I think it was 6 months ago that Chadd told me to watch this and it’s only now On Demand so I’m finally partaking in what appears to be pretty fun. “Jennifer loves scouring garage sales to look for items to sell in her resell shop. But when she realizes a series of burglaries and a friend’s murder may have connection to the sales, she helps the cops.” SOLD!
I just learned from the internet that this movie is based on a best selling book that I’ve never heard of called “The Garage Sale Stalker” and it’s directed by Peter DeLuise.
The movie starts up a bit like an Agatha Christie movie and I know right away why Chadd loved it- he loves Agatha Christie! Ominous music and also yard sale ads in the background, so spooky.
You know who else loves scouring garage sales? My grandma! She has yet to solve a murder via one though which seems unfair when you consider the sheer number of years that she’s put into the art.
In case you live under a rock (or lived there in the 90s) the star is Lori Loughlin from Full House playing a lady named Jen. She is married and has an antiques partner who works with her and it’s all set up very quickly while she heads out for a day of sales.
When she walks up to a sale the camera goes all nuts and it’s like Terminator but without all of the robot information up on the screen- she’s INTENSE I think this means. Her eyes dart through all the people and junk and hone in on some china that she MUST HAVE. Some English guy tries to pounce but she offers $250 and the lady selling snaps up the cash. She wins and the English guy sadly mopes away. The garage sale lady invites her in to check out some things she didn’t even put in the sale- what luck!
Then she goes to another house and it’s someone she knows who I guess forgot to tell her good friend, who is a professional garage sale shopper, about the sale. Weird. Jen’s Terminator eyes hone in on a dusty ol’ Tiffany lamp but her friend says it’s a fake. Even Terminator Eyes are wrong sometimes. She takes her inside because she has some stuff set aside for her… despite forgetting to tell her she was having a sale. Also, all these strangers are just milling through her house. Jen tells her that’s a bad idea but she’s all “whatever, I just want this stuff gone” so I guess she’s fine with getting robbed. Just get this junk out of here, please!
Meanwhile, Jen finds some old jade worth $400 just sitting out on a table that is then placed on the “not for sale” shelf that I guess she assumes people will just obey.
People inside are asking about furniture so I guess everything is for sale in the house? I don’t know man. I’ve never been to a sale where you just buy anything not on the “not for sale” shelf in the entryway.
Outside they’re chatting about Jen’s daughter who is going through a breakup at college and the friend is all “let’s have lunch, I can do it after I get a massage, get my hair done and get my nails done” so was that just to set up that this is a lady of leisure? That’s a lot of needless info for lunch. She seems kind of crazed and Jen asks what’s up but she says she’s excited about lunch and that’s the end of the scene.
Next sale- where is the partner she called? Anyway, she sees some pieces of a train track and asks the lady if there is any more and she says there is more in the basement in some mystery boxes. She can have the 2 mystery boxes for 20 bucks but she has to go down to the basement and dig them up herself.
She goes down and clicks on a flashlight and in this messy basement with tons of stuff and boxes she manages to figure out which are the two mystery boxes she just bought I guess. She holds up some train piece and goes “bingo!”
Oh! She’s at her store now and here is the partner so that mystery is solved (see, I can be a detective too! Just give me a chance). She’s telling her partner about her scores and the partner is all “you deserve a green drink!” and Jen is HORRIFIED. Like, she’s never seen a green juice in her life. She gags and gags.
They go through the mystery boxes and find some giant vase that they say will go on ebay. They have a store and the biggest, most delicate thing is going on ebay? I hate shipping things so this makes no sense to me.
At home, in their giant beautiful house, everything is super happy. Teenage son eats junk before dinner- so much laughs! The sad college student is upstairs wallowing in her breakup listening to Lilith Fair music. Jen asks to see what she’s “working on” and Hannah hands over a doodle of a tree and Jen is all “GASP! Hannah, you are so talented!” What?
Husband says there were two burglaries in Glenwood and Jen is all “isn’t it weird that there were two burglaries in Glenwood and I went to two sales in Glenwood?” Husband does not see the correlation… and neither do I. Were the burglaries at the same houses or something? She doesn’t say.
She goes downstairs and finds a newspaper showing that she went to a THIRD sale where there was a robbery later and that’s enough for her. Time to call the police. She’s telling a detective that she thinks people went to the sales to case the houses and then all these houses were robbed. Okay, I see the correlation now. She really should have lead with this. She also proves to the cop that she has super Terminator eyes and he’s very impressed. Garage sales afford you a fancy house and then they help you become a detective- there is truly nothing they can’t do.
Great news! Hannah went jogging this morning. She might get over this breakup yet.
She heads over to pick up her friend Kate for lunch. Her friend who had the garage sale last weekend… Okay. If I had a theory that people who had garage sales in the neighborhood were being robbed and my friend just had one I’d probably run my theory by her first and not just keep it to myself. Kate’s not answering but her car is in the driveway, mighty peculiar indeed. Jen leaves a message that’s like “I’m here to pick you up for lunch and I’m parked next to your car but you didn’t answer the door and then I called but you didn’t answer the phone and it’s 12:15 but I got here at noon.” Like, please give more details in your next message, amateur detective.
Her friend’s house is off by itself and very beautiful. I wonder what city this is supposed to be.
Jen goes around back and tries some doors until one opens. She goes in all “KATE! ARE YOU HERE?” But, Terminator eyes zoom in on Kate’s dead body at the bottom of the stairs- nothing gets by her! Cut to the cops removing the body and telling her they called her friend’s husband.
The Detective she spoke to before asks what happened when she arrived. The Detective says it looks like an accident.
Jen is all “okay… WAIT A SECOND! I was here last weekend for a garage sale!” Because she is super wise but JUST pieced these two things together. Sigh. The Detective has her come upstairs with him to show her that there are no signs of burglary. She informs the Detective that her friend’s husband made a ton of money so she didn’t work. Detective- “then why was she having a garage sale?” Touche, Detective.
We’ll never know why Kate was so weird that day about lunch or why she was really selling stuff, I guess. At work Jen and her partner photograph the crap she bought last weekend including that giant vase. Jen thinks it looks real but the partner informs her it would be 400 years old if so. Then she throws it to her to prove her point I guess? They laugh and laugh.
Jen is back in the Detective’s office talking about how her friend walked down those stairs thousands of times so why would she fall??
Jen takes some food over to Kate’s husband who is still in shock. He hasn’t told their kid that she died yet. Yikes.
TERMINATOR EYES kick in and notices that the jade buddha is gone. Her husband does remember that in fact. He doesn’t know where it is though and admits that he doesn’t really care at this point. Right, tragic death and all.
Jen and her partner talk to some dude (one of their husbands?) about their roof being shitty and he’s all “yeah, it’s shitty.” Thanks for helping, dude! Great scene?
Meanwhile, some girl comes into the shop (that looks pretty cool, I’d shop there) and is all “my mom wanted to get rid of this but it’s worth something, right?” and guess what, it’s the buddha!
Criminal alert. The partner says they don’t do appraisals so the girl asks if she wants it and she says to have her mom come in. The girl gets super high pitched and leaves- verrrrrry cool. Partner sees right through her.
The criminals are hanging out talking about their upcoming plans. “Back to it this weekend?” “Yeah.” I assume “it” refers to robbing and murdering. So casual.
She says something about his brother needing to be cool but this guy is all “don’t worry, he’s totally cool!” so I bet that’s settled now.
The Detective comes over to go garage sailing and Hannah is going to go with. Oh wait, the Detective drove up in a cool old Mustang and is handsome. Hannah is getting over this breakup faster than her mom expected!
On the drive over Hannah apologizes for her mom while they listen to very vague radio rock. She also weirdly tells him that she just broke up with someone. Girl, you are bad at dating. Shhhhhhhhhhh, bring that up on the 3rd date, one where your mom isn’t with you ideally.
At the first house the annoying English guy from the first sale is there and the Detective doesn’t like the look of him so he writes down the plate number (it should be noted that this sale is COMPLETELY inside the home and not even in the yard or garage at all- this whole town is weird).
Hannah and Adam (Detective) are all flirty between sales in the car. NOTE- She tells him she’s about to start law school so now praising her tree doodle before is even weirder. I’m glad that scene wasn’t setting her up as an art student at least. At the next sale they see the male criminal and Lori says she nicknamed him the stranger because she sees him at a lot of sales but he never seems to be shopping. Then some guy in an army jacket walks by and the cop notices him because he’s a known thief. Detective asks Hannah to get out of his car so he can quickly go harass the known thief while the real criminals are left to case the house.
Hmmm, Detective pops the trunk and it has a ski mask as well as a bunch of silver in it. Doesn’t look good, thief! He gets ready for jail. I guess a lot of criminals are working the garage sale circuit.
Back at the store Jen is pretty proud of herself for solving this crime and her partner says a thief came into their store recently and tells the story of the jade buddha. Jen is SHOCKED! She then drops the bomb that she doesn’t think Kate’s death was an accident- DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN.
Jen tells the Detective about the jade buddha and he says that maybe someone stole it during the sale and isn’t connected to the death. Maybe, sure. The thief he caught was in jail on the night she died so he didn’t do it. Lori is all “call it women’s intuition” but her death wasn’t an accident. It turns out that’s not enough in a court of law.
That lady criminal has the jade buddha at a pawn shop asking for $1k while the pawn guy laughs at her. He pays like $200 for the thing and she takes it. He does tell her that hand carved Japanese ivory is worth thousands and she’s all “hmmmmmmmm.”
At home everyone is happily getting ready for a dinner full of laughs and good times. Lori forgot to tell Hannah that Detective Dreamy was coming for dinner and she’s in sweats- the horror. She runs to cuten herself up.
Over dinner they talk about how easy it is to rob people, as you do. Detective does the dishes with the daughter because I guess he’s basically part of the family now? Is that how solving a case works?
The criminals are in all black with ski masks about to rob a house and for people who seem very dumb they are very nimble criminals. Right up on the roof like they’re ninjas in Crouching Tiger. It’s impressive. One goes in and opens the back door for the partner and it’s Kate’s house! Oh yes, they’ve come back for the ivory they saw here before. That’s pretty ballsy of them- returning to a place someone died at. I’m not sure why two people were needed for this- one person did all of the work while one held a bag. The lights switch on! It’s Kate’s husband and he has a gun and it’s pulled on these thieves.
Jen’s partner doesn’t know what this means though because these people didn’t kill anyone else- couldn’t it still have been an accident? Yeah, sure.
The Detective finds the pawn shop and then the buddha and see the Japanese ivory and put two and two together. Haha, Jen asks to sit in on questioning and the Detective is all “okay.” Man, why won’t this ever happen to me?!?!
In questioning the dude is all “Celeste did everything, I had never been in the house before, I just walked in the door.” Haha, he was caught in full ninja gear with a bag of stolen stuff in a house that he broke in to. The driver is all “I just drove, no one told me what was going on.” Now it’s Celeste and she claims that she was being beaten and that he threatened to kill her if she didn’t rob houses. Oh jeez. She’s the charming sociopath of the group. The Detective tells her that she might get probation if she’s just honest. She buys this so she tells him that she made up the abuse story.
She says they went to rob the house but they saw Kate’s dead body and ran out of the house but grabbed the buddha on the way out. Jen is all “I believe her.” Wow, what happened to your women’s intuition?? The Detective says it looks like this is all wrapped up and then awkwardly, VERY AWKWARDLY, brings up maybe dating Hannah. Jen says her daughter is an adult and can handle her own dates and takes off. Good one, mom.
Kate’s husband calls for something and she tells him that she believes the burglary story. He’s having her pick out the clothes for the casket- yikes. He wants her to go in by herself because just talking about it makes him start crying. This guy is kind of American Psycho creepy but I find rich people who live alone in giant houses with guns to be creepy in general so I can’t be sure.
She’s looking at jewelry and purses for some charity also while she’s in the closet. She drops an earring and sees something weird under the bed so she does what anyone would do; gets a tiny baggie and some tweezers and bags the evidence.
Oops, while she’s down there she sees what might be a blood stain on the bed frame. DUNNNNNN DUNNNNNN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN.
She takes the jewelry to the funeral home and the pearls he says are imitation. Why would that matter to some guy at a funeral home? She’s surprised because her friend is so cha-cha ritzy. She asks to say goodbye to her friend since she won’t be at the immediate-family-only-funeral tomorrow. The guy lets her.
Her body isn’t fixed up at all and he warns her and then she pulls the sheet down. It’s so creepy, like in the morgue. Jen sees a broken fingernail and her Terminator eyes hone in on it.
Jen tells her husband that she’s had a crazy day- we’re supposed to believe that the pawn shop, interrogating the criminals, their statements, Kate’s husband calling her, all of the stuff at Kate’s house and then also the funeral home happened today and it’s still sunny outside. That is a crazy day! She tells her husband that she needs his help thinking this through and that means one thing- FOOT MASSAGE!
He rubs her feet while she thinks about all this new evidence while I try not to gag to death. She asks why they never used Ben as their financial advisor and her husband doesn’t really know but their main investment is the house so it never came up.
I’m not sure why but she still hasn’t told the Detective about the new evidence. She hears her son playing videogames past his bedtime and goes to see what’s up but asks “is it safe to come in?” Is this some kind of gross code when you have a teenage boy? I don’t even want to know.
Her son tells her had she not become a garage sale diva she could have been a gamer and he teaches her something about a game he’s playing to help her focus. It’s minecraft.
Hannah and Detective Dreamy run in the morning together and he asks her to go to a garage sale with him- what a fun date? She tells him as much.
A weird dude comes into the store and says he’s with a Japanese Historical Society and here to answer a question about a vase.
She is surprised he came all the way in. He is very impressed by the “fake” and offers $50 for it. This seems fishy as hell but she sells it to him.
Meanwhile, Jen is at the police station telling the Detective about all of the new evidence. He goes to the house and finds the blood. Ben appears pretty freaked out by everything because the police didn’t bother to investigate the crime scene the first time… so true but he’s still such a creep.
At the store Jen and her partner both have big news. Jen says that they tested the bed frame and there was blood on it and her partner is all “you basically single-handedly solved the case!” which is true. Great job, cops.
The partner’s news is that the Japanese Historical Guy came back and told her that the fake is real and ethically they have to buy it for what it’s worth. The society offers 110k. Yeah, that IS big news. Him being so creepy before was just a red herring, everyone. Cut to these ladies returning it to the lady who accidentally sold it to them in that mystery box and telling her it would be wrong not to give it back. She’s crying because she was about to lose her house. So heartwarming. Jen, you’re so great and your life is so wonderful.
She drops the bomb at home that she gave away 110k today and her husband is all “wha??” but that’s how the scene ends.
It’s a new weekend that means more garage sales! She has her Terminator eyes out in full force. Someone is buying a purse and this makes Jen go home and go through Kate’s old purses she took for charity. She finds a card for a family lawyer and a flash drive. The flash drive won’t load so she calls the lawyer. The lawyer says that she wasn’t working with Kate on anything but her eyes tell me she may have been working with Ben… Jen doesn’t ask anything or even seem suspicious (HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED THAT I’D BE A BETTER DETECTIVE?!)
Now she’s at the shop in the dark trying to work on this flash drive. Why not work on this at home where you’re safer and there are lights on? Her son walks her through mounting it on the phone and here come some excel spreadsheets that seem to say they’re 3 million dollars in debt but I could be reading this wrong.
One of the files is literally a short email from Kate about how she won’t stand by Ben now that she knows he’s stolen money from their friends.
Ben walks in, all in black, and is all “why are you investigating me??” I guess his lawyer called him (HELLLOOOOOO, call me, Detective Dreamy).
Jen is all “you’re scaring me” and then he pulls a gun on her so I guess that’s the point. Also, let the record show that I found this guy creepy before just for being rich and into guns and I was RIGHT. Rich people are the worst.
She runs and he shoots and misses and she somehow gets him to chase her up on the roof so he falls through it- that roof problem scene finally paid off!
The Detective is super impressed with Jen. She is such a good garage sale detective. Her husband asks if she can just stick to garage sales from here on out and not nearly getting murdered- fair request.
The movie ends with the shop having… wait for it… A GARAGE SALE of their stuff. Hannah takes the opportunity to kiss the Detective at it because apparently they’ll never go on a real date.
Her son finds some weird key and we’re supposed to think another mystery is afoot and everyone shakes their head and smiles.
The end credits song lyrics are “She’s just a girl, that seems like such an easy thing to say. She’s not a girl you can hope to meet just any day” and it’s sung just as cutesy wootsy as you’re picturing while I try not to gag again.
All around it was pretty good though- Chadd was right! Peter DeLuise, my mom thought you were the hot one on 21 Jump Street* so I’m glad to see you’re still working.
This week I’m going to watch the Grumpy Cat movie and then the En Vogue Christmas Movie and hopefully get both of those posted before the holidays.
*yes, Johnny Depp AND Richard Greico were on that show.