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You might want to douse this "Ring of Fire"

You know if you get sick of the singing in a film about June Carter and Johnny Cash, something has gone terribly wrong.

Yet that's how I felt during "Ring of Fire" (9 p.m. Monday, Lifetime), the small screen version of the couple's love and marriage based on the book "Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash," by their son John Carter Cash.

The film, as the book's title suggests, focuses on June from her beginnings in her family group, through two marriages, her encounter with and deep yearning for Johnny that led to marriage number 3 (and the title hit song), Johnny's substance abuse problems, until her death in 2003.

The biggest problem with the film is that the way I just recounted it is the way the film plays. As in: June is a young girl, some singing; June is older, some singing; June's husband cheats, time for another song; June wants Johnny so she sits down and writes and sings "Ring of Fire"; June and Johnny can finally be together, cue more music. We're left with a list of June Carter's life events rather than insight into her life.

Despite those limitations, singer Jewel, who plays the adult June, is quite good. The gal from Alaska does a solid Southern accent and she's believable. She doesn't have much to work with script wise, but she makes the most of what she has. She plays well with Matt Ross who plays Johnny Cash, who also does a solid job despite a slight characterization. Frances Conroy plays Maybelle Carter; she's always good.

By the way, there's a little hometown connection: Three local kids are in the film. Austin Stack plays a young John Carter Cash, Ellie Dusek plays Carlene Carter, and Sterling Adams plays Rosie.

Tune in to see them, and to hear Jewel sing those great songs. Just don't expect the film to match the genius of the talent it's about.

THE NEW FALL SEASON: 'American Horror Story'

"American Horror Story," a freaky new horror series from the team who brought us "Nip/Tuck" and "Glee," is easily the most polarizing new show of the fall season. Among television critics, there's very little gray area: you're either into it, or you despise it.

I think I'm into it.

I admit up front I have no idea what Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are trying to do here. But I do know that "American Horror Story" is among the scariest things I've ever watched.

The series follows a couple as they move their teenage daughter to Los Angeles to try to heal their marriage and make a fresh start. The problem is they move into the most haunted house in the history of haunted houses. We're talking "gaping Hellmouth" kind of haunted. There are no romantic vampires or buff werewolves in this house. Right down to the last nail in the last creaky floorboard, this is a house of pure, ugly evil.

"How I Met Your Mother": Barney cleans house

You know how friends and co-workers are always sending you "LOL" responses to your e-mails, text messages, and Facebook updates, even though you know they're not really laughing out loud? Because whatever you just wrote really wasn't that funny, certainly not funny enough to prompt even a giggle out of a half-drunk audience at a "Rules of Engagement" taping, but they'll toss you a courtesy LOL.

So it means something when I say "How I Met Your Mother" made me, dare I say it, laugh out loud Monday night. It's not the first episode where Barney Stinson has broken into song, but the sight of Neil Patrick Harris interrupting Wayne Brady and Ben Vereen's father-son reunion with a goofy sing-along of "Stand By Me," suggests this show may have some life left in it.

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