Following New York Times Magazine's publication of Stephen Rodrick's phenomenal "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie," Google News was overrun with headlines even more negative than the Times article itself. "Lindsay Lohan Is Awful to Work With." "Lindsay Lohan — Tales of Drunken, Crying Debauchery on Movie Set." "Lindsay Lohan Was Drinking and Driving, Popping Pills During The Canyons Filming." The list would continue — between tales of the actress' frequent emotional breakdowns (crying outside director Paul Schrader's hotel room for 90 minutes), professional mishaps (failing to show up to set on numerous occasions), and possibly illegal activity (driving while under the influence of alcohol) on the set of Paul Schrader's The Canyons, editors had plenty of content to choose from.
Yet, with all the focus on Lohan's well-reported problems, editors and pop culture fans are missing the bottom line of Rodrick's article: The piece is the best thing that's happened to Lindsay Lohan in years.
It might not seem that way at first. After all, after reading the piece, an understandable course of action for any producer or director courting Lohan would be to fly to the opposite end of the world faster than you can say "an eavesdropping Dina Lohan." But while Rodrick's story presented Lohan as a immature nightmare whose behavior only got worse after she was fired, it also proved that the actress is a Hollywood figure as fascinating as she is shrewd. Lohan is no spoiled Hollywood princess famous for being famous — she's a scrappy manipulator who knows the system as well as the "f**k u" on the back of her hand.
Take this choice excerpt from Rodrick's article:
Lohan suggested shooting the scene at the Grove, a tony West Hollywood shopping center.
“Look, we can shoot at the Grove, and we can get it for free.”
Pope looked at her with confusion.
“We’ll have ‘Access Hollywood’ pay for it. They’ll film it, I’ll answer three questions about the movie and then they’ll pay for it. It’s really easy.”
Pope and Schrader were unconvinced. But Lohan was insistent as she left the room.
“They’ll do it. You just have to know how to work it.”Or this portion of the piece, showcasing Lohan's relationship with the paparazzi:
Over at the mall, Schrader paced nervously. “We need to get three shots, and we’re not going to get a second chance.” He was worried about attracting the attention of mall security. An hour later, Lohan arrived in her black Porsche trailed by four or five paparazzi. Schrader threw up his hands and said, “That’s it.”
Lohan told him, politely, to shut up.
“Paul, we can do this.”
She climbed out of her car and turned to the photographers.
“I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give you a good shot, but then you have to go.” Lohan turned to her good side and hiked her floor-length skirt up to show a little leg.
“O.K., five, four, three, two, one. Now you have to go.”It's tidbits like these that elevate Lohan past the desperate Sean Young status she's enjoyed since her first DUI arrest in 2007. Of course, Lohan isn't someone to feel sorry for or someone to root for — she has participated in heinous illegal activity. But, now, following Rodrick's article, she's someone to invest in. After all, Lohan's story in 8,000 words turned out to be more interesting than Norma Desmond, Vicki Lester, and Neely O'Hara's combined. She's terrible. She's irrational. She's incorrigible. But she's brilliant. And, as she herself has said, she's a fighter — for better or for worse. (Okay, mostly worse.)
And now we can't help but be strapped in, waiting to find out whether Lohan will get a TKO or tap out in the next round. There's no denying whatever little curiosity you had about The Canyons prior to reading Rodrick's article has since increased tenfold. (Heck, you might actually see it.) And there's no denying that, while reading the piece, you finally cared about Lindsay Lohan. And that's a feeling no Tonight Show interview, Lifetime movie, or Playboy spread could invite.
Thanks to Rodrick's article, for the first time in years, we're not looking back, fondly remembering the days Lohan charmed us in critically acclaimed fare like The Parent Trap and Mean Girls. Instead, pop culture fans actually want to see what happens next in Lohan's life. And that's the best thing that could ever happen to her. Well, besides normalcy, of course.
[Image Credit: Kmm-Sasha-Jack-RS/X17online]
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The actor will accept the inaugural Betty Garrett Lifetime Achievement Award at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of arts organisation Theatre West.
Bridges' Norma Rae co-star Sally Field will take to the stage to talk about working with the actor, while TV producer Norman Lear will hand him his prize.
Theatre West executive director John Gallogly says, "In forging our future, we strive to honour our past. It seems especially fitting that we honour Beau Bridges with our inaugural Betty Garrett Lifetime Achievement Award, to be given annually to the artist whose work, both at Theatre West and in the larger world, best exemplifies the talent, generosity of spirit and dedication to craft, family and Theatre West that Betty Garrett epitomised in her life."
Late Broadway star Garrett helped found Theatre West in 1962.
Based on Ian McEwan’s equally stirring novel we begin the story in 1935 on the cusp of WWII. Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) a 13-year-old fledgling writer lives with her wealthy family in their enormous English country mansion and on one hot summer day she irrevocably changes the course of three lives including her own. It seems the housekeeper’s son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) carries a torch for Briony’s older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley). And on this warm day it becomes clear she feels the same way; their love ignites. Little Briony who harbors her own secret crush on Robbie witnesses the beginnings of this love affair and not understanding its meaning feels compelled to interfere going so far as accusing Robbie of a crime he did not commit. He is arrested and whisked away eventually forced into the British army but thankfully the two lovers have a moment before he goes to war to reconnect. Cecilia promises to wait for him urging him to “come back” to her once the madness he is about to become immersed in is over. Meanwhile Briony (played in adult years by Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave) has grown up regretting every single moment of that fateful day and in desperately trying to seek forgiveness finally finds a path to understanding the power of enduring love. The performances in Atonement are nothing less than captivating beginning with the young Irish rose Saoirse Ronan (who is also set to play the lead in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones). Since it is primarily Briony’s story Ronan must make the first most indelible impression and set the tone for the rest of the movie--and she succeeds on every level. From the moment you see Ronan’s pale face clear-blue eyes and steadfast gait you immediately recognize Briony’s need and determination to make everything in her life just so. Indeed Briony is a strongly focused child and Ronan so embodies the character an Oscar nomination is almost a certainty. As the 18-year-old Briony Garai (Dirty Dancing 2) does the best she can following such a tough act as Ronan but can never quite match the same intensity. On the other hand Redgrave who comes in at the very end as the much older Briony nails it right away adding her own nuances to a character who has lived a full life. Of course Knightley and McAvoy are no slouches either vividly capturing the passion bubbling up between Cecilia and Robbie then turning around and showing the heartache as their love is ripped apart. McAvoy is particularly effecting as his Robbie must also witness some truly horrific wartime scenes. Actually Oscar nods should come fast and furious for everyone in Atonement. With Pride & Prejudice and now Atonement director Joe Wright may have just established himself as the new James Ivory (of Merchant/Ivory fame). Wright is a real visionary for the romantic period piece expertly delivering truly spectacular vistas. From set design to costumes to cinematography the look of Atonement is at once verdant welcoming and then startlingly grim. The first half of Atonement at the Tallis’ country home is certainly the film’s most defining peppered by an effective musical score which uses the sound of a typewriter like a metronome. Through a soft lens Wright displays the general idleness of summer day at a country home like a sunny floral motif that belies an undercurrent of sweating bodies wilting flowers stagnant pools--and an imminent tragic event. Then once Wright moves with Robbie into WWII he actually paints an even more grim view of war then maybe seen before. The one continuous shot of the historical Dunkirk--a French beach on which thousands of British soldiers were forced by the Germans and then waited to be evacuated--is absolutely stunning and surreal. Atonement does drag ever-so-slightly in the middle especially as Briony trains to be a nurse in London but overall this is a film Academy voters eat up with a silver spoon. Expect to be hearing about it in the months to come.
Don't expect too many happy moments in Beyond Borders. Even though it follows a rather tepid romance the movie is more a travelogue of third-world horrors than anything else. Separated into three time periods the film begins in 1984 when newly married socialite Sarah Jordan (Angelina Jolie) first sees renegade doctor Nick Callahan (Clive Owen) at a London event delivering a fiery plea on behalf of starving children in Ethiopia. His intense commitment stirs Sarah's soul--so much so that she drops everything to take food and supplies to the dusty drought-ridden area herself. In Ethiopia she meets the unorthodox doctor face to face and witnesses the determination that he and his non-governmental organization (NGO) in saving lives. Sarah and Nick make a connection but Nick is too involved in his work to act on it and she is married after all (sigh). Four years later Sarah's marriage has turned sour but she now has a son and a life's passion working for the United Nations refugee agency. When the opportunity arises to see Nick again Sarah travels to Cambodia at the height of country's bloody civil war with a shipment of medical supplies. Amidst life-threatening situations she and Nick consummate their feelings for one another at last. But alas Nick is aware his devotion to his work hampers his capacity for love and he leaves her again (heavy sigh). The final segment takes place five years later when Sarah sets out on a quest to rescue Nick who has been captured in war-torn Chechnya. Will Sarah be able to save him so they can finally be reunited? Remember there are no happy moments in this film.
After reading the script for Beyond Borders which was filmed in 2001 Angelina Jolie began her real-life UN efforts so in a way Jolie's fictional alter ego reflects the Oscar-winning actress' real life. As Sarah learns about third-world strife she decides to dedicate her life to helping others through the United Nations as did Jolie who became a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001 a role she has extended for two more years. In Beyond Borders whether Sarah is nursing a child near death from starvation or standing up to a corrupt Cambodian general it's empowering to see Jolie the humanitarian pouring out her true feelings on screen. Owen (Gosford Park) does a more than believable job as the hard-bitten Nick who plays the character full of fury and grace as he is willing even to sell his soul to the devil--in this case a CIA operative who uses Nick to transport anything from secret documents to guns to the troubled areas in exchange for money to fund the NGO's efforts. Yet the film's main flaw lies in the lack of chemistry between Nick and Sarah. Nick is the smarter of the two--he knows his one true love is his work. Sarah is just too besotted to realize their affair--and her character arc--is doomed from the start.
Director Martin Campbell knows how to create spectacular vistas having directed such scenery-heavy films such as Vertical Limit and GoldenEye. From London's gray skies to Ethiopia's orange desert Cambodia's lush greenery to Chechnya's stark white winter Campbell's film is a visually stimulating treat. By far the most moving and alarming scenes take place in Ethiopia which was filmed on location in Africa's Namib desert. Seeing the emaciated (albeit mostly CGI) bodies of the dead and dying in the choking desert is enough to move anyone into humanitarian action. Be that as it may Borders should stop for a moment and give more history on the conflicts brewing in each beautiful yet troubled region--particularly by the time we get to Chechnya (actually Quebec). Rather than give any background on the region's raging civil war it simply shows bombed-out buildings and shooting in the streets and follows Sarah into the snowy woods on the search for Nick. While the other parts of Beyond Borders inspire your spirit this last part focuses solely on the love story and frankly it's just not as interesting