Sunday, July 18, 2010

On the Lohan

To paraphrase the lyrics of a number from The Sound of Music, how do you solve a problem like Lindsay Lohan? She's like that fairly smart girl in high school who insisted on besmirching her reputation by hanging out in the smoking area with the stoners and greasers. But because of the fast-moving times we live in, she's had to step up her skank game to make more of an impact.

First, I refuse to believe that she lives in such an insulated bubble that she was unaware of what she was doing when she attended her sentencing wearing an obscenity shellacked onto her fingernails. Even the most wild-eyed axe murderer knows to dress as innocently as Shirley Temple on your court date -- and if she doesn't, her lawyer will certainly advise her to err on the side of caution with her sartorial choices. 

No, I think it's entirely in keeping with the attitude of a young starlet who once told some young men she'd inadvertently kidnapped on the Pacific Coast Highway that "celebrities can get away with anything." She was driving 100 miles an hour in an apparent state of narcotic intoxication at the time. She's attempted and quit rehab three times in the last three years, had half a dozen car accidents including hit-and-runs, didn't bother to attend court-mandated substance abuse meetings, was hours late for the hearings she did make, violated her probation, set off her alcohol-detecting SCRAM anklet numerous times, and conveniently "lost" her passport in Cannes when she was due back in an L.A. court. Her behavior was so unprofessional on the set of the instantly forgettable comedy Georgia Rule that director Garry Marshall gave her a rare dressing down that even impressed film veteran Jane Fonda. No, the nail polish was a direct "fuck you" to the judge and the system, and the real question is why her lawyer didn't choose to protect her from her own arrogance. Perhaps Shawn Chapman Holley had had enough by that point, since she quickly dropped her celebrity client immediately following the sentencing. And Lindsay's reaction at receiving a 90-day sentence -- of which she'll probably serve about two weeks -- was priceless. "Are you kidding me?" she shrieked at her attorney. 

You'd think that her mother would rein Lindsay in, if only to protect her only meal ticket (since the second daughter is, as an old friend of mine used to say, no oil painting), but Dina Lohan is a notoriously delusional stage mother from hell, even agreeing to a lucrative reality show that invaded her home without being able to feature the only child of hers anyone might want to watch. The father, too, has made his own cottage industry out of professing love and concern for his daughter, while slipping once again into a circus of tabloid staples -- jail sentences, Larry King Live appearances, and endless, endless twittering.

As I've said before (Train Wrecks), the career arc of the downward-spiraling starlet has gotten shorter and shorter. I've already seen poster art portraying her as Deep Throat porn queen Linda Lovelace in a film that has yet to be made -- and most likely never will be. You have to ask yourself why this young actress, unlike contemporary Natalie Portman or classic star Natalie Wood, who both made smooth transitions from child roles to mature ones -- equates growing up on film with vulgarity and bad taste, and if her jail sentence, which begins this week, will serve as a wake-up call. I'm thinking it won't.

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