Psycho Granny (2019)

Between the releases of Greta & Ma in recent months, it seems as if the psychobiddy genre might be making a quiet comeback in American movie theaters. It’s arguable, though, that the genre has been alive & well on our television sets for decades even without this theatrical-release revival, thanks to the melodramatic schlock regularly churned out on the Lifetime network. While the trope of once-respectable grande dames losing their minds & becoming crazed killers used to function as late-career revivals for aging stars as high on the food chain as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Olivia de Havilland, it’s since trickled down into made-for-cable schlock on Lifetime for sorta half-famous stars from long-forgotten soap operas & B-pictures. Few Lifetime Original Movies are as blatant about their participation in this hagsploitation tradition as Psycho Granny, which sidesteps the usual Lifetime method of hiding its exploitation cinema intentions behind titles like Wife, Mother, Murderer, by essentially just naming itself after the top Google result for “psycho biddy synonym.” Originally pitched under alternate titles like Lineage of Lies & Granny’s Home, Psycho Granny’s shamelessly honest moniker is a decisive affirmation that Lifetime has been keeping this sleazy tradition alive even in the decades when major studios have been slacking. And, just to drive the point home, it was aired as a double feature with another Lifetime Original titled Killer Grandma.

Just because Lifetime makes psychobiddy cheapies the most often doesn’t mean they make them best, though. At least, I don’t think you’ll find anything in Psycho Granny that wasn’t done to greater delight in Greta or Ma. Instead of world-class acting giants like Isabelle Huppert & Octavia Spencer slumming it in delirious genre trash unworthy of their talents, we’re treated to a typifying performance from Robin Riker, most “famous” for starring in the (badass, but underseen) creature feature relic Alligator nearly 40 year ago. Psycho Granny opens with its best scene, a camp tableau in which Riker toasts/berates the dead bodies of her “family” members arranged about the dining room table, all recently poisoned by her traditional, grandmotherly turkey dinner. The rest of the picture is standard Lifetime Movie fare: a trashy, low-energy thriller in which Riker’s delusional “grandmother” character elbows her way into a young, pregnant couple’s lives – convincing them that she’s actually family and not a sociopathic killer. Like in Ma, she scrapbooks relics from her crimes in a menacing tone. Like in Greta, the humor and the horror of the scenario derive from the moments when she drops her helpless-old-woman facade to reveal the monster underneath – usually in Gollum/Sméagol-style arguments with herself in the rearview mirror of her car. The effect of these common touches just comes across a little dulled here, as if they were business as usual for the Lifetime Original Movie format, not wild, delirious transgressions from actors who should know better.

Psycho Granny is mildly fun & incredibly sleazy in the way all Lifetime movies are. There are some delightfully absurdist details in Riker’s behavior (including a weird fixation on her newest granddaughter-victim’s toilet flushing habits) and an occasional line like “I would kill for a glass of Pinot right now!” that stand out as primo Lifetime fodder. The move also hits its most ideal strides once Riker starts killing again in the third act – disposing of her victims in specifically grandmotherly ways: strangling busybodies with the hanging tennis ball chord in the garage and bashing skulls in with whistling teapots. Where the movie really shines, though, is in having Riker’s “No more wire hangers!” trigger be Millennials sending too much time on their phones. The film is obsessed with young husbands & mothers being distracted from quality family time by “burying their faces in their phones,” so that when Riker chastises their smartphone addictions, she’s playing directly into the generational resentments of Lifetime’s aging, judgmental audience. It’s a detail that recalls not only the wire-hangers trigger from Mommie Dearest, but also the wearing-white-after-Labor-Day kill from Serial Mom and the chicken-beheading mania of (possibly the greatest psychobiddy of all time) Strait-Jacket, which I mean as the highest compliment. The film never threatens to match the heightened fever-pitch camp of those pinnacles of the genre, but it does help connect the dots between traditional psychobiddy tropes and the usual goings-on of the Lifetime network.

The only inkling I had that Psycho Granny may have achieved more than the usual Lifetime standard is that it was directed by Rebekah McKendry, co-host of the excellent Blumhouse horror podcast Shock Waves. McKendry promoted the film as a “darkly comedic thriller” on her own social media, and the opening turkey dinner tableau hints at that subversive impulse. For the most part, though, it’s a fairly standard Lifetime movie about an aging, smartphone-hating woman who’s gone headfirst off the deep end. Which is to say that it’s a three-star campy pleasure in the age-old psychobiddy tradition.

-Brandon Ledet

The Spirit of Christmas (2015)


three star


It’s that time of year! That joyous time when we try to keep out cats from knocking over Christmas trees, drink double our body weight in hot chocolate, and watch really bad Lifetime Christmas movies! I rightfully chose to start with a ghostly romance.

The Spirit of Christmas is a lighthearted story about a no nonsense lawyer who falls in love with a ghost. Jen Lilley plays Kate, a lawyer trying to work up the ladder in her practice. She doesn’t believe in or have time for love. An inn owner dies and she has 12 days leading up to Christmas to get it appraised. Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin) has haunted the inn for the last 97 years, but for the 12 days before Christmas he gets his human form back.  During those 12 days, he and Kate butt heads and eventually fall for each other. There’s also a mystery shoehorned in. They have to figure out who killed him so he can pass on, and also there might be a second ghost. If that sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen the classic The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which while set not during Christmas, has the same idea of a living woman falling in love with an attractive ghost tied to a specific location. Mrs. Muir is far more revered than any of its derivatives, but that’s probably just due to small things like film quality and better acting.

Other things about this movie that warrant appreciation, other than the contrived lines and suspect acting: In the flash backs, all the old-timey men have such unrealistically impeccable haircuts; the soundtrack is that soft, sparse piano music that all cheesy Christmas movies have; and the rules about how ghosts and hauntings work make no sense! The Spirit of Christmas is cheesy and trashy, but dammit it’s my kind of cheesy and trashy. I love the human-ghost relationship trope, and by the end I’m left wondering, can they make it work?

-Alli Hobbs

Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (2016)



James Franco’s 2016 remake of the Tori Spelling Lifetime Original Movie Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? is a biting sociopolitical commentary on pervasive homophobia, sexism, and rape culture issues that plague college campuses in the 2010s. That’s a half-truth. The film is also a shameless, leering camp fest about lesbian vampires that sometimes borders on the less-than-prestigious realm of dime store erotica. Either way you look at it, the film is easily the most outrageously entertaining  work I’ve seen from Lifetime in decades (unless you include those Mommie Dearest marathons they do on Mother’s Day; those are hilarious). It’s funny, it’s trashy, it’s dirt cheap, and it’s more than a little bit sleazy: pretty much the perfect calibration for an instant Lifetime classic. Better yet, its penchant for cheesy sleaze feels 100% earnest, never truly crossing into the winking parody of an Asylum mockbuster or a ZAZ-style spoof, despite what you may assume from its pedigree. If this vampiric “re-imagining” is an indication of where Lifetime programming is currently headed, we’re in for some tawdry good fun in the years to come, a second golden age of made-for-television schlock.

In the mid-90s version of Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?, Tori Spelling plays a perfect teen daughter who falls head over heels for a bad seed her mother suspects to be a thug & a murderer. It was a fairly standard rehashing of the classic “road to ruin” B-pictures of the 1950s, which was essentially Lifetime’s bread & butter in its heyday and the exact kind of crap that made that channel’s original content memorable in the first place. Franco’s remake finds a way to blow all that to hell while still paying respect to its source material’s basic aesthetic appeal. The essential plot overview is still the same here –an overly nosy mother (this time played by Spelling) worries that her teen daughter is falling for someone who could lead to her ruin; and she turns out to be right! — but the major details are replaced to heighten the absurdity of the scenario: the daughter’s dangerous love interest is a lesbian vampire and it’s her sapphic coven of undead “nightwalkers” that pose a threat,not her. What we have here is star-crossed lovers being torn apart because they’re from different worlds: box wine suburbia & bloodsucking lesbian murder covens, respectfully. Its tragic romance is something out of a Shakespearean play, an element Franco’s production plays up by centering the film around a Shakespearean play, specifically Macbeth. Life is but a stage & Franco seems intent on masturbating in every corner of that stage, an impulse that plays beautifully in the made-for-TV schlock landscape.

You’d be forgiven to find some James Franco projects a little insufferable for their artistic pretensions (you’d certainly have a lot of projects to choose from there; the man never sleeps). That pretension totally works in this garbage bin smut context, though. In the film Franco himself plays a college campus theater director staging a girl-on-girl erotica adaptation of Macbeth, with the film’s director, Melanie Aitkenhead, sitting at his right hand, nodding approvingly. The two cohorts gleefully eat up their own slash fiction filth from the comfortable distance of a theater audience. There’s a comment on the artificiality of the whole production built into that device, but it’s mostly a nod to Franco & Aitkenhead knowing & enjoying the exact kind of campy smut they’ve staged here. There’s also a couple college classroom lectures our danger-sleeper-wither protagonist attends titled “Vampires & Sexuality” and “Virginity & Sisterhood” that casually dig up thematic implications like homophobia & teen sexuality in titles like Dracula & Twilight with no intention of actually exploring those topics in any insightful way. Franco, who receives a “story by” credit here on top of being an executive producer, constantly reminds the audience that he knows how to make a smart, poignant vampire picture; he just happens to be more interested in making very softcore sapphic porn.

The one way Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? might be mistaken for something mildly insightful is in its depiction of college campuses as a dangerous hellscape for young women. Although it’s true that a gang of fanged lesbians dressed in Hot Topic lingerie are out to turn our troubled protagonist into a “nightwalker,” they are mostly treated as an afterthought in light of the film’s true villains: men. In order to ethically sustain themselves on human blood, our spooky The Craft knockoff vampire coven feeds on frat house rapists & dude bro Redditor types, of which its college campus setting has plenty. This moral center unravels under even the slightest scrutiny, though. They murder rapists, sure, but they leave their victims’ drained bodies next to the girls they were going to assault, carelessly setting them up to take the blame. That’s hardly model vigilante behavior, but what’s even worse is that when they accidentally turn the film’s most egregious example of toxic rape culture into a nightwalker, they just accept him as one of their own and allow him to go about his usual predatory business. It’s probably not too smart to dissect this film’s thematic trajectory, honestly. It’s much less of a thoughtful, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night style of vampire flick than it is a trashy Jennifer’s Body-type. Despite what Franco’s play-within-a-play self reflection might invite you to believe, it’s most likely best to enjoy the film for its laughable melodrama and its purty pictures.

Speaking of purty pictures, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? is damn ugly, just truly hideous stuff. Of course, due to its subject matter, it’s hopelessly buried under what I consider the absolute worst era of pop culture aesthetic: late 90s nu metal/mall goth. The film’s Charmed/Twilight/Disney’s Descendants Spirit Halloween Store cosplay was almost entirely unavoidable, though. What really stands out is its endless establishing shots of bland drone-POV cityscapes, its watery-purple stage blood, and its Dr. Phibes by way of a Halloween-themed T.A.T.U. music video masquerade parties, all just perfectly hideous in a way only television can get away with & not get called out for it. It’s tempting to assume that the film’s visual cheapness was an intentional means to point to its own artificiality, like the college lectures or the Macbethean play-within-a-play machinations. The truth is, though, that the film is naturally hideous because it’s so damn earnest. If it were a more ironic production it likely would’ve tried avoiding its television-ugly genre trappings, but this is one remake that stays true to its dirt cheap Lifetime roots, a shoddy authenticity that helps sell its intrinsic camp pleasures beautifully.

It’s a well-informed balance between heady subject matter & campily melodramatic execution that makes Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? such a riot, a formula that holds true for all of Lifetime’s most memorable features whether they focus on co-ed call-girls, wife-mother-murderers or, in this case, lesbian vampires. This film has the gall to approach topics as powerful as grieving over familial loss, coming out to your parents, and the horrors of date rape, but does so only as a means to a tawdry end, namely inane mother-daughter shouting matches & young, lingerie-clad girls making out in spooky graveyards. It’s wonderfully trashy in that way, the best possible prospect for made-for-TV dreck. If when you were watching Refn’s fashion world horror The Neon Demon you wished it were instead cheap & awful, this film’s fashion photography montages & horrendous pop music are going to blow your trashy mind (also, you are ridiculous). If you think Ren Faire goth never got its fair shake as an aesthetic turn-on, you are about to get all worked up by this TV-14 smut (with little to no payoff, of course). If when you were watching the Paul Rust/Gillian Jacobs romcom Love, you found yourself curious what the fictional show-within-a-show witchcraft drama Witchita might feel like instead, you are in luck, you silly thing.

Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? only appeals to the basest of your television pleasure zones, assuming that if you tuned in for a Lifetime movie, you’re in the mood for some really trashy shit. The one thing it changes up from the normal formula is that it mixes its awful Tori Spelling-brand acting (she really has not improved an inch in the last two decades; she’s impressively stubborn in that way) with some stubby-fanged, throat-tearing gore (it’s not called Mother, May I Sleep with Safety?, after all). Throw in some supernatural baloney about vampires never needing to feed if they find their one true love (no word on if that’s reversed if it winds up being just a college fling), some of the world’s sloppiest blood-eating, and a few stray howler lines like “I’m going to turn you into a nightwalker, bitch!” and you have one strange, campy delight. Again, Franco & company trust that if you show up for this picture in the first place, you’re going to be down for some tawdry smut along the way. They’re not wrong. I had a lot of shameful, lowbrow fun.

-Brandon Ledet

Praying Mantis (1993)


three star

In a radio interview conducted earlier this year, Jane Seymour said that she took the title role in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman due to the fact that she had learned just the day before that her third husband, David Flynn, had spent all of her money and left her 9 million dollars in debt. Her agent informed her that it would be in her best interest to take the very next television role that came along, as this would allow her to earn a steady paycheck to support herself and her children and begin to pay off this deficit. The show ended up running for several years and was quite popular in its day, with an enduring legacy that brought us a television film wrap-up and a recent Funny or Die sketch that brought back many of the actors from the show’s run. Dr. Quinn also holds a special place in my heart as well, as it instigated the first argument I ever had with my family in which I knew I was morally correct: I was staying with my grandmother during the airing of an episode in which the town preacher wants to burn a book (presumably Faust) in which a man sells his soul to the devil. My grandmother was insistent that, for religious reasons, “we must be careful about what we put into our minds”; I was equally insistent at age 7 that burning books was a moral evil. I was punished pretty severely, but I knew I was right.

With that personal anecdote out of the way, let’s talk about Praying Mantis, a 1993 TV movie directed by Seymour’s fourth husband, James Keach, whom she likely met on the set of Sunstroke the previous year. You may know Keach as the man who gave Jane Seymour all of those oddly shaped diamond pendants every Christmas for the past few years. Did you notice that there weren’t any of those commercials this year? Yeah; they split up in 2015. To be fair, 22 years is a long time for a Hollywood couple to be together. I picked up the VHS copy of Praying Mantis a few years back based on the cover image alone: a bride in a wedding dress stands with her back to the camera, clutching a large knife behind her. The film also stars Barry Bostwick as her newest victim, Dr. Quinn co-star Chad Allen as his son, and Frances Fisher as the sister of Bostwick’s late wife, who has been living with the family.

The film opens with an expository scene in which Seymour’s character, Linda, marries a man and then murders him immediately after the ceremony (once they have established that she talks about her father all the time and that she convinced him to have a small ceremony without any attendees). She then sets her sights on Don (Bostwick); he owns a small bookstore chain, and she poses as a romance novelist looking to research Russian history for her work. She slips into his life and ingratiates herself with his “teenage” son Bobby (Allen), whose mother passed away a few years before. In the interim, the departed woman’s sister, Betty (Fisher), has lived with the father and son and acted as a mothering influence on young Bobby. Betty is almost immediately suspicious of Linda when the latter unwittingly reveals that she doesn’t know that Anna Karenina is a novel, but she eventually succumbs to Linda’s attempts to lure her back to her alcoholism. Don throws Betty out, and she sees a news item that lends credence to her theory; can she warn him before he becomes Linda’s newest prey?

Even if you didn’t know from the outset that this was a made-for-TV movie, it would be obvious in the film’s opening moments, wherein we see terrible lighting issues, hear cheap music, and bear witness to opening credits created using the same font as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Although there’s a reasonable amount of tension generated over the course of the narrative, this is still a very by-the-numbers lady killer story, a kind of genderswap The Stepfather produced for a Lifetime audience. Although it’s impossible to say so definitively, my guess is that Seymour probably agreed to participate for the same reason she signed on for Dr. Quinn: fast money. She sleepwalks through this project, meaning that the heavy lifting is mostly performed by Fisher, who is up for the task and manages to put a lot of subtlety into her performance. If you catch this movie on TV late one night, it might be worth a viewing, but I doubt it’ll ever rise out of obscurity enough to warrant the remastering necessary to show this film on anything other than VHS. The thrills are fun but ultimately have no staying power.

-Mark “Boomer” Redmond

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)


three star


Do I have a soft spot for talking animal movies or something? Earlier this year I found perverse entertainment in the talking dog pro wrestling movie Russell Madness and then presented the talking-pig-saves-the-day epic Babe 2: Pig in the City for our August Movie of the Month selection. And now I’m here to report that the Lifetime Original Movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever isn’t actually all that bad. “Not actually all that bad” is far from high praise, I know, but for a made-for-TV movie about an internet meme in which the main character repeatedly breaks the fourth wall to complain about how awful the movie is, it’s a fairly surprising distinction. Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever knows exactly what kind of movie it is & doesn’t pretend to be anything more. It self-references its protagonist’s meme fame by adopting I Can Haz Cheezburger font for multiple gags. It willingly points out when it subs a stunt puppet for the real Grumpy. It “jokingly” promotes Grumpy Cat merchandise with little to no pretence. When its self-described “sappy melodrama” plot kicks into high gear, Grumpy complains “Don’t get sappy on me. Oh wait, I forgot. It’s a Lifetime Movie. Go ahead.” Self-deprecation & self-referential humor can sometimes be low hanging fruit, but it kinda works for this movie, given the limited possibilities of its Grumpy Cat: The Movie premise.

I guess a lot of what saves Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever from being the worst movie ever is in the casting of Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat’s voice over (and as Aubrey Plaza in a sound booth). Just like when Plaza played a live-action Daria Morgendorffer in a spoof trailer comedy sketch a few summers back, the casting just makes way too much sense. Her comedic persona is basically of a human cat, right? Her wry, detached, disinterested sense of humor sets the bar so underachievingly low here (in a good way!) that it’s always possible for the movie to succeed. The plot involves some kind of depressive Gordy situation where only one grumpy preteen girl can hear Grumpy Cat talk. This girl gets mixed up in a small-time heist situation involving two rock & roll douches & a Peep Beep Meme Creep mall cop dweeb. While she thwarts their evil deeds Grumpy Cat shows zero interest in getting involved in the goings on. She just sorta riffs on the idiocy of the plot, hanging back, essentially life-tweeting/hate-watching her own movie. Imagine a family comedy with its own MST3k commentary built in, but skewing to a younger crowd & you pretty much get the picture.

Even though it aims a younger audience, though, the movie manages to get a few subversive jabs in there. It introduces its shopping mall setting as “a soul-sucking bastion of consumerism which serves to drain people’s bank accounts and alienate them from the true meaning of life.” Plaza also injects a lot of her own comedic persona into the role, especially in the way she calls her costars “terrible human beings” & “witches”. There are plenty of non sequitur asides distracting from the plot, but the most fucked up of all is a brief tangent in which Grumpy Cat is sentenced to prison (the pound) & promptly executed (put down). Quite the light-hearted gag, that. Worse yet is an exchange after the whole botched heist ordeal concludes & Grumpy Cat’s human’s mother asks her formerly-grumpy child, “Those guys didn’t do anything to you, did they?” & Grumpy Cat responds “That’s a different kind of Lifetime Movie.” I know this is a movie about a cat with a mean streak, but yikes. That one’s got bite.

For the most part, though, the moments I enjoyed most about Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever weren’t subversive at all. The film works best when it embraces its own hokey stupidity. When Grumpy is propped up in front of a green screen to simulate driving, flying, setting off explosions, or going Rambo with a cat-sized automatic paint gun are dumb & simple enough to get by on their own half-assed charm. My favorite moment of all in Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, though, is Plaza’s line-reading of “We’re in a movie!” during the film’s action-packed climax. It’s a sublimely dumb moment in a thoroughly dumb movie about “the Internet’s biggest cash cat”. In 2014, Grumpy Cat seemed to be doing a lazy, half-hearted victory lap, soaking up the last of her short-term fame in moves like appearing on Monday Night Raw & starring in her own Christmas movie. Anyone tuning in for a dumb made-for-TV Christmas movie about a cantankerous cat should be well-prepared for what’s delivered here, especially considering how the film warns you of its emptiness with early onscreen references to Keyboard Cat & Nyan Cat (come to think of it, Lil Bub was snubbed). Grumpy Cat’s  Worst Christmas Ever doesn’t ask much of itself, which is oddly enough what makes the whole thing work in its own diminutive way. Well, that & Aubrey Plaza, who is delightful in her refusal to be delightful.

-Brandon Ledet

Riding the Bus with My Sister (2005)




“I’m not stupid, I’m just different.”

When I first learned that Riding the Bus with My Sister existed, I was both fascinated and frightened. Rosie O’Donnell playing a mentally challenged person whose main hobbies include riding the city bus and buying toilet seat covers held promise for sheer what-the-fuckness, but I knew that so-bad-it’s-good can end up being so-bad-it’s-really-bad real quick.

My worst fears were confirmed, unfortunately, in the opening credits as the words “Lifetime” and “Hallmark Hall of Fame” scrolled across the screen and were further solidified when Beth, waking from her disabled slumber, smiles into the mirror and in a loud, grating voice shouts, “Good Morning!” From that point forward, the WTF factor of seeing Rosie O’ Donnell play a mentally “retarded” woman with a heart of gold diminished every time she was on the screen.

Now I know it’s not politically correct to use the term “retarded” but it’s inexplicably used throughout Riding the Bus with My Sister, its negativity undermining many of the positive messages the film is trying to convey. One character even asks early on, “They still use that word?” It also doesn’t help that Beth is treated like crap the entire movie. In the first five minutes she is called a “hippo” by a downstairs neighbor, glared at with disgust by her fellow bus riders, and openly insulted for being lazy & living off the government. It would have been just as effective if director Anjelica Huston (Why?) flashed “People hate the handicapped” in bold red letters. For a simple woman who only wants to ride the bus, drink discount brand cola, and one day go to Disney World, she is treated as a drain on society.

The person who treats her the worst is her sister Rachel, a career woman living in New York who must leave behind her fashion photography business to take care of Beth after their father passes away. In a wholly unlikable performance, Andie MacDowell phones it in as the self-absorbed Rachel. MacDowell’s only job in the movie is to look nice & be annoyed by Beth’s antics. Rachel moves in with Beth to help her adapt to life on her own, but soon regrets it as Beth irritates her with conversation-starters like “Hey Rachael, I put seven red fishies inside of this can, do you think they can swim in cola? I sure hope so. I would hate to drown them.” Rachel’s characters arc (and the arc of the entire movie) amounts to the realization, “Hey, I’m kind of a piece of shit because I never really accepted my mentally challenged sister.” We learn this through a tedious parade of at least ten flashbacks of the sisters eating dirt, painting, even suffering seizures; all accompanied by sparse, acoustic guitar. This goes on for two hours.

The most frustrating thing about Riding the Bus With My Sister is that Beth is looked down on by Rachel but she seems to have life more figured out than her developmentally “superior” sister. She has her own place, lots of friends, and a routine she enjoys. She even has a similarly disabled boyfriend, Jessie, who treats her well, takes her out on dates, and has hobbies of his own like karate & riding his bike. Of course, in one of the many ways the movie manipulates viewers’ sentimentality, Jessie is beaten by a group of thugs towards the end of the film.

Kudos should be given to Rosie O’Donnell, though. While her performance mostly consists of rocking back and forth, shouting, and contorting her face, she does succeed in coming across as genuinely handicapped. In one of the film’s best scenes, Beth mourns the loss of her father by sobbing uncontrollably on a bench outside the hospital while eating a doughnut, drinking a cola, and wearing a kitty cat t-shirt. In another she talks about boning Will Smith. There are a few memorable moments like that in Riding the Bus with My Sister but with minimal plot development and a near-absence of likable characters the film falls apart. What could have been a heartfelt drama with camp value fails because the story doesn’t go anywhere. In the end, the viewer is left feeling as confused & unfairly abused as Beth is in the film.

-James Cohn