It's somehow fitting that The Canyons is studded with images of shuttered movie theaters. If the subtext of this misbegotten parade of lame shock tactics is the death of cinema, then The Canyons certainly knows how to nail the coffin shut. "When's the last time you saw a movie you really thought meant something to you?" says Lindsay Lohan as Tara, a wanna-be actress who's given up wanting to be one. She's kept in L.A. luxury by Christian (porn star James Deen), a producer with a lethal jealous streak – Tara is sneaking off with an ex-boyfriend (Nolan Funk) – who is bringing home hustlers for group sex. The plot sounds like warmed-over Bret Easton Ellis, except Ellis actually wrote it. That the director is Paul Schrader (American Gigolo, Affliction) is too sad to contemplate. Lohan, infamous now as a tabloid train wreck, can still act. But she's alone. Stephen Rodrick's New York Times article about the making of The Canyons had humor, suspense and propulsion. They should have made that movie. What we have here is dead on arrival.
From The Archives Issue 1189: August 15, 2013