Is there anyone shocked by this news? After years of the once-promising, red-headed starlet fucking up her life and her career in every way possible, she is now in the pages of the magazine everyone figured she would end up in eventually. To me, the most shocking thing is that this it might actually persuade men to jack off to an issue of Playboy for the first time since the mid-’90s. (That is, if they haven’t already seen the leaked pics on the Web.)
And really, who hasn’t seen Lohan naked by now? Those who saw Robert Rodriguez’s latest enchilada western Machete were greeted to several Lohan topless scenes. And while the Playboy spread makes her resemble Marilyn Monroe’s “Sweetheart of the Month” appearance in the first Playboy issue, Lohan already did a Marilyn-influenced spread in 2008 when she and famed Monroe photographer Bert Stern recreated one of Monroe’s final shoots for New York Magazine. (She really needs to quit with the Marilyn-emulating. We all know how that shit turned out and if you don’t know, My Week with Marilyn is out now. Hell, even Megan Fox is getting rid of her Marilyn tattoo.) And those who saw Robert Rodriguez’s latest enchilada western Machete were greeted to several scenes where Lohan was topless and perky.
I actually think posing nude for Playboy is the most respectable, professional thing Lohan has done in years. It’s been so long since I’ve seen her in anything good — whether it’s a movie, a guest-hosting stint on SNL or even a cameo in a music video —that I’ve lost my frame of reference for measuring the relative quality of her acting. I mean, how long has it been since Mean Girls? Seven years? I haven’t seen anything lately that has given me the slightest inkling that this gal has been working on her craft and I’ve seen her in many-a-shitty film. Remember when she was horribly miscast as a twentysomething career gal whose streak of good luck disappears after swapping spit with a pre-Star Trek Chris Pine in the not-even-remotely-funny vehicle Just My Luck? Of course not, because you have respect for yourself. I, on the other hand, am a film critic, therefore, I don’t, so I did. Or how about Lohan’s turn as a trauma-stricken college student who may or may not moonlight as a slutty stripper in the just-plain-crazy I Know Who Killed Me? There is only one thing I can say about that movie: SHE HAS A ROBOT ARM!!!!??!!
In all fairness, she did give a couple of performances that weren’t god-awful. She kept a low-key, angsty steelo when she played Meryl Streep’s poetry-writing daughter in Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion. (I guess when your mom is being played by MERYL FUCKIN’ STREEP, the only thing you can do is shut up and watch how a pro does it.) And, as much as it pains me to bring up Emilio Estevez’s embarrassing, ensemble period piece Bobby, her performance as an optimistic bride-to-be getting married to Elijah Wood’s Vietnam-bound groom is noteworthy simply because I actually see her trying.
But that was back in the good ol’ days when she gave a shit. Apparently, all those years hanging with Paris Hilton depleted Lohan of the brain cells needed to be a productive member of society. In the span of seven years, she has lived the sort of fast-paced, fodder-for-tabloids celebrity experience that would even make Frances Farmer say, “What the fuck is wrong with this chick?”
Let’s review: Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, rehab, arrests, jail time, straight relationships, gay relationships, back to straight relationships. She’s like a walking season of Weeds. But, then again, I would go on a tear like that if I had the sort of parents she has. Her mother, Dina, is a bigger publicity hoe than her daughter, while her father, Michael, is such a model definition of a deadbeat dad that he makes my father (whoever he is) look like Fred MacMurray.
The funny thing is that, while she has been pissing her time away, other formerly underaged It Girls have been working their asses off making careers for themselves as working adult actresses. Some have reached A-list status (hey, Natalie and ScarJo). Some get sporadic but still-steady work (like former Aerosmith video co-stars Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler). Some have careers in television (Claire Danes in Homeland, Christina Ricci in Pan Am). And some dropped out for mental health reasons, only to bounce back and get the best acclaim of their career after hooking up with Lars von Trier (great to see you back, Kirsten).
If I appear to be a bit too harsh on Ms. Lohan, it’s because I expected so much more from her. When she appeared on the scene, she was like a curvy, grounded breath of fresh air, a girl who looked and acted like, well, a girl. Maybe, that’s what we all wanted her to be: a child actress who would grow up to be another Liz Taylor or Jodie Foster. Sadly, that has not turned out to be the case. She has become everyone’s wayward sister – you know, the one who shows up on your doorstep out of nowhere, mooches off you and fucks up your life. She is Martha Marcy May Marlene – for reals!
Unfortunately, showing her ass all airbrushed and freckle-free in a stroke-book doesn’t indicate that a Robert Downey, Jr.-style career resurrection will be happening for her anytime soon. Some of you may (especially dudes) may be more forgiving of Lohan after seeing her warts-and-all pictorial, but I don’t feel like being an enabler. Quite frankly, I gave up on ol’ girl a long time ago. You can only take a woman breaking your heart so many times before you get fed up and wash your hands of her.
If she wants to be the Lindsay Lohan she’s been, then good riddance. If she wants to be the Lindsay Lohan she could be, then good luck.
Craig D. Lindsey used to have a job, as the film critic and pop-culture columnist for The Raleigh News & Observer. Now, he’s back out there hustling, writing about whatever for Nashville Scene, the Greensboro News & Record, Philadelphia Weekly, The Independent Weekly and other publications. He has a Tumblr blog. You can also hit him up on Twitter.