This is probably going to sound extremely coldhearted, but the moment news of the blonder than blonde, blue eyed, all American good teen’s disappearance hit airwaves (and it hit EVERY airwave for MONTHS) all I could think was, “This is going to make one hell of a MFTV movie.” Boy was I wrong.
Natalee Holloway premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network a couple months ago, but being that my cable package does not feature this channel (which I consider both a blessing and a curse) I had to wait until they sent it over to their sister network for its own Saturday night basic cable package premiere.
[Sidenote: I texted my mother so she would remind my grandmother (who didn’t miss a single second of Holloway coverage and who is convinced that Natalee was sold instantly into white slavery for a hefty sum) that the movie version would be on at 8 pm on channel 31, which my mother almost forgot to do until she saw my grandmother in the car behind her in the Kentucky Fried Chicken Drive Thru. I don’t believe she watched it, but in the event that she did, I will report her analysis here at a later date. However, I imagine if she did watch it, she might ignore the word “based” in the title’s description.]
At any rate, I was less than pleased at this movie whose release I had been anticipating for four long years. Let’s start with casting. We all know what Natalee looks like. We saw that damn yearbook and graduation photo everyday for so long that years from now if I see it, I’ll probably assume she was a classmate. And in all those pictures of her, her most defining characteristic (to me) was her really long, super straight, extremely blonde hair. Since acting skills are unnecessary in a Lifetime movie, any girl could have played the part of Natalee, so long as she had the long, straight, blonde hair. Oh wait no? You want to go with a this girl with wavy, sandy, blonde hair? Okay, that’ll do. I’m going to forgive that they cast the innocent-esque, religious, Southern mother with a rough, wifebeater clad tough gal, who looked like she worked out with Madonna or Sarah Connor and smoked all day, because at least they didn’t cast that Callie Duquesne character from CSI, which I would have expected.
All I wanted from this movie was to SEE what happened. I know we don’t ACTUALLY KNOW the true story, because the Van der Sloot guy was obviously a shady, unscrupulous murderer/rapist, but come on, I didn’t want 15 minutes of Natalee’s graduation and ten minutes of partying in Aruba, followed by an hour and a half of Beth Twitty on CNN, I ALREADY SAW THAT SHIT! The movie did flashbacks, for each statement the suspects gave, which boiled down to watching Van der Sloot make out with Natalee on the beach a dozen times and then leave her there to sleep. When that reporter in Holland got Van der Sloot to admit that she “died” on the beach so he found someone to take her a couple miles out into the ocean on a boat to hide the evidence, I sadly had to laugh when they showed them taking her out to sea, as her twitching hand hung over the side of the boat, suggesting that she was still alive when they “dumped the body.”
Maybe the best part of the movie though, was the Natalee’s kid brother, who they just left at home alone in Alabama while they searched for their favorite child? Every scene that featured him was him sitting alone on the couch watching news coverage of his sister’s disappearance. At one point, he made himself some Hot Pockets, and deciding he was too sad to eat them, just threw them in the trash. Come on, it’s funny.
All in all, this absurd re-enactment of a “national tragedy” was par for course, but if you’re looking for real “based on a true story” entertainment, I suggest something featuring Amy Fisher.