Lifetime Movies That Everyone Should See Once In Their Life

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Let's get one thing straight: Nobody — not a single, solitary human — watches Lifetime Original Movies for their highbrow, cinematic entertainment. It is not really a section of the Lifetime network that panders to such requests. Instead, whether intentionally or not, collectively these original films have honed a reputation for being somewhat of a mecca for trashy entertainment. A Trash Mecca, if you will. And it's glorious.

Over the last three decades (since Lifetime launched in 1984 and began making original films some six years later), an uncountable number of OG treasures have spilled out of the Lifetime central station featuring plot lines that seem to have gone completely off the rails. The best ones, of course, have a place on this list. From pregnancy pacts to murdered husbands, an off-kilter Britney Spears to a meth-dealing Diane Keaton, we guarantee that a few evenings spent dedicated to these true examples of a "so-bad-it's-good" movie really are absolutely worth your time. 

Have your popcorn at the ready — you'll need it!

The facepalm inducing Britney Ever After

It's hard to know where to begin when dissecting the glorious dumpster fire that was Lifetime's 2017 Britney Spears "biopic" Britney Ever After — yet perhaps that is part of its appeal. With so many eyebrow raising, facepalm inducing, jaw-dropping moments that beg the question "What was Lifetime thinking?!" this made-for-TV movie is truly an impressive piece of filmmaking. But not for the right reasons.

From (seemingly) failing to gain the rights to use any of Britney's actual music — the singer's reps stated that she had not given the biopic her blessing "in any way, shape or form" — to making blatant errors when recreating iconic outfits, accents, and a certain incident involving an umbrella, to say that fans were bewildered by the film would be an understatement. During its premiere on Lifetime in February 2017, it felt like Twitter was exploding with requests to "Leave Britney Alone!"

This probably wasn't the reaction Natasha Bassett (who starred as Britney) was hoping for. Before the film aired she told Billboard that she "found it to be an incredible showing of strength [that] shines a really positive light on Britney and how she's overcome challenges," adding that she thinks "it's a feminist story, at its core." 

Unfortunately for Bassett, the scripting, set design, and general quality of acting have meant that any hints of a "feminist story" were wildly overshadowed. But we won't hold it against her.

Diane Keaton deals meth in On Thin Ice

If awful movies are your jam, oh boy are you in for a treat. This Lifetime Original nugget stars Diane Keaton as a widow, mother, and full blown meth addict, and it is absolutely delicious. Apparently based on the true story of Patsy McCartle — portrayed by Keaton — the narrative of On Thin Ice goes a little something like this:

On losing her job, McCartle finds herself on the breadline, unable to support her two children and turns to dealing drugs to bring in the dough. Within (what feels like) a matter of minutes, she goes from Mother of the Year candidate to rooting in every nook for leftover meth rocks and yelling at her spawn for spending her drug money on food. She later becomes a police informant, too, and winds up shooting her dealer in the stomach. 

In a nutshell, the movie is a total mess, and it's almost painful to acknowledge how truly awful Keaton's acting is — keeping in mind that by this point, she had already starred in the Godfather trilogy, Annie Hall and Manhattan, Father of the Bride, and The First Wives Club. She is a credible actor, for crying out loud. And let's not even talk about the fact that she was On Thin Ice's executive producer.

As the Chicago Tribune summarized, "it's terribly written and Keaton is ineffective in it."

Erica Durance marries herself in I Me Wed

For most people, the act of self love is relatively simple. You treat yourself to a spa day, take a yoga class, meditate, invest in some overpriced organic chocolate, run a bath, or have some solo Netflix and chill time. But for 30-something-year-old Isabel Darden aka the protagonist of I Me Wed, the ultimate celebration of her self love is to — yup, the title is a bit of a give away — marry herself.

Starring Erica Durance, who you might know from CW's Supergirl, this 2007 Lifetime treasure revolves around a woman that's tired of being berated by her elders for being on a one-way track to spinsterdom. Yet rather than settling and shacking up with any Tom, Dick, or Harry, Isabel concludes that the whole premise of dating can get in the sea, and rather she should concentrate on celebrating the love she has for herself. So, much to the dismay of her mother and BFF, she starts planning her own wedding.

While I Me Wed is seemingly attempting to make a statement about female independence — which screenwriter Julie Sherman Wolfe affirms in an interview with Millennial Hallmarker — it's definitely not problem free, especially considering the protagonist winds up hitched to her contractor's son and thus flinging any message of self-sufficiency into the wind. But that's all part of the cheesy, un-woke essence of I Me Wed. Don't say we didn't warn you.

She's Too Young brings syphilis to Nova Scotia

"What is She Too Young for?" you cry! Is this Lifetime Original treat about a girl too young to date, to lose her virginity, to get pregnant? Is she too young to go to jail or to leave home? Nope, none of the above. This girl — Hannah Vogul (aka Entourage's Alexis Dziena) — is too young for syphilis. Yes, really. This entire film is about the sex lives of a group of teenagers who thrust themselves into weird teen orgies and pass syphilis to one another like a hot potato. Fun, huh?

However, if you can get past the fact that this 2004 cheese fest is clearly attempting to be Lifetime's answer to Kids, or — as as the New York Times pointed out — copycat the brilliant Thirteen, She's Too Young actually isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things (aka this list). If anything, it speaks openly about sex, drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, and how flippin' hard it is for parents to raise a teenager. 

While not confirmed, the movie could be be inspired by an outbreak of syphilis in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta in the late '90s, in which 200+ teenagers were exposed to the infection.

Tori Spelling is '90s high school royalty in A Friend To Die For

Also known as A Friend To Die For, Lifetime's 1994 teen drama, Death of a Cheerleader, is probably one of the more famous bad-but-kinda-good movies on this list. That's not just because it stars Tori Spelling as the titular cheerleader who's promptly stabbed to death by a jealous classmate. It's also because it's based on a true story.

As Lifetime's adaptation goes, Angela Delvecchio (Kellie Martin) is a transfer student who tries to befriend Stacy Lockwood (Spelling) aka the queen bee. Yet after Lockwood repeatedly calls her weird and rejects her advances for friendship, Delvecchio stabs her to death.

Naturally, this isn't really a direct mirror of the true event upon which the story is apparently based, but a 1985 report by People certainly highlights the similarities. Per the report, high school student Bernadette Protti — who reportedly wanted a place, desperately, on the cheerleading team — was convicted of second degree murder after stabbing classmate Kirsten Costas to death. Trying to articulate why she did it, Protti offered, "She never liked me... The thing that got me mad was it hurt. I mean she didn't really say, 'You're ugly' or something. She just said stuff that made me feel bad."

Thank the lord we now have Mean Girls to teach us that popular girls can be taken down with high-calorie Kalteen bars and mere mortals don't have to resort to Protti-level madness, eh? 

Friends who birth together stay together in The Pregnancy Pact

Pushing your pals into getting knocked up is an odd, not to mention somewhat archaic, way to waste your energy at any age, but at 15 it's just bonkers. Yet the teens starring in The Pregnancy Pact clearly don't feel the same way. They just want to get pregnant, en masse, pronto. As one does.

Starring Thora Birch as alumnus Sidney Bloom, we follow her as she goes back to her high school to investigate the recent spike in teenage pregnancies, which within a matter of weeks have boomed from 10 to 18. As we soon discover, this is thanks to the titular "Pregnancy Pact," in which a number of girls made a pact to get pregnant ASAP. But did you know this actually happened?

In June 2008, Time magazine published a story about 17 female students at Gloucester High School who were expecting babies, with a follow-up article quoting the school's principal stating, "That bump [in statistics] was because of seven or eight sophomore girls. They made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together." As you can imagine, as soon as that article dropped a media onslaught began, with stories hitting headlines across the country.

There's even a documentary about it called The Gloucester 18. Maybe you could watch that and Lifetime's goodie back-to-back? Doesn't that sound like a smart way to spend an evening?

Kirsten Dunst is Fifteen and Pregnant

First things first, most movies starring Kirsten Dunst are golden — this is not one of them. Yet if you're looking to continue the young-and-pregnant theme in a "why am I watching this" Lifetime Original-style drama, then Fifteen and Pregnant is the one for you.

With a synopsis claiming to be based on a true story — assumedly because teenage pregnancy isn't a myth — the film tells the tale of Tina Spangler (Dunst), a 15-year-old girl who finds herself pregnant, abandoned by her boyfriend, and facing the scary prospect of becoming a teenage mother, all while dealing with the reaction of her family.

Of course, Fifteen and Pregnant ain't no Juno, but there are some pretty quirky scenes — such as the one in which Spangler gives birth and momentarily looks like she's been possessed by the antichrist. But that probably has something to do with the fact she pops out the biggest newborn ever seen in under three minutes.

Somewhat surprisingly, the movie was pretty well received by its audience, with many of the audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes stating that it's "pretty good as TV movies go," that it "shows the hardships of being a teen mom," and while it might be "a bit outdated ... the message is still clear and important." On the flip side though, others complain that it's an "awful movie" that reeks of "made for cable funk." Guess you'll have to make the decision for yourself!

Online dating gets a bad rep in Fatal Desire

Another day, another insane true story to base a mediocre Lifetime Original movie on. This particular treat — Fatal Desire, starring Anne Heche — might be far from being a cinematic classic, but it'll definitely make you think twice about the next person you match with on Tinder.

Fatal Desire is based on a real-life murder that took place in 1999, telling the story of how Sharee Miller's husband came to be gunned down in his own workplace. Miller, whose name was changed to Tanya in the movie, is not the nicest of folk. In fact, as the movie tracks how she preyed upon poor, lonely Jerry Cassaday in an online chatroom, lured him in with false promises of love and pregnancy, and eventually persuaded him to kill her husband, it's clear she's not very nice at all. Miller's hideous antics not only inspired this Lifetime movie, but it was also written about in Fatal Error by Mark Morris, and was the focus of a Forensic Files episode, "Web of Seduction."

In 2016, 17 years after the murder took place, Miller finally confessed to her involvement, writing a four-page letter to a Genesee County judge that read, "I had sixteen and a half hours to stop it. And I didn't. I knew it was going to happen and I allowed it. I allowed a man to kill another man based on my lies and manipulation."

What fun!

Lindsay Lohan is Elizabeth Taylor in Liz and Dick

Lifetime's 2012 film Liz and Dick stars Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor. If that fact isn't reason enough to make you drop everything you're currently doing, grab a bottle of wine, and get your butt on the couch immediately, quite frankly I'm not sure what will.

However, for those who need more persuasion than the average bad-but-so-so-good film junkie, here's the deal: The movie focuses on Taylor and Richard Burton's love affair, their two marriages, two divorces and their rollercoaster careers. And it was panned to death by critics. Scoring a tragic 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (and faring even worse among audiences), it was slated by EW for not doing Taylor and Burton justice; by AV Club for being unconvincing, campy, and dumb; and by The Hollywood Reporter for being "half train wreck, half SNL skit." 

The Huffington Post even gave us rules for a drinking game, stating that's "all Liz and Dick really offers." Ouch. It's almost too ironic to be true that Lohan was in an actual car crash while filming this movie.

While you could argue that Lohan was cast simply to exploit her name, the film's producer Larry A. Thompson insisted that she was hired because she could relate. Speaking of Taylor, he told Deadline in 2012, "She had been a child star ... lived a life of excess, drinking, making love, living under the glare of the paparazzi ... there was a lot going on with Elizabeth Taylor that Lindsay Lohan could relate to."