Saturday, March 10, 2012
Wait For It: Lindsay Lohan
I’ve never been impressed with Lindsay Lohan as an actor. I have never even liked any movies she’s been in.
That may have as much or more to do with the low quality of her filmography, so far, than her actual acting ability. I believe she has not really had the opportunity to shine, but I think she can.
And yet, I am rooting for Lindsay to become the great actress she now declares that she hopes and strives to become, in the process of reviving her acting career.
I have no investment in her potential victory— other than emotional; but for reasons I have difficulty articulating, I want her to succeed. I want Lindsay Lohan to do well, to exceed and surpass her tabloid travails.
Just to get this out of the way: I confess that, while I think she is pretty, I’m not particularly attracted to her.
But there is something alluring and fascinating about Lindsay that appeals to me. Maybe something to do with her kindly, adventurous, playful demeanor. Maybe her genuine wish and intent to be a better actor, and regret for her indiscretions getting in the way of that pursuit.
The vibrant and sincere earnestness with which she now asserts in reclaiming and transforming her life to make it better, to be better. Maybe it is her childlike nature and hopeful, well meaning optimism.
Maybe I like seeing the underdog win.
Maybe because I enjoy discovering the rise and development of new artistic talent; the joy and fun of witnessing the blossoming of a great actor. Such is an experience of beauty, of awe.
I want her to prove her critics and haters wrong, to prove that she can be the great actress Lindsay said she aspires to be. I really hope she does. I really hope the world lets her.
And so, I watched her appearance on Saturday Night Live with tentative optimism; hoping she wins, but expecting her to fail. Admittedly, she— alas-- didn’t do a good job.
I was disappointed for her (and in her) miserable performance. But keep in mind, and to be fair, she has not been seriously engaged with acting for a while; she’s out of practice, so we should be forgiving and sympathetic if she isn’t brilliant straight out of the gate. She was clearly rusty: the obviousness of her cue card reading, flubbed lines, and poor pacing. She was plainly and understandably nervous and struggling; certainly aware that this could be make or break time for her, that her performances would be under a giant microscope of public scrutiny. She’s going to need more training before she is capable of a role like Liz Taylor.
It didn’t help that the SNL producers didn’t give her much to work with, or much screen time. No amount of good acting could have saved their awful scripting. Plus, this was LIVE; no re-takes and no take backs. She got one shot, and unfortunately she blew it. Watching her “come back” SNL episode was painful and heartbreaking to watch (more so than typical for SNL in recent years), but the producers are at least AS responsible for her poor showing as Lindsay-- if not more so… for not providing adequate guidance and for putting her on stage before she was ready.
She was pretty much set up to fail; and whether that was intentional or not is debatable.
But ultimately, I conceived her SNL participation as-- at worst-- a kind of rehearsal, a practice run… not deserving to be judged too critically. Or harshly.
As disappointed as I was about her poor SNL performances, I was much more disappointed (dismayed, really) about the vitriolic and malicious public display of schadenfreude.
The vast majority of the negative criticisms cavalierly and ignorantly waged against Lindsay had nothing to do with helping her or making her a better actor. And may only contribute in further destroying the career of someone who is publicly struggling to improve herself.
We could at least have the decency and maturity to give her a chance and the time to become better; Lindsay has just begun her transformation. Development is a process, a journey… not a moment. To use a Buffy metaphor: Right now, Lindsay is cookie dough, freshly placed in the oven. She’s not done yet. Let’s let her finish baking. Even George Clooney was mediocre until his Batman movie. But after, he transitioned into a magnificent actor.
What we should be doing, instead of public ridicule, bullying and berating, is promoting civility and mindfulness in what we say about others.
In this age of increasing social responsibility, we must rally to help those who want to get better and improve themselves. We should aim to help each other where we are able, and to do no harm.
If we want a culture which fosters the best in us, we must first be willing and able to enable ourselves and each other to do so.
Posted by Sean Stubblefield at 10:05 AM