Tuesday, February 07, 2012

the tv-movie of a lifetime...

I like things designed a very specific target of people. The Lifetime Channel for Women does this best. Or maybe that's just what I watch the most because I'm their target demographic. Lifetime, after all, does partner their advertisements (sometimes) with Fancy Feast CAT food.

Anyway, after I finished my viewing of BBC's Sherlock Season Two (I know, are you DYING?), I watched "Chance of a Lifetime." Basically this movie is like "Last Holiday" only from the 1991 and for elderly people. Betty White starts as Evelyn, a workaholic widow in Cleveland (take a second right there) who is the fast paced CEO of a (wait for it) drapery company. Her disapproving best friend is Elaine Stritch and her son Daryl, who is the cool guy at the drapery company, is played by Ed Begley Jr. Evelyn finds out she has six months to live from her doctor, Amos, who is the guy that plays the doctor on Murder She Wrote.

That is not all! Finally, ask yourself who is officially regarded as the sexiest and most suave old man of 1991?

Yes. Leslie Nielsen plays the Mexican-vacation love interest, Lloyd.

Do you not love this highly specific casting? This is like Oceans 11 for people who are so old, they think I am talking about the original.

Needless to say, Evelyn (in an 80's business suit) casually talks to her husband's grave while trimming the flowers she's planted there. And because she thinks she's going to die, Evelyn tells her dead husband's grave, "Ready or not, here I come."

(This is when I decided to commit to watching the whole thing.)
Highlights include Fred, the sleazy guy from church calling up Evelyn and asking "for a date." She declines and when he says, "Oh, off the market, eh? I sure do hate to miss a good thing! Well, if anything changes DEAR, you give ole' Fred a call."

Cue big eye roll from Evelyn. She's off to spend her last days cutting loose south of the border.

How does she book her trip to Mexico? Through the very shady sounding, "A-1 Travel."

As this is a made-for-TV movie streamed on Netflix, there are built-in commercial-break blackouts, which make me feel like I'm skipping commercials.

In Mexico, Evelyn talks to a framed photo of her (hot) dead husband. I decided is intended to imply that while Evelyn might get a little hand-holdy with Lloyd, she's not a slut.

Evelyn does solo senior calisthenics in the hotel pool (wearing clip on earrings and a kerchief in her hair) and goes to the hotel restaurant to blow her diet on a cheeseburger. In Mexico. But this works (amazingly enough) because Lloyd blows off some Dutch tramp in a bikini and stroll over to Evelyn where he proceeds to ask her on a date. He is attracted to her joie de vivre, you see.

I missed most of the romantic date at the Mexican (thank you, Lloyd) restaurant because I was hiding underneath a blanket.Evelyn's got a real bee in her bonnet because she thinks Lloyd is a player, but since she's going to die anyway, she says "what the hell?" when Lloyd asks her to go sailing the next day.

Then they go for a sexual tension-packed bike-ride on Day 3, culminating in a dinner where Lloyd tells the restaurant it's Evelyn's birthday. It's not Evelyn's birthday. (This once happened to me on a date!) He gives her a lace scarf and they dance, eventually incorporating the scarf into a very awkward, old folks sex dance. Evelyn and Lloyd start making out on the dancefloor.

The next scene is Evelyn waking up in Lloyd'd bed, a bed which has parrots painted on it.

I noted here that Lloyd was topless but Evelyn was wearing a men's pajama top. She got dressed right after sex! Evelyn, I love that about you!

Lo and behold, the doctor (again, Amos from Murder She Wrote) gets a "fax from Europe" and it turns out, Evelyn's not dying after all. She immediately packs her bags and without saying goodbye to Lloyd, who in the interim has procured a bouquet of red roses, and hops a plane back to the drapery company in Cleveland.

Lloyd will not be deterred, doing my favorite thing that only occurs in movies, showing up unannounced to declare his undying love. As long as any movie has someone showing up outside an office building or waiting on a stoop unexpectedly to say, "I am in love with you, and I won't take no for an answer even though I am hot and rich!", I am on board. My secret expectation that this will one day happen to me is the main reason I put mascara on everyday.

But Evelyn, busy with a drapery meeting with four Japanese businessmen, is none too pleased to find Lloyd. She pushes him into a janitor's closet and tells him to get lost. Making this movie 100% perfect is the includion of Evelyn's gay assistant opening the door and saying, "I thought I was the only one in the closet. (whispering to Evelyn) He's gorgeous!"

Evelyn, convinced that Lloyd only likes the 'probably-dying Evelyn', lies to Lloyd and says she's dating creepy Fred, thus forcing herself to sit through dinner with Fred (the boss from Being John Malkovitch), who gets cheese on his chin. What a dolt! That would never happen to Lloyd. Lloyd is spying on them from the bar, sees Evelyn dab off the cheese, and decides to go see Evelyn's son Daryl and talk it all out.

I felt like this was another nod to the old lady viewers who might be worried that Evelyn is kinda whorey. Don't worry, ladies. Daryl loves Lloyd!

So naturally, Daryl talks his mom into flying to Chicago (!!! I want to fly to Chicago!!!) to surprise Lloyd, and when he's driving her to the airport, they swing by the cemetary to check in with the dead husband.

Lloyd, meanwhile, is on a date with a short chick whom he does not like. Personally, I very much appreciated that the diminutive height of Lloyd's blind date being a deal-breaker. Evelyn then appears in Lloyd's bangin' downtown office, she lists all of the shit that is wrong with her, and Lloyd is naturally fine with all of this. He's laid back! He doesn't own a watch!

The grand finale is a final geniatric make-out scene. Then credits in an italicized font.

In closing, I was having lunch with my friend Tom yesterday who said, "Your life is so fabulous right now." Then I went home and watched "Chance of a Lifetime" until midnight, and it's pretty much been the highlight of my week...


Anonymous said...

This is one funny review, Betty...I mean Beth.

Seana said...

I wish I had as good a reason to wear mascara every day!!

Lisa said...

Because I spent high school weekends watching old movies on AMC and not doing any typical high school stuff: Young Leslie Nielsen was hot. Check him out in Tammy & the Bachelor.

sfmike said...

Thank you, I think, for that link to the preview for the Queen Latifah vehicle "Last Holiday." Did that ever play in actual movie theatres, and were you one of the 12 people who actually saw it? Just curious.

The loving description of the Lifetime Channel Betty White Geezer Vehicle is definitely one of your best.