Our friend Ben watched The Canyons with us. Here’s what he had to say:
The backbone of The Canyons is supposed to be a commentary on the death of cinema, the facades of abandoned movie theaters continuously remind you THIS MOVIE MEANS SOMETHING, DAGNABBIT. But despite a great deal of effort, The Canyons somehow means nothing.
I knew The Canyons was low budget, but I didn’t expect it to look so cheap. The lighting looks especially amateur. Instead of trying to build an interesting color palette, the cinematographer just throws monochromatic colored lights over every scene. It looks lazy and dated, like I’m expecting K-9, Dr. Who’s robot dog, to roll around the corner at any given moment. The whole movie is a mess. James Deen can’t handle the material, and Lindsay Lohan, putting forth a valiant acting effort, looks tired and out of place.
There are some good unintentional laughs, including awkward texting via television and a UPS truck which steals an otherwise tensionless scene. Even then, the plot has so little momentum it’s hard to care.
I really wasn’t expecting much about this movie but it was pretty fun to watch. It was very very cheap, Lindsay Lohan looked worse than anything I’ve seen recently, and there was a bunch of sex including male on male. AND LL GETS TOPLESS?? But I have to say it almost made me vomit, she reminded me too much of someone I used to work with.
It’s easy to see why no one wanted to pick up this movie but it deserves to be seen by someone; it’s really sad and interesting.
Things worth taking away from The Canyons: James Deen is only interesting with his clothes off, Lindsay Lohan’s face has morphed into an unrecognizable lump, and Bret Easton Ellis cannot write for the screen.
The thing is, it’s somewhat clear what the filmmakers were going for with The Canyons. It’s supposed to be slick, scary, and sexy. It wants to be American Psycho meets Basic Instinct meets Eyes Wide Shut meets Drive. But it is none of those things. First of all, the quality of the film is distracting; the production value is so low that it really does look like you’re watching porn. I mean, I’ve seen porn that looks better than this, porn that James Deen does a better job in. I feel sort of bad for James Deen here; he’s obviously trying, but just because the character you’re playing is psychotic and emotionless, that doesn’t mean you should act like a piece of wood (no pun intended). I also feel sort of bad for Lindsay Lohan here, but then every time there’s a close-up of her weird, puffy face, or every time she speaks with her 90-year-old-smoker voice, I feel less bad. I’m not going to pretend to know or care about what’s up with her, but at a certain point in one’s career, even if one is only 27, one needs to realize that they should just . . . stop.
Really, the best thing to come out of The Canyons is Stephen Rodrick’s New York Times article. I’d rather read that a few times than watch The Canyons, especially because there’s no topless Lindsay Lohan.