Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Lindsay Lohan Filmography, Part III

7. I Know Who Killed Me (2007) SPOILERS FOLLOW (but if you have not seen it by now, I doubt you will seek it out)

Why isn’t this the lowest ranked movie on the list, you ask? It is the epitome of high camp without even trying to be and that folks, is quite impressive. This movie has it all: twins separated at birth, stigmata, color symbolism that hits you over the head with the force of a piano dropped from forty stories, creepy psychopaths, missing digits, good v. evil, rich v. poor, roses EVERYWHERE, and Lohan as a “dancer.” The screenwriter must have just gotten out of third period AP Literature and decided that he would try his hand at the art of symbolism, but then realized that people may not get it, so he would have to tone down the subtlety a little bit. The product is what one would get if one were to mix together The Bible + Law and Order: SVU + wealthy Renaissance artists’ love of indigo + a tiny dollop of Jerry Springer.

As if you needed more convincing about the brilliance of this film, allow me to point out that this is actually TWO Lohan performances in one. She gets the juicy roles of playing both Aubrey and Dakota. With those names, it is surprising they both didn’t end up as strippers. I am glad Aubrey got to grow up in privileged suburbia, so that we could witness the full range of Lohan’s skills as she goes from prim, intelligent schoolgirl Aubrey with her white blouse and black-framed glasses to trashy Dakota in her cherry red two-piece and heavy makeup. Perhaps this transformation is best exemplified when Dakota assumes Aubrey’s role and very loudly fornicates with Aubrey’s extremely chaste boyfriend. The uncomfortable face of Aubrey’s mother (played by Julia Ormond) listening from the kitchen below is fantastic. Most importantly, though, the film finally gave Lohan the opportunity to show her dedication to the craft by taking those pole-dancing lessons. Somehow, that does make the world a better place.

6. Bobby (2006)

This movie could have been brilliant; what went wrong? The main problem is that there were too many characters. The point of the film was to take a snapshot of the American political scene and more broadly the American pulse as shaped by Bobby Kennedy. That effect could have been accomplished with about half the characters that ended up being included.

Lohan’s character was actually one of the more interesting ones and Lohan showed great restraint and a real promise for being a dramatic actor. There was a glimmer of hope that Lohan could make it onto the A-list, especially after her co-stars raved about her. At this time, Lohan was a party girl, but when on set, she did her job with the utmost professionalism. She did the international award circuit and showed up looking like royalty at the Venice Film Festival. It was not until later that she hit her downward spiral. In any case, her role was one that actually should have been fleshed out as it left me sympathetic, but curious as to where life would take her next. It is certainly safe to say that Lohan is currently not a bankable lead actress, but she could still be quite good in supporting roles.

The other major problem with this film in general was the overt idealism it was trying to peddle. Bobby Kennedy, even though physically not in 99% of the scenes, was in every scene and he was a one-dimensional character. People watch movies for the conflicts, to see the resolution, to reconcile different viewpoints. Kennedy was painted in such a way that there was nothing to discuss after watching the movie. There was no point of contention. All the characters, despite coming from widely different backgrounds, felt exactly the same way. The film was well acted, but does it matter if no one bothers to remember it?

5. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)

I’d say this movie marks the height of Lohan’s fame. She had just come off of Mean Girls and a fantastic appearance on SNL when she began filming for PHC. Playing Meryl Streep’s daughter, she had to dye her hair blonde and with that came the drugs, the eating disorders and the beginning of her downfall. It has been four years, but Lohan finally dyed her hair back to her natural red, so hopefully this is the sign of an upswing.

In any case, Lohan plays the daughter of Streep and niece of Lily Tomlin. A lot of talent in that family if I may say so! This film was directed by Robert Altman, whose main forte is getting the actors to talk to each other rather than getting them to talk to the camera. I was curious to see what an acclaimed director could do with Lohan. More importantly, I was interested in how Lohan would compare to the rest of the venerable cast. Admittedly, she did not have the nuance or the off-the-cuff spontaneity needed for an Altman picture, but she held her own for the most part. Additionally, she was able to showcase her singing voice as part of the radio variety show. The most promising feature of PHC was proof that Lohan can take serious dramatic roles and handle them. Furthermore, she proved both on-screen and on the publicity tour that she is capable of taking advice from those that are far more experienced than her. PHC has often been compared to a homemade rhubarb pie and Lohan knows she’s not the center, but a contributory slice – a scrumptious slice at that!

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The Lindsay Lohan Filmography, Part II

In this edition of the Lindsay Lohan filmography, we have a trifecta of Disney movies. The Disney era was probably the most successful period for Lindsay with all the accumulating buzz and whatnot, but it did not always produce high-quality movies…

10. Get A Clue (2002)

I wanted to be nicer to Lohan here since she was so young, but screw that. We know perfectly well what she is capable of since The Parent Trap was all sorts of amazing and she was only twelve when she made that. Age is not her limiting factor for sure. In this movie, she plays the daughter of a wealthy journalist who is aiming to be a journalist herself. Basically, all she has to do was act like a wealthy brat who gets into other peoples’ business. It does not sound like work; rather, it sounds like the dream life of any teenager. Thus, it was shocking to me that Lohan was so unbelievable in this. The dialogue was shoddy and the plot barely held together, but Lohan was unconvincing nonetheless. Perhaps, she felt too comfortable in the role, so she phoned in the performance; it was a Disney Channel production. On the other hand, it is possible that this was early enough in Lohan’s career that she did not know how to be a brat yet, although I sincerely doubt that is possible when your mom is Dina Lohan.

One remitting factor for Lohan, though, is that her character’s actions make little sense as written. She tells her father what she has done, which is pretty horrible when you think about it, and her father leads her to believe that such meddling is appropriate for someone her age. Consequently, she feels no remorse for embarrassing her teachers, potentially putting him in danger, and generally breaking the rules of decorum that would be found at any school grounded in reality.

9. Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

As it was her last movie for Disney, you could tell Lohan was just itching to leave that phase of her life behind. Looking back, I bet she would much rather have her Disneyfied career rather than the one she has now, but there is something to be said for breaking out of Disney’s shadow. You know you are beyond Disney’s target when they have to digitally reduce your boobs for a movie (as was done for Lohan here). It seems that the bigger the cash cow you are for Disney, the harder you fall when you leave. Take Spears v. Aguilera and Lohan v. Duff as examples. If the pattern holds trues, Miley Cyrus has a few rough years ahead of her.

Despite taking this role to fulfill contract obligations, Lohan was actually pretty good in Herbie. She showed the tomboyish drive of her racer and stayed consistent with her character throughout the film. The plot is most likely exactly what you would expect it to be from a racing movie. Lohan’s car is the underdog, but she works hard and puts up a fight against Matt Dillon, who is up to all kinds of no-good shenanigans. And as if that was not cliché enough, Lohan must do all of this against the wishes of her father, played by Matt Dillon. When watching a Disney movie, though, one must expect the clichés. In fact, it would be quite the unpleasant surprise if you were to pick up a Disney movie and not get the clichéd plot twists and happy ending you were expecting. So, in short, Herbie had nothing surprising, but nothing bad either.

8. Life-Size (2000)

Ah, a younger, more innocent time in Lohan’s life where she could cry and it would still feel genuine.  Lohan plays a child who has recently lost her mother and desperately wants to bring her back. Instead, she brings a doll that looks like Tyra Banks to life. The rest of the plot follows a traditional trajectory where the doll serves as a catalyst for Lohan’s self discovery and then disappears to re-establish the status quo.

The problem with this movie lies not with Lohan, who was quite charming and spunky, but with Banks who is a terrible actress. Tyra Banks as she is now is a very scary-looking woman, especially when she “smiles with her eyes.” Well, Banks in 2000 was not as scary-looking, but said equally ridiculous things in that gentle, but patronizing tone of voice. It’s the same one she uses in ANTM when she starts her “Two beautiful girls stand before me…” speech. Being the surrogate mother/friend to Lohan’s half-orphan, Banks was actually justified in using that voice in this movie. Call it irrational, obvious, or both, but Banks ruined this movie for me.

Part I