Saturday, November 21, 2015

Super Secret November Challenge Blog Post # 17

Decidedly Un-sexy

I have the apartment to myself tonight, which means pizza, duh. 

It also means I have room to do things I cannot do while my fiance is around. Scandalous things. Things like, putting on my wedding gown and watching Steel Magnolias. No fooling, I was really drawn to the idea of getting slightly tipsy on the half bottle of wine that is left in our fridge, and tempting the Goddess of Pre-Nuptial disasters while wearing my dress and re-enacting the funeral monologue. Because I still just wanna know "waaaahhhhhhhheeeeee"???

But before committing to this decision, I decided to scroll through the little blessing we received this summer, HBO Now, and lo and behold - mine eyes beheld blog gold. At least, blog gold for me. 

A few years ago, I wrote my favorite piece on this bad boy; A post all about that soft core porn/studio film 9 1/2 Weeks. 

Now, please do not misunderstand me. It is not my best work. It is very scatter brained and impossible to comprehend unless you are watching the movie, but it is still the most fun for me to write. Simply because I got to vent every frustration I had about that movie, while constructing a cautionary tale for those who dare to venture into that mumbly, cold germ filled arena. 

Now, I have been given another chance to relive my hate-watching fun fest. It's like MST3K, in the sense that I am totally ripping off their style in a less entertaining and well-crafted format. 

Fifty Shades of Grey is on HBO. Now. 

It's on HBO NOW. Right now. 

There are only like, nine shades of legos here. Fail, Legos. 

I am going to need to run to the fridge real quick. 

Okay. I cannot guarantee we are going to make it all the way through this sucker. If I make past the fifteen minute mark, I get a second glass of wine. (re. I will need a second glass of wine.) If I make it through the first hour - there are two - then I get to have the rest of that bottle of Absolute we've hidden in our freezer for the past year. Don't worry, it is only, like, 2 1/2 shots worth of vodka. I learned my 50 Shades of Alcohol lesson years ago (that's another story... let's put that on the To Blog list).

But we are going to give this our best shot. I know nothing about the movie. I know nothing about the story. I do know that it received a lot of worthy sounding criticism, that frankly sounded like the criticism aimed at another series with iffy portrayals of women and submission, Twilight.

I also know that there were a few articles about the lead actors and their tense working relationship. They hated each other? Or something? Fifty Shades I Am Directing At You? 

Be prepared, I am full of bad title related puns. Full of them. 

Okay, here we go. 

I kind of want to call one of my friends and brag about my selfless gesture. I'm not sure how impressed they would be. 

A record player and rock and roll? Oh wait, it's a trailer for that new series, Vinyl. That looks Fifty Shades of Awesome. 

Okay, revenge piano over the opening credits, and it's.... I Put A Spell On You. Is Dakota going to light the black flame candle? Is she??

Oh no, our lead lady is dressed like a lady going to work. What is she thinking? I always made sure sure to dress like romance novel cover business trixie whenever I wanted to be taken seriously. This is a good sign that this is introduction to our main character's flaws: 1. Not shouting at people. 2. Wearing sensible clothing. 

You guys, it was so nice of Mr Grey to hire not one, but four former Express models to do the job of one desk greeter. 

Anastasia. Anastasia. Anastasia STEEL. But really, I guess it could be worse. She could have one of those awful Baby Millennial names, like Mackenzie. Or Brynlee. Or Dakota...

We are 12 minutes in, and are only into about .05 Shades of Dialogue Inflection. 

CONGRATS movie. You got yourself a Person Of Color Friend. You even gave him not one, but three lines. Three. You are a beacon of casting diversity, clearly. 

Mr Gay Grey, do you require all your clothing to be douche casual fit? 

Oh wait, a suit. 

I don't understand what is happening. He bought some coveralls from her and now they have this Shakespearean chemistry? But seriously, they've exchanged 10 sentences, and half of them were about zip ties, and now she drunk calling him, and oh shit, now the POC friend just got all date rapey and her gay zip tie buddy is rescuing her from her drunken whore ways that she obtained when she put on all of that lip gloss that she told her friend was too much, It Was TOO MUCH!

But seriously. What is happening.

Glass Two. 

Um. I think... that he just told her he would give her anal sex hemorrhoids. I think that is what he just said.

Annnnnnnnnd we have arrived at my first legit spit take. It involved sex paperwork. And then Mr Sex Business shoving her against the wall of an elevator and giving the most epic line delivery ever of 

"Fuck the paperwork".

Seriously, youtube it, if you can. 

Okay, you know that kind of special performance you get from a not so talented actor who is trying to play it straight? Don't act like you don't know, because you do know. You absolutely know. I could be totally wrong about this guy, but I am going to say that I am totally right. Mr Grey indeed.

Yes, AnaStasia. When a grown man makes you sign a disclosure and invites you to his play room, he doesn't just expect you check out his collection of Grand Theft Auto games. Honey, you're looking at butt plugs. A whole lotta butt plugs. 

Bless her, she really does try to make the prospect of having a masochist bf with questionable sexuality an intriguing offer. 

I knew it! Mommy issues! Marcia Gay mommy issues. I have this movie all figured out. Mr Grey is indeed Mr Gay. I didn't watch The Lost Boys all those times so I couldn't pick up on less the subtle clues of repressed homosexuality for nothing. Hey, maybe the actor isn't actually gay. Maybe he is just a genius. 

Does Ana-Stasia have multiple apartments? She is the richest English Lit major, like, ever. She has the one place with her lady friend, and then some other place she just moved into... and now a place with Mr C? (I can't call him Mr Grey. I just can't. Plus calling him Mr C makes him sound like one of the adults from Happy Days, which makes this slightly more bearable.)

Oh, and here they are, right in the middle of the sexy business meeting. Butt. Plugs. 

Butt plugs and... Oh lord, You guys, I don't think I can do it. This movie is so very... tedious. I mean, it is not just bad. It is dull as all get out. The scenes are moving without an ounce of natural progression and these poor actors are stuck trying to breathe some kind of existing life into them. That is the real element of masochism in this film. 

With 9 1/2 Weeks, there was at least something for me to comment on, but there is absolutely nothing to work with in this Harlequin romance movie. The acting is bad, but not as bad as the directing, which isn't anywhere near as bad as the script. Has this given me a few genuine LOL moments? Absolutely. But this is some unholy mix of Skinemax meets Lifetime; A movie that kind of sort of wants to say something about the fine line of bullshit you walk upon when dealing with dominant/submissive relationships, but it simply doesn't have the balls to do so. Plus, I think it has some contractual agreement with Beyonce to make sure 65 % of the scenes are choreographed to the crappier segments of her musical library, so it's a soft core bonanza every five minutes. I just can't.

Wait. Wait wait wait. I just went into the kitchen to dig out the vodka and shame eat some cold pizza, and I come back to find the move is over. I mean, I know I took multiple secret interweb breaks while the movie was going on, but really?

What in the everloving fuck did I just watch?

I know that there are a few more books in the series - does that mean we are to expect more movies? And by we, I mean housewives with low self image. Because I am out. It's not that I don't get the appeal of this movie. I do get it. If you are a woman who has only seen yourself as valuable when you are seen as an object of possession (and confusing that with an object of obsession, though neither is really an attractive option here, gals), then of course this series would appeal to you. The same way Twilight appeals to young teens with no sense of what constitutes a kick ass, super romantic relationship built around respect.

This was rather disappointing, to say the least. Not because I anticipated anything other than a good old fashioned hate watch, but because I just couldn't wrap my brain around what I was seeing. I mean, it really did look like an old Stella sketch. The whole thing. Apparently the only directions the actors were given were: 

Dakota, act generally timid, okay? 

Other guy, you're totally misunderstood, got it? 

I have a really hard time blaming them for their shit bowl performances. Not that I think that they are good actors. Dakota may have a few more natural instincts than Mr Birdcage, but that is like saying that I am a better air hockey player than Mike. Yes, I royally and regularly mop the floor with his cute face, but it doesn't mean that I know how to play actual, honest to god hockey.

And the writing. Every few scenes, it was like they remembered that they had to give some kind of semblance of character development to create a narrative. But instead of letting the audience discover the secret lives of these two kids and what makes them all kooky about sex, they just had them come out and say it. Mr C was molested (though, actually, they didn't say it that way. It was phrased in a far more irresponsible way.) Dakota-Stasia was abandoned by both parents, sort of, but not really? I mean, it's not exceptionally clever detail work on the part of the writer, but at least it was something that they could have used to build far more interesting characters, instead of just having them mention their personal histories once before going back to spanking each other with miniature car wash brushes. 

I don't have much else to say about this movie, other than... I gave it a good shot. I hoped for some laughs, which I got. I also hoped for some comedic inspiration, or any kind of inspiration... but alas. Alas. 

I am happy to reenact some of the lines for you. Truly I am, because the deliveries are Lohan-esque. But that is something that will only work in person. This is why I am actor, not a writer.

Until we meet, please feel free to go check out the other S and M movie post. It's super fun, if you can find the film streaming on any channel. 

Or I can come and reenact some of lines from that movie as well. 

Fart the theme to Jaws. Do you hear me, Fifty Shades? That is what you were missing. Just a small moment to fart the them to Jaws. Or even the theme to Das Boot, I don't care. But if you don't make room for a little theme farting in your sexy pants movie, then brother, you ain't got a film worth watching.  

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