LAST JANUARY, The Canyons was the subject of an infamous New York Times Magazine article titled "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie." The piece suggested that the misery of the film's production was the result of having put a mentally unstable 20-something tabloid heroine in the lead—but while LiLo may have complicated the making of the movie, she definitely isn't the worst part of the terrible, terrible result.
Lohan stars as Tara, a failed actress with nice hair who's utterly dependent on her asshole boyfriend Christian (pornstar James Deen). Christian is a wealthy, narcissistic psychopath in the proud Bret Easton Ellis tradition. (Ellis wrote this; it's weird.) Christian and Tara are involved in a sinister love triangle with the star of a film they're trying to get made, which leads to a fuckton of text messaging, murder, and some shamefully dull orgies. Also, Gus Van Sant plays James Deen's shrink, so that's something else that's weird.
Alas, The Canyon's copious amounts of nudity can't make up for its unengaging plot: every single scene drags, and—not joking—there are minutes-long sequences of people playing with their cell phones. Take the douche-iest bar you've been to, make everybody a sociopath, add creepy ambient music, and you'll almost have a sense of what watching this movie feels like. The characters themselves offer unintentional meta-commentary: "I never even thought this movie would get made," "I needed something to do besides shopping and fucking," and, most honestly: "I was so bored."
According to the Times piece, director and veteran Hollywood guy Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) wanted to focus on "cinema for the post-theatrical era." So in The Canyons, he incorporates multiple shots of abandoned movie theaters with empty seats. But the effect isn't "post-theatrical," it's "nobody will watch this." Because it sucks.