Lindsay Lohan, whose name has an oddly enchanting porn star ring to it, has always been a mystery to me. I just never understood the obsession a good deal of the American public has with her. They can’t all be pedophiles whose interest carried over into her “adult” years. So what is it about her that makes people care whether or not she’s had breast implants or an eating disorder? Why are people shocked by admissions of drug use and strip club visits? Is it because of her feud with Hilary Duff, or is it due to the actions of her father? Is it because she’s “down-home pretty,” or a slutty Lolita?

I’ll tell you this much, it can’t be because of her intellect, acting ability or musical talent.

Her recent “admissions” of drug use and an eating disorder seemed to shock many, though people had been speculating on both for a few years. I wasn’t surprised. She has “damaged goods” all but stamped on her forehead. Through boyfriend and family problems, I was there thinking, “That girl is probably more f****d up than anyone would like to admit.” She is a Disney star, you know.

Watching her in interviews, hearing about her hospital visits and just reading reports of her lifestyle should have alerted the more astute followers that there was a cauldron of breakdown brewing underneath her freckled skin. I didn’t even pay that much attention to her and it was obvious. But when those reports came out (followed by her denial of an eating disorder, but not the drug use), people let out a collective gasp of shock. How could such a good girl go so bad?

The easy answer, of course, was Hollywood. The “pressures” of being a child star did this to her. It didn’t help that she had bad personal and family relationships, either. Put all that into a land where drug use is aplenty (though I doubt it is much different than anywhere else — the drugs are just more expensive and better), and she could only come out of it f****d up. Or so they think.

I’ll blame Hollywood for a lot of things. Dumbing down American audiences. Pandering to the lowest common denominator. Making movies exclusively for fifteen-year-old boys. Not embracing original screenplays. Using a rating system that is outdated and enforced by morons. Cancer. But I won’t blame Hollywood for Lohan. Nope. No way.

Lohan would’ve have done all this (minus the dating of other “stars”) on her own. It wouldn’t have mattered if she lived in Beverly Hills or the DelMonte Court Trailer Park (“Vacanseas — yes!”), she would’ve been throwing up her hot dogs, popping pills and sleeping around no matter what. That’s what she’s hard-wired for. Lack of talent often emerges as excess of vice and “drama” by people who don’t have the skills to handle their own personalities.
The problem is that sometimes these excesses fool people into thinking these half-wits actually have talent — thus Lohan.

If I seem cruel, it’s because I am. Lohan isn’t a star because of her talent. She’s a star because of her looks and luck, both of which are slowly running out. She has no staying power, and no one will ever compare her to Meryl Streep or even Melanie Griffith. Pills, vomit, strip clubs and bad relationships aren’t just a teenage phase or the product of an industry that seems bent on devouring its child stars. They are part of her life, and will be until she either overdoses in her mansion or, as more fitting in the case of people like her, is killed by the guy who picked her up hitchhiking. (“Dude, I just need a ride to a party.” “You like to party?” “Hells yes!” “Let me see your tits.” “Okay. Is that a knife?”) There should be no surprises here. There should be no shock. The sun rises. Lohan is troubled. If you told me Dakota Fanning was having these problems, I may be taken aback (but just a little), because it seems like she has talent and half a brain. Tell me Lohan is doing donkey shows in some stench-ridden hovel in Mexico City, and I’ll say, “I told you so.”

All you Lohan fans — the ones who have dared to keep reading — can get pissed and send me your letters. It’s all true, and you know it. You just want more for the girl. You want better. You feel some kind of connection and sympathy for this person you’ve probably never met (but know plenty of people like her), and you want her to beat the odds. She won’t because she doesn’t even know them, and you know that, too. I don’t blame you for wanting your precious Lohan to be all right. Hell, I’d rather she live a quiet, pleasurable life well out of the camera’s eye myself. But please don’t act so startled when her dark side comes out. You knew it was there the whole time. That’s what drew you to her. And for the young girls who may look up to her, I’ll paraphrase something Casey Kasem once told me after I pissed him off. Choose your heroes wisely. There’s always another Lohan right around the corner. True talent, however, comes around once in a lifetime.

Discuss Doug Brunell’s “Excess Hollywood” column in Film Threat’s BACK TALK section! Click here>>>

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