Boobs, booze and bruises for LiLo's simmering comeback in Bret Easton Ellis' screenplay
LiLo brings a lot to the films she works on: alcohol-monitoring devices, court ordered rehab countdowns, early-onset emphysema and, according to director Paul Schrader, loads of Adderall. Her latest tour-de-force The Canyons is supposed to be a low-budget experimentation in ‘post-theatrical’ film, directed by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and written by Bret Easton Ellis – and if that means some kind of meta-fuelled, gadget-driven commentary on the disconnected and self-conscious trainwrecks occupying the bandwidth of mobile transmissions, then who better than Lindsay to illustrate your convoluted message, right?
Hiring the hottest mess next to Bynes was a transparent creative decision that sort of backfired and blossomed all at once, with their concerns of her nightmare reputation turning out to be validated in a self-fulfilling real-world mimesis.
There’s jealousy, drugs, an ex-girlfriend, a struggling actor and an awkward shot of Lindsay glaring at the director through the lens defiantly when he reminded her she was contractually obligated to get naked in the orgy scene. Between the bruises, dilated pupils and her chain-smoking, it’s not hard to see why Lohan was cast. Add these ten highlights to your casting reel, LiLo.
She’s stripped for Playboy and gone skinny-dipping with her nips out in Machete, but under the umbrella of 'erotic thriller', Lindsay’s mammaries really come into their own, and are totally critical to the storyline.
The tension onset sounded like an average Saturday night in the Lohan house: tantrums, petulant hysterics, alcohol and an intervention held by Michael Lohan to get Lindsay to finish the film. Lindsay’s eyes flawlessly weep – it’s just the rest of her face that remains confused.
THE HOARSE RASP
It might have something to do with the alleged passionate love-making to a crack-pipe every night for the past five years, or it could just be the chain-smoking. In any case, if Lindsay got producers credit, then her voice deserves a Grammy for Best Emphysemic Soundtrack In A Film of 2013.
Within the first ten minutes, James Deen’s character is bumping lines of coke to psych himself up before going downtown on LiLo. While she constantly appears medicated, there’s not one scene of her consuming drugs on camera, just heaps of smoking and drinking. Perhaps it was contractual stipulation, or maybe she just knows not to mix her beta blockers with white powders.
Lindsay is a serious actress, you guys. She chooses to work method, truly living her craft. With an “aggressive misogynist” co-star throwing her around the set with skills he’s acquired from The Learning Annex’s stage-fighting night class, it’s no wonder Lindsay looks like an anaemic stripper who’s been to a paintball shootout. Linda Lovelace, anyone?
I’m not sure if Lilo’s current face is the result of opiate oedema swelling or just another case of botulism blow-out. She labours through each line of dialogue, struggling to convey her earnest portrayal of a scared former actress. Thankfully, she can still move her eyeballs though, even if it does come across as some kind of facial seizure.
BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL
It could be the rushed, budget editing. Maybe it was the director’s attempt to deliver an edgy meta-thriller with a cheeky wink to the kids. Or maybe Lindsay just can’t see where the camera is. In any case, the straight-to-camera shots in this film feel like a blooper reel. “Uh, Lindsay. Your left eye is drifting out of frame again…”
She’s come a long way since The Parent Trap. Lindsay can nail the entire thespian range: anxious, shame, sadness and 'intoxicated', but hide her mobile phone in a scene and you’ll throw her acting abilities out the window faster than a Bynes bong. It’s the worst scene in the film. “This can’t be my phone”.
REAL LIFE CROSSOVER
The entire film is littered with moments that’ll have you drawing life vs art links. Just fifteen minutes in, the characters were questioning whether or not Tara (Lindsay) was interested in filmmaking, ”Tara was bored, she needed something to do besides shopping and fucking.”
With a minuscule budget of $250,000 for the entire production, the actors were reportedly only paid $100 a day for their grindhousing. The cast had to provide the wardrobe, transport and even the makeup. Lindsay brought her own makeup artist, much to the director’s dismay - he wanted her fresh-faced Mean Girls-LiLo; what he got was a dishevelled, Cleopatra-inspired leftover from Liz & Dick. “That’s the look these days” - Lindsay’s makeup artist.