We sent Carey O'Donnell and Eli Yudin, the guys behind the very funny @NotTildaSwinton Twitter parody account (and tireless chroniclers of Real Housewives of New Jersey and surrealist celebrity exploits), to a screening of The Canyons and asked them to share all of their thoughts and emotions after watching the film. Read their reflections, below.
God bless it. We'd like to say, first off, we really tried. We wanted it to be good. We would have been okay with it just being not great. But it dragged us by our ankles into a fissure on the ocean floor.
1. The first thing you'll notice while watching The Canyons is that if you're ever not sure what an action means, it WILL be explicitly explained. Repeatedly. And with the grace of being clubbed in the face with a blunt object until you shout out "OH, I SEE!" Examples: One scene opens with LiLo's gravelly disembodied voice saying, "I'm so glad you opened your own PR company." In another, she picks up a phone that Christian (James Deen) swapped out for hers, and says, very matter-of-factly, "This can't be my phone!"
2. The movie is very disjointed, giving it less of the feel of a complete movie, and more like the rushed recap of a prequel we never saw. The movie may as well be titled, Last Week on "The Canyons."
3. Two observations about Lindsay Lohan in this movie: everyone is hopelessly obsessed with her, and you will never understand why. We can imagine the pitch Lindsay's agent gave her: "You smoke cigs, wear high heels, pick your own outfits, and everyone's obsessed with you." Which is not to say Lindsay gives a poor performance. She clearly has talent, and moments within the movie approach phenomenal acting.
4. James Deen seems like he's doing a bad Patrick Bateman impression the entire time. In fact, the moments he seems to accidentally break out of the Bateman character are the "high" points of his performance. We're sure Deen Netflixed American Psycho quite a few times to prepare for this role and then forgot to add anything new.
5. When writing a monologue, especially one that's supposed to be threatening, don't use the phrase "and then BAM!" FIVE TIMES IN A ROW. Throughout the movie, our disbelief that Deen's character would say "and then BAM!" again inevitably turned into a desire to see how many times he would say it. (He said it five times.) It was like watching a car accident, but instead of not being able to look away, you actually climb into the wreckage and then go limp.
Carey O'Donnell and Eli Yudin after the movie
6. Another noticeable lapse in the screenwriting was at the end of the movie, where we find LiLo at dinner with her new beau and another couple. When the other woman questions her in a very vague sense about (SPOILER ALERT) the murder that was committed by James Deen, she literally goes, with no prodding, "Well, I was with him, so, you know, it wasn't him." Saying "it wasn't him" is about as convincing as standing over a freshly dead corpse, covered in arterial spray, shrugging and going, "What murder?"
7. Everyone involved in this production LOVES the sound of heels on hardwood. It basically serves as a metronome for the first half of the movie (before everyone suddenly changes into activewear for no reason.) It's like Paul Schrader heard an intern walking through the production office one day and exclaimed, "What is that sound? I must know!"
8. The characters cursed in a way that suggested they'd been given special permission by their mom. It all seemed as if they thought the use of strong language could make those lines super INTENSE!!!! Sorry to be the ones to tell you guys, but "motherfucker" has about as much dramatic power as calling someone a "meanie" nowadays..
9. This movie is Bret Easton Ellis' manifesto entitled, "Everyone In The World Is a Fucking Idiot Except Me (And I Want To Fuck James Deen)". Prepare to feel like a mental patient, trying to assure the orderly you understand what's going on, only for him to pat your forehead with a damp cloth and whisper, "I'm sure you do."
10. Finally, in an attempt to describe the overall experience of watching the movie, it felt like being at a Little League game where your child's team is clearly being outplayed, but god damn it if you're not still gonna do the wave.
The Canyons, playing at a theater near you.