Ladies of the House

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Jackie Brown, Shaft, Carol Brady, and the Head of Lance Henriksen walk into a bar. And they say ouch. I bet there’ll be some Knots Landing on us because we walked into that bar. And because Donna Mills is also in this movie.

Ages ago, before Countdown to Christmas was the juggernaut it is today, Hallmark used to make drama films that were an antidote to the My Ex Girlfriend Wants Custody Of My Liver type exploitation lite films that were on Lifetime. They would star real actors, or at least actors who used to be on the big three networks, and have real stories. This is the first one I’ve seen in which 3/5 of the main cast was populated by B-movie all stars, so I had to make a note of it here. I get excited about stuff like seeing Pam Grier and Richard Roundtree playing a couple in a Hallmark movie, y’all!

Anyway, Pam, Donna, and Florence are members of the same church, whose priest is the guy that didn’t want to pay the Ghostbusters after they destroyed the hotel ballroom. Someone has left the church a crappy house in their will, and the three ladies are tasked with fixing it up so it can be flipped. They don’t know how to remodel a house, but they learn, and in the meantime they all learn a little something about fixing their marriages. Pam taking plumbing classes at the hardware store is a highlight. There’s also a building inspector who is a jerk, like that was a surprise, and a neighbor who teaches everyone not to be so judgmental.

I really liked one scene in which the jerk inspector says, but my wife thinks I’m funny, and Florence says, she’s faking that too. Because a fake orgasm joke told by Carol Brady on TV points out how far we’ve come past censorship since the time when the Bradys didn’t even have a toilet, and also because I’m immature.

It’s not a great script, but these three just look so darn cute dancing to what the closed captions called “soul music” during a “repairing the house” montage. They sell their corny dialogue and really seem to be having fun. Old Lance who was only about sixty-something here but looks 100 has a surprising amount of heavy lifting to do in the drama department and does it well. He is so far above this material he can see it from space, but he plays it straight.

My husband, who HATES my Hallmark habit, came in during the final scene and pointed out that Donna really was the best actress out of the three ladies and I grudgingly have to agree. Florence Henderson always played the same character, and we all love Pam Grier for reasons, but Donna Mills is a very natural actress. I mostly remember her from repeat 1990s (back when I used to think it was OMG scary) viewings of Play Misty For Me, which is a much better movie than Ladies of the House, but not the mood I was going for on a Sunday evening. Ladies of the House is the perfect type of older TV movie for relaxing while you’re doing some gaming on the other TV. If it comes on again, I will watch it again, which is a review in itself.

Since I always talk about my streaming service addiction, I’ll inform you I dropped Philo, which was my Hallmark connection, in favor of Frndly TV, which lowers my skinny bundle bill from $25 to $7.99. And on that new skinnier bundle there is a channel called Pixl, which is where I watched this. They show old Hallmark movies commercial free. I also found the original TV movie starring Kenny Rogers as The Gambler in the Frndly app’s on demand section, but that’s another post for another day.

What did you watch last night?