Pop Culture Princess

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Sharing some sisterly mocking movie time with 50 Shades of Grey

One of the traditions of modern day Thanksgiving is to watch bad movies(a prime example being MST3K's Turkey Day Marathon) but due to HBO premiering 50 Shades of Grey this past Saturday night, my sister and I got a bit of a head start on that, or as she put it "make it a Blockbuster night."

Neither of us have read the book(or plan to) by E.L. James, which launched the lewdly popular trio of novels about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, stand-ins for the leads in the Twilight series(more about that later), yet we knew the basic story. Girl Meets Boy during interview, Boy creepily flirts with Girl, Girl negotiates kinky contract with Boy.

 Seriously, there's a major scene where Anastasia goes to his office and they sit in a dimly lit boardroom that reminded my sister of a Dario Argento film, to go over the contract details.

"What are butt plugs?" is a line that Dakota Johnson actually has to say with a straight face. I did feel sorry for her as even her mom Melanie Griffith had more dignity when starring in Milk Money.

Speaking of dignity, there is little to be had, as Jamie Dornan spends most of the film either in sleazy smirk mode or moody control freak setting. The alleged passion between them is as electric as the shavings from the pencil that Christian gives Ana during their first meeting that she later plays with, right near her mouth(wow, points for subtlety there,movie!):

 One of the things that my sis and I used to play an impromptu drinking game(with only one of us having alcohol) was how many ways Christian Grey came across as a serial killer.

 From the opening credits where you see him in his elaborate dressing room that was complete with a drawer full of ties in separate compartments, my sister immediately called the first of many Patrick Bateman from American Psycho vibes that he gave off. My first Bateman call was when he gave Ana his neatly designed business card which certainly would've earned Christian a lesson on how to appreciate Huey Lewis and the News there.

Hell, even Ana tries to make a joke about Christian's Criminal Minds Unsub like personality during that hardware store scene. I'm sorry but when a guy is only buying items in a place like that that are meant to be restraints, that really should be a loud and clear warning bell to anyone with sense not to date or even be alone in private with him:

We kind of had to wing it in the drinking game department, as there were just too many FSoG themed ones to choose from. Considering the running time of the film(which is slightly over the two hour mark), we managed just fine.

In contrast, finding a Jane Austen drinking game is far less complicated and way less disturbing to play, although Pride and Prejudice might be quite the Janeite juggernaut in this category:

Apart from the scary movie aspect of the story(when Christian introduced Ana to his "playroom", my sister was shouting "GET OUT!" in true Amityville Horror style at her), the throwbacks to Twilight were incredibly obvious.

It's no secret that 50 Shades was originally written as Twilight fan fiction and since I'm more versed in that series than my sister, it was up to me to explain certain things such as Christian taking Ana for surprise helicopter and plane rides(in place of Edward carrying Bella across the treetops) and the moody piano playing that Christian indulged in.

However, neither me or my sis could figure out if 50 Shades had a Jacob equivalent in the cast. There were a few contenders but no definite rival for the dubious affections of Ana. Maybe he'll show up in the sequels(wonder if the final chapter will be broken up into two films, like Twilight was?):

All in all, we had a good time with this godawful film that makes Battlefield Earth look like Academy Award winning material. At least, BFE has a Rifftrax to help you get through that particular shade of cinematic crazy.

I highly doubt that we'll catch the sequels(unless there's nothing better on that night) yet I will confess to having a slightly perverse curiosity to read the first 50 Shades book,just to see how bad it really is. Sort of the literary version of rubbernecking, no matter how descriptive a recap that anyone gives you, you do want to see for yourself there.

That urge will surely pass, as there are plenty of good entertaining books out there to choose from and I prefer my romance to not be any shade of grey, rather just steamy enough to fog up a mirror or warm a soothing cup of tea. The merits of 50 Shades as literature worth keeping is something for more scholarly folks than I to determine as time goes on:

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