Surviving Lohan: Paul Schrader dishes on his gayish noir film ‘The Canyons’


Lindsay Lohan and James Deen in ‘The Canyons,’ directed by Paul Schrader

What do you get when you pair Paul Schrader, one of the darkest directors when it comes to raw sexual issues on screen, with gay novelist Bret Easton Ellis, who specializes in creepy dark comedies about soulless 20somethings obsessed with sex and power … then add in Lindsay Lohan? The answer is The Canyons, a new film available through the growing Video On Demand platform.

The film — intended as a kind of comeback for Lohan, and an attempt at mainstream appeal for straight porn actor James Deen — deals with young, amoral Los Angelenos involved in sex games in between their work in the corners of the movie industry.

I chatted with Paul Schrader — who first came to Dallas in 1971 for the USA Film Festival (as a film critic, not a filmmaker) — about the lurid themes of the film, the changes in the movie industry and working with Lohan.

The Canyons is now available VOD on iTunes, Goggle Play, Xbox, Playstation, YouTube, Amazon and cable. 

Dallas Voice: How has your background as a film critic informed you as a filmmaker?  Paul Schrader: Not necessarily to the good. A film critic is like a medical examiner — he wants to open the cadaver and see how it lived. A filmmaker is like a pregnant woman — she wants to do anything to protect that baby. So you’d better be careful letting the critic into the operating room, cuz he will kill that baby.

Has VOD changed filmmaking?  I think it will [change the industry]. You can watch any movie on whim. We’re just seeing it come about now. [The Canyons] was a film designed to be released on-demand; it was not because it flopped in theaters. This is cinema for the post-theatrical era — that’s why [you see so many shots] of all those dead theaters.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘Liz & Dick’

Lohan has the look, but not the style, in Lifetime biopic

The train wreck that has become Lindsay Lohan didn’t start out that way. She was handily the most gifted pop princess of her incoming class, with a throaty voice that conveyed maturity; she even picked good projects, like Mean Girls, and held her own opposite Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion. After all her drug and legal problems, the decision to rehabilitate (her career, at least) by doing a biopic of Elizabeth Taylor seemed like a savvy one: Both actresses were dogged by paparazzi, substance abuse and personal tragedy. Surely Lohan would bring her own experience to bear. And she looked the part, clearly. I was excited.

And now, disappointed with Liz & Dick, the Lifetime movie (airing Sunday) that was to be her comeback.

Aside from the “look,” Lohan lacks most of Taylor’s essential qualities — most specifically, the volcanic passion percolating under a slightly icy exterior. Taylor was never earthy and warm, like Ava Gardner or Rita Hayworth, but unattainable; imagine her in that white slip from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and you can see the formula of sexuality and porcelain perfection that she was — a brunetted and more talented version of Marilyn Monroe.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lindsay as Liz: The latest pix

For all you Lindsay Lohan queens out there, Lifetime just released the latest pix of the Goddess of Train Wrecks playing the Empress of Emotion, Elizabeth Taylor, and I have to say, Linds looks pretty convincing. (And check out those Egyptian slave boys!) Enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Celeb news I don’t know how to respond to

Lifetime announces that Lindsay Lohan is set to portray Elizabeth Taylor in a TV movie, Liz & Dick. It will begin filming in June. They were both troubled starlets….

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

XLV Party gets some gay in after all

We had mixed feelings about the cancellation of Thursday’s queer-skewing XLV Party. With a lineup that included Cazwell, Lady Bunny and The Village People, organizers reached out to the LGBT community. But the headliners weren’t a strong enough draw and the concert was pulled.

Organizers bounced back, though, and added a quick hint of mint to the remaining shows, with DJ Samantha Ronson joining Friday’s lineup. The lesbian DJ isn’t just Lindsay Lohan’s ex, she’s a pretty big deal all on her own. Thanks for keeping us in mind, guys!

— Rich Lopez

Visit for information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Judy Tenuta called to fill us in on her newest Lady Gaga spoof video ‘Hot Bra Cones’

Comedian and “Love Goddess” Judy Tenuta was kind enough to give me a call to talk about her newest video. Well, that and her resolution for 2011 which you’ll see in this week’s issue. But her video is a whole different story.

Spoofing on Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” she recently debuted “Hot Bra Cones.” With a low budget and six hours to make, Tenuta and gal pal Judy Brown (not to mention some fine ass backup dancers) punked on Hollywood starlets and having fun with Gaga and Madonna.

“I always wanted to do something about Lady Gaga. I just love her,” she said. “So I just reworked “Telephone”  and came up with the idea that if it wasn’t for Madonna there would be no Gaga.”

It’s kind of an “everything but the kitchen sink” video with satirical nods to Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and even Sarah Palin. I think I kinda like her Lindsay Lohan the most.

“I have to rip on those young Hollywood brats who just snort their careers away. Britney started the craziness, but I just had to get at Lindsay and Paris and throw in a harpoon jab at Palin,” she said.

Mostly, Tenuta says she’s just excited about the video and wants to give a good laugh to her fans — especially her gay fans.

“This is just what I love to do. It was hard to get it all together and I was paying for everything, but when we finally did it, we thought it was great and well worth our time,” she said. “You know, it got 9,000 hits in a short time. It would be so cool if it went viral.”

Yeah, but what about the studly eye-candy?

“The gays will love them. How many six packs did you count?” she laughed. “But you know, it was truly a sacrifice to work with those men.”


Video co-producer James Franklin also informed me that gay sites BigMuscle and its sister (um, brother?) site BigMuscleBears have picked it as its video of the week. Which took me FOREVER to find. Talk about a sacrifice going through those websites. But it appears the VOTW shows up on the bottom of a person’s profile page. Or maybe I should go back and look just to be sure.

—  Rich Lopez

Sometimes-Dallas-resident and gay pop megastar George Michael sentenced to 8 weeks in jail

Who could ever think that George Michael and Lindsay Lohan would be kindred spirits? In court today, District Judge John Perkins sentenced Michael to eight weeks in jail. He was booked in London on July 4 for driving his car through a storefront while under the influence, and for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to the charges. The Associated Press reported that “Michael sighed as sentence was passed. His long-term partner Kenny Goss buried his head in his hands.” They also reported:

“It does not appear that you took proper steps to deal with what is clearly an addiction to cannabis,” the judge said. “That’s a mistake which puts you and, on this occasion, the public at risk.” Perkins sentenced Michael to the prison time and a 1,250 pound ($1,930) fine during a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

Musically, Michael had just released the remastered special edition of his landmark album “Faith,” which is available for pre-order, and relaunched his website. Career-wise, perhaps he was streamlining the rough areas. Fans on his site showered the singer with messages of support going into court, and criticisms against the court for the sentencing.

—  Rich Lopez

Cedar Springs on Lindsay Lohan

Submitted by Brent Paxton

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—  John Wright