Oh, and Uncle Fucking Jesse. It stars him too.
"The Two Mr. Kissels" is about these two brothers who do things with money that people like you and I do not understand. Well, maybe you understand it. I'm one of those people that thinks "playing the market" involves bowling with cantaloupes. KIDDING! Kind of. Anyway, they make scads and scads of money all in some attempt to get their father's attention. Because let's not forget, ladies: This is a Lifetime movie. In any one of these, whether you are stripping or giving a teenager a hummer on your second date or entering into an ill-advised pregnancy pact or, yes, investing money into a hedge fund named after members of your family, you're doing it to get the attention of your father, who will never exactly put down the goddamn sports page and give you that attention. John Stamos's character is crazily greedy and money hungry and does all these super shady things. He also does a lot of blow. Because in Lifetime's world, it is ok to be upper middle class. Sure, have a nice big house and put your kid in cello lessons. But if you have too much money, you automatically morph into this:
Which is another reason why I like this movie, believe it or not. In your average Lifetime movie, sex is the thing being demonized. Sex is only for a) incredibly wanton teenagers who will soon get syphilis/pregnant/DEAD and b) people who commit adultery and then kill their significant others. Oh, and it is for babies. Which are wonderful. So you have sex, which is this totally awful job that you don't really want to do because it can only be compared to cleaning the toilet or scrubbing the hard water stains off of the shower door, so you can have a baby which is AMAZING and really, the only reason for living. I love me some Lifetime, but yes, it does bother me that this is the message that is so often given out. And don't even get me started on that Pregnancy Pact one where at the end it is intimated that Thora Birch's character is a changed and good person (when she's been insufferable the entire two hours) because she did not get an abortion...she just lied about a pregnancy, did not tell the father, and then gave the baby up for adoption. So, long story short, I'm kind of glad to see the glaring light of anger be put on something other than sex for a change. Sorry rich people.
The Two Mr. Kissels is also awesome because of three other things, and they are nowhere near as thematically problematic. The first thing is this: one Mr. Kissel is living in Hong Kong, spending his time being rich and working for some huge company, and SARS breaks out. So he sends his wife (Robin Tunney) and children back to the US to escape it. During this sojourn, his wife starts banging the cable guy. Which is funny, because well, I've never even seen a hot cable guy. Never. Our cable guy here, for instance, could get a job ringing a bell if this whole cable thing goes the way of the dinosaur. But the husband, well, he does what any self respecting rich guy would do in the situation. He hires a PI. We see the PI sitting outside of the house and watching while, one morning, the cable guy leaves and gets in his poor person's car and drives off. And you hear the PI talking to the husband, saying he has bad news, and he tells the guy that his wife is boffing some other dude, and then he goes, "He lives down the road." *beat* "In a trailer park."
And then you see the rich guy's face and he is just AGHAST. You almost feel like screaming DUM DUM DUM at the TV (or at least, I do, but then again, I talk to my TV. We have a loving relationship.) He has just been served. On a silver platter. With bone fucking china. That PI might as well have told him that his wife now has scabies and smallpox and running sores all over. Anyway, I just love it.
And the second awesome thing is kind of related. His wife ends up *SPOILER ALERT* killing him. And she does it in this pretty evil, totally awesome way, where she gets her kid to give him a rohypnol laced milkshake, and then she bludgeons him to death with a statue. And then (after a few spa treatments and a massage), she wraps him in a rug, and has some worker dudes come up and get the rug to take to storage. And she has her four year old son hold the door for them as they leave. Yes, she has her four year old son hold the door for his dead father's body to be carried out. Classy. And let me just say, Robin Tunney's performance here is great. She just has this swagger about the whole thing that I kind of dig, and that is really missing from a lot of these movies. And, I absolutely fucking adore the outfit she wears while she murders him: it is a simple black shift, with a v-back, with a skinny red belt and red pumps. I may cop to looking for a similar ensemble after I finished watching the movie. Not to kill my husband in. Just to have, you know, while I make milkshakes and have furniture moved.
And the third awesome thing is this: at then end, everything has just gone to complete and utter shit for the Kissels. One is dead, Robin Tunney is in a Taiwanese women's prison, and John Stamos is drinking milk out of the carton while wearing a Lohanesque ankle monitor bracelet. And to symbolize this, we get a shot of Uncle Jesse, just hoovering down a big bunch of blow in his car. And the awesome thing? It's a Pontiac! I just think that is genius. Prior to this, there is a scene where the US Marshalls swoop in and take a garage full of expensive imported automobiles. So you know things are bad when this dude decided to drive domestic. For some reason, I think that is a real gem--such dynamite characterization. And it makes me inordinately happy, not because I delight in seeing rich people have to do demeaning things, but because it is a great example of saying so much with just one image, just one well-placed product.
Anyway, this is a gem among Lifetime movies. I just watched it (well, halfway at least) for the third time, I think. And since I have seen a few of these movies during my break from work and I would never willingly watch any of them again, it feels extra special to have found it. Consider the suggestion a late holiday gift from me.
2011 is nigh, ya'll. Hope your New Year is amazing and that it is the start of a rich (but not too rich) year for us all.