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Friends 'Til the End: or, Whatever Happened to a Good Stalker Movie

So, last weekend, Qualler and I decided to have a romantic date-night in (I know what you're thinking--you like where this is headed). Our plan was to catch up on some long overdue newish releases, or maybe give Lost yet another try (I promise I will commit to it one day). We decided to watch Burn After Reading, which I've wanted to see for awhile, despite some middling reviews. However, before we could change from satellite to DVD mode, something wonderful caught our attention. The 1997 made-for-TV flick Friends 'Til the End starring Shannon Doherty and Jason London (I had to look it up to see which London it was...not that it really matters) was playing on Lifetime and we both got sucked in. Regrets? None. In fact, it made me think about how the mid to late 90s was really a golden time for made-for-TV movies. Today the kids get all their drama from plot lines that revolve around teenage binge drinking, teen pregnancy, annorexia...whatever happened to a good ole' fashioned stalker flick?

Heather (Doherty), a popular college co-ed with everything going for her, including a horrific (OK, it kind of grew on me) Toad the Wet Sprocket rip off band for which she wrote lyrics and sang, befriends an awkward girl, Zanne (Jennifer Blanc) who just wants to be her friend. Or so we think! This girl, of course, actually wants to steal her identity and destroy her life. She joins Heather's sorority, takes over her place as lead singer of her band, and sleeps with her boyfriend. And we find out through subtle flashbacks, photographs, and in case we couldn't put the pieces together for ourselves, Heather actually explains to us that Zanne wasn't who she said she was. As it turns out, Zanne and Heather knew each other as children, Zanne and had been targeting her since she "hates to lose" and was always "obsessed with talent competitions." Now, I personally feel that a villian who is motivate by an obsession with winning talent competitions beats any villian on Secret Life of the American Teenager, or any other current teen/young adult sensationalist drama. Most villians these days are just misunderstood, or worse, the "villian" is something like unprotected sex or annorexia.

In the end, Heather figures everything out and Zanne ends up freaking out and crying in her mother's arms, which I think signifies that things will be OK--or, at least, she won't be bothering anyone else for awhile. Of course, Heather knew that this girl was up to no good when everyone else thought she was great. I love when characters are so obviously creepy and evil and friends are always so quick to turn on the person they've known for awhile and embrace a creepy new comer (there was a lot of "I don't know what you mean, Heather, Zanne is great! You're just jealous/paranoid/etc." Duh! Of course she's crazy! Her name is Zanne!) I really hope that in a similar situation my friends and especially boyfriend would trust my instincts over some weirdo they just met. But, I digress...I also really enjoy movies in which the only moral is "don't give that unpopular kid a chance, she probably seems weird because she wants to take over your identity and kill you. Also, she'll sleep with your boyfriend." I don't need another lesson about teenage pregnancy or college binge drinking, thank you! I just need to be made more paranoid about sticking to the people I already know (or do I know them?) and avoiding strangers at all cost.

[ED note: Remember post-grunge? Check out the amazing music video from the band in the film below!]

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:03 AM |  

    That music video really IS amazing...everyone must watch.

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 10:13 AM |  

    I watched half of Fear the other week, starring Marky Mark and Reese the Spoon. Probably came out at a similar time, so I guess crazy stalker romances were really hot there for a sec. Not as hot as the rollercoaster scene, though, amirite?

  3. Blogger qualler | 11:52 AM |  

    I agree that Fear fits in there somewhere in the general "stalker" genre. I do think, though, that this particular film (Friends 'Til The End) covers a very particular subgenre of "stalker", that is, sorta-screwed-up-in-the-head new friend of the same sex wants to steal your identity and only one person is on to you while everyone else thinks she's just totes normal. I mean, that's an issue in society, right? Happens all the time.

    By the way, I think I fell asleep before it was over -- was the whole "She also killed a guy by the dumpster" subplot ever resolved?

    I LOVE that music video. The phone booth in the middle of the desert is, like, sooooo symbolic. Plus, the cheesy "I'm playing this live but only could bring out one snare drum yet the drums are completely full sounding" thing is great. I love mid-90s post-grunge, and love it even more in the context of Lifetime movies.

  4. Blogger chris | 12:26 PM |  

    The world needs more music videos from fake bands in movies. In fact, the world needs more movies featuring fake bands. This video is proof. How do you pronounce "Zanne"?

    Obligatory Oscar-noms thread starter (for those that care): NO SALLY HAWKINS?! ONLY Hathaway for RACHEL GETTING MARRIED??? Why sooo much of THE READER? Can it really be that good? NO "The Wrestler" by The Boss?!!?

    GOTTA see Frozen River now. Will Frost/Nixon EVER come out in Mpls?

    Yay for Richard Jenkins!

  5. Blogger Brigitte | 12:36 PM |  

    not having seen frost/nixon...i don't see how it could possibly be entertaining. at all. no desire to see that one. i do want to see the reader now, though...

  6. OpenID christineone | 11:33 AM |  

    Is the blonde one in the video the stalker? Why do I feel like she's been a stalker in something else too?

  7. Blogger qualler | 4:58 PM |  

    Yes -- the blond one in the video is indeed the stalker. The actress's name is Jennifer Blanc. According to IMDb, her most recent upcoming release is in a movie called "Saving Grace B. Jones" starring Tatum O'Neal, where she plays the part of "Evacuated Townfolk". Apparently her career hasn't taken off after FTTE...

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