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|Index||36 reviews in total|
I haven't been able to decide if this movie is so bad it's good, or, to quote Enid Coleslaw, "so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again." No matter, it forced me look much the same way a pile of weird coloured vomit might, and it offers up a number of scenes that you won't forget even if you want to. There's a sneering young Ray Liotta telling a pigtailed Pia that her creative writing trophy looks like a penis. A bit later, there's Ray again, molesting Pia, not with the appropriately shaped trophy but a garden hose. There's a firm chinned Pia telling her domineering Mom that she wants to go to bed with Ray's geezer father, Walter. There's the actress in the graveyard scene yowling the best line ever written by Pia or anyone else: "WWWWHHHYYYYYYY!" There's that garden hose again, as Walter waves it Pia's face and roars "Is this more to your liking!?" There's Pia and her date so turned on by closeups of each other masticating salad that they start tearing each other's clothes off. There's Pia showering but forgetting to remove her dress. Perhaps best of all, there's Pia's typewriter, but instead of keys there are the miniature talking heads of those who have tormented her the most (afterwards, I was afraid to open my laptop). And finally there's Pia at "The Awards" exposing Hollywood for the cesspool it is, spitting out the second best line ever, "I guess I'm not the only one who has ever had to **** her way to the top." I see I have already spent more time commenting on "The Lonely Lady" than I have on far better pictures, so I'll quit. Be forewarned, though, that once you start watching you probably won't be able to take your eyes off the screen until two hours of your life have vanished forever.
How bad is it? Well, I lived in central Pennsylvania during Hurricane
Agnes in 1970, the Great Blizzard of 1993, and was in northern Vermont
for the Ice Storm of 1998. Someday, my grandkids will ask, "Grandpa,
what was it like?" and I will say, "Well, it was bad. But not as bad as
watching 'The Lonely Lady!'"
I worry that someday the world will see a major nuclear war. And if it does, the survivors will say while digging out, "That was horrible. But come to think of it, it wasn't as horrible as 'The Lonely Lady!'"
Please folks, if you want to see an '80s flick with lots of skin, see "Summer Lovers." Do NOT see this film unless watching a dwarfish leading lady getting raped and spouting unendurable dialog to a bargain basement cast is your idea of an enjoyable movie experience.
Immediately after renting and watching this movie several years ago, a
friend and I decided that it defined the absolute zero on the movie scale.
There was nothing about the movie that could have been done worse than it
was. To this day we still rate movies, even very bad ones, by how much
better than "The Lonely Lady" they are.
A long time ago I saw an interview with Eleanor Perry, who wrote the screenplays for, among other things, "Last Summer" and "Diary of a Mad Housewife," and she related that she had been asked to write a screenplay for the Harold Robbins' book "The Lonely Lady." She said that she sent in a treatment and it was rejected because they didn't think she understood the difficulties of a female screenwriter in Hollywood. She then said "I think they got someone else to write it." The interview was filmed before the movie was released. She died in 1981, and I bet the first thing she did on arrival in heaven was personally thank God for saving her from involvement in the result.
The memory banks of most of the reviewers here must've short-circuited
when trying to recall this Cubic Zirconia of a gem, because practically
everyone managed to misquote Lloyd Bochner's Walter Thornton, when in a
fit of peevish anger, he hurls the phallic garden nozzle at his new
wife, Jerilee Randall-Thornton, (a nearly comatose Pia Zadora) which
was used to sexually assault her earlier in the movie...but I'm getting
ahead of myself. In any case, poor Lloyd could've been snarling that
line at the speechless audience as much as he was his put-upon co-star.
Hard as it is for most of us to believe, especially these days, nobody in Hollywood sets out to INTENTIONALLY make a bad movie. This is certainly not the most defensible argument to make, since there just seem to be so damn many of them coming out. But then again, there is that breed of film that one must imagine during the time of its creation, from writing, casting and direction, must've been cursed with the cinematic equivalent of trying to shoot during the Ides of March.
THE LONELY LADY is in that category, and represents itself very well, considering the circumstances. Here we have all the ingredients in a recipe guaranteed to produce a monumentally fallen soufflé: Pia Zadora, a marginal singer/actress so determined to be taken seriously, that she would take on practically anything that might set her apart from her peers, (which this movie most certainly did!); a somewhat high-profile novel written by the Trashmaster himself, Harold Robbins (of THE CARPETBAGGERS and DREAMS DIE FIRST fame); a cast who probably thought they were so fortunate to be working at all, that they tried to play this dreck like it was Clifford Odets or Ibsen; plus a director who more than likely was a hired gun who kept the mess moving just to collect a paycheck, (and was probably contractually obligated NOT to demand the use of the 'Alan Smithee' moniker to protect what was left of his reputation.) Like Lamont Johnson's LIPSTICK, Meir Zarchi's I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, Roger Vadim's BARBARELLA, Paul Verhoeven's SHOWGIRLS or the Grandmammy of Really Bad Film-making, Frank Perry's MOMMY DEAREST, THE LONELY LADY is still often-discussed, (usually with disgust, disbelief, horrified laughter, or a unique combination of all three), yet also defies dissection, description or even the pretzel logic of Hollyweird. Nobody's sure how it came to be, how it was ever released in even a single theater, or why it's still here and nearly impossible to get rid of, but take it or leave it, it IS here to stay. And I don't think that lovers of really good BAD movies would have it any other way.
The depth of the creative bankruptcy in this film is most evidence in
the final scene. The writers gave Pia Zadora's character a reasonably
interesting name, Jerilee. (That's as close as I'll come to
complimenting this picture). Then, when the nominees at the Oscars are
being read, another screenwriter is named Jerilee, too. Bafflingly
This is one of the few movies so bad that it would even be passed over by nude-scene-hunting horny teenagers. Everything about is bad. There is not a single redeeming quality, not one scene that works, not a single character that isn't a benign, idiotic one-dimensional drip.
I can't call this the worst film ever made but it's close. However, the single worst scene in a movie I have ever seen is Pia Zadora's nervous breakdown.
Quite simply a waste of vital resources. 1/2* out of ****.
Even when I saw this movie at a teenager, I wondered just how ironic it was that Pia Zadora starred in a movie about an artist who slept her way to the top. As beautiful and sexy as Ms. Zadora is, even she couldn't keep this sorry-ass excuse of a movie from tanking. Not even her photoshoot for Penthouse, in which "The Lonely Lady" was promoted "back in the day," could keep this movie from tanking. The only thing that could have saved this movie? A completely different script. Give this one a miss.
When I initially saw this movie in the '80s I thought it was so bad, I couldn't watch it all the way through. Subsequent viewings of it on TV were the same. I never really saw the whole movie in it's entirety. I seemed to always come in at the same parts, either the garden hose scene or the psychedelic/Andy Warholish nervous breakdown scene. It was never shown on commercial television here in Toronto, it always seemed to be played on the premium movie channels (First Choice/Superchannel,later to be TMN/Moviepix) I guess they received this movie for really cheap from the distributor. Watching it recently in it's entirety was a real eye-opener! I don't know if it's the nostalgia factor, or just the fact that I am older and going senile, but I thought that this movie was "so bad, that it was so good" The bad acting, and the awful characters that are very unlikable would make most people turn off this movie. For me I went out and bought the video! I don't blame Pia Zadora's character for going off the deep-end at her typewriter. It just seemed most of the characters were really vile-I take it that this was to show how ruthless Hollywood can be...what a joke! If you want to see a comedy about how a movie should not be made, check out "The Lonely Lady"-it's a great waste of time!!
As soon as you hear the theme song for this movie, sung by Larry Graham, you know you're in for a trashfest. The tune is very reminiscent of 60's camp-trash movie themes for "Where Love Has Gone" (sung by Jack Jones) & "Harlow" (sung by Bobby Vinton) among others. It gives this movie a very dated feel, even in 1983. What exactly was up with that hair-don't & hideous dress they gave the "teenage" Pia to wear?? She looked like a disheveled Pippy Longstocking. It's amazing what they crammed into one hour & 32 minutes: Rape with hose nozzle, dysfunctional mother, May/December romance, impotence (Pia couldn't doodle with her older hubby's dead noodle), nudity, lesbianism, abortion, bad 80's fashions, overwrought breakdown scene followed by nut house, rags-to-riches clichés (heroine finally writes an "award" winning screenplay), etc. etc. etc. Pia Zadora (a better singer than actress) did the best she could with this script. The amazing thing about this movie is that it's made by people who are supposed to know what they're talking about firsthand. Watch this movie if you like trashy stories about show biz.
There is absolutely nothing to redeem this movie. They took a sleazy story,
miscast it, miswrote it, misfilmed it. It has bad dialogue badly performed
in a meandering and trashy story.
As badly as it fails as art, it fails even worse as commerce. Who could have been the target market for this. What age group? What interest group?
Someone should make a movie about how and why they made this movie. That I would pay to see.
I've seen thousands of bad movies, and this ranks with "Sailor Who Fell from Grace" and "Manos" ... my choices as the three most unredeemably bad movies I've ever seen. Everybody associated with it should be forced to make conversation with VanDamme for all eternity.
I challenge you. Watch this movie and perform an academic exercise - how could you take this and make it worse? I can't think of one way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One must envy Oediphus for having the nerve of taking his eyes out, to
me the act in itself just sounds painful enough, and it's unimaginable.
For those who aren't versed in the classics, forget Oediphus, and let
us go back to not long ago: I envy the British man who ripped his eyes
out, apparently possessed while attending a mass in Rome. I envy him
more than the literary character not only because he's real but because
while doing it he said to the doctors he didn't felt a thing while
doing it. No pain at all! Why am I being grotesque while criticizing
this movie? Well, simply because "The Lonely Lady" is one of those
things that makes you wanna commit those acts. The atrocity your eyes
are put to see are so shocking that one has two options: to go blind
and vow to never watch a movie again or erase your memory because all
of those terrible moments stays with you for a long while. But since
the company who provides the memory erasing device from Michel Gondry's
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" doesn't exist (YET but one day
will), your eye must be put to death.
Let us be frank, I'm responsible for committing such crime to myself, guilty as charged. Often listed one of the worst stinkers ever made, I just felt the need to see it with my own eyes how bad this could get, reserving some hope this might a bad good film or maybe not that bad as they say. It turned out be to a sickening, gut-wrenching and almost pointless experience. I say almost because I learned a few things from it: 1) I don't have the strength nor the health to watch those kind of films. It's life threatening and from now on I'll try to avoid at all costs when I sense a movie is going terrible. I'll allow myself more and more walkouts. 2) to trust a little more when a whole bunch pans something, go forward it with them, join them. They're right! Why bothering wasting time with garbage? You're being warned as I was, just don't go one step beyond like I did. You'll feel better afterwards. My advice: read all the reviews written in here about this thing, you'll find some funny material of the highest quality.
The average easy reading book written by Harold Robbins was translated to the screen as a corny, almost soap-operish flick ruined from practically scene one. To the director, writer and producer of this it must have been quite a luck that Robbins was suffering from aphasia at the time of the release of this, otherwise I think he would sue those people, ask for his name to be risked from the credits and would disown this with passion. Weird soundtrack, insanely bad script and lousy acting by almost the entire cast (poor Ray Liotta in one of his earliest roles, and here's an infamous one as the main character's rapist). What's this all about? The adventures and misfortunes of Jerilee Randall (Pia Zadora) trying to establish herself as a serious screenwriter, fighting against Hollywood's misogynist conventions, learning that the only way to get to the top in the entertainment business and being a successful person is to be ON top of a bunch of cruel, hedonist yet powerful man (and some women!). It's almost like if this was a silly biographical account of someone relatively famous who had to go through the same experiences the main character had to.
Won't go further in details on why this fails because this is almost common knowledge for those of us who know about films out there. From the one line written by Jerilee changing a whole film written by her husband (WHY?) to the hilarious montage sequence with her breakdown smashing objects, not a single moment was good in this junk. We can almost forgive the acting problems but we can't forgive how negative the script is towards women and their representations of being needy, naive and with limited talents, and we certainly cannot forgive the infamous hosing rape scene which was, in the lack of a better word and reaction, laughable. This isn't a funny issue in life but somehow everything (terrible music combined with the awful editing and lousy acting) contributed to such laughable reaction (in my defense, never during the scene but a little afterwards to quickly disappear with shock when of Jerilee's mother reaction to the event - the doctor quoting "She was attacked" to which she replied "But not raped!").
The only redeeming quality of this is the final scene. Yes, they made something good out of that which was better than was in the book. I almost felt something for the character in that moment. She wins the Oscar, after going through hell trying to sell her script, and in the acceptance speech she gives the movie's best bad line and gets booed of the stage. In Robbins novel, it's the same thing except...she strips naked painted in gold as the Oscar and addresses herself against the men in Hollywood. Can you imagine this scene filmed? They would probably erase the mentions of this film as if never existed in history. Too bad it exists and can be found out there. Thankfully, not that easily. 1/10
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