pressure and breaks up with Heath for a more popular boy. Heath can’t forgive her betrayal, and the two lovers start down a tragic path spurred by jealousy, pride, and their undeniable, consuming passion.
Wuthering High School will live and die based on the chemistry of the leads, if they can pull off that forbidden romance angel. The film stars Paloma Kwiatkowski (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters), Sean Flynn (Return of the Killer Shrews), Francesca Eastwood (True Crime), Andrew Jacobs (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), James Caan (The Godfather), and Rachel G. Fox (Zombie Night). It’s directed by Anthony DiBlasi (Last Shift) and written by Delondra Williams (Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators).
Wuthering High School premieres Saturday, March 14, on Lifetime! Maybe I’ll get to make an “Emily Brontësaurus” joke about it!