Like many 90s babies, somewhere around the age of five I was introduced to the cinematic classic that is the 1998 version of The Parent Trap. I am an avid lover of movies and I wish I could claim that the first film that really made an impression on me was The Sound of Music or The Wizard of Oz. But nevertheless, with pride I declare that Nancy Meyer’s remake of the movie recognized as Haley Mills’ original claim to fame remains one of my favorites. For a good two years, the only movie I ever wanted to watch was that. I loved every aspect of it. I loved the creativity and intricacy of the syrup, feathers and whipped cream-filled pranks that Lindsay Lohan’s characters of Annie and Haley relentlessly pulled on each other. I hoped that one day I would have a British butler who did a quirky handshake-dance with me whenever I saw him, no matter how old I was. I wanted to dance around with my mom at her designer photo shoot singing Jakaranda’s “Hey oh ma ma ma ma bed doo a dai ya!” But most importantly, the movie launched my admiration for Lindsay Lohan as one of my favorite people to watch.
Arguably for the better, I grew out of this stage of obsession and continued on with my childhood and adolescence. And, arguably for the worse, Lindsay Lohan did so as well. After The Parent Trap, Lohan excelled as a primped and perfected Disney starlet, with multiple Disney Channel films and the box office success of yet another decade-old remake, Freaky Friday. However, with teenage-dom coming to an end, Lohan looked to break free from the “Disney syndrome,” signing on to Tina Fey’s critically acclaimed film, Mean Girls, and establishing herself as a talented actress. As the next two years presented itself as a tango between her musical pursuits and independent films, Lohan finally came to the divergent two roads in the [Holly]wood that so often present themselves to child-stars. Unfortunately, Lindsay took the one more frequently traveled. And boy, has it made all the difference.
Just as Lohan seemed to scrape the industry’s surface as a credible actress, with even the New York Times labeling her a “genuine star,” her personal life slowly and publicly fell apart. In an already ever-capricious industry, Lohan was often left to fend for herself, being put between her mother and father, who were only concerned with the their own benefits from their daughter’s career. Independently jumping from hotel to hotel at a time many of us would be terrified to move into a college dorm, Lohan’s stability as she embarked on her young adult life was clearly nonexistent. If the paparazzi didn’t lead her to multiple car accidents, her drinking habits and drug use eventually did, creating a tabloid media dedicated to her every move. And while the multiple stays in rehab and AA meetings may have proven enough at an earlier date, Lohan’s life eventually became such a circus dance that even these practical methods of recuperation became void. When the infamous photo surfaced of LiLo passed out in the front seat of her car, with then flame Sam Ronson, my eighth grade self realized that the once promising career of Lohan was now quickly fading from the horizon.
With her partying reputation greatly overshadowing the acting ability she possessed, her recent roles have been limited to horror films, badly written made-for-TV movies and, most recently, The Canyons, a film labeled as soft-core porn that was even rejected from January’s Sundance Film Festival. For a girl who insisted to Vanity Fair back in 2010, “I want my career back,” and “I know that I’m a damn good actress,” she’s done little to prove it. Within the past two weeks, she’s become tabloid news once again for her probation violation hearing which could end in jail-time. But when I happen across her FunnyOrDie eHarmony parody, or SNL appearances in 2004 and even some from 2012, or her guest spot on Ugly Betty, I’m reminded that somewhere underneath the fake tans, plastic surgery, and drug addictions, there’s the talented girl from The Parent Trap just waiting for redemption. Maybe if her adolescent years had been rid of her stage parents and the overwhelmingly excessive Hollywood lifestyle, The Parent Trap or Freaky Friday would be to Lindsay Lohan as The Professional is to Natalie Portman. Wishful thinking or not, my hopes for a comeback have not been completely abandoned. The road less travelled is still waiting, burn book, quirky handshake and all.