Dirty Sexy Rich: The Canyons (2013)

The Canyons
Release: 2013 (unsurprisingly TBD)

I’ve watched this approximately 37 times since Thursday. Ain’t no shame in my game.

In my mind, two scenarios are possible:

1. An exceedingly talented editor and music supervisor made this trailer, and spun gold from pure garbage;
2. This film is the Second Coming of a particular movement (existential materialist youth cinema?) and is such a high piece of art it may not be appreciated in its own time.

Is it too much to say I vote for 2? It’s because I see the indelible, soul-burning mark of Bret Easton Ellis on this movie, just from this short peek. The script is deliberately clunky. Everything looks uncomfortable. Uncanny, disgusting bodies and faces are photographed beautifully. It’s what Bret’s been dreaming of since 1983, and it appears our culture’s ready for it once more. Maybe it’s the way my generation embraces irony. Aw man, I missed you, Bret! It’s been too long since Less Than Zero and you finally got your groove back, you stupid materialist pig genius.

I recently read that an insider at South by Southwest claimed The Canyons was rejected this year because it had “a certain ugliness, a deadness to it.” PHENOMENAL! We need more of that these days. I’m not talking about the twee negative space that you encounter in indie films for thinking folk. I’m talking about glamorous, expansive, exquisitely painful, thudding, immediate emptiness.

I’m talking about Lindsay Lohan’s melting face and weakening skill for dialogue. I’m talking about her disintegrating young-old body. It’s horrifying and addictive and I want two whole hours of it.


Paul Schrader (the director) said something mostly true about our fallen supernova:

Marilyn Monroe and Lohan exist in the space between actors and celebrities, people whose professional and personal performances are more or less indistinguishable. To be successful, a performer controls the balance between the professional and personal, that is, he or she makes it seem like the professional is personal. It is the lack of this control that gives performers like Monroe and Lohan their unique attraction. We sense that the actress is not performing, that we are watching life itself. We call them “troubled,” “tormented,” “train wrecks”—but we can’t turn away. We can’t stop watching. They get under our skin in a way that controlled performers can’t.

Am I insane? I might be. Sometimes I get carried away in matters of LiLo. What did you think of the trailer? Would you see it? Or does it look awful? Or does it look awful and you’ll definitely see it?

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the NY Times article about the behind-the-scenes making of this film, get thee hence. It is a thing of sublime hilarity.

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