The story so far: Sixteen sadistic jerk-asses banded together and raised $843.39, thus forcing me to see 50 Shades of Grey.
I went on Saturday. I had two beers and three hurricanes in a little over two hours. I am not ashamed to admit that I got really fucked up in a way that had nothing to do with the movie. I also took notes. 14 pages of notes. I am kind stunned by how bad my handwriting gets by the end.
By the way. If you guys want all 14 pages? Pony up another $156.61 to the charities and I will hand over the scans. Want to know what you’re missing? This is page 5. Of 14. (By the way, my housemate claims that she has a video of me drunk calling one of my friends and telling her about the movie. Which goes on for something like 9 minutes. She says you can have it if you hit $1250.) After thinking it over, I decided to scan my notes after all. Enjoy.
I invite you to think about that for a moment and shed a tear for my liver.
Assholes that got thrown out of the Alamo Drafthouse while watching 50 Shades of Grey review by Rachael Acks
I sat in the theater and drank alcohol. There were people talking loudly in the back of the theater, which was very unusual, due to the fact that I was at the Alamo Drafthouse and talking is verboten. But man those plucky patrons! Going on about Dornan’s butt and oh my god the book, and did you see that, and look he has a helicopter oh my god!
I am so glad this table was in the theater, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to follow the extremely complex plot of this geopolitical thrill-ride. I would never have known, for example, that Jamie Dornan has NIPPLES. HE DOES, YOU KNOW. TWO OF THEM. RIGHT THERE. OH MY GOD. His slightly bulging right eye and pained expression invite you to look closer if you dare, but we all know you can’t handle this sort of difficult truth: the nipples are capitalism and the surging buttocks the corporatist state that is the inevitable result of the unfettered free market, which doesn’t give oral. Oral is for closers.
As Christian used one of his approximately six million grey ties (HE LIKES GREY. GREY GREY GREY THERE IS A COLOR THEME YOU POOR FOOLS DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND, GREY LIKE THE MORALITY OF OUR INCREASINGLY COMPROMISED STATE) to tie up Anastasia as a daring commentary about the tangled issues of international trade and the corporate espionage it often encourages, these fine explicators were thrown out of the theater. Realizing that they would be leaving us without their guidance, they threw their drinks glasses on the ground in despair. And apparently at some other customers, but is there anything wrong with wanting to put someone else out of their misery?
“Bitches! Fuckers!” “I can buy this movie! It’s good! FUCKERS!” were the last words of these brave souls as they were herded from the theater by the extremely large and friendly manager. It’s true, you know. We were indeed the fuckers and bitches for being stuck in the movie, now rendered completely incomprehensible without their help.
But! Every cloud has a silver lining. The fine drama of their exit was a damn sight more interesting than watching Anastasia bite her lip while I cringed at the sad mistreatment of an otherwise nice, if boring, tie. And even better, the manager came in at the end of the movie and gave us vouchers that I can spend on something that isn’t 50 Shades of Grey. As much as it tears at my heart to do so, of course. Seeing the movie just wouldn’t be the same without the interpretive commentary running in parallel.
Okay you want the actual review? Fine. See below the fold.
So what about the movie? You may be shocked to find this post lacks the utter rage that you got out of Transformers 4. Sorry, I’ll have to make up for it with sarcasm, contempt, and… sorrow?
After the ginger ale had been cautiously sipped and my hangover had subsided, I was left only with a sense of abiding sadness. 50 Shades of Grey is a tearful ransom note from Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, begging for rescue from having to humiliate themselves by uttering, in all seriousness, lines like “Why won’t you let me in?” and “You know what you do to me.” It is the valiant and double-dog doomed attempt by director Sam Taylor-Johnson to make one of the creepiest, rapiest pieces of popular fiction this century and make it not-creepy (fail, fail, fail) and not-rapey (…success?)
Yes! 50 Shades of Grey managed, unlike the books from whence it was shat, to not contain an actual rape! A+, here’s your gold star.
With every scene that passes on the screen, Jamie Dornan’s curiously bulging right eye glares at the audience with accusation. You did this to me, it seems to whisper with each unblinking moment. You made this piece of shit so popular that the greedy corporate monster that runs the American movie industry had no choice but to make it into a film, and then not one of you assholes warned me to actually read it before I signed the contract in blood. There’s no wonder Dornan always seems to be in some tiny bit of physical pain. Dakota Johnson’s affectless expression as she contemplates the red room of pain and yet more pretense that stalking is romantic is but a reflection of the hollow soul of the American movie-going public, most of whom actually seem to be watching this in a completely non-ironic way and thus transform every theater into its own red room.
And if that doesn’t scare the shit out of you, contemplating the global catastrophe presented by climate change shouldn’t even bother to come knocking at your door.
Quick plot summary: Anastasia Steele interviews fantabulously wealthy and unsub-esque creepy dude Christian Grey. He immediately becomes obsessed with her and starts stalking her. Instead of pepper spraying him and taking out a restraining order, Anastasia buys in to his gross emotional manipulations. Then he hands her a contract with an NDA (you know, so she can’t tell the police what happens, presumably) and tells her that he wants her to be his submissive. While anyone actually in the BDSM lifestyle has a gibbering breakdown, he shows her his play room, and then despite the fact that she hasn’t yet signed the contract, they engage in a bunch of… honestly, pretty vanilla sex while various popular romance ballads play in the background. Then Anastasia has one moment of self-awareness where she realizes how goddamn creepy Christian is and goes to Georgia to see her mom. While the movie reminds us constantly that She Is In Georgia (because otherwise we would have literally know way of knowing) her stalker follows her there and puts the pressure on her while reminding us yet again he has a Dark Past and is Super Fucked Up and thus Totally Romantic. (No. No no no.) At the end of the film Anastasia tells him to punish her like she knows he wants to, and he spanks her really hard six times. She then tells him to stop, and no, and he actually does stop. At which point she leaves and… that’s the end of the movie.
I swear the abrupt and incongruous ending has nothing to do with how fucked up I was at that point. It seriously does just end with no sense of emotional closure or story arc. I also have it on good authority from my amazing hairdresser (Hi, Brittany!) that this isn’t even where the actual book ends. So. Don’t ask me. I’m guessing that’s the point where screenwriter Kelly Marcel recovered enough from her fugue state that she was able to escape out the window and flee to parts unknown.
Full disclosure: I do not hate myself enough to have read the books in their entirety. Rather, I have read a lot of synopses, and selections of the creepiest and rapiest parts. I did attempt to read the first chapter once, but then I woke up in a strange place with a mouthful of hair and lost my ability to speak any language comprehensibly for forty-eight hours. Never again. What this minor foray into the worst prose I have ever encountered has told me, though, is that the movie is indeed missing the most disturbing scenes of the book. I count that as a small mercy for the sake of my sanity.
But this is the thing, the reason I say the movie is trying its hardest to not be a creepy rape turd: it actually tries to be funny. And…actually kind of is at times. But it’s the world’s most frustrating funny, as again and again Anastasia jokes about what a fucking stalker Christian is, and then doesn’t have the requisite self-awareness to realize that it’s not actually a joke. They joke that Christian’s “Mrs. Robinson” who apparently taught him the exact wrong way to engage in BDSM play when he was 15, is a child abuser. It’s not a joke. She really fucking is. It tries so hard to be a redeeming note, and comes out sounding like a sad trombone. The only scene that I actually did find funny in a non-sad way was the contract negotiation, because Ana got to assert herself and the actors got to have some snappy line delivery. There is also a scene that is almost cute, in which Ana and Christian dance. If it had not been previously established so thoroughly that Christian is a manipulative stalker, I would have actually kind of liked it for those thirty seconds.
I am not the target audience of this movie. I am terrified that this movie actually does have a target audience, and that there seem to be so many of them. But frankly, aside from its sheer skin-crawling creepiness (and I realize that this is kind of like saying “aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”), the biggest sin of 50 Shades of Grey is that it’s goddamn boring. The dialog is fucking terrible and stilted and, if memory serves, actually still not as horrible as the dialog in the book. It’s a lot of Christian and Anastasia staring at each other and not even pretending to be all that interested. Twinkies have more chemistry, thanks to the preservatives. They stare at each other and muddle through the dialog, Christian’s right eye bulges, a pop ballad starts up, and there is some admittedly well shot missionary position sex before we’re back to the movie not even really trying to convince us that Christian is anything but a manipulative, shitbag stalker. One with a Dark Past full of Manpain.
Seriously, Christian. No one cares. Anastasia only cares because it’s in the script and the studio has Dakota Johnson’s entire family locked in a hotbox out on lot 3.
It almost made me long for some explosions. That Christian and Anastasia could then run away from in slow motion, their nipples gently flapping in the breeze. But let’s get real, here. If some kind of evil psychopath kidnapped me and forced me to choose between watching 50 Shades of Grey and Transformers 4 again, I’d actually choose 50 Shades of Grey. The two movies are almost equally creepy (though 50 Shades of Grey does edge into the lead by just a hair, here) and while T4 did have explosions, 50SoG has a running time that is approximately seven hours shorter. Wins by a mile.
In conclusion: this movie made me sad for humanity. Fuck you.