Movie Review: The Canyons


I have a friend who once vomited all over Lindsay Lohan’s bathroom. The reason I am telling you this one-sentence, context-free anecdote is that it is singularly more interesting and entertaining than the entirety of Lohan’s new movie, The Canyons.

During its production, The Canyons achieved a high level of notoriety for its behind the scenes dramas. Like Lohan’s unexplained disappearances, all night partying sessions and her $46,000 hotel bill racked up at Chateau Marmont. Director Paul Schrader told the LA Times: “At the time we were working, she was not able to act in her own best interests… but it’s a world she creates for herself.” Lohan? Unreliable? Wasted? A liability? Surely not.

Anyway, with this shitstorm aiding its promotion, The Canyons finally arrives in cinemas. The story, what there is of it, is thus: Lohan appropriately portrays Tara, a failed Hollywood starlet caught in a love triangle between her moody, sexually-deviant boyfriend Christian (uber-wanged porn star James Deen) and Ryan (excellently-named Canadian newcomer Nolan Funk), Tara’s secret ex whom Christian has cast as the lead in his film.

The movie’s opening scene shows promise, with Christian displaying simmering menace, but everything unravels immediately thereafter. The dialogue is painfully clunky and the narrative is less imaginative than your everyday soap, which is remarkable considering it was written by American Psycho’s Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Schrader, the man behind American Gigolo and the writer of the Taxi Driver and Raging Bull screenplays.

Christian is a jealous and dangerous control freak who invites strangers round for sexytimes with Tara. Meanwhile, Ryan is still in love with Tara, something which endangers his chances of starring in the low-budget slasher movie Christian’s is producing. To be honest though, it’s hard to care. The film’s pace is plodding and, while there are occasionally stylish flourishes within the cinematography, none of the characters are anything near likeable. There is no-one with whom any level of empathy can be found, so why would anyone give a shit what happens to them? Ryan might lose his role in the film? So what? Someone’s following Tara? Don’t care. Seemingly, nor does she, considering how fucking bored, bloated and hungover she looks throughout. It’s hard to believe this is the same actress that was so brilliant in Mean Girls. And as for the much-touted sex scenes featuring Lohan’s pale, bruised body… Christ, I’ve seen more erotic episodes of The Antiques Roadshow.

The Canyons will surely expedite the end of Lindsay Lohan’s Hollywood career and won’t even be fondly remembered as one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies. It’s simply not fun enough for that. This is just an incredibly boring, pointless waste of 99 minutes. Leave well alone.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend.