Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Is it worth getting all a-flutter over Fifty Shades of Grey movie news?

I'm not a big fan of the whole Fifty Shades of Grey deal,however since the revelation of who will be starring in the big screen version slated for next summer is making international headlines, it seemed like the right time to toss my two cents in.

Cast as the leads for FSOG are Charlie Hunnam(best known for his lead role on TV's Sons of Anarchy) and Dakota Johnson(who was a star player in the short lived sitcom Ben And Kate). Hunnam's a very good actor and while I'm not familiar with Ms. Johnson's work,both of these actors do have a real opportunity to either make or break their careers with this film.

 It's not prudishness that turns me off to any major promotion for this film,it's just that I am less than impressed by the whole whoop-de-doo over this publishing phenomenon,not to mention that I find the term "mommy porn" to be rather patronizing.

I haven't read any of the books in the trilogy(which has fallen under the eye of censorship at local libraries) but neither would I prevent anyone from doing so or enjoying the upcoming movie.

 Although if pressed, I would recommend either checking out a site like Smart Bitches,Trashy Novels(which is included in my blog links on the side) for better written examples of the genre or sampling a few fantasy novels with rather saucy love scenes(Jacqueline Carey's" Kushiel books and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander saga) for a more satisfying romp in the metaphoric hay.

Fifty Shades of Grey may have a shiny candy coating of kink there but something tells me this that is really old  genre ground being dug up yet again to shock the middle classes:

That being said,it doesn't automatically mean that this will be a bad movie. Many a lackluster written yet popular book has been improved(or at least made watchable) by a big screen adaptation,which may be literary heresy to some but true in quite a few cases,nonetheless.

 For one thing, the content of the book will more than likely be watered down to meet the criteria for a respectable "R" rating,which will annoy some of the fans but seats will still be filled at multiplexes there.

 How that will affect the plot line and characters is yet to be seen and hopefully for the readers, the complete intent of the material won't be too compromised(much like the differences between Hannibal the book and it's movie version).

Also,a better take on the overall arch of the plot might be better served by the screenwriter. Kelly Marcel(who has written the screenplay for the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks movie this fall) has been tapped for the job and perhaps she will offer a more empowering slant to the controlling relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

 Writer/director Mary Harron was able to turn the controversial upscale slasher novel American Psycho into a stinging social satire that gave audiences a smartly savage look at the coldness of corporate privileged classes of that time.

 Whether you came away from the film thinking that Patrick Bateman was either a delusional drug addict or a maniac trapped by his step on the social ladder to have his brutal rebellion taken seriously, it was a vast improvement upon the off putting tone of the original novel(which I tried to read but gave up on it quickly):

 This just doesn't apply to shock fest stuff only;even the most mainstream material can be elevated by a good script. The Bridges of Madison County was a book that I did read and regret still to this day(the only good thing about that experience was that the copy I had was gladly given to me by a relative who didn't want it back-should've been a sign unto me!).

The film could have easily turned into the pretentious sap story that the novel was but fortunately,director/leading man Clint Eastwood had top notch writer Richard LaGravenese on board.

 He added on sequences that had the children of the woman whose brief tryst with a roaming photographer enliven her life discover her letters and journal about the whole affair, a development that brought the emotional plot points to a more mature level. Also, dialogue between the romantic pair showcased the fears and doubts of their situation,making that small window of time they shared together all the more meaningful. It's not a movie that I would rush off to see again but it certainly was far better than I expected it to be:

I'm not saying that Fifty Shades of Grey will be Oscar winning fare,by any means,but who knows, it might be worth a look when the time comes. Perhaps now that we know who will be in it,folks can calm down about FSOG until later next year. At the very least, the film should provide fresh new fodder for comedians everywhere:


Thaddeus said...

That's a great and very thoughtful take on the situation. You're right that the new creative elements involved in a screen adaptation mean that genuine quality might be injected into a novel whose excerpts are atrocious.

My general attitude, as with US news coverage of UK royals, is annoyed apathy. It doesn't even actively annoy me, like making an English version of Dragon Tattoo.

I look down on it for being fanfic, and for seeming to be terribly-written, but (a) people can read whatever they wish and (b) I once wrote as a Valentine's Day present a short story in the bodice-ripper style.

Your examples are excellent. Though I never read any of those works, I do remember prior releases being sexually controversial, with 9 & 1/2 Weeks probably being the best comparison. Sex is a part of life, and art, and a vast section of the US population is ignorant about it. I blame bad education and hyper-religiosity for creating an odd space in our culture.

"Mommy porn" is patronizing - the one that had me laughing was, iirc, "suburban housewife porn." I guess the phrases do reflect that these are the types of people who would be shocked by the sex acts depicted in 50SoG...

lady t said...

Thanks,Thaddeus-"suburban housewife porn" sounds like something that happened on Wisteria Lane(never watched that show but once and was bored right off).

I'm planning to write up about Erica Jong's Fear of Flying for Banned Books week later this season and the whole theme of censoring "racy' material will be talked about here as well(btw,prefer the original Dragon Tattoo to the remake big time).

Unknown said...

Hm... I do like how Dakota's flawed. I'm excited to see how she plays Ana.
She looks too mature to play the part.
Anastasia Steele