The Canyons Reviews
I watched this because the reviews said it was just beyond awful.
It's just beyond awful.
James Deen is like watching... well, like watching a porn actor read awful scripted lines with exactly one emotion: cocky douchiness. Lindsay Lohan looks like... well, like a former Mouseketeer turning tricks for smack. The writer is like... like... there is no simile for this, except someone putting his own testicles into a pencil sharpener and threatening himself to turn the handle a little more if he doesn't say something, anything, that's bone-stupid.
Plot: boring irritating people do boring irritating things and are bored and irritated with each other.
After watching, I took out my eyes and ran them through the washing machine eight times.
The thing is it is not a horrible movie. It's not a great movie for sure and someone else would have been better in the role LL plays in the movie, type wise, but she's OK if a bit sad and puffy looking, not great for someone in her mid-20s. But maybe on second thought appropriate for the role of a fading Hollywood woman with a very dim future.
It turned out the most notorious person in the movie is the male lead, James Deen. He came from porn where he performs bisexually, I have not seen any of these movies. He is one of the few contemporary male porn performers with name recognition. The gossip goes that he was brought into the project via Bret Easton Ellis who wanted him.
He is a little weak but good enough in the role even though there was no reason that a porn actor had to do this, there is not that much sex on screen in the movie. He does bring a definite smarminess to the role. I kept seeing him in Overexposed: The Anthony Weiner Story.
Anyway, he plays a bratty LA mega trust fund guy who produces movies. Lohan plays his girlfriend who is basically doing what Charlie wants which is mostly be involved with hook-ups with other people which he likes to record on his phone. They have an encounter in which she gets him to do something with another man and around the same time he thinks that she is seeing someone else who he doesn't know about. All this causes a blow out of his need to control her resulting in nasty wayward brutal emotions.
The question is: Is James Deen basically playing himself and are the nasty scenes in the film, brutality to women, reflective of his actual life? (He has since been accused of brutality toward women by a couple of victims.)
And: Did Ellis know this and for that reason put him in the movie?
Paul Schrader has had a really brilliant career. I hope he gets to make another movie after this.
The themes in the movie, well worth looking into, are more successfully explored in an older movie Star 80 by Bob Fosse. An excellent move.
But I'm okay with it in this case for two reasons. First, the nudity is both male and female, meaning that I feel all egalitarian and shit.
And second, if the filmmakers wanted me to care about something else, they would've given me something else to care about. And they didn't.
...with the possible exception of a couple of performances that, at least in places, are of way better caliber than the movie itself:
Amanda Brooks, who may deserve a chance at a better movie, and (yes) Lindsay Lohan, who has had more than a few chances.
About the only thing it has going for it is the Lohan nudity and Ellis' typically ambi-sexual amorality, which is somewhat amusing/interesting, but overall this was a bit of a bore.
Rental, at best. I don't know when I would return to this one.