When Lifetime first announced that they had cast Lindsay Lohan to portray Elizabeth Taylor in Liz & Dick, I was one of the first to cringe and roll her eyes. How on earth could troubled trainwreck Lindsay the best choice for this iconic role? Clearly, the network was grasping at straws and doing it as a publicity stunt. And then when the horrendous reviews rolled out, I was even more convinced there was no reason to waste my time and tune in. That is, until my mom was incredulous that I wouldn't be watching ...
As a fellow theatrical Pisces woman, she always felt a sort of cosmic bond to Liz and grew up watching her controversial romance with Dick play out in the media, so she wasn't gonna miss it for the world. So I figured I'd give it a shot and virtually "watch" with my mom, texting back and forth during commercial breaks. And even I cannot believe what happened next: I actually found the much-trashed flick watchable -- and entertaining! Gasp! Here, 7 reasons why ...
- Grant Bowler as Richard Burton: Lifetime may have had the audacity to cast LiLo as Liz, but they didn't really go off the deep end when they picked Bowler as Burton. Though he's probably not going to be winning an Emmy anytime soon, I thought the New Zealand actor did a fine job portraying the Welsh star.
- The costumes: If you're a fan of late '50s, '60s, and early '70s fashion like I am, the costume design was a real treat. You could even watch the two-hour flick from beginning to end on mute just to take in the retro eye candy. Not to mention all that Taylor-Burton BLING! Oofah!
- The makeup: Like the costumes, the makeup itself was fun to check out. But what's even more impressive is that they managed to transform LiLo's face in many (not all) scenes to resemble Liz in an eerie way. There were a couple of scenes in particular -- shot from a bit of a distance -- in which it really worked to make you think for a split second that you were watching Taylor.
- The format: The flick's narration -- by a young, circa late '50s Liz and Dick who are sitting on a Inside the Actors Studio-style set -- helped offer some interesting insight into the couple's relationship.
- The script's focus: Zeroing in on Liz and Dick's relationship was a wise move. While I'm sure their story could have been given a deeper, more intelligent treatment by a better screenplay writer and cast, the fame-tainted romance is the perfect kind of juicy fodder that lends itself to a fluffy Lifetime flick.
- Lindsay Lohan's effort: Would I -- or any studio with some credibility out to make a quality flick -- have cast LiLo as Liz? Never. There were definitely scenes that were cringe-worthy -- and at times, I thought, "They have to be kidding, right?" -- and for the most part, you feel like you're watching Lindsay trying to play Liz Taylor -- NOT Liz Taylor. At the same time, she also didn't exactly screw it up as badly as I thought she would! There were scenes in which she was a perfectly acceptable made-for-TV, Lifetime network version of Taylor.
- It was exactly what it promised to be: A cheeseball, super-hyped, silly and yes, entertaining TV movie. NOT anything even remotely close to an Oscar contender. And if you watch it that way (as I did), you might be (as I was) actually, pleasantly surprised.
If you watched Liz & Dick, what'd you think? If not, would you watch it after reading about it?
Image via mylifetime.com