Pop Culture

When enough is enough

We all know someone who needs some help.  They've made some bad decisions, fallen in with the wrong crowd. They just need friends who'll step in and say, "Stop! That's enough!"

If you're famous, though, it's a bit more difficult for people to tell you no.  You're constantly surrounded by hangers-on and sycophants and people who just want a chunk of your fame, or your fortune, or both.  And that's when really bad decisions begin.

This goes beyond simply pleading to "Free Katie!" — though you'll note Ms. Holmes tops our list. After all, some celebrities are simply beyond help (Tom Cruise, Britney Spears) and some aren't worth saving (Pam Anderson, Ashton Kutcher).

Others (Madonna, Johnny Depp) have finally learned to keep their names away from most untoward gossip (we're overlooking Depp's plans to turn Hunter Thompson's ashes into a ballistic object).  They've learned to feel comfortable in their ruby-crusted shoes, and the folks we're about to name could take a valuable lesson from them.

So be strong, and remember: They'll thank us for it later.

(1) Katie Holmes
You'd have to be dwelling among deep-sea tubeworms to be unaware of what's going on in Katie Holmes' life right now — and why she's most in need of a class-A intervention.

After all, it's not every day a woman manages to turn perhaps the most influential movie star in the world into a babbling idiot while simultaneously transforming herself into a diamond-flashing cipher.

Given imbalance of fame between Katie and hubby-to-be Tom Cruise, it's truly puzzling that she would just stand mute in her newfound, unparalleled spotlight. Right now, Katie makes Pat Nixon look downright outspoken.

We suspect a couple things are afoot.  First, we know Katie's career had plateaued before the TomKat saga, which only gave weight to rumors that more was in play with this pairing than Tom's cuckoo, couch-jumping infatuation.

It's not like Holmes' counterparts were outpacing her (we're still waiting for James Van Der Beek to emerge from his post-"Rules of Attraction" slump) but we like Katie. She might have been outshined in "Batman Begins," but her role as Claire in "Go" displayed a certain eye-twinkling charm.

So what happened? Fair enough that you might reshuffle your plans if the 40-something marquee idol whose posters adorned your teenage bedroom walls suddenly showered you with affection.  You might even try dabbling in a new religion. But Katie's gone from vivacious to near-catatonic, and it freaks us out almost as much as her inability to appear without her new "best friend," senior Scientologist Jessica Rodriguez, at her side.

Perhaps she's honestly not-on-meds happy, in which case we're content to tell the whole "Free Katie!" posse to chill and let Holmes waltz her silent, lip-locked way to wedded bliss. But when the whole weird situation becomes dinner-table fodder for the symphony set, we have ample reason to be concerned.

So Katie, just know that we're all here if you need us.  If for some reason you don't want to marry Tom, we've got your back. Just don't sign up for "Teaching Miss Tingle 2."

Train wreck factor: 8 out of 10.

Could learn something from: Scarlett Johansson. Johansson reportedly ran when Cruise broke out his shtick.

(2) Ashlee SimpsonAfter three seasons of dingbat doozies broadcast on MTV for the world to see, to say nothing of those irritating Proactiv testimonials, you'd think Jessica would be the Simpson most ripe for derision.

Somehow, Ashlee has passed her on the HOV lane to humiliation.

Donald Weber / Getty Images Contributor
This image is not included in any subscription deal. Use of this image will incur a charge. TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 19: Ashlee Simpson performs during the MuchMusic Video Awards June 19, 2005 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ashlee Simpson

There are the obvious moments, like her Orange Bowl performance so bad that you weren't sure whether to sympathize or just puncture your own eardrums with an icepick. Or her lip-synch goof on "Saturday Night Live" that daddy Joe tried to pass off with the curious explanation that poor Ashlee was croaking her way through a bout of acid reflux and would never, ever do such a thing otherwise. (Even Lorne Michaels cast a wagging finger on the whole affair.)

No, the problem is that we just can't figure out why her career even exists, aside from the fact that she has a famous sister and a very, very ambitious father who seems to rather enjoy the whole music-impresario bit. Her own short-lived MTV show didn't quite answer the question.

Aside from the fact that her music is the sort of formless pop-rock that makes our skin crawl, she's had so many bizarre missteps that it's a feat of nature her career hasn't tanked.  Even some of the photos on her make the poor girl look like she ate a burrito that didn't sit right. At this point, her best shot might be a mid-level acting career; her "7th Heaven" work hints that she might have some potential.

Maybe the whole Simpson clan is smarter than we think. But if Ashlee hopes to have her fame last beyond this year's candy-corn clearance sale at Wal-Mart (and we're not saying it should, mind you) she'd better find some can't-miss hits and some management that avoids the sort of high-profile pitfalls that are now the emblems of her career. And, um ... Hey Joe, where you goin' with that contract in your hand?

Train wreck factor: 7 in 10.

Could take a lesson from: Avril Lavigne. Love her, hate her; you can't deny she's got some legitimate rock cred — and she doesn't blame the band when things go wrong.

(3) The Olsen twinsWe never much liked "Full House," and the whole twins-as-one-character thing only made it creepier, but it's fair to acknowledge that plenty of people loved it. Plenty of people also loved the endless "Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley" videos that served as Nancy Drew Lite for the DVD generation.

Jennifer Graylock / GRAYLOCK
** FILE ** Actresses Ashley Olsen, left, and Mary-Kate Olsen pose at the world premiere of their movie "New York Minute" at the 3rd Annual Tribeca Film Festival at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, Tuesday, May 4, 2004. Mary-Kate recently entered a treatment program for what her publicist called a ``health-related issue.'' People and Us Weekly magazines have reported the 18-year-old actress has an eating disorder. (AP Photo/Jennifer Graylock)

But the humorless marketing juggernaut that is Dualstar Entertainment hasn't been able to save the twins from more than their share of mishaps since they shipped off to college in New York, complete with plush condo and reports of special treatment by their laid-back academic overseers.

College is a tough time for any teen, and Mary-Kate certainly isn't the first girl that age to take a reported time-out for treatment of anorexia — though most don't simultaneously appear as McDonald's spokespeople.

Frankly, we're more concerned about the gossip we're likely to see in the next three years. College is also a time for exploration, and the occasional adult beverage or two — and we've spent enough time around Greenwich Village to know that undergraduates do occasionally have one too many Jäger shots on occasion. (We also remember the Jenna Bush episodes with great clarity.)

But that's not the real problem. As the Olsens' handlers would very much like us to remember, the twins are a brand. But their videos don't exactly have staying power, since they've been targeted to an audience who's also growing up and not interested in tween detective stories anymore. And "New York Minute" wasn't a cinematic tour de force.

New York being a place where acting can be taught, perhaps their time in the Big Apple could serve for the girls to figure out some useful next career steps. Because dolls get thrown away, videos get recycled and fans grow up. And you need to grow up with them.

Train wreck factor: 7 in 10.

Could take a lesson from: Kirsten Dunst. Dunst started in movies, but she's also shown that she can range from "The Virgin Suicides" to her "Bring It On" cheerleading without ever making us doubt her talent.

(4) Lindsay Lohan
As we mentioned, growing up is tough. Though it seems only yesterday that Lindsay was just a freckled, rosy-cheeked kid in "The Parent Trap," that was back in 1998. 

Until recently, Lohan seemed to have things pretty much on an even keel.  "Freaky Friday" was a wise pick for her — maybe not your cup of tea, but a good vehicle to show the teen Lindsay on screen in a fun, age-appropriate way. Ditto "Mean Girls," which put her in a perfect light: pretty enough to be popular, but not catty at heart.

Evan Agostini / Getty Images North America
NEW YORK - JUNE 22: Actress Lindsay Lohan attends the grand opening of the first De Beers Jewelry Store in the United States June 22, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lindsay Lohan

So what the heck happened? We're not going to say that "Herbie: Fully Loaded" was a total mistake; it might still appeal to the younger end of Lindsay's fan base.

  • Slideshow Photos

    The cute child star grew into a Hollywood bombshell — with grownup problems of her own.

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    Yawning gap

    Lindsay Lohan's latest release, "The Canyons," is an erotic thriller set in L.A., and while most early reviews have not been kind, one writer compares her to Marlon Brandon in "Last Tango in Paris." "Wow...humbled and feeling so much gratitude," she tweeted in response.

    IFC Films / IFC Films
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    Two of a kind

    Lohan and friend and occasional benefactor Charlie Sheen walk down the red carpet at the premiere of "Scary Movie 5" in Hollywood on April 11, 2013.

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  • Celebrities Visit "Late Show With David Letterman" - April 9, 2013

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    Talking it out

    Lohan appears outside the studios where "Late Show With David Letterman" is taped in New York on April 9, 2013. She reminisced with Letterman on the show about her first appearance on his "Late Night," when she was 6.

    WireImage / WireImage
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    Getting mugged

    Lohan, in mug shots, through the years: From top, left to right: July 24, 2007, Nov. 15, 2007, July 20, 2010; bottom left to right: Sept. 24, 2010, Oct. 19, 2011 and March 19, 2013.

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    Here comes the judge

    Lohan and her attorney Mark Heller appeared at an L.A. Superior Court hearing on March 18, 2013 to determine whether she would go back to jail or could avert a trial based on charges that she lied to police over a June 2012 car crash. She accepted a plea deal that sent her to rehab for 90 days.

    Pool via Getty Images / Pool via Getty Images
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    Feeling charitable

    Lohan attends amFAR's New york Gala on Feb. 6, 2013 in a borrowed $1,750 Theia gown that becomes damaged at some point in the evening, and is returned as a mini-dress.

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    New lawyer, same fight

    Lohan appears in Los Angeles Suoperior Court with her new attorney Mark Heller, left, for a pretrial hearing, on Jan. 30, 2013, in a case filed over the actress' June 2012 car crash. Lohan faces three misdemeanor charges and a return to jail if convicted in the case or if a judge finds she violated her probation.

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    Duck and cover

    Lohan covers her face with a coat as she leaves the 10th precinct in New York after being arrested on an assault charge in the early morning of Nov. 29, 2012. Lohan allegedly punched a woman at Club Avenue in the city's Chelsea neighborhood.

    INFphoto.com / INFphoto.com
  • Image: Actress Lindsay Lohan arrives for a private dinner celebrating the upcoming premiere of "Liz & Dick" at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California

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    A scarlet Liz

    Lohan arrives for a private dinner celebrating the premiere of her Lifetime original movie "Liz & Dick" at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Nov. 20, 2012. Lohan stars in the film as Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Publicity photo of actress Lindsay Lohan portraying actress Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime Network's television film "Liz & Dick"

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    Oh, the paparazzi

    Lohan portrays actress Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime film "Liz & Dick" The TV movie recounts the scandalous and tumultuous romance between Taylor and British actor Richard Burton in the 1960s and '70s.

    Lifetime via Reuters / Lifetime via Reuters
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    Live, from New York!

    Lohan, center with black shorts, stars in a "Saturday Night Live" skit with actors Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Abby Elliott, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader on March 3, 2012.

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    No more court

    Lohan arrives for her latest probation hearing in Los Angeles on March 29, 2012. The actress was placed on informal probation for the remainder of her 2011 jewelry theft conviction after Judge Stephanie Sautner found she has completed all of her required community service and psychotherapy sessions for her 2007 DUI conviction and probation violations.

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    Another step toward freedom

    Lohan leaves the Airport Courthouse after her probation update hearing in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 2012. The actress, 25, received a glowing report from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner and she is one court appearance away from putting her 2007 drunken driving case behind her.

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    A quick visit

    Lohan leaves the Airport Courthouse after a probation progress hearing in Los Angeles on Jan. 17, 2012. The actress received another positive report and was dismissed by the judge in no time.

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    No award, just a party

    Lohan arrives at The Weinstein Company's 2012 Golden Globe Awards after party held at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 15, 2012.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Post-Playboy fit

    Lohan attends a party hosted by the Weinstein Company and Audi to celebrate awards season at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on Jan. 11, 2012.

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    Something to smile about

    Lindsay Lohan is seen arriving for and attending a probation progress report hearing in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, 2011. The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes as a judge told the actress she is doing well under her strict new probation routine of counseling and working at the county morgue.

    Getty Images, EPA / Getty Images, EPA
  • Image: Publicity photo of actress Lindsay Lohan posing for cover of Playboy Magazine

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    Confident pose

    Lohan is shown on the cover of the January/February 2012 issue of Playboy Magazine in a photo released Dec. 10, 2011. "Sex and sexuality are a part of nature, and I go along with nature," the "Mean Girls" star says of her in-the-buff photos, which are an homage to the late Marilyn Monroe's own iconic Playboy spread. "Knowing yourself and your body is so important because it gives you confidence, and in life, women need confidence."

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    Sentenced to 30 days

    Lohan, center, arrives for her probation violation hearing at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles on Nov. 2, 2011. Judge Stephanie Sautner formally determined that the actress violated terms of her sentence on a theft charge earlier in 2011 and a 2007 drunken driving charge. Lohan was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Cuffed and taken into custody

    Lohan is led away in handcuffs after her probation progress report hearing at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 19, 2011. A judge was not happy with the actress after she was terminated by the Downtown Women's Center for repeatedly failing to appear for court-ordered community service.

    Pool via Getty Images / Pool via Getty Images
  • Image: Lindsay Lohan sits during a progress report hearing at Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles

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    Far from perfect

    Lohan and her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley appear in court during a probation progress report hearing at Airport Branch Courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 19, 2011. "We're dealing with someone on probation," said Holley. "Most people on probation don't always do things perfectly."

    Pool via Reuters / Pool via Reuters
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    Smile for the cameras

    Lohan attends the premiere of the video game "Saints Row: The Third" in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2011. The actress caught grief the next day from various celebrity media outlets for what appeared to be a lack of dental hygiene.

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    Red, white and boo

    Lohan is seen on a photoshoot for designer Philipp Plein at Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy in September 2011.

    Splash News / Splash News
  • Image: Lindsay Lohan New Face Of Philipp Plein S/S 2012 Campaign - Milan Fashion Week Womenswear S/S 2012

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    She'll take the work

    Designer Philipp Plein and Lohan attend a news conference to introduce Lindsay as the new face of the Philipp Plein S/S 2012 campaign during Milan Fashion Week Womenswear S/S 2012 on Sept. 24, 2011.

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    Plenty of work to do

    Lohan is pictured alongside her attorney during a case review conference in Los Angeles on July 21, 2011. A judge told Lohan she needs to speed up her community service to make sure she meets a deadline to complete 480 hours within a year. Lohan appeared in court to update Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner on the progress of her probation in drunken driving and misdemeanor theft cases.

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    Back in court

    Lohan arrives in court in Los Angeles on June 23, 2011. While serving a home detention sentence, the actress was ordered back to court on an allegation she violated probation by drinking alcohol.

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    No deal

    On March 10, 2011, Lindsay Lohan rejected a plea agreement offered by prosecutors that would have meant a guaranteed return to jail for the actress in her jewelry theft case. She'll return to court in April for a preliminary hearing.

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    Not staying out of spotlight

    Her court adventures aren't keeping Lohan home alone. She joined Jimmy Kimmel live after the Oscars on Feb. 27, 2011 for the comedian's "After the Academy Awards" show on ABC. She appeared in a skit called Hottie Body Humpilates, which mocked exercise infomercials.

    ABC / ABC
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    Let's make a deal

    Lohan is escorted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies as she arrives for a hearing at Los Angeles Airport Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Some fashion observers criticized her top for being too low-cut for court.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Case of the stolen necklace

    Lohan was arraigned on a felony count of grand theft on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, in Los Angeles. Lohan was charged with allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from a jewelry store in Venice, Calif. She entered a plea of not guilty.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    All eyes on Lindsay

    Lohan, center, arrives at the Los Angeles Airport Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 9 to be arraigned on a felony grand theft charge. Her tight white dress came in for criticism as being inappropriate for court.

    AP / AP
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    Rehab until the new year

    Actress Lindsay Lohan leaves court in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 22, after a probation hearing. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox ordered the 24-year-old troubled starlet back to rehab until Jan. 3, telling her she was an addict and faced jail time if she relapsed again.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Image: Lohan arrives at the Beverly Hills Courthouse for a mandatory appearance in Beverly Hills

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    Going back to jail

    Lohan arrives at the Beverly Hills Courthouse for a mandatory appearance in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. The actress was sent back to jail after she failed a court-ordered drug test a few weeks after being released from a previous jail stint and subsequent stay in drug rehabilitation.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Maxim exposure

    Lohan is shown on the cover of Maxim magazine, on newsstands Aug. 10, 2010. The photo shoot took place on June 30, 2010, a week before she was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a probation violation.

    Maxim / Maxim
  • Image: LINDSAY LOHAN BEGINS JAIL TERM, SENTENCED SHRINKS TO 14 DAYS

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    Orange glow

    Lohan is shown in her prison mug shot at the Lynwood Correctional Facility in Lynwood, Calif., on July 20, 2010. The actress was released to a Los Angeles rehab facility after serving 14 days of a 90-day sentence.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    Last moments of freedom

    Lohan sits in court upon her arrival to surrender and begin serving her 90-day jail sentence for a probation violation in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. "I don't know exactly how long the jail will keep her. I can only impose the sentence," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel said.

    EPA / EPA
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    Grand entrance

    Lohan, right, walks through a cloud of confetti tossed from the sidelines as she arrives at the Beverly Hills Courthouse on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. The actress has been on probation since August 2007 after pleading guilty to misemeanor drug charges and no contest to three driving charges.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    Not a kind day in court

    Lohan reacts beside her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley as Judge Marsha Revel rules that the actress had violated her probation on a 2007 drunken driving charge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Actress Lindsay Lohan arrives at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles

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    Something to hide

    Lohan arrives at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on June 6, 2010. The actress sported a sparkly pantsuit in an effort to conceal a newly affixed alcohol monitoring device around her ankle.

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    Look who showed up

    Lohan, left, listens to her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley during a hearing in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Monday, May 24, 2010. The actress was back in court after missing a mandatory probation hearing in L.A. while partying in the south of France days earlier. Lohan had claimed her passport was stolen and the judge issued an arrest warrant for the actress, who later posted $100,000 bail.

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    Doing the Cannes-Cannes

    Lohan arrives for the Chopard 150th anniversary party during the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 17, 2010.

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    Milking her fame

    Lohan, top, arrives at the "Chanel Ready to Wear" show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011 at Grand Palais in Paris on Tuesday, March 9. On the same day, it was reported that Lohan filed a lawsuit against E*Trade for its commercial about a "milkaholic" baby she claims is named for her. She is seeking $100 million in damages and demands that the company stop airing the ad.

    Getty Images, E*TRADE / Getty Images, E*TRADE
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    Runway debut

    Lohan, right, walks the runway with Spanish designer Estrella Archs at the end of her Spring/Summer 2010 collection for Emanuel Ungaro during Paris Fashion Week on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009. Lohan served as an adviser for the collection.

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    Off the rack

    Lohan checks out leggings from her 6126 line during Fashion's Night Out at Bloomingdale's 59th Street store in New York on Sept. 10, 2009.

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    Businesswoman

    Lorit Simon, creator of Sevin Nyne, and Lohan speak at the launch of Sevin Nyne By Lindsay Lohan at Sephora in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 30, 2009.

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    Daddy issues

    The Suffolk County Police arrested Michael Lohan in Central Islip, N.Y., on April 6, 2009, on a misdemeanor charge of aggravated harassment. Lindsay's father surrendered to prosecutors after he allegedly made a threatening phone call to his girlfriend.

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    Material Girl too

    "When I was little, every day after school I would come home and put in her 'The Immaculate Collection' disc and karaoke to it around the whole house," Lindsay Lohan said of her recreation of Madonna's 1984 MTV Video Music Awards "Like A Virgin" performance for Glamour's April 2009 Icons issue.

    Glamour via PR NEWSWIRE / Glamour via PR NEWSWIRE
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    Getting a leg up

    Lindsay Lohan attends the launch of her legging collection "6126" at Henri Bendel on October 13, 2008 in New York.

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    'Chapter 27'

    Lindsay Lohan played Jude and Jared Leto, right, played Mark David Chapman in this 2008 film about the days leading up to the infamous murder of Beatle John Lennon.

    Peace Arch Entertainment / Peace Arch Entertainment
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    In fashion

    Lindsay Lohan and girlfriend Samantha Ronson, left, attend the Charlotte Ronson 2009 Spring Collection on Sept. 6, 2008 in New York during Fashion Week.

    AP / AP
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    Popcorn princess

    Lohan arrives at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, June 1, 2008 in Los Angeles. The hottest thing about the event, though, was the smoldering remnants of a huge fire at Universal Studios nearby.

    AP / AP
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    Cannes do

    Lohan attends the Dolce and Gabanna party at Baoli, Port Canto during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on Friday, May 23, 2008 in Cannes, France.

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    Not so ugly

    Actress Lindsay Lohan attends the "Ugly Betty" in New York preview party at Highbar on September 15, 2008 in New York City.

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    Things are getting 'Ugly'

    Lohan stars with America Ferrera, left, during a taping of the season finale of ABC's "Ugly Betty." Lohan plays an old schoolmate of Ferrera’s character Betty Suarez.

    ABC / ABC
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    Film dishonor

    Lohan is shown in a scene from "I Know Who Killed Me." She was named worst actress for the role and the film was named worst movie, during the 28th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards, which dishonor worst achievements in film.

    AP / AP
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    Channeling Marilyn

    Lohan poses as Marilyn Monroe on the cover of New York magazine's Feb. 25, 2008 issue. Clad in not much more than diamonds and sheer fabric, Lohan is pictured inside assuming the same poses Monroe did in her infamous "last sitting" for photographer Bert Stern 46 years ago.

    AP / AP
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    Making headlines in Italy

    Lohan holds the Capri Global Award at the Capri Film Festival in southern Italy on Monday, Dec. 31, 2008. LiLo's acting skills were upstaged by tabloid reports that she had hooked up with three men in a 24-hour period during her visit.

    Pietro Coccia press office via AP / Pietro Coccia press office via AP
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    Under arrest

    Lohan was booked for drunk driving and drug possession on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 in Santa Monica, Calif. Lohan was busted 11 days after completing an alcohol treatment program following her arrest in May for similar charges.

    Santa Monica Police via AFP - Getty Images / Santa Monica Police via AFP - Getty Images
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    'Prairie' girl

    Lindsay Lohan co-starred with Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin in Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion." Hollywood's new It girl has successfully made the jump from child star to adult actress.

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    Baring it all

    In a hotly debated Vanity Fair cover story, Lohan reportedly detailed some mild drug use and a battle with bulimia. She denied it, though the magazine stood by its story. But another cover story in Us Weekly detailed her eating woes and her friends' growing concern about her gaunt figure. A Miami hospital stay only added to the worries. Whether she's all better or still struggling with her health is an ongoing puzzle.

    Vanity Fair via Reuters / Vanity Fair via Reuters
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    All grown up

    There was no question Lohan had moved past her "Freaky Friday" days by the end of 2005.

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    Big debut

    Lohan appeared in December 2005 on MTV's "Total Request Live" as her new album, "A Little More Personal," was released. But the real talk was about her ongoing health concerns and partying (she'd cancelled a "Regis" appearance the same day), along with her ever-thinner figure.

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    A whole new Lindsay

    Lohan stirred yet more talk with the new svelte look she unveiled post-"Herbie." With her blond hair and thin body, she seemed ready to join "The Simple Life" with Paris Hilton. Lohan initially explained her look by saying she learned to eat right and exercise, but a different story would soon emerge.

    AP / AP
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    Outgrowing Disney

    Lohan's big role in 2005 was in yet another Disney remake, "Herbie: Fully Loaded." Rumors circulated that Lohan's breasts were digitally reduced to allievate parents' concerns that Lohan looked too mature, but Lohan and the studio denied it. Still, the message was clear: It was time to move into more mature roles.

    Walt Disney Pictures via Zuma Press / Walt Disney Pictures via Zuma Press
  • Premiere Of "Hostage"

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    Young Raquel Welch

    Lohan stirred debate early in 2005 with her voluptuous body, which seemed to mature overnight. The actress insists that she has not had any plastic surgery.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Paparazzi favorite

    Lohan's reputation as a party girl put her into the media spotlight. During that time, she found time to date "That '70s Show's" Wilmer Valderrama.

    AP / AP
  • LINDSAY LOHAN, AMANDA SEYFRIED ,  RACHEL MCADAMS ,  AND LACEY CHABERT

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    Getting mean

    "Mean Girls" marked Lohan's first truly starring role. In the film, she plays an outcast who becomes part of an in-crowd and changes in the process. Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert play the other cool girls.

    AP / AP
  • JAMIE LEE CURTIS AND LINDSAY LOHAN

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    Teen queen

    As she entered her teen years, Lohan continued remaking Disney kid flicks. This time she took on Jodie Foster's role in a remake of "Freaky Friday." In the 2003 film, she and her mother, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, wake up one morning to find themselves in each other's bodies.

    AP / AP
  • PREMIERE OF NANCY MEYERS' MOVIE 'THE PARENT TRAP'

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    Double trouble

    For her first big-screen role, Lindsay Lohan recreated the Hayley Mills classic, "The Parent Trap." In the 1998 film, Lohan plays twins who try to bring their divorced parents (Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson) back together.

    Corbis / Corbis

No, the problem here is that her off-screen shenanigans have completely overshadowed her still-blossoming career. On the "Herbie" front, Lohan had to dodge the did-they-or-didn't-they rumors that her now-fully-grown chest was digitally shrunk so as not to titillate young moviegoers. (The director insisted he didn't.) There's the never-ending train wreck that is her father Michael, whose misdoings prompted a divorce filing from Lindsay's mom Dina and a hailstorm of gossip about his problems with drinking and anger.

And there is a growing body of evidence that her weight loss has become a problem, even if she insisted it was just a sign of exhaustion after her breakup with Wilmer Valderrama. (Speaking of career interventions, our "‘70s Show" pal might do well to remember you can't make a career out of a silly sitcom accent. For every Robin Williams, there are 10 Bronson Pinchots.)

Speaking of anger, we keep hearing tidbits about Lindsay's own temper, most recently when she stormed out of the "Herbie" premiere after discovering that one of her songs, "First," was moved to the closing credits.

Yes, there are less graceful ways for child stars to grow up. (We're thinking of you, Drew Barrymore.)  And no one should be forced into a demolition derby with paparazzi. But maybe it's time for Lindsay to tell Mom — and no need to be mean — that someone else should call the shots. Because she's got enough talent that our attention shouldn't be distracted from her on-screen abilities.

Train wreck factor: 5 out of 10.

Could take a lesson from: Hilary Duff. We know you two don't get along, but Hilary seems a lot better at keeping the focus on her career.

(5) Ben AffleckWe admit it: We liked Ben better in his early career, when he was playing jackasses. Consider, if you will, his turn as O'Bannion in "Dazed and Confused" — mostly an opportunity to appear on screen threatening to beat the holy heck out of younger kids. Or his "Mallrats" role as top-notch jerk Shannon Hamilton. (We can't repeat his infamous line, aside from saying, “someplace very uncomfortable.”)

Chris Pizzello / AP
** FILE ** Ben Affleck left, and his fiancee' Jennifer Lopez arrive at the premiere of "Daredevil," in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, in this Feb. 9, 2003 file photo. NBC and ABC's news divisions are turning to entertainment news programs for help landing celebrity interviews, such as "Access Hollywood" correspondent Pat O'Brien's interview with Affleck and Lopez on "Dateline NBC." (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

The more unpleasant he was, the more fun he was to watch. And there's nothing wrong with that. Jack Nicholson defined his early career by making us squirm.

So what happened to Ben?  "Chasing Amy," in which he was Sensitive Man, sorta, though not as much as in "Jersey Girl," when even being cast opposite Liv Tyler couldn't make him charming. (C'mon, Kevin Smith, we knew you once.)  And the rancid glop that was "Armageddon." And ...

Who are we kidding?  It was J. Lo.

OK, maybe Gwyneth shares a bit of blame too, but she was long gone by the time we were subjected to "Changing Lanes" and "Daredevil."  Nope, you'll notice a distinct correlation between the ascendancy of Bennifer I and the great sucking sound that is Mr. Affleck's career.

He surely gets some blame as well, since we assume it was his hand signing the contracts, and there's no way Ms. Lopez had anything to do with "Reindeer Games."  But there's an eerie quality about the way his dating rituals seamlessly became more compelling than his career.

Now, we like Jennifer Garner a lot — she's smart, she's savvy and somehow we forgive her "Daredevil" appearance more than Ben's. We're not entirely sure what she sees in him, but we trust her judgment enough to think that maybe, just maybe, she can bring back old Ben, the one you don't really like, but you love to watch on-screen. Maybe marriage (and fatherhood) will convince him that his destiny lies neither in a romantic lead nor as a hard-bit action hero.

We just hope their match-up doesn't become another one of those Bruce-and-Demi things. Those two got married, and we got "Hudson Hawk" and "Color of Night." Scary.

Train wreck factor: 4 in 10.

Could take a lesson from: Matt Damon. The void between "Bourne Identity" and "Sum of All Fears" says it all.

(6) Tobey MaguireTo his credit, Maguire hasn't done anything approaching the stupid level of some of our other picks. Aside from an oblique link to a London strip club, his appearances in print lately have been pretty tame — he's been dealt a few hands at the poker World Series, he's got an apparent deal to star in the romantic comedy "Quiet Type."

Ethan Miller / Getty Images North America
LAS VEGAS - JULY 9: Actor Tobey Maguire competes in the celebrity basketball "New School vs. Old School" poker tournament at the Mirage July 9, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was held to benefit Operation Smile, the American Cancer Society and the Sports Dream Foundation. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tobey Maguire

No, the problem here is that deafening sound of silence. We'd suggest you consider Mark Hamill's post-"Star Wars" career trajectory, Spidey. You're going to need more than "Seabiscuit" to keep producers believing your name should be on the marquee.

Thing is, we actually think Tobey's a pretty decent guy. He wears his roles well and, with a bit of guidance, he could lock in a long and happy career in the vein of Michael Caine.

But even if you're getting more than $20 million for your troubles, and get to spend quality time with Kirsten Dunst, the "Spider-Man" franchise comes with its own perils. Superheroes may kick butt on screen, but they're roles that carry an awful lot of typecasting baggage. Christopher Reeve found this out the hard way; his prodigious acting talents went unnoticed for years after "Superman III."

Things could be worse (we figure it's going to take Elijah Wood a long time to dig himself out of his "Lord of the Rings" hobbit hole) but if Tom and Katie have gone overboard by several orders of magnitude, it wouldn't be the worst idea for Tobey and girlfriend Jennifer Meyer to occasionally make themselves seen and heard. 

We're all for celebrities keeping a low profile, but with such a clean slate of projects for the next year or so, it probably wouldn't hurt to remind us you're still alive. And perhaps you should keep an eye out for more "Cider House Rules"-type projects, just to show everyone that your range is as good as we think it is.

Train wreck factor: 3 in 10.

Could take a lesson from: Leonardo DiCaprio. Just when we think Leo's typecast himself, he throws us for a loop. And he's never off our radar.

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