OK, before I begin here, we need to address the skull-faced elephant in the room:
Now, granted, Ali Lohan is 17, and this could be one of the most awkward growth spurts in history (as her PR flack is contending [she has PR flack? Really?]). But, given the history of the Lohan family, I’m thinking growing pains aren’t the full explanation.
And all the fuss over Ali’s most recent… facial choice got me thinking about Lindsay. Poor “Cokepants” Lindsay. Despite her current status as late-night show punching bag and argument in favor of total drug prohibition, there was once a time when she was THE rising young starlet in Hollywood. She was, for a young actress, good and, as she matured, became a very beautiful young woman. (Don’t remember that? I’ll get to Mean Girls in a second.) But, baggage, alcohol, drugs, and poor film choices turned The Great Red Hope into a stumbling-out-of-The-Standard cautionary tale. Let’s look back.
The late 90s brought a remake of The Parent Trap, starring the Dennis Quaid (the sane one), Natasha Richardson, and a newcomer named Lindsay Lohan, whose first role would not only be amongst established actors, but would also be playing twins, one with an English accent. Did it revolutionize child acting? Not so much, but she was rightfully praised for her performance, and with that film a hit, she became a promising young actress. A couple more films for Disney Channel led to another remake, Freaky Friday, where, again, she held her own against an established actor (Jamie Lee Curtis). Things were looking up.
2004 brought what would be the pinnacle of her success, critically and aesthetically:
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen Mean Girls. This movie did something nearly impossible: took a teen girl-centered story and made it appealing to everyone. (Tina Fey’s involvement had a lot to do with it.) It was well-written, funny, intelligent, and, most importantly, introduced America to a Murderer’s Row of young hotties:
- Lohan herself
- Rachel McAdams
- Lacey Chabert (which was a shock if you only remembered her as the annoying sister on “Party of Five”)
- Amanda Seyfried (my love of her is well-documented)
- Lizzy Caplan
It was a confluence of a great movie, great talent, and great looks. It was a hit outside of the Disney system, and a sign that things were moving onward and upward for Lohan. It would also be, arguably (but not really arguably), her peak.
The next couple of years were a holding pattern for her, filled with bombs (Just My Luck, Herbie, Bobby, Chapter 27), but nothing that she really took the fall for. However, 2007 was a critical year; for her, it represented the fall of her legitimate movie career, and for us, her entree into Yakmala! country. 2007 is when both I Know Who Killed Me and Georgia Rule were released. I don’t think Peter McNeely even took that much punishment from Tyson.
Both Georgia and IKWKM were Lindsay’s forays into starring in “mature” features. “Mature,” for Georgia, meant a light, breezy romcom about a young woman who was molested by her stepfather WHAT??! (Totally not kidding; a main story is about LiLo getting manhandled when she was younger by Cary Elwes, who now looks like a large man skinned and wore Cary Elwes.) In the case of IKWKM, “mature” meant a Hitchcockian identical-twin thriller after a run through Hostel and a severe head injury. Both were rated R, both were excoriated by critics, and both failed miserably. Lindsay flew too close to the sun on wings made of terrible R-rated movies, and came crashing down to earth.
I can write your business’ pamphlets if you want.
Now, no one falls apart and gets pulled over with cocaine in their pants and gets arrested for chasing down someone in someone else’s car in a vacuum. Lohan’s home life has been – how to put this delicately – abysmal, which had to have some bearing on how things turned out for her. I’m not surprised with her mother, who’s never met a person she hasn’t tried to sue or convince casting her daughter in something, and her father, for whom Webster’s is now redefining the word “trainwreck,” that things didn’t quite shake out.
But not everything was their fault, and now we have Lindsay as she is today: the living embodiment of the word “ugh.” The Lindsay who turned down Heather Graham’s part in The Hangover, but shows up in the sequel to The Underground Comedy Movie. The one who gets put on blast by the producers of Georgia Rule, but whose mom wastes her time threatening to sue the producers of Glee because of a one-off joke. The one who had promise, but is now a walking (or stumbling, or whatever) punchline.
And through it all, I do hope she gets her shit together. With all the crap that’s gone on, somewhere there’s still a good actress. Let’s hope she gets there one day. But if she keeps on the path she’s on, we probably won’t see her in anything else short of shitty exploitation horror films or, worse yet, a Christian production.
And let’s hope she can fix whatever’s going on with Ali’s face, because GODDAMN.