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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Reviews    Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  ›  The Canyons Moderators: Nixon
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Heretic
Posted: August 9th, 2013, 10:34pm Report to Moderator
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The Canyons is the shits. Well worth a viewing for scriptwriters, though, for the ceaselessly, hilariously awful work of Bret Easton Ellis. Lohan's work is pretty good, Schrader's work is occasionally interesting but suffers obviously from the budget, the rest of the cast wavers between acceptable and embarrassing (although James Deen is kinda accidentally compelling, more or less the equivalent of Sasha Grey in Soderbergh's "Girlfriend Experience"). But man oh man did Mr. American Psycho do a terrible, terrible job.

Pretty un-provocative as a satire/expose, and pretty unsexy and un-thrilling for a supposed sex thriller. But I wasn't ever bored, really. The most interesting thing about this movie, though, goes to that NYT article on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01.....ewanted=all&_r=0

Here's some of the film's classic dialogue, as transcribed by Lindy West for Jezebel.com:

RYAN: "I loved you so much, baby, we had so much fun together. I never got over it when you left—it killed me. And I tried so hard to let it go—I tried so hard to let go of it. And just when I think I'm going to make it without you Gina suddenly started talking about her boss's girlfriend. But this girl she described didn't sound anything like you. And when I saw you at that audition—I'm still so in love with you. I don't fuckin' want to be, but I am."
TARA: "I'm with him now. I'm with him."
RYAN: "What are you thinking? You—you think you're going to nail this guy? Move in with him, or what? You think that creep's going to marry you?"
TARA: "Ryan! Don't go there! It's hard for me too, okay? It's hard for me too, that's why I tried helping you with the movie—because I care. You don't have to go and say things that are going to hurt me."
RYAN: "Leave him. Get outta there!"
TARA: "And do what?"
RYAN: "I don't know, Come back to me! We'll get a job! We'll move in together!"


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nawazm11
Posted: August 9th, 2013, 10:47pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the review, Chris. I was actually following this movie for a while but totally forgot about it. Ellis was advertising it in a lot of places. The reviews seem to be very poor, I kind of feel bad for Lohan. I'll definitely check this out since I'm a huge fan of American Psycho, both the film and the book.
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Guest
Posted: August 10th, 2013, 4:43am Report to Moderator
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Sounds like ass.

Speaking of ass, I only picked up The Girlfriend Experience based on the pictures on the DVD cover, front and back, expecting a lot of ass.  Good ass.

And I only got about ten seconds worth.

One of the most dumbest movies I ever saw.  Forget about the tits and ass aspect I was looking forward to.

Sasha Grey is not a very good actress.  She's pretty dull, actually.  lol after the movie I went looking up her pornos, just out of curiosity, and she seems like a real dead fuck.

The movie just goes nowhere.  There's no conflict, there's nothing at all, nothing engaging at all about that fucking movie.

Sorry for the rant.  Had to get that out since I feel kind of bitter wasting 80 minutes of my life on that shit.

Back to the Canyons...

this sounds like a shit fest too.

I'm surprised, though, Bret Easton Ellis?  I thought he was like a great writer or something (I myself never read anything by him).  I know I liked the adaptation of American Psycho.  I only saw bits and pieces of the other film that had Patrick Bateman's brother as a character and I thought it was kind of entertaining.
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James McClung
Posted: August 11th, 2013, 3:45pm Report to Moderator
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Caught this last night. Naturally, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I found it strange how such a collaboration could be received so poorly.

Well, I've thought about it and I think the film essentially boils down to two possibilities:

1) It's a complete train wreck.
2) It's exactly the film Schrader and Ellis wanted it to be.

In the end though, it doesn't really matter. Neither interpretation alters how the film actually plays out. The subject matter is vapid, losery Hollywood rejects and the approach is cold and clinical. That's what was aimed for and that's what's brought, whether it comes off as a success or a failure. In a weird sort of way, everything - the dialogue, the acting, etc - feels apropos, even when the film plays out like straight up porn.

Personally, I found it to be listless, completely unengaging and uninteresting yet not particularly offensive or tedious to sit through. It was an easy watch wherein my phone stole a substantial chunk of my attention, not that it matters given that the majority of the action revolves around people reading and writing text messages. Occasionally, the film gets really bad and can feel borderline so-bad-it's-good, even Room quality, but it never quite goes over the edge, which is disappointing. However, the look of the film isn't a far cry from The Room at all. Its $250,000 budget is all too apparent; absolute rubbish.

Perhaps the only good thing about the film is James Deen. His performance is straight up porn acting and his character is utterly contemptible but he's got mad screen presence and his casting is brilliant. He's basically an actor who doesn't give a fuck playing a character who doesn't give a fuck. I don't think I could've sat through the film if it wasn't for him.

Lohan is serviceable. No more, no less. I think anyone praising her in this is too hung up on her public image to judge her performance on its own terms. Ellis has alluded to the fact that Lohan has something of a target on her whatever she does and I agree with him in that her presence in the film kind of set it up for an unfair backlash.

Still, that doesn't mean the film's any good. I can't say for sure what Schrader or Ellis were going for but what I take from the film, I just don't think it was worth it. I've already got my reservations about LA as a city and a culture (outside of an industry perspective, that is) so sitting through The Canyons really did nothing for me. I think if somehow you've got dreams of Hollywood and think LA's the best city in the world with no shitty people in it, this could serve as something of a blindside but I really couldn't recommend it to anyone else.


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Heretic
Posted: August 11th, 2013, 7:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Guest
Speaking of ass, I only picked up The Girlfriend Experience based on the pictures on the DVD cover, front and back, expecting a lot of ass.  Good ass.

And I only got about ten seconds worth.

One of the most dumbest movies I ever saw.  Forget about the tits and ass aspect I was looking forward to.


Hahah you mean you didn't want to watch a bunch of douchebags in a limo talking about nothing for ten minutes at a time???


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Guest
Posted: August 11th, 2013, 8:11pm Report to Moderator
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Hahaha you nailed it on the head.

Everyone was just talking -- and it was about nothing -- and it wasn't even funny or engaging -- it was straight boring.
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AlsoBen
Posted: August 31st, 2020, 7:23am Report to Moderator
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I'm on a Bret Easton Ellis revisit (love most of his novels, hate his politics and personality) but never watched The Canyons, which I did today. A google search for a copy of the script led me to this seven year old topic so I'm going to bump it.

(Also - boy some of the comments in this thread are sexist, especially those about Sasha Grey. Yeah, cool, you didn't like her porn - thanks for calling someone a "dead fuck" on a public forum. How very 2010s of you.)

Lindsay Lohan literally takes the most trash of dialogue and makes it serviceable in this. It's such a shame she invested in this as a comeback because it doesn't do her justice.

Paul Schrader is a bad director. 250,000 dollars in the hands of a decent director can be made to seem not-cheap; he does not achieve that here. This looks and sounds cheap and I really don't think that is because Lohan was a pain to work with, no matter what the NYT article says (also - the idea of Shrader getting naked to make Lohan feel more "comfortable" in a sex scene is the most disturbingly predatory thing I've read today, at least).

BEE's bad dialogue could be excused if this was some hyper-stylized noirish thriller, but it's filmed like a kitchen-sink drama so it comes across like a soap opera with lots of full frontal male nudity.

James Deen is an actual rapist so he plays a quasi-rapist serviceably well.

This is bad on almost every front and it has made me deeply and inconsolably depressed.




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AnthonyCawood
Posted: August 31st, 2020, 11:19am Report to Moderator
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I tried to watch this and gave up about 30 mins in... no compulsion to re-visit it!


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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Heretic
Posted: August 31st, 2020, 2:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from AlsoBen
Paul Schrader is a bad director.


He definitely does inconsistent work, but have you seen Mishima, Affliction, Blue Collar, First Reformed? I think some of his stuff is exceptional.


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AlsoBen
Posted: September 1st, 2020, 5:25am Report to Moderator
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If you make as many movies as he does, some are bound to be good.

But yeah, I was being hyperbolic. He definitely isn't equipped to make something good without the budget behind his 80s and 90s movies though. With the low budget, you can "see" him working too obviously (in this, the heavy-handed establishing shots of abandoned theaters is a good example. Also, how he tries to break up monotonous dialogue scenes - Bret Easton Ellis's favorite thing to write - with over complicated angles and shots). It was a perfect storm.


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James McClung
Posted: September 1st, 2020, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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Ha! Forgot all about The Canyons. Absolute drivel! Thankfully, Schrader redeemed himself years later with First Reformed. Almost feels like the universe rebalancing itself.


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