Monday, November 26, 2012

Signal Shame Watch: Liz & Dick (2012)

Well, that was most certainly a movie with Lindsay Lohan in various Liz Taylor Halloween get-ups.

I wasn't planning to watch Liz & Dick (2012), the much hyped Lindsay Lohan-as-Liz Taylor biopic, but Twitter was having enough of a field day under the #lizanddick hashtag that I had to check in and see what was what.  And a trainwreck it was, indeed.

I don't actually know anything about the history of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, and I've only seen a rare few of each of their movies.  Aside from finding each to be fine actors and finding Liz Taylor in her prime quite fetching, I don't know that I've spent as long as the duration of this movie thinking about Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.

Let's be very clear:  Lindsay Lohan may not be a bad actor, but, boy howdy, is she painful to watch in this movie.  Here, she's a black hole of acting, dragging everyone and everything around her into the gravity well of her Lohan-ness.  I don't think the script was good to begin with, but it's difficult to say.  I don't think the directing or cinematography was above the usual Lifetime Network standards (yeah, this aired as a Lifetime Original), but it's hard to say.  Everyone is kind of acting around and at Lohan, who fumbles around her lines like a community theater actor trying to deal with period language.  Except, it's not period language. 

The movie is a bit weird in that it seems written and directed by persons who have no experience with actual human romantic relationships or sense for narrative structure.  Forget the fact that the movie fails to set up either character as interesting or sympathetic - there's no reason given why the entire outing is compelling.  The relationship plays quite a bit like the fevered imaginings of a bored grocery shopper reading tabloid headlines at the checkout and trying to fill in gaps, or a high-schooler's take on what happens in relationships for grown-ups.

Lohan doesn't look like Liz, and she doesn't have an iota of her appeal.  In many ways, the entire film feels like stunt idea piled on stunt idea in a schmaltzy, over-the-top TV Evel Knievel jump over the Grand Canyon of knowingly terrible ideas.  Lohan always sounds like the first-of-the-morning smoker's croak, and sometimes looks like the make-up crew deserves an Ace Award for make-up to cover up whatever happened the night before.

It's not worth going into much more.  But I do feel like I have participated in a blip of a cultural phenomenon.  So I got that going for me.

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