The Lonely Lady (1983) Poster

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No, it's not to my liking, but I couldn't stop watching
pocca1 May 2005
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.
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How bad is it?
heckles4 July 1999
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.
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"Maybe THIS is more your 'kick'!!!!"
cchase29 October 2005
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.
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Absolute zero
Joe-38510 September 2000
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.
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Not the worst of all time, but in the top 5
DanB-44 May 1999
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 stupid.

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 ****.
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Total Cheese-fest!
dgordon-110 September 2002
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!!
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DaCritic-219 December 2000
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.
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Entertaining Swill
Blooeyz200130 May 2002
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.
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Lousy even by the low standards of Harold Robbins adaptations
dave13-119 July 2008
This early Pia Zadora vehicle followed a familiar Harold Robbins formula: ambitious main character wallows in decadence while pursuing the path to the top of some randomly chosen but glamorous world, in this case the movie industry. But despite being so formulaic as to be completely predictable, this movie manages at the same time to be completely unbelievable. Zadora (to call her inexperienced as an actress is to be charitable) never convinces as a screenwriter. One would expect a movie about movie-making to have some insights into its own industry and creative process. But the script gives her none of the qualities which make writers interesting movie characters: observance, skill with words, a love-hate relationship with one's own creative abilities. Her character is as empty as a donut hole. And this is just a taste of the incompetence on display here. The cinematography is so murky that it is sometimes hard to see what is happening. And the scenes never really hang together, so everything seems like a succession of random moments at bad Hollywood parties. Avoid.
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Actually not a bad film
tbyrne418 March 2006
I kind of liked The Lonely Lady. Give Pia a break. She looks great and she has really nice eyes. What's not to like? The scene where she gets raped by Ray Liotta with a garden hose was kind of gross and cruel. Actually, a LOT of stuff that happens in this movie is gross and cruel. But its a trashy movie. A lot of movies that are trashy are not all bad. I liked this better than Valley of the Dolls, which was not only trashy but boring as well. At least this wasn't boring.

Pia gets naked a lot and seems miscast as a writer. Watching her talk about Pushkin and Byron with a guy three times her age is flat unbelievable. I'm sure Pia's a nice person in real life, she just doesn't project the writer vibe. She looked much happier when she was working as a hostess for that guy from Saturday Night Fever and wearing a glittery disco dress.

A couple of the scenes are funny. The one where she tells the two-timing actor that she's pregnant and he rolls his eyes and snaps at her to "stop hanging around!", all the while he's practically fawning over every bimbo who flounces by.

Pia's nervous breakdown scene is good. It was probably a mistake to go so supernova on it (the vortex of floating faces and freeze-frame scream - whoa!) and her subsequent catatonic stupor is kind of overdone.

The acceptance speech is a hoot, though. I want to see someone do that speech in a drama class.

But, again, this is trash we're talking about. You could find worse on any movie of the week back in the eighties.
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I don't think it could be worse
Scoopy19 March 1999
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.
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nowhere near as bad as people say
PeterMitchell-506-56436430 January 2013
The Lonely Lady is not a bad movie. Does it have a bad actress in it? Yes. And I'm not going to spell it out for you. To think this won worst film of 1983, I couldn't get my head around. And too, the movie is based on a Harold Robbin's novel. Unfortunately our terrible lead, overplays it. Zadora's a beautiful, lonely scriptwriter, who falls for a much older man, a film writer/director. You'll love how they met. After winning an award, Pia goes home with the son, and another couple, (a younger Ray Liotta). She suffers a nasty rape, her rapist getting off free. Hey they're related to Hollywood. The father (Dynasty's Hart Bochner) nurses her back to health. They marry, then certain complications arise as they do in every Hollywood couple. At the film's end, Pia Zadora is again really in the same place she started, alone, before walking out on an award, by dropping the F word. We see Bochner get angry too, when people rewrite his material. The Lonely Lady isn't a bad drama, but does have a phoneyness, about it. Why? Ask Zadora
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So bad its almost good....almost
mamamiasweetpeaches14 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
When I was a teenager I ended up sick and bed-ridden one week and read the trashy Harold Robbins novel THE LONELY LADY. I was at that age where if I was gonna read something it was going to be in the vein of VALLEY OF know, where the heroine(s) of the book dabble insex,drugs,what-have-you.

I seem to remember the book being pretty amusing, so when I saw it in the video store I went "Well alright!" I must admit seeing Pia Zadora on the box made me wary, but I rented it anyway. Well, if this a good movie or a bad movie depends on your sense of humor and how warped it is. When I first started watching it I was almost sulked down in my chair in self-embaressment. My boyfriend at the time walked in and said "what are you watching?" and I said "Some sucky movie." Then the Ray Liotta garden hose rape scene came on and this went from being a bad legit movie to an unintentionally hysterical cult classic.

The story here is about Pia being a young woman who asspires to be a great writer and how she finds people taking advantage of her and making her (gasp!) sleep her way to the top (only "sleep" is not quite the word Pia uses when she makes a disgusted awards speech at the films climax). Yes, this movie has some outrageous stuff going on. And some of the lines are hoot worthy ("....Maybe THIS is more your kick?!" fumes a frustrated lover shaking a garden house at Pia.)

Pia has always been a sort of B level or Z level celeb and this flick will show you why. Is it on my list of View Again And Again Bad cinema? No. its not quite that amusing. But its worth a viewing if you like truly bad tastless cinema. Drugs and booze will greatly enhance this experience (although I was sober as the Pope when I saw it and still chuckled).So the best advice I can give is make sure you have plenty of booze and other vices on hand, invite over your funniest friends and have a triple-bill of Lonely LADY,VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL.
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"It's a cookbook!" or is that a cooked book?
aromatic-28 October 2001
Lloyd Bochner, totally sleazy, got second billing in two movies, The Lonely Lady and Drums of Africa. Mr. Bochner has done a magnificent job as a guest star on TV for 40 years. As a lead film actor, Mr. Bochner's presence suggests that the movie was done ona budget of $50,000 or less. In this case, it was more like 50,000 Lira.

Mr. Bochner of course is famous for the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man" about an advanced alien race that regales humankind with many advanced benefits. Bochner finally translates their "Bible" to serve man, only to find that it is a cookbook, and the Aliens are bring earthlings to their planet to cook and eat them. Hence the line, that was well sent up in the one of the Naked Gun movies. And, it's appropriate here because they took Harold Robbins' sleazy book, cut away the book part, and just left the sleaze!

Actually, I didn't think Pia Zadora acted poorly at all. The character was a ridiculously bizarre caricature but so were all the others. Accomplished players who happened to be in Europe at the time such as Joseph ("Saturday Night Fever") Cali, Ray ("Field of Dreams") Liotta, Bibi Besch, and Shane ("Dr. Strangelove") Rimmer were all made to look equally ridiculous.

And all that being said, I'll disagree with many of the other reviewers. I did find it bad enough to be funny. I often think of the outrageous dialogue and inappropriate costumes, and just laugh out loud.

So, I don't think you should avoid it. It's short enough, and it gives you something to talk about for years afterward. Just don't take it seriously.
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More like "f***** her way to the bottom..."
JonDubya20048 July 2004
Wow! Only a movie this ludicrously awful could inspire the similar "Showgirls." I mean where to begin? The indescibably horrid theme song? Pia Zadora's non-expressions throughout the movie? The fact that despite being set in Los Angeles, aka "land of the casting couch" EVERY single man (and woman!) is fawning all over themselves to sleep with Pia Zadora, by any contrived means necessary? Or what about the fact that every person in the movie is totally unsympathetic because they're either mind-numbingly stupid (Pia) or obvious despicable sleazeball (everyone else)? And given that this flick was written by actual "screenwriters (sorta), it shows a shocking lack of understanding of the movie-making industry (who the Hell would admire and kiss up to a SCREENWRITER?)

But it's (unintentionally) funny as hell though. The "breakdown" scene alone will have you giggling, and after seeing the climatic "I'm not the only one who had to **** her way to the top" scene at the "Awards" (all done in the usual bargain-basement acting level we expect from such quality thespians as Pia), I sincerely hope that our dear Pia actually reused that speech when she "won" her Golden Globe. It's fitting and that would totally make my day.

Anyway, if you're a fan of bad, tashy camp, give this otherwise tacky movie a try.
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Bad? Effing awful!
Rodrigo_Amaro2 March 2013
Warning: 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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So god awful that it's absolutely brilliant!!!
will-1053 February 2002
Bad script, bad direction, over the top performances, overwrought dialogue. What more could you ask for? For laughs, it just doesn't get any better than this. Zadora's over-acting combined with the cliched scenarios she finds herself in make for an hilarious parody of the "Hollywood" machine. Almost as funny as "Spinal Tap" even though it was clearly not intended as such. Don't miss Ray Liotta's debut film line, "Looks like a penis."
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Wow, wow and wow
BandSAboutMovies11 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Harold Robbins' book The Lonely Lady is dedicated to Jacqueline Susann, who created the greatest written ode to little red pills ever, Valley of the Dolls. She had been inspired by Robbins and how he wrote, added in her crazed ability self promote and became a star. The book was his tarted up version of how he saw her life.

I discovered that book hidden on my parents shelf in the 1980's and was amazed by it. How did they fit so much sex and depravity between its pages? And when I learned that HBO would be showing the movie adaption at 4 AM, well, look out!

Jerilee Randall (Pia Zadora!) is an innocent waif living in the San Fernando Valley with a dream of being a screenwriter and a trophy for creative writing. Then, she meets Walter Thornton (Mr. No Legs, Crystal Heart), a famous screenwriter. She's kind of, sort of is dating his son, but she slowly falls in love with him. But before all that, Ray Liotta rapes her with a garden hose.

You know how they say that you need to take a shower after some movies? You need to continually shower during The Lonely Lady. In fact, I would recommend putting your TV in the hallway and watching the film from the shower.

Walter and Jerilee marry, despite the protests of her mom. He gets her a job as an on-set writer, but when the one word she adds to his script (WHY!?!) improves the film, their marriage starts to fail. He's unable to satisfy his wife. Also: his chest hair is like a perilious thatch of salt and pepper steel wool.

Walter accuses her of enjoying the rape with a garden hose and that's the end of their marriage (well, they stay married, but she leaves). Jerilee starts sleeping her way through Hollywood, including getting pregnant by George Ballantine (Jared Martin from Fulci's Warriors of the Year 2072!) and then getting an abortion before falling for a nightclub owner. He lies to her all along the way, until she finds him having sex with two other women. Lost and hopelessly addicted to pills, she has a nervous breakdown in a bravurra sequence.

Every single agent that Jerilee meets with wants to sleep with her. Seriously, every single one. Well, I take that back. Some of them want her to sleep with their wives. Even a woman tries to take advantage of her.

Finally, Jerilee's script is produced - and it has to star George Ballantine - but it wins a major award that is not an Oscar.

Jerilee goes off during her speech, admitting to her ex-husband that she never learned anything about self-respect and that she's slept her way to the top. She refuses the award and walks out with dignity to the strains of her theme song. That's not as good as the book, which ends with her tearing off her clothes to reveal the Oscar painting upside down with his head resting inside her pubic hair.

Meshulam Rikls, Pia Zadora's billionaire husband, spent $5 million to get this made and spent several million more for Universal Pictures to release it in the U.S. But you gotta give it to Pia - despite half of the audience being voters for the Razzie Awards who laughed throughout the film - she showed up and stayed for autographs in the lobby. I would have been right there in line, ready with a supportive hug if she needed it!
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A classic example of a movie being the cinematic equivalent of a traffic accident.
Hey_Sweden2 January 2018
God knows, this is far from being a "good" picture. It's an ultra-trashy, ultra-ridiculous Hollywood soap opera based on Harold Robbins' novel. One may bemoan the fact that the material should yield for better results. Certainly, even those of us who are not in "the business" know that it can be mean, manipulative, selfish, and cruel. Some good people get hurt.

Pia Zadora may never have been one of the great talents to ever come down the pike, but she does try as hard as she can, in the role of Jerilee Randall, a promising young writer. Jerilee does manage to get a few books published, but screenwriting is an entirely different matter. There's no shortage of vile males (and even females) looking to take advantage of her, while she courts the vague hope that they might actually be able to (or want to) help her career get going. She has stormy relationships with a variety of flawed men: veteran, renowned screenwriter Walter Thornton (Lloyd Bochner), self-centred film star George Ballantine (Jared Martin), and club owner Vincent Dacosta (Joseph Cali).

It would be hard not to feel some sympathy for this Jerilee character. There are few supportive influences in her life, and there are so many rotten men. At first, Walter seems to be a good catch, even if he IS old enough to be her father. But even he suffers from a fragile male ego. The film actually aims its lowest early on, when a creep played by Ray Liotta (in his film debut) molests Jerilee with a garden hose. I kid you not.

Some of the cast do struggle to keep their dignity intact. Bochner is pretty good, under the circumstances, as is Anthony Holland as a film director who befriends Jerilee.

It's usually standard practice for me to give "so bad they're good" movies a five out of 10. As long as they entertain, even if it's not in the manner intended, then the experience isn't a total loss.

It wraps up with one of the funniest lines in movie history, at a mock "awards" ceremony, as Jerilee decides to do away with decorum and be at her most brutally, painfully honest.

Five out of 10.
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Someone should make a real Oscars speech like that
Hollywoodshack22 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Some of the impact of the show was lost on the smaller TV screen. Pia Zadora does well in spite of the material she's given to work with. She and Traci Lords are similar in many ways. Both are small slender blondes. Both have used men in their lives to find parts and advance up the ladder in their careers. Pia married a wealthy older man who financed her movies while Traci found parts by marrying the prop manager for John Waters after living together with an agent who produced her popular adult feature, Traci, I Love You. I think the film's worst part is the instant bandage that's applied when Pia's character overdoses and has a nervous breakdown, but fifteen minutes later her first film is produced and she's ready to accept an Oscar for best screenplay. The industry seems to be full of powerful women who climb the bedroom to the top of success while their male companions sink to the bottom from where they were. So, the Oscars speech was true, funny, and I think in real life there would be a pause of silence from the ceremony audience followed by huge laughter along with a standing ovation of applause and hugs for her.
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For a "lonely" lady, she sure gets around
allexand10 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"The Lonely Lady" is the story of Jerilee Randall, a young girl who in search of fame and recognition basically puts out to get ahead. It's sleazy, campy fun for all if you can stand the gratuitous nudity.

The reason this movie is so entertaining is its star. Pia Zadora is a bad actress who was fortunately blessed with the gift of accidental comedy. Sometimes you can't help but bust out laughing even before she opens her mouth. I can't help but wondering if maybe she would've had more success if she tried to make comedies rather than angst-ridden melodramas like this that only spotlight her lack of talent.

She is further hindered by utterly atrocious dialogue as is the supporting cast. The lines range from unintentionally funny ("You've already had one abortion, don't make it two", "I don't suppose I'm the only one who's had to f**k her way to the top", "Is this more your kick?") to downright alien (Jerilee's high school award acceptance speech at the beginning and her book reviews, which laud her for depicting "rape and violence with a sensitivity beyond her years" and showing "the inadequacy of liberal values in the face of evil???")

The writers' bad dialogue and poor choice of wording really deserve a mention because this movie is about… drum roll, please… screenwriters! Nevermind the fact that Jerilee thinks her ticket to fame is becoming a successful screenwriter, she modifies a script by excising an actress's entire monologue and replacing it with "Why?" and it is treated as brilliant! We're also supposed to believe that the actress would rather say one word than give a monologue. Of course it's all worth it as watching the actress act out her new line change is rife with narm.

Bad acting and dialogue aside, it's really hard to feel any sympathy as Jerilee goes from one obvious bad choice to another. She dumps her nice-guy boyfriend in the beginning to run off with a famous screenwriter's son. Her reward for this is getting raped at his house by one of his smarmy friends… with a garden hose, no less. The description is absurd on its own, but this scene has to be seen to be believed. Our imperiled heroine writhes on the ground while shrieking her head off as she waits for a soon-to-be-embarrassed Ray Liotta to insert his hose (not a metaphor) inside her. He rips her blouse open so the audience gets a boob shot (first of many) as a bonus while overwrought "scary" music blares. In a more competent movie with a competent cast, this scene would be upsetting to watch. Here, it's so ridiculous that the filmmakers have achieved the impossible: a comedic rape scene.

Later she marries the boy's father (the screenwriter's son, not the garden hose rapist, though given some of her later choices in men, it would've made as much sense) and continues to live in the same house where she was raped! Though it can almost be forgiven as it leads to another memorable scene where her older husband, after battling impotence, waves the garden hose in her face and taunts her with it. It's so jaw-droppingly insensitive you just can't help but… laugh.

She follows with a succession of increasingly sleazy boyfriends though once again, it's forgiven as it gives us Jerilee's nervous breakdown scene. Of course, it's memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Jerilee is also given a mother who's every bit as comically insensitive and abusive as her lovers. She repeatedly puts her daughter down after getting raped, getting an abortion, and even going to the loony bin. She throws herself at her daughter's husband, knowing full well that her daughter got violated at his house and that the boy would go unpunished because of hubby's status.

However, the filmmakers obviously felt that the movie could not stand on its own so they added nudity and it gets ramped up as the movie progresses. First, we get an occasional topless shot, then a sex-in-the-shower scene, and then five straight minutes near the end of Jerilee and her latest boyfriend cavorting in the buff. Most of the shots are of Ms. Zadora herself (though we do get to see quite a lot of "Saturday Night Fever's" Joseph Cali) so they clearly thought her body was something special. She even has women coming on to her! Pia Zadora's not a dog, mind you, but she's certainly not attractive enough to have every man and woman fawn over her. The fact that her older, rich husband backed this movie makes it rather icky, as well.

Finally, the movie has an overall generic feel to it. Buildings are not named, the ersatz Oscar ceremony which bookends the film is simply called "The Awards," and one of Jerilee's books is shown with a white cover and blocky letters. Many of the film's songs have a bizarre anonymous vibe to them with simple, uncreative lyrics. Character names are rather dull and uninspired, except for Jerilee, but the movie undercuts even this by having her compete with another woman named Jerilee for a screen writing Oscar… sorry, "Award." Not only are the screenwriters for this film out of touch with reality, they're woefully unimaginative.

This movie finally ended Pia's bid for movie stardom. What's strange is how much this movie seems to mirror Pia's own career. Both Pia and Jerilee married older, rich men, used them to get ahead, had their careers ruined at the end of the movie, and bared enough skin to make people call Pia's self-respect into question. Thankfully, those of us in the real world knew better than to give Pia an Oscar.
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Don't always blame the cast when a film is below par
bbhlthph27 August 2004
This film is a Pia Zadora special! When viewing it, I was reminded of the classic cartoon showing a Hollywood starlet; in urgent need of another role but afraid of becoming typecast for 'B' movie or soft porn roles; who says at her casting session "Well of course I do not normally do roles requiring nudity, but if it is artistically necessary for the film...............". This recollection brought up a very naughty image of a similar cartoon showing Pia at such a session saying "Well of course I do not normally take any roles requiring actual acting, but if it will really give me sufficient exposure to enhance my status as a sex symbol..................". This is probably grossly unfair, the rather sordid tale is the fault of Harold Robbins book; considering the nature of the story Pia's exposures certainly do not receive undue attention, and perhaps Pia (who once won an acting award in Butterfly) is deliberately satirising her part rather than attempting to act in an almost unplayable role. Critics usually point first to the actors as the problem whenever a film proves disappointing, but this is grossly unfair; the scriptwriters and director are far more often the guilty parties. The real problem with "The Lonely Lady" is that the screenplay, like the original book, looks for sensation rather than substance, and nothing can help with this.

The screenplay for this film is abysmal, but whether the story could have been filmed more successfully with a better script, tauter directing and really competent acting must remain a matter of personal judgement. As it was released, my viewers rating for it would depend upon whether I am assessing my personal opinion, or assessing to what extent the film succeeds in providing what it aims at doing. My personal rating for it would be two out of ten; but to some extent this film probably provides exactly what its sponsors intended, and judged on this basis a quality rating of four out of ten would be reasonable. Being in a charitable mood, and wanting to make it clear that I am not blaming Pia for my disappointment, I will give an IMDb rating of four.
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so bad its good
stevsan29 September 2003
This is quite possibly the worst movie ever made. It is obvious that it suffered from a small budget to start with but it's just so ridiculous it's funny. It's one of those that stoners would rent just to laugh at. It proves that just about anyone can make a movie. Rent this if you want to laugh aka (Plan 9 From Outer Space). Ed Wood would have been proud that he "one upped" Peter Sasdy .
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When NOTHING goes right...
Micheaux19 November 1999
Ghostbusters II is a bad movie. Heart Condition is a bad movie. "The Lonely Lady" (a book I recall a classmate reading. She said, "I don't like it, but I'm going to finish it") is wrongheaded in so many ways: muddled plot, bad acting, cheap sets, that Playboy magazine cried sabotage.

What should strike one as traumatic, comes across as laughable, in particular, her withdrawal scene features her screaming, with 12 smaller images of her screaming and circling the larger image to form what looks like an unholy Mickey Mouse watch.

It would be very easy to say that Zadora cannot act, but this is not so easily said. In "Butterfly", she gave a credible performance. In this movie, NO ONE can act and they are given very little to act from. Sasdy, the director, seems to have not so much directed, as pointed. During an Oscar speech, one of the presenters says, "Don't let the twentieth century fox you!".

I know. It's gets a laugh, too.

The sets are uniformly cheap; you should see what passes for the auditorium for the Oscars. No matter what is being done, Italy as beautiful a country as it is, cannot be made to look like California, for better or worse.

Such frugality apparently extended to the editing; here is a transcript of a complete scene. Jerilee Randall (Zadora) is at a friend's house after her withdrawal from drugs:

[friend enters from left] Friend: Jerilee, you look really good to-day. Jerillee: Do I? ...and we're off to the next scene. Get some of your loud friends, catch a special low rental day at your local video store and have a good laugh.
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the undefeated, undisputed champion
pgreyy16 January 1999
I have seen many bad films. Some of them are so bad they're funny. Some of them are so bad, it's sad. Some of them are just bad enough to be a waste of time. However, in all of my years of watching movies, this film is the undefeated and undisputed WORST film of all time--because it isn't bad enough to be funny...I don't feel sad about how bad it was...and worse than being a waste of time, the fact that this movie has robbed me of any other experience in my life is as close to evil as this reviewer wants to get.

Bad script, bad acting, bad camera work, bad, bad, bad... ...what makes it worse is that, like a horrific car accident, I've felt compelled to stare, mouth agape, at this as it plays on premium I am intricately aware of how horrible this movie is... I don't know what it is--do I imagine that somehow they'll have pulled a George Lucas and re-worked sections that make it merely a pathetically bad movie instead of the champion bad movie? (No luck yet...and thankfully, no premium channel has dared challenge their viewers enough to run this in years... Ahhhh...bliss!)

Someday, a challenger will come...but for now...The Lonely Lady rules as the worst film of all time.
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