The Canyons (2013)

I could’ve watched a whole lot of other 2013 choices from Netflix but why did I choose The Canyons? Well, one, because I was curious about what its all about and two, it was one of the shorter selections without getting too intense.  I had extremely low expectations for this.  I’ll talk more about my reasoning behind it afterwards.  Lets start with a little synopsis.

canyons posterDirector: Paul Schrader

Cast: Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk, Amanda Brooks, Tenille Houston

Christian, an LA trust fund guy gets involved in a movie production business in order to keep his father happy. His girlfriend Tara is an actress who has pulled out of a recent project. They have a fairly casual relationship with frequent hookups with other people or couples, but when Christian realizes that Tara is involved with the lead actor in the upcoming production, he starts playing mind games and loses control.

Up there, I started talking about why I had low expectations for it.  One of the probably more obvious reasons is that the male lead is played by James Deen, who is a porn actor.  From my very limited experience, porn requires some so-called acting but more exactly, exaggerated like crazy.  Despite that point, aside from Lindsay Lohan, this was also another reason I was intrigued by it.  I was curious how it would turn out. I’d like to think the man can act, right?

canyons hook up

So, back to The Canyons.  The plot itself had a lot of potential, I think. If it was shot differently, it might actually had been a whole lot better than the average movie that I saw.  The one big thing that bothered me was how a lot of the shots were framed.  I mean, close-ups shots, weird lighting, trying to capture too much unnecessary angles and details.  There’s one thing that bothers me A LOT about movies.  There’s foreshadowing and then there’s what they did here, treating the audience like retards.  I mean there was one shot where it was about the actor Ryan trying to get more shifts at work from his manager and obviously, the manager doesn’t say it out loud that he wants something sexual in exchange so you know what the camera focuses on? We’re eye level with Ryan focused on the manager’s pants and his legs shifting and stuff.  Really? I just watched a good part of this movie and you think I don’t get the point that you’re trying to tell me is there is control and sex themes in this? Seriously?!?!?

Also, there are some movies who can do this whole blurred genre thing but The Canyons, not so much.  Its categorized as a drama thriller but I mean, sure, there was some drama according to the story but thriller, nope, not really.  I mean, if you want to get the thrill removed, just head over to IMDB and read their plot summary.  It recaps the story and the damn ending, which is somewhat stupid.  Netflix does a much better job for The Canyons write-up saying its about dark side of human nature.

the canyons james deen

Do you know who I’m going to talk about now? Yup, the dude up there and that pic took me all of 10 minutes scrolling down Google images to find.  I present to you, James Deen.  Now, you see that look up there.  Over-emoting and trying to make sure people understand that he isn’t just reading the lines but acting it out.  He does that throughout the whole movie.  Its the one thing that made me laugh and facepalm.  Why? Because after a while, its hilarious and so unnecessary and at a certain point, its just, I know this movie is bad but there are some guilty pleasure aspects and then some “so bad its good” aspects.  I’m serious, his facial expressions are really too much…and to think, the dark side of human nature was about him and his crazy mind games.  I don’t know…not very convincing.

the canyons tara christian

Next up, Lindsay Lohan.  I had a lot of love for her and I really want to keep having love for her.  The only issue is that she reminds me of all the shit she did to herself and how lost she got.  Its a shame because looking at her, it makes me want to go back and watch Mean Girls.  Don’t get wrong though.  If anyone did a good job in this movie, she did a pretty good job.  It proves that she still has it.  She just traded in those teenage, innocent roles almost 10 years later for a sexual and very exposing role.  I mean exposing as she has a lot of boobs shot.  Do you want to see her boobs up close and personal? Well, maybe thats another reason to see this, or..just search it up on Google.  Seriously though, her character didn’t bother so much.  She put a lot of emotions into it.


It would be unfair if I didn’t put in a little bit about this dude here.  This is Nolan Gerard Funk and he plays Ryan.  I recognized him from Riddick.  Not a huge role but still, I like the guy.  I think I am able to pick out Canadian actors more and more, don’t know why? Anyways, seeing this guy makes me want to get back into catching up with Glee.  I dropped off I think 2 seasons ago.  I actually think Nolan Funk does a good job.  He probably can do better and he’s a decent looking guy. He had the supporting role in this and well, I don’t really have much to say but at least he didn’t overact and he was convincing as Ryan.  The actor who is acting in his own life, and realizing that everyone is apparently doing it also including Tara, Christian, etc.

The more I write this, the more I see the things I want to talk about.   So, now that I’ve cooled off from the rant about the director treating us stupid? The second biggest thing I absolutely despise in a movie is meaningless endings.  I literally went “WTF?!?!?!” when the movie ended.  I have no idea what it was trying to say or what was the point of it.  I especially don’t like movies making me feel like I wasted my time.  And then I thought, maybe if this was more porn and had more thorough sex scenes it wouldn’t be so much of a waste of time…just a thought, you know?

Okay, its sounded extremely negative.  So, one thing about this movie that I enjoyed was that they put awesome music in the background for the scenes.  That helped the mood of the movie.

After all that write up, yeah, this really wasn’t a good movie.  I said average up there? Its below average for sure.  I’m not recapping all that but if there are reasons to see this movie, Lindsay Lohan, Nolan Funk and the soundtrack.  Or maybe you really want to see what I mean about James Deen’s overused facial expressions.  That thought always makes me smile 😉

How many of you have seen The Canyons? What do you think of Lindsay Lohan now?

17 thoughts on “The Canyons (2013)

  1. I’ve been wanting to see this – I have a soft spot for Lindsay Lohan. Why? I don’t know, lol. But I even watched that “I Know Who Killed Me” and it was atrocious and oh so fun – sounds like this one is along the same lines. 😉


  2. Good review Kim. Knowing and loving the hell out of Ellis’ writing style, I knew what to expect from this. Sure, it was an uneventful thriller that didn’t always work, but as a comment on the state of modern-day cinema, it surprisingly worked a bit better than it should have. Speaking of things that also worked better than they should have, Lohan actually put in a solid performance. Though she was rather empty and dull, I think that’s what the script called for and for that, I give her some fine credit.


    • Thats something I’m still slowly familiarizing myself with. Linking directors and writers to certain works. Ellis is the guy who wrote American Psycho, right? I haven’t had the courage to read the novel yet. You know, I really like Lohan in this. She’s the one thing that makes this movie not completely go into the trash and meaningless. 🙂


  3. Nice review. I knew this was going to be terrible, but had secret hopes. I mean, it’s written by Brett Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Shrader – that alone should be something, and I don’t even mind the stunt casting of a porn star and Lohan. My problem was, the film thinks it’s some biting commentary on modern Hollywood, but there’s nothing new about what it has to say. I mean, Shrader and Ellis have covered all of this with their previous work back in the 70s and 80s. The whole thing becomes pretty banal, full of narrative dead space, and for what’s supposed to be a trashy, sex-heavy flick, it’s really boring. There was potential to do something really fun with this. I do think Lohan’s performance is pitch perfect for what this is though.


    • I hadn’t really heard too much about this other than the fact that it had Lohan and the porn actor. And then pieces of the plot, which actually turned out to be different from what I expected.
      Was it supposed to be a commentary on modern Hollywood? I totally missed that. I kind of figured they were trying to link that with those old images of run down theatres and the city and what not. I just found that creepy and weird.
      See, learning new things everyday. 🙂 Thanks Carl!


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