Yesterday we learned that Lindsay Lohan, the last decade's fiery queen of destruction, has officially landed the starring role in a new Lifetime biopic of Elizabeth Taylor. It's a decent-sized coup for the largely unemployable actress (insurance reasons is the technical explanation) and, one hopes at least, a sign that Lohan is finally growing the hell up and getting her act together. Lifetime isn't exactly a star-making network, nor have any of its films ever been terribly good, but still, Elizabeth Taylor is a big, juicy role to play, one that requires at least some actual acting. And the network, putting aside any cynical hunger for cheap attention, seems to actually trust Lindsay Lohan to do the job. This is Lohan's first starring role in three-plus years, and the first one bound to get any attention in about five. So it could happen that, if Lohan doesn't screw it up, people discover her innate talent all over again. There she'll be, in every scene, doing a competent job in an albeit silly movie, encouraging the industry to climb back aboard the Lindsay express. Sure it's just one movie and things could go to pot again — some of our greatest cultural minds seem to think that's likely — but what if that doesn't happen? What if Lohan does this movie, then another one, then another one, and those DUI jailbird days are finally behind her? Will they finally be behind us?
Three and a half years ago, just as the recession was truly kicking in and things were looking significantly changed, I wrote a post for Gawker declaring the era of "celebrity hedonism" to be over. You see, the bad economy was smothering the urge to party, and creating instead some squeaky clean generation of can-doism. Barack Obama had just been elected at the time, so maybe my reasoning was a little clouded by all that hopey changey stuff, but in some ways the prediction presented in that old post has borne out. Are we still as obsessed with all that sleazy glitz, the TMZ on Robertson cameras and the party photos and all that? Not really. That trend seems to have passed and been replaced by celebrities at Coachella, Ryan Gosling hero memes, Lana del Rey spinning forever. Sure TMZ still turns a good business, but does the Celebrity Mess industry feel as big as it once did? It doesn't seem that way from here.