Oh my fucking God!
I only hope that when they do the Lindsay Lohan TV biopic – and they will – that it’s as jaw droppingly atrocious as LIZ AND DICK. They will need to find the worst actress in America to play Lindsay, if only to do the same justice to her as she did to Ms. Taylor. Although I don’t know if a worse actress can be found. Lindsay might have to play herself – assuming she’s still with us and not locked up somewhere.
LIZ AND DICK (by the way, never, not once are they referred to as Liz and Dick in the movie – it’s always Elizabeth and Richard) is the cheese-rich schlock film of the year. Imagine Ed Wood directing a screenplay by a 7th grader and starring, well… Lindsay Lohan.
The only question was: yeah, it’s fun watching a trainwreck for awhile. But could I stick it out until the very end? So I wrote this review in real time knowing that at any point I might just have to shut it off and plunge an ice pick in my head. These were my impressions as the movie unraveled.
Oh… SPOILER ALERT. I spoil everything. So if you don’t want to know what happens, I’ll see you tomorrow. But I believe in this case you’re going to want to know what happened. Either you’re not going to see this tripe anyway or once you read this you'll be compelled to see it because you think I’m making all this up. Further WARNING – this is the type of movie that brings out the snark in me in a big big way. Ready? Here goes:
This guy is Richard Burton? He’s like Jim from THE OFFICE with a phony accent. (Grant Bowler is his name. He should fire his agent.)
When was Richard Burton blonde? Or am I just being too picky about minor details?
We start with Richard’s last day alive. Adventures in bad make up. He's gray. This is like when Jr. High kids play the Ezio Pinza part in SOUTH PACIFIC.
On the set of CLEOPATRA. Lindsay’s make up is laughable. What’s with that eyeliner? The movie should be called PEE WEE AND DICK.
First Richard Burton drunk scene. First of many I suspect. Foster Brooks was more subtle.
Zero chemistry between Liz and Dick. More romantic sparks would fly with Barbara Bush and Jon Lovitz.
And seriously, why is he blonde? Oh wait. I bet they just got Richard Burton mixed up with Peter O'Toole. Common mistake.
Someone says to Liz: “You’ve just ended your fourth marriage!” to which Liz defiantly replies, “Who’s counting?” What a withering zinger!
It’s 0:17. I pretty much got the gist. Nah, I’ll stick it out a little longer.
Glad I did. Richard now says: “I don’t need a pool. I’ve got a whole ocean in you.” Smooooth.
This is the suicide segment. First Sybil Burton tries it unsuccessfully, and that guilts Richard into breaking up with Liz. Two seconds after hearing this news she runs to her room, downs a bottle of sleeping pills, and chug-a-lugs a half bottle of Vodka. Maybe it’s me, but if you find yourself laughing at a suicide scene then it doesn’t have the emotional wallop the filmmakers intended. That’s at 0:29. Okay, I’ll give it one more segment.
Richard: “My heart is broken and you have the smashed pieced!” Not since THE LADY EVE has there been such crackling dialogue.
Ooooh. At the 0:31 mark Lindsay cries. She’s truly awful at it. And you’d think she’d have all that practice in court.
Elizabeth has a different fur in every scene.
They’re making THE V.I.P.’s now. This oughtta be good.
0:54 – Liz is trying to seduce Dick. Vamp music plays. She’s in a sexy teddy. Instead of Richard Burton I kept picturing Lindsay’s parole officer.
Richard: “What if your little songbird Eddie decides to drag things out for months?” Since when did he become Sam Spade? We hit the hour mark.
At 1:07 they get married, pressured by the Pope. Yes, that Pope.
Are they ever going back to Richard’s last day? What’s the point of that?
Richard: “Happy?” Elizabeth: “More than.” Tony Kushner, eat your heart out!
I was just about to turn it off at the 1:09 mark when Richard takes a bow for his HAMLET and brings Elizabeth on stage with him. She takes a bow for a play she wasn’t in.
This is now the SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER of TV biopics.
Big crisis: Richard loses an Academy Award to Lee Marvin. He doesn’t handle it well the way most husbands do and it puts a big strain on their marriage. Maybe a drink or thirty would help.
At 1:11 comes my favorite line in the movie. Richard and Elizabeth are staging a mock fight for writer Ernest Lehman to show they’re right for the film version of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Elizabeth has the topper with: “Mellifluous. Was he some Roman homosexual that you buttered?”
The recreation of Richard and Elizabeth in VIRGINIA WOOLF looked like a bad SNL sketch. But that’s not the good part. Richard and Elizabeth are in a theater watching it. On the screen Liz says, “You make me puke!” They then cut to the audience where a viewer turns to Liz and says, “You were fantastic!” Okay, now they’re trying for laughs, right? I mean, seriously? Complimenting Elizabeth Taylor on the reading of her vomit line?
The interview is back. Where was it the last half hour? And why is it even there at all? Ask him why he's blonde.
At this point they fight, make up, fight, make up again. In the Lindsay biopic they can re-film the same scenes just substituting Lindsay’s mother for Richard Burton.
Now they have money problems. But wait, after their accountant tells them they’re broke they buy a giant yacht, a private plane, and a diamond the size of a water tumbler. This last purchase comes after Elizabeth says: “I need a ring. A big ring.” We’re at 1:26. I am sooo close to switching to Sportscenter.
I should have. At the 1:40 mark there’s an elaborate 40th birthday party for Liz (I thought they had money woes?) with waiters dressed like Cleopatra’s slaves or those buttered Roman homosexuals and Liz overhears a guest saying, “She still thinks she’s a movie star.”
This sends our fragile heroine into a tizzy and she runs to her room. How come no suicide attempt? Instead she begins the single worst crying scene in the history of cinema. Lindsay must’ve been channeling a caterwauling baby and Lucy. I’m guessing if she cried like that before a judge that’s why she was sentenced to jail time. Painful to watch and torture to hear.
Liz correctly says, “I’m a joke!” and consoling Richard says, “No, no. You’re my love.” I'm about to down a bottle of pills.
Okay, from this point I just skimmed the rest. I couldn’t stand it. They finally go back to his last day. Hooray. Always good storytelling to set something up and return it to promptly two hours later. But now that we’ve seen his life, what insights does he have as a result? What new perspective does he have? Has he reached any conclusion about his life and his actions? When we last left him he was saying to somebody, “I’m tired.” Now we pick him up walking into the next room, lying down on the bed for a nap, and that’s it. He dies. Wow. What a sequence! I skipped through Liz fainting (another great acting moment worthy of a sack of flour) and went right to her visiting his grave. As they showed her at the tombstone they flashed the watermark: #LizAndDick. Perfect time to troll for Twitter action.
Then they went back to the interview. Huh? Isn’t he dead? Oh wait. Maybe they recorded this interview in heaven after they both died?
End the fucking movie already! Please! I’ll watch an episode of AMERICA’S SUPERNANNY. Just make it stop!
Mercifully, they do. With one final great touch. They end by proving unequivocally that Liz really did love Richard. Here’s what they flashed on the screen:
ELIZABETH TAYLOR KEPT RICHARD BURTON’S LETTERS FOR THE REMAINDER OF HER LIFE.
Well, I guess that nails it.
According to one biography, Richard Burton slept with 2500 women in his lifetime. Just think of the sequel possibilities!