The Best And (Very) Worst Of Liz Taylor

The Best And (Very) Worst Of Liz Taylor

A retrospective in honor of the late icon's 84th birthday

To dismiss Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton (Burton, again) Warner Fortensky Taylor as an actress would be a glaring understatement. She was a phenomenon, and with good reason. Her life was more drama-filled than any of her movies, including a history of critical health problems (like the emergency tracheotomy which left a scar that could only be covered by the infamous 68 carat Burton-Taylor Diamond), eight marriages, two to the same man, her Academy Awards, and the drastic weight gains and losses. For decades, Taylor's name was a staple of headlines across the world.

Elizabeth Taylor is, above all else, beyond description, and Feb. 27 marks what would have been her 84th birthday. In her honor, I'll be watching either one of her amazing films, or any one of her notorious bombs, because a movie with Liz Taylor is like sex or pizza; even when it's bad, it's still good.

The good

"Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" (1958).

Tennessee Williams' play adheres to his tried-and-true style of revealing the seamy underbelly of southern aristocracy, but it's Taylor who brings the character of Maggie "The Cat" Pollitt to life with a crackling sensuality and a raw yearning for her husband's affection. As the titular Cat, Liz swaggers and struts across the backdrop of a fine ol' Mississippi plantation, bringing together the best of both her on-and-off screen sex appeal and Tennessee Williams' penchant for damn fine southern gothic literature.

"BUtterfield 8" (1960).

"Butterfield 8" earned Liz her first Oscar, even though many claim she got it out of pity after a near-fatal bout of pneumonia. After being publicly deemed a homewrecker (she stole America's sweetheart's husband, knocking Sputnik off the front pages and making him number four in her constellation of failed marriages), MGM offered (forced) her this role as her last for the studio, and while she hated it, she played Gloria Wandrous to the hilt. Gloria is a jaded woman who often confuses sex with love, ultimately leading to her demise. While the film's message is a little puritanical, Taylor gives a phenomenal performance (arguably the second best of her career), most evident in her "I was the slut of all time!" speech she gives her mother.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966).

Liz's best, hands down, bar none. In "Virginia Woolf," her magnum opus for which she gained 30 pounds, she plays Martha, wife of an associate professor (played by her real-life husband, the classically trained Shakespearean actor Richard Burton). You would think that Liz, while a capable actress, would be buried under Burton's bravura, yet she manages to hold her own, blow for blow, insult for insult, drink for drink (for drink for drink for drink). The result is a brutally frank two-hour domestic quarrel which takes place over the course of one booze-soaked night, making a Maury rerun seem like The Waltons by comparison. Taylor, expertly playing a cruel, nagging harpy trapped in a loveless marriage, snagged her second Oscar for this, and no one can say she didn't deserve this one.

The bad

"Cleopatra" (1963).

The mother of all historical epics, "Cleopatra" is a four-hour long meandering mess from start to finish. Weighted by unending dialogue, devoid of any dynamicism, "Cleopatra" only plays such a large role in the pantheon of Taylor's filmography because of its historical context: its budget of $31 million made it the most expensive film ever made, nearly driving 20th Century Fox into bankruptcy, and Elizabeth Taylor was paid a record-shattering $1 million to play the role of the tragically-fated Queen.

"Boom!" (1968).

How can something so right be so wrong? You would think that since Tennessee Williams and Liz worked so well together, and Richard Burton and Liz worked so well together, the three of them pulling in the same direction would make an unprecedented cinematic masterpiece.

Instead they gave us "Boom!"

Liz is Sissy Goforth, the richest woman in the world, who lives alone on her own private island. When Chris Flanders (Burton) shows up on her doorstep (coastline?), they engage in a nonstop tête-à-tête, with Liz trying to seduce him every third minute. Every single line is fraught with some pitiful attempt at meaning and the entire thing is one pseudo-artistic bomb (no pun intended), the cinematic equivalent of Squidward playing the clarinet. But you can't look away. It's just such an odd, painfully inexplicable film, a gloriously beautiful, hideously mangled attempt at substantial cinema.

"The Flintstones" (1994).

I will go to my grave denying that she co-starred in this movie.

Elizabeth Taylor was the first true movie star, the first major celebrity to proudly embody and flaunt excess and luxury. Coincidentally, as the jet set and their style of fast-paced, high-cost living fell out of favor and fashion, so too did Liz and her films. And while her last few movies were questionable at best, baffling at worst, her legacy, her beauty, and her talent (along with the annual revenue her estate brings in) are eternal. Happy birthday, Liz.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!


I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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