In reference to Pete Wells merciless takedown of Guy Fieri's upscale Times Square dive, Brain Pickings brought up John Updike's rules of critical opinion, which state that the author — or, in this case, the restaurateur — should not be blamed "for not achieving what he did not attempt."

The question of fairness in criticism must similarly be raised when discussing the myriad excoriations that Lifetime's Liz & Dick has left in its vodka-infused wake.

There's no denying its awfulness, but is it fair to attack the movie for not being something it never pretended to be?

While you ponder that, consider this review from TheWrap's Tim Molloy, who is willing to give Lindsay Lohan a break for being bad if only because the source material was worse.

"Lohan will probably make the case, somewhere down the line, that her flat, vacant line readings were a campy attempt to distance herself from the film's many bad lines," Molloy writes.

And indeed, if one insider who spoke with The Huffington Post is to be believed, that is precisely what La Lohan is doing.

"She knew the script wasn't strong but thought she would bring the role of Elizabeth to life," the unnamed mole told Huff Post.

The reviews, fair or not, have apparently hit LiLo hard.

"She has got used to all the negative press around her personal life but this is the first time she has experienced it about her work," a person identified as a "close friend" told Huffington. "No matter how bad things were going for her personally, everyone would always agree that she was a great actress."

The first source confirms: "This is particularly heartbreaking as her acting was the only thing in her life that she knew was real. Now she is doubting that, too."

[photo via Getty]