FRIENDS. COUNTRYMEN. LEND ME YOUR EARS.
So! Let’s start off with a little bit of TMI about your good friend Erin, shall we? How did you spend your Thanksgiving weekend? Eating? Shopping? Visiting family? I spent mine in the hospital. If you are a keen-eyed reader of my posts you’ve probably noticed lately that I’m not myself and that’s because I’m suffering from unexplained Neurological Issues which this past weekend took the form of my suddenly not being able to walk! Hilarity! Frivolity! Is this my body’s way of degenerating into a shell of its former self? Or was this merely my psyche’s desperate attempt to thwart the event that it knew was rapidly approaching . . . that of being forced into watching Liz & Dick starring my arch nemesis, Lindsay Lohan? YOU DECIDE.
(It’s all good now; I can walk again. Sadly I can’t drink, though, which means I have to go into this movie stone-cold sober. Is there no justice?)
But what we should really draw from this story is that, yes, Lindsay Lohan is my arch nemesis. I mean, she doesn’t know that, obviously, but SHE IS. I kind of hate her? The thing is, I have never thought she was a great actress and while she was an undeniably adorable child, I never saw that spark that everyone else feverishly declares is there. And I get that her mother and father both totally suck and are awful human beings, but, like, rise above, girlfriend. Rise above. It’s funny, because I feel like in pretty much all circumstances, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are on the exact same trajectory, yet I will DEFEND BRIT-BRIT TO THE DEATH. Because she is my special unicorn flower child, and Lindsay just kind of sucks and keeps driving drunk and hitting people and shit.
But! None of that matters. What matters is that it’s time that the story of one of the greatest actresses of all time be told, in as tawdry detail as possible, on Lifetime, starring mostly a bunch of nobodies and also Lindsay Lohan. LET’S DO THIS Y’ALL. Or, in case you weren’t one of the 3.5 million people who tuned in to watch this travesty unfold Sunday night, let ME do this, while you get to sit around and save yourself from the pain. Lucky duck.
We open on a pool party! Ooh la la! How swanky and Hollywood of us. And our dear Liz is reading a magazine while some guy creepily narrates about how much he loves her. That guy is Richard Burton! And he’s dying in Switzerland! This is a bit of trickery called a voice over! The man is not ACTUALLY dying at the pool party! He’s actually dying in the 80s! He’s just remembering about the pool party, you see? Lifetime is pulling out all the stops for this script. They must have hired the best screenwriter they could find wandering drunk around the studio lot on a Tuesday afternoon.
And then suddenly . . . Liz and Dick are sitting on a soundstage, talking about working on Cleopatra. Okay, so this movie’s going to attempt to be arty. How cute. Lindsay Lohan is not trying at all to imitate Liz Taylor’s girlish, high-pitched voice or her strange, half-English accent. She sounds just like regular, ole’ boozy Lohan, fresh off a whiskey bender and sounding like an eight-packs-a-day ranch hand.
So now we’re on the set of Cleopatra, which doesn’t really look very much like the set of Cleopatra at all. We learn that Liz courts the papparazi! We learn that Richard Burton is married with kids! We learn that he’s stalking Liz Taylor! We learn that he’s a proper Shakespearean actor! We learn that Richard drinks when Liz is rude to him! Jeez, you guys JUST MET. Dial it down, kids. Dial it down.
Y’all. This movie is AWFUL. I’m only five minutes in and I’ve visibly cringed like eighty times already.
Everyone on set prepares for the big love scene in the movie. This mostly involves Richard and Liz going at it before the take is called. Yes, finally their boiling passions cannot be denied! They must have each other, even though both are married to another! So now it’s time for a sex montage! After a shopping montage, a sex montage is the best! Poor Eddie Fischer just wanders around the set, cuckolded as usual. Don’t worry, Eddie. Your daughter’s going to grow up to be fucking awesome. And also, you suck.
Hey! It’s CREED! From The Office! Creed is, like, the head of the movie studio and hates that newspapers are running this paparazzi trash about his two main stars! But what is to be done? Liz courts the press like Lohan courts the courts! In the Actor’s Studio, Liz and Dick talk about the press and how Eddie is kind of a shit, due to the whole Mike thing and the Debbie Reynolds thing and the fact that Eddie IS kind of a shit, let’s be honest.
So, basically, to sum up so far:
Liz + Dick = Liz – Eddie = Carrie Fischer’s Anger = Hilarious Books
So, the affair is on, and the affair is public, and everyone knows, including Sybil (Richard’s wife), Eddie (Liz’s husband), the press, their kids, and all their colleagues. Got it? Good. You know what would have made a better movie? Liz and Michael: The Odd Couple. It could have been about their weird friendship in the 90s when Michael Jackson was going through all of his Daddy BadTouch lawsuits and Liz had really big hair and was in and out of the hospital and we were all super unsure about what was going on with those two. That’s a movie I’d like to see. I’d also like it to not star Lindsay Lohan. And I’d like to be able to drink a few bottles of champagne during it. These are my requirements!
Ugh, back to this interminable fucking movie. Now Burton’s reciting Shakespearean sonnets to Liz whilst they’re in a bubble bath. JESUS. Is this really what their love affair was about? Because this is all very saccharine. When do they start getting drunk and hurling bitter recriminations at each other like the tabloids would have me believe?
Richard Burton buys Liz a giant diamond and emerald necklace because he’s fucking Elizabeth Fucking Taylor and bish needs her fucking diamonds around her throat, yo, but then he has to leave Rome because his wife tries to commit suicide. So then Elizabeth also tries to commit suicide. Well, that’s just great. But also, Dick? Maybe start dating ladies with more stability? I don’t know; it’s just a suggestion.
Liz and Dick finish filming Cleopatra and Richard’s going back to his wife, and Liz is sad and Richard’s doing it FOR THE CHILDREN. For the CHILDREN, Liz! Speaking of children, you know what this movie needs? 100% more Carrie Fischer. WHERE IS CARRIE?
And now we’re in Switzerland! Liz has brought her kids to an alpine home so that they can wear sweaters and play soccer and drink hot cocoa whilst wearing festive garlands made of plants and candles, or whatever it is people do in Switzerland; I don’t know, Kirsten was never my favorite American Girl doll. Oh right, she was Swedish. Anyway, I was always worried she would set fire to her head, wearing that candle wreath. One time I set fire to a lady’s head in my church, but I don’t really think that was my fault. It was her fault for wearing so much AquaNet in her hair. She had to know that the acolyte’s candle lighter is serious business. I mean, I was BRINGING THE LIGHT OF JESUS OUT INTO THE WORLD. She needed to move with her big Texas hair!
Anyway, Liz is bored, because she’s taking time off from making movies. But Richard’s also in Switzerland! Man, I want to be in Switzerland. I love sweaters and hot cocoa. But not setting people’s hair on fire.
Liz and Dick meet up, but it’s strained. But they keep meeting! And exchanging presents. And now Liz wants a role in The VIPs because she doesn’t want Sophia Loren getting her Italian hooks in Richard Burton! This is going to become a theme in this film – specifically any time Richard Burton is up for a film with Sophia Loren. Liz Taylor HATES Sophia Loren! Liz Taylor will be in any crappy movie if it means Sophia Loren doesn’t get the part!
Charles Shaughnessy from The Nanny does not want to hire Liz Taylor, but she insists! And so . . . he does! That was easy! Liz and Dick get adjoining suites in a hotel and do it a lot. This upsets Richard’s Welsh manager. Richard’s Welsh manager is ALWAYS on his case. It upsets Liz as well, and FINALLY there’s some getting drunk and throwing bottles at things. We are 45 fucking minutes into this movie and FINALLY someone throws a bottle of booze at a portrait? Jeez. This bullshit would not have stood if the real Liz Taylor were around. She would have been throwing bottles left and right. I feel like even Lindsay probably was pleading with the director to throw a bottle before this. She was probably all, “Look, I am REALLY GOOD at throwing bottles of booze at things. Just let me do that for two hours!”
Anyway, so now we’re in London, filming The VIPs, and Richard’s drinking all the time, and Liz is going around hammering nails into hotel walls to hang up Van Goghs for him, and Sybil, Richard’s wife, finally grants him a divorce, but Eddie is still clinging to Liz, because of course he is already the asshole who dumped poor Debbie Reynolds in the first place, and now Liz and Dick have no more friends because no one wants to be seen with the adulterous duo. Is this movie over yet?
I’d like to take a moment now to say that Lindsay Lohan is a really, really, really terrible actor. TERRIBAD. I’ve seen more life and energy in local high school productions of The Music Man starring my cousin Thomas who sounds and looks exactly like Napoleon Dynamite than I have in this movie. Please someone explain to me where this supposed amazing talent is. Cause I’ve never seen it.
Liz and Dick decide to go to New York and do Hamlet. They make the most whimsical, weirdest decisions, these two. “What do you want to do today, darling?” “Oh, I don’t know. Get some ice cream? See a movie?” “Let’s stage Hamlet!” The earlier version of Fred Phelp’s Westboro Baptist Church are protesting outside the theatre with clever signs like “Slut on a Hot Tin Roof” (ha!) and we learn that the Pope himself has troubled to condemn Liz and Dick for their tawdry affair. That’s it! Liz simply MUST press Eddie for a divorce!
Which she does. And they do. And then Liz and Dick get married in Montreal, which cannot be legal, cause of all the Frenchness, I think. But Liz wears pretty flowers in her hair.
And now it is time for Hamlet! There is rousing applause! And then Richard brings Liz on stage and declares his love for her! Even the Welsh manager approves! And then Steve from Sex and the City shows up and offers Liz the part in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And then Liz and Dick basically worm their way into Dick getting the part of George. Am I supposed to like these two? Because they’re kind of shitty. They’re always demanding one or the other get a role. Is this how Hollywood still works? Because this is tres shit.
Academy Award time! Richard doesn’t win for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. He gets super upset about it, because he’s kind of lame. I mean, I don’t buy into that whole “blah blah it’s an honor just to be nominated” bullshit, but also it’s just a dumb award. Jesus Christ. Your name is on a lame trophy; most people stop caring about that around the age of 11.
It’s time for the premiere of Virginia Woolf, and Liz and Dick are fighting. Liz is upset that she’s packing on the pounds (which you can really tell from Lindsay Lohan’s jutting scapulas). But then they get over it and, six months later, are both nominated for Academy Awards. Liz wins; Dick doesn’t. He’s a shit about it, as per uhz. Oh, also, they’re broke! So Richard has to do The Comedians, but Liz won’t let him do it with Sophia Loren. Because Sophia is an Italian man-stealer!
All of this somehow ends up with the family renting a yacht, even though they’re broke, and Liz and Dick poking at each other, and Liz demanding more diamonds. Love that bish.
The family decide to travel to Switzerland to be in a wintery place for Christmas. Welsh manager, who is actually Richard’s brother, so I guess I should be calling him Scottish Brother, even though he is clearly Welsh, goes to open the house and suffers a fall. He’ll never walk again. And now Richard’s going to feel sorry for himself, of course. Does this guy have any ability to un-douche-ify himself?
Liz and Dick fight over his need to work and her . . . bewitching of him? I feel like maybe they both drink a little too much? That’s a STRONG statement from me, so you know it’s gotta be bad. Maybe dial it down to just one bottle of vodka a day, guys? Just a thought.
Liz is very upset about her declining career and not even her pyramid cake delivered by shirtless men can help. And then Scottish Brother Who Is Really Welsh dies! Wait, maybe Richard Burton is also Welsh? I don’t know. He doesn’t sound Welsh. But his brother is Welsh. It’s all very confusing. Anyway, bye, dead Welsh brother!
A dead Welsh brother and Richard’s subsequent downward spiral means it’s time for divorce number one. I’m about an hour and a half into this movie and we still have another damn wedding and divorce to get through. Jeez.
Now it’s time for Liz’s downward health spiral. She’s in traction, which looks uncomfortable. I was not in traction this weekend, although the night nurses put an alarm on my bed just in case I tried to get up and go to the bathroom without calling them first. It looks like it could be colon cancer! I mean, for Liz, not for me. She wants Richard! That’s probably pretty upsetting for Henry, her current paramour.
Liz had a “false positive” and is fit as a fiddle. That’s not true! She is not fit as a fiddle! She’s going to end up getting really sick and hanging out with Michael Jackson all the time! Richard and Liz get married again but then divorce soon after. And then Richard dies. Geez, fucking finally. Liz faints at the news. I’m about to faint. This shit took for fucking ever.
White Diamonds-era Liz visits Richard’s gravesite and cries and cries. I, on the other hand, do not cry. I applaud. Because now this movie is over! Yes! It has just . . . ended! Just like that! That was abrupt! I mean, I’m glad it’s over; don’t get me wrong. But it had no real denouement, you know? I feel unsatisfied. Perhaps if they had rewritten history to include everyone dying in a fireball? Or being crushed to death by animatronic dinosaurs? That would have been cool. Dinosaurs would have been cool.
Well, I hope that I have been able to do you a service on this day, and save you from watching this abomination of the small screen. Please – do not feel that this will be the ironically hilarious movie you have been waiting for and catch it on one of its 12000 reruns on Lifetime. It is not so bad it’s good. It is just so bad. So, so bad. I’d rather be back in the hospital.