APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Canyons (2013)

April 21: Gone Legitimate — A movie featuring an adult film actor in a mainstream role.

Producer Braxton Pope, writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Paul Schrader had the movie Bait get canceled due to money and then decided to make another one that was crowd funded. Paul Schrader. Making a crowd funded movie. They raised $159,015 which got the budget up to $250,00 and had American Apparel doing the clothing, Kanye West re-editing the trailer and creating music and Lindsay Lohan in the lead just as she was getting out of her sixth rehab and starring on a reality show on OWN.

While Lohan and James Deen were cast by the creators, the rest of the cast was handled through a website, Let It Cast. Shrader said, “We’re making art out of the remains of our empire. The junk that’s left over. And this idea of a film that was crowdfunded, cast online, with one actor from celebrity culture, one actor from adult-film culture, a writer and director who have gotten beat up in the past—felt like a post-Empire thing. And then everything I was afraid of with Lindsay and James started to become positive. I was afraid we wouldn’t be taken seriously and people would think it was a joke. My son and daughter didn’t want me to do it. That just shows you how conservative young kids are.”

Of course, everyone argued at the end, as the final cut wasn’t what Ellis had in mind, although he’s come around to enjoy the movie, saying everyone got what they wanted artistically and financially from the movie. He found Lohan to be good in it and the rest of the world judged it just because she was in the movie. It was that kind of time.

Christian (Deen) is a trust fund kid who makes low budget horror movies. We meet him at a dinner with his lover Tara (Lohan), his personal assistant Gina (Amanda Brooks) and her boyfriend — who will bin Christian’s next movie — Ryan (Nolan Funk). Christian loves to push people and keeps revealing how he and Tara use dating apps to have anonymous sex with other people. Also, while he may be sleeping with someone else in secret — Cynthia (Tenille Houston) — he controls Tara, who once dated Ryan and left him for the stability of dating wealthier men.

We soon learn that Christian is forced into therapy to keep the money coming in — Gus Van Sant is the therapist — and he needs the behavioral help, because he sends people after Ryan and attacks Tara. Yet they stay within the orbit of one another, even when she talks him into letting another man — an anonymous hookup — go down on him. This makes him feel controlled and that’s the one thing he can’t handle. By the end of the movie, there’s murder, a movie nearly ruined and Tara trying to escape with her sanity and life.

While Deen’s life ended up mirroring his character — he’s an adult star who has been accused of going too far in his scenes and in his personal life by several partners — he’s not bad in this. South by Southwest may have turned this movie down — they said it had technical issues, as well as “There’s a cold deadness to it.” — but I have no idea why. It’s fascinating, as a major Hollywood name is now making movies with sourced money, cast by a website and featuring people who at one point were so far away from each other fame wise that Lohan and Deen wouldn’t even be in the same reality and here she is, topless and engaging in simulated sex with the guy who put a lemon in Joanna Angel’s ass.

Also: Shrader got nude during this scene to make Lohan comfortable. His idea.

Also also: adult actor Danny Wilde appears and his scenes were edited because unlike everyone else, he was not simulating his masturbation.

This is the best IMDB gossip about the movie: “At one point, the stress of the hectic shoot was wearing on everyone and the crew was upset because they hadn’t been paid in a week. Producer Braxton Pope, hoping to buck up morale, suggested raffling off two Samsung tablets used in the film. Director Paul Schrader said no because he didn’t have a tablet at home and wanted one of them for himself.”

The auteur!

Also (third also): Lily LeBeau is in this, adding even more adult stars to the cast.

You know, maybe I cut Lohan a break, but I really liked this. It just feels so unlike every other movie out there, nearly feeling like the most high budget adult movie while also coming off like a cheap direct to streaming movie with some level of star power. It’s also the kind of movie that may have been more interesting if they just filmed the making of it, as Lohan has an understudy constantly ready to step in, she would stop partying — or so they say — at 5:30 AM for a 6 AM call time and Deen didn’t stop booking porn shoots while making this movie.

Again, let me say: Paul; Schrader wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Then again, he screwed the adult industry over once with Hardcore, so all bets are kind of even. He did make Cat People, though.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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