Thoughts Over The Morning’s Coffee: Was The Canyons The Year’s Biggest Con Job?

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Paul Schrader’s no light weight. He’s written movies as diverse as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Auto Focus, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Mosquito Coast. He’s directed films featuring the strutting and cocky Richard Gere in American Gigolo and a personal favorite of mine, The Walker with Woody Harrelson.

So when Schrader’s name was attached to a project called The Canyons involving Tinseltown train wreck Lindsay Lohan and XBiz’ Male Performer of The Year James Deen, you had to wonder. Was Schrader slumming or did that rancid film he directed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist finally tag him as a Hollywood has-been and a fossil?

Schrader at least did the smart thing. He reportedly raised the money on the Internet to shoot The Canyons. Even more surprising, though, now that the NY Times broke the story, Schrader paid Lohan a sub-porno rate of a $100 a day with a promise of revenue on the back end. Assuming there is a back end.

You might figure Deen, who’s from the XXX world with no mainstream creds, got nothing and did it for the publicity value. There’s been plenty of that, no doubt. If that magazine had still been around, Teen Beat probably would have had Deen on a cover.

On the other hand, the press has been waiting a long time for prima donna Lohan to self-combust. And it may get its wish because after that Liz & Dick fiasco, Lohan’s got nowhere to go except machine gun wielding nun parts in films like Machete. For Deen, the sky’s the limit, and he’ll come out of this smelling like a rose with a hard on.

The only question is, what movie theater in its right mind’s going to air The Canyons? You’d figure since it was shot in Los Angeles that the LA Times would have had someone on set. So it was a little surprising to see a gigantic behind the scenes story coming out of the NY Times.

Then, again, the LA Times has, for months, ceased running ads for the AMC Theaters. So who knows what’s going on there.

While I wouldn’t be surprised if Schrader shot The Canyons on a cell phone, I’d be more surprised if it ever sees the light of day. In the end, who knows? Maybe it was just a figment of the imagination or a con job, and we’ll all wake up from a dream to find Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, and a pre-booze Judy Garland smiling down upon us.

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