Absurd. The definition of the word means ridiculous, unreasonable or unsound. To be absurd means that there is no rationale or orderly relationship to human life. That is way harsh. But true. In other words, if you are called absurd you are a mess. You could go from one side of the absurd chart that puts you in "fun mess" or way on the other side you could fall into the "broke down mess" or as the kids call it today, a fucking hot mess. Where you land is ultimately up to you and where the rest of the world thinks you land is up to them. Pia Zadora cemented herself first chair in the orchestra of the absurd when she starred in the now classic Hollywood moral tale, The Lonely Lady.
Based on a book by Harold Robbins' that is so uber trashy that Silkwood showers are required after each chapter. The ICK and YUCK factors run rampant. The book knows no boundaries. I had seen the movie many times before I cracked open the book and it was like The Further Adventures of The Lonely Lady. The movie is tame compared to the book, which is lucky for viewers. In the book she had a high school love affair with a black dude from the wrong side of the tracks, which causes the town to turn against them and results in high drama. In the movie, her teenage love affair (Pia plays her younger self!) is just a white nerd. In the book she has about ten abortions. I might have rounded up, but it's more than a normal person should be having, but that is just my opinion. In the movie she only has one, but it has the drama of ten and is bookended by Pia screaming, "MOTHER! I had an abortion!" and slamming the door to her VW Bug. The book is full of jaw dropping madness and lots of graphic sex and the ending is, as one of my friends said, SOCKO. The movie is full of jaw dropping madness also, lots of graphic sex and a different but completely socko ending itself. Zadora plays Jerilee Randall, but for all things Pia we will just refer to her character as Pia.
The power ballad "The Lonely Lady (The Theme From The Lonely Lady)" by Perry Ellis, Jr. swells to new heights of movie anthems as Pia stomps across the screen in a form fitting red gown. A crowd is gathered outside a fancy building and a TV announcer tells us that it is the big night! The night of the Awards Presentation Ceremony. It seems the academy of motion pictures and science weren't too keen on letting just anyone use their trademark, but there are two huge slightly off OSCAR statues on the red carpet. They have huge bulges. It's true. They do. Also two lines of dialogue from spectators really set the mood of the film right off the bat. As Pia walks by someone ask, "Who is she?" and a lady leans in from the crowd, hangs over the railing, looking Pia up and down and replies, "Must not be anyone if she don't have a date!" RUDE!!!!
Then, as she walks the red carpet a a henpecked wife ask her husband, "Why don't you buy me a dress like that?" He looks Pia up and down and replies, "Why don't you look like that?" SNAAAAAAP.
We are instantly sent flying back in time ( a year or a week is unclear) and we are planted in the middle another sort of awards presentation ceremony, but I think it is supposed to be high college. There has been some debate amongst The Lonely Lady enthusiast I know whether is high school or Nerd Jr. College, but regardless, she is playing younger, but she looks the same. Pia just acts all "cutesy" and has pigtails. She snatches herself a trophy for some writing thing and the crowd goes wild! Well mild. They seem to be not playing attention to what is going on or maybe the don't know what is going on. The extras are confused, but the little Asian boy NAILS it. She takes the stage and launches into some Pia ramblings about something, but the teacher cuts her off. So it begins....
At an after party she dances like a broken funky chicken and tries to be sexy while holding a hot dog. With relish! Ray Liotta shows up to play a sexy bully alpha male type. He likes drugs, blow jobs, speedos and he has his eye on popping Pia's cherry. He is great at playing slime. At a AFTER after party, Pia finds herself all alone (see!) while Ray and his hippie girlfriend make it in the pool. Suddenly, Pia is pulled into the pool and has to fight Liotta off. He gives chase as she climbs out of the pool and runs. At a break neck speed, the movie turns darksided as Pia gets caught and Ray picks up a garden hose and points it at her. He rips her shirt and THANKFULLY the movie moves on. Now here we were having a grand ole time with Pia and they have to have a rape scene. It makes you feel ICKY. It's all laughs until that happens. The movie throws you for a loop, because you were not expecting to go there. And that is quick lesson you learn with The Lonely Lady. You gotta stay on your toes, cuz it will toss you under the bus if you ain't looking.
After her mean Mommy (played by Bibi Besch) tells her to keep quiet about the rape and it will all be okay, Pia meets the owner of the garden hose (it's attached to the mansion) and she instantly falls in love. We get a real cute montage of her and a man, who looks old enough to be her grandfather, eat ice cream, go jogging and all kinds of silliness. It is very romantic. He is a hot shot film director and he hires Pia to do some scripting editing for his new blockbuster he is working on. She accidentally comes up with the perfect piece of dialogue for the Meryl Streep wannabe. "WHY?" Cut out all the other words and just scream to the heavens, "WHY?!!!" There is a sassy hair and make-up guy on the set and he and Pia become fast friends and his tee shirt reads, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!" I smell a Xmas gift!
She writes her first novel and her husband quickly resents her and in a heated argument out in the front yard, Pia pleads with him to "just come to bed" even though it is noon. Her husband picks up the garden hose ( You would think they would have gotten rid of it) and points it at her screaming, "Maybe this is more your style!"
Pia is out. Now a single gal on the go with a little cash advance for her next book, she gets to work on getting her script made into a movie, but first she has to get it read! No one wants to even look at it. She meets and falls crazy in love with a leading man type, but after he won't support her abortion, she realizes he is a dud. She then meets up with a hunky Italian club owner who just might be the right man to finance her screenplay! Promising to get it in the right hands, he immediately get right into Pia's pants. They have one of the greatest sex scenes EVER. Nude chasing, bubble baths, a sexy game of pool and forced poppers are all a part of their sexy time. But, Pia soon realizes that she just got screwed in more ways than the fun one.
Just when you think the Pia can't take anymore, she is tricked into having a lesbian affair (off screen thank Deena) and has to take her patent pending Pia shower. You know what a Pia shower is? It is that moment when you arrive home after a hard night of partying and WHOOPS you have ended up degrading yourself for someone else's pleasure. You kept it bottled up on the walk home, but once inside the safety of your own home all you want to do is crawl into the shower with ALL YOUR CLOTHES ON and wash it all away. You know you have had to do it every once in a while. It's good for the soul. Well, Pia being Pia takes it one step farther and is breaking dishes up in here as she demolishes her apartment and goes NUTS! Like she goes to the looney bin nuts!
Now catatonic and trapped in a weird white and light blue color scheme, she must go deep within herself if she wants to emerge a true artist. Nervous breakdowns are so annoying. They always happen at the exact moment you do not need to be having a nervous breakdown, but it makes a good screenplay!
FLASH FORWARD and we are back at the Awards Presentation Ceremony and Pia is up against four other writers(two of them with the same name, don't ask....) for best screenplay. The ending has got to be one of the satisfying and most rewarding endings of a movie in BadMovieArt history, besides Chopping Mall of course, and I would be remiss to say anything else about it and spoil the journey. Value lessons are learned and TAUGHT!
Poorly well written, horribly cast (the busty fake Joanna Cassidy in the hot tub near the end is a hoot) and badly lit, The Lonely Lady lives up to it's notorious reputation as one of the worst movies ever made. It is an albatross it will carry around its neck forever and rightfully so, but if you dig deeper there is more to the movie than that. The absurdity of everyone involved is mind blowing. And the best part of the entire movie is that Pia, as mentioned in the FAKE OUT aka NEVADA HEAT entry, was a millionaire! She didn't do it for one single penny. It was solely just for attention. She didn't give a fuck and that I like. Rich is powerful. It usually isn't charming or earnest, but it is powerful. But with great power comes great responsibility.
But that's all blah,blah,blah anyway. the real reason The Lonely Lady is a classic is because in this world we live in with 3-D kiddie movies, movies based off of toys with toys based of aforementioned movie, 15 dollar movie tickets and stale popcorn it never tries to be anything it isn't. Call it The Lonely Lady realness if you like. It knows it trash. It knows you know its trash and it doesn't care. Revolutionary in its horribleness, as you watch it you can feel your skin just crawled right off and off the door. Never to see your bones again. Yet, while the toxic shock of the moving picture masterpiece won't ever let you recovery from it, there is a sort of cleansing pleasure it brings you. You don't feel duped after watching it.
Years later, Pia Zadora was interviewed and asked about her trashy past. She held her head up proud and said, "Yeah there are things that I could say I was sorry for doing, but I did them and and I don't regret any of them."
Don't ask why? Ask why not?