The news was almost too good to be true.
The actress whose professional work ethic (or lack thereof) cost her a gig at portraying Linda Lovelace was going to tackle the role of what is arguably one of the biggest movie star to ever come out of the studio system.
For months, I have secretly anticipated this moment. Lifetime’s Liz & Dick carried the double whammy promise of a massive train wreck of a movie starring a train wreck of an actress.
It did not disappoint.
Where can we begin skewering this thing? Pretty much everywhere. How about the idiotic narrative “When Dickie met Lizzy” wraparound segments? Who the f*** are they talking to? Is the afterlife a reality show style debriefing?
But wait! This is not another review panning the much maligned Liz & Dick. This is The Cinémasochist, dammit. I am praising it!
And while I’ve bitched that The Three Stooges was all pain and devoid of any “enjoyment” earlier this year, and that the hateful revisionist Tippi Hedren biopic The Girl wasn’t even worth mentioning (except to say that it wasn’t worth mentioning), I can categorically state that Liz & Dick is a treasure trove of Cinemasochistic delights. Lindsay Lohan is a freaking dominatrix and dispenses more nipple-hardening cringing moments than Dyanne Thorne could ever hope to- without even once taking her top off.
If the afterlife has a gym, Liz is now taking spin classes.
Let’s be frank. Mommy Dearest is Citizen Kane compared to this.
John Waters did an audio commentary for Mommy Dearest‘s DVD where he gushes about the film with famed drag Joan Crawford impersonator Lipsynka.
Now, if Waters did a commentary track for this epic trashography, it would be 90 minutes of him huffing “poppers” and masturbating.
As an actress, LiLo is just plain hopelessly and helplessly out of her league- more so than usual. Not only with who she has to portray but the much better cast that surrounds her. Brian Howe betrays their true talent: keeping a straight face no matter how absurd. No wonder Larry Blamire puts him in his camp epics like Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Here, Howe portrays Joe Mankievicz, the director of Cleopatra.
Lilo’s own talent as a (*cough*) thespian (a word, by the way, which she pronounces as “thesbian” in the film) has to be her uncanny ability of making one giggle uncontrollably while suppressing major acid reflux. For some reason (her tits, perhaps?), someone out there keeps pushing her as a celebrity . She, in turn, believes her own press (thanks Disney media brainwashers) and remains convinced this is where she should concentrate her career therefore robbing the world of what could be her true talent: Somewhere an “All Girl/All Anal” lesbo porn is suffering. To her credit, the “downing pills with vodka” scenes made me wonder if she if she did a stretch at The Actor’s Studio.
Part of the “guilty pleasure” fun of watching Liz & Dick is trying to figure out how they’ll work their way around having to recreate some of the most opulent scenes in movie history. The answer to that is creepy unsexy bedroom scenes. Lots of them. And since the “action” of this film takes place behind the scenes, parking lots crammed with trailers should do fine. After all, the movie biz is just a big trailer park with better booze and expensive jewelry. Call it “audience identification”.
Most of Liz & Dick‘s narrative (actually “drivel” is a much better word) consists of our leads spitting liquor-scented venom at each other in a variety of hotel and dressing rooms wearing costumes from the corresponding production or period. If they threw in a gorilla in a tutu, parts of this film would feel like an old Ernie Kovacs skit gone horribly and hilariously wrong.
Check out the blonde zombie “selling” us the trailer as if she had any idea what she is reading off the teleprompter:
Caution: As tempting as it is, do NOT make Liz & Dick into a drinking game. While it is true that “beer goggles” might finally make you “see” the resemblance more, the quantity required is such that you’ll end up looking like Liz herself, somewhere around husband 7 or 8- when John Belushi’s mercilessly unflattering impersonation was spot on. Honest, giving Jim Belushi a full body shave would have been a better choice.
You may also have to use a gag ball and some restraints on yourself while watching it. Trust me, your hands WILL seek out the remote so you’ll need to find a way of fighting that instinct. Let the sweet sweet ineptitude of this movie wash all over you and make all the crap in your life seem insignificant by comparison.
Be warned, though, that a lot of the pleasure comes from “first exposure”. I wouldn’t recommend watching this more than once. This is not the kind of experience one should repeat. Your system will rebel if you do.
For her next project, I wanna see her play Jane Fonda.
Pain Level: 9/10
Quality of Pain: Sweeeeeeeeet! Sweeet!!
Painjoyment™ Level: Off the charts!