Monday, December 30, 2013

The Canyons. 2013

Shoved like a wedge of cement into the sub genre of “movies about Hollywood” is Paul Schrader’s low cost and low profile take on what’s happening with the young set in La La Land. With a screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis who is no stranger to this place and the people who inhabit it, the film opens at a dinner in a fancy L.A. Restaurant where Christian (note the name) a young rich producer, his saucy girlfriend Tara, his ready to please female assistant Gina and her young boy toy Ryan are discussing nothing much. Christian is played by James Deen straight porn star extraordinaire and his live in girlfriend is none other than Lindsay Lohan. They are about to embark to Mexico where they are going to shoot some cheapo movie which I think I heard them mumble would be of the horrible horror kind with a budget no doubt bigger than the budget on this film.  The male bimbo toy boy is to play the lead and was pushed and pulled into this great opportunity by Lindsay who it turns out was once a lover of the handsome dude a fact not known to Deen or his assistant and will come back to bite Tara and Ryan on their asses. Lindsay looks bloated, puffy and bruised like a piece of over ripe rotting fruit left out in a bowl on a table by the pool in the hot California sun for too long, a piece of rotting meat surrounded by flies and vermin.  Deen who is scraggly and ordinary looking (to me anyway) is the commander of the ship and indeed of the movie. He is if  I’m to be honest a disgusting piece of work just one of many, many to be found in this shit hole of a place called Los Angeles. The palm trees look good, and I will say that I was fascinated by this low take on the C list underbelly of Hollywood and Vine. Schrader made this film which is handsome and shinny on a very low budget, an amount that I could probably live on if not for the rest of my life then for quite a few of the years remaining to me. These are all awful people, not a care in the world for anyone but themselves, concerned only where the next threesome is coming from, where to go on the next shopping spree and who to double cross. I will say that Lohan was quite good not great but quite good, maybe reaching into her own sordid little paparazzi drug addled life for the rancid background material that she brings to the movie in great big beautifully wrapped packages of nothingness and if she can get her scarred life together maybe she can actually become an actress worth watching. I don’t however go along with what Schrader wrote in the July/August issue of Film Comment comparing Lohan’s meager talents to Marilyn Monroe even though his short piece did give me a few chuckles. Monroe was beloved even though she had her problems with drugs, the wrong men and bad and mad work habits. This dish was savored and immensely talented and tucked in every night by an adoring public, something that will never happen for Lohan.  I don’t mean to take anything away from her good work in this film which she pretty much carries on her back, but to compare her to one of the great and lasting icons of the 20th Century is pushing it a bit. The other actors are bad some very bad and as pretty as Nolan Gerard Funk is (he better be with that name) his performance as Ryan is painful to watch. Deen gives a porn star performance and judging from some of his comments on the extras (“Bret Easton Ellis is the greatest writer in the world”) I would have to say that he is also a drug addled idiot. There is a flash of violence near the end of this short movie, that comes out of nowhere and of course in keeping with the character of the characters it goes unpunished. The film is worth a cynical look.


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