- Adaptation Displacement: The movie is only remembered for being terrible, but the novel is only remembered for being made into a terrible movie.
- Awesome Moments: As silly as most of the film is, when Jerilee uses her award win to deliver a brutal and profane "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the entire entertainment industry, it is hard not to cheer for her. In the wake of the Me Too movement, the scene comes off as far ahead of its time.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: As Mister X pointed out in Geek Juice's Random Riff of the film, Jerillee's shocking speech would likely result in her career in Hollywood being sunk and her life being worse. But the film implies that reclaiming her own life and publicly confronting her abusers is well-worth the cost of her career.
- Harsher in Hindsight: ...or Hilarious in Hindsight, depending on your Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism. The movie follows a talented, promising ingenue who finds herself in one sleazy, exploitive relationship after another until she walks away from Hollywood for good. It's an eerie echo of the career arc of Zadora herself, who started off as a promising child actress only to end up in one sleazy, exploitive role after another until she walked away from Hollywood for good (in no small part due to this film).
- Hollywood Homely: Jerilee for the first half hour or so. Her frumpy dresses and pigtails do little to mask the fact that she's quite pretty.
- Narm: The entire film."If I write for anyone, Vinnie, I write for MMEEEEEE!!!"
- Retroactive Recognition: Ray Liotta makes his film debut as Joe Heron.
- So Bad, It's Good: It's been called the Showgirls of The '80s for a reason.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
- Carla Maria Peroni, despite appearing on the poster, plays a small part in the movie and disappears following her seduction of Jerilee. This is a shame, as she treats her better than most of her male partners.
- Guy Jackson, the only person in the film who treats Jerilee like a human being, is so refreshingly average (compared to all the other characters) that he comes out the other side as charming and memorable. He has a larger part than Carla Maria but is ultimately unimportant to the plot.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Jerilee's mother is a terrible person on almost every level, attempting to downplay and undermine her daughter's gift for writing and even—and most unforgivably—convincing Jerilee not to report her own sexual assault because of the embarrassment it will be for to the family and for her rapist...and the movie treats her as if she's being reasonable and protective of her daughter.
- Values Resonance: A lot of the film's points about Hollywood having serious problems with sexual misconduct — perpetrated by men and women alike — actually come across as being very valid in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In practice, however, the film depicts this in such an absurd way that the message is almost totally obscured.
YMMV / The Lonely Lady