50 Shades of Grey

Let me start with something positive.  That's a nice looking tie.  And now that all the pleasantries are done, I'm going to try not to be to harsh, so let me begin with a simple definition:

: not intelligent : having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things
: not sensible or logical
: not able to think normally because you are drunk, tired, etc.

That's right.  The word you're looking for is - stupid.  So VERY stupid - and I don’t just mean the movie.  The world is stupid.  On some level we all knew this movie would suck. (Actually, there really wasn’t that much of that in this flick either.) We knew it and still we flocked to theaters in great big sellout crowds to see it, defying all logic, normal thought, and ability to understand.  The world is a great bastion of voyeuristic morons; me included.  If only the world were collectively drunk... well, we’d still be pretty stupid, but at least it would be excusable that we spent over $260M in the first four days on a movie that was obviously a niche soft porn film at-best.  50 Shades of Grey did the impossible; it made me lose respect for myself.  Sure, I have enough to spare, but a loss of any self-respect for watching this movie is entirely too great a loss.

Puns like ‘whorrible’ and ‘whorrid’ are inescapable.  But, since I have a modicum of respect for whores - it being the oldest profession and all - it would be a disservice to all things whore-ish for me to use such terms to describe this flick.  Put plainly - 50 Shades is pretty damned bad.  Start to finish.  Bad concept.  Bad script.  Bad casting (despite having never read the books).  The best thing about the movie is being a producer.  It cost about $40M to make and that investment was quadrupled in the first four days of its release.


Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy, Destricted) - Director
Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) - Writers
E.L. James (50 Shades trilogy) - Source Writer
Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street, The Five Year Engagement) - Anastasia Steele
Jamie Dornan (Marie Antoinette, TV’s Once Upon a Time) - Christian Grey
Eloise Mumford (In the Blood) - Kate
Max Martini (Pacific Rim, Sabotage) - Taylor
Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Into the Wild) - Mrs. Grey


Christian Grey (Dornan) is a young billionaire with a freaky sneaky secret. He meets Anastasia Steele (Johnson), a graduating senior from blah-blah liberal arts college - of course she has a 4.0 and is an English Literature major who happens to be a hopeless romantic and a virgin.  I’ll pause there and let the absurdity hit you... virgin in her senior year in Portland or Vancouver, Washington?  What the hell else are they doing in Portland/Vancouver besides drankin, smoking, and the niggityniggitynasty?  Looking for glittery-shimmery vampires?  Let’s be honest - by her sophomore year that virginity would’ve been about as nonexistent as a Kim Kardashian’s love of white dudes (or Ray J’s manhood, whichever).

ASIDE: I tried to read the sample of this book and it irked me sumthin’ awful.  EL James is English, so I foolishly expected her english and grammar skills to be better than a fifth grader.  SMDH!  50 Shades was nothing short of visual masochism with no safe words.  At least Anastasia got a damned car and a dope pad.  What did moviegoers get for our submission - 15 bucks lighter in the wallet and time-raped (I know that’s crass, but time-despoiled doesn’t have the same flow given the content of this movie).

Here’s the problem with the premise... this story is not a love story.  I would throw down good paper that says any woman who would subject herself to this kind of emotional and physical abuse isn’t going to do it for a dude that makes $75K a year even if he, unlike Grey, is emotionally available - the whole love thing falls apart because it is romanticization of finances.  She’s blown away by his bread and prestige, not by him.  Hell, she doesn’t even know him AFTER he gets the cookie.  I don’t have a clue if he loses everything in the books, but if he does, it doesn’t matter...  Anastasia doesn’t set foot in this cat’s creepy a$$ soundproof BDSM den if he was a teacher, garbage man, bus driver, cop, or firefighter (well, maybe the last one - I hear firefighters get all kinds of strange).

The movie lacked depth and had zero intrigue.  The dialogue was sub-sophomoric.  And although I was silently screaming for this woman to sign the damned contract already, the sheer volume of questions volleyed back and forth between the characters created negative dramatic tension.  Plus, the chemistry between Grey and Steele was almost completely imperceptible. Even post-coitus, it looked like they were on an awkward first date.  They looked like two young actors trying hard to find their motivation.  On the bright side, there was a such dearth of action that I almost fell into a much needed deep sleep during the Savannah, Georgia segment.

Dakota Johnson was good in her tiny piece of the Social Network.  She was memorable and I still think she has a career ahead of her despite this unfortunate yet financially successful film.  Dornan... I dunno his work outside of this, so I can't speak to it.  But I hope the next one is better written, and they find a stronger director.  Maybe holla at Jane Campion, Ava DuVernay, or if you want to go a bit more artsy/graphic - David Lynch, Mira Nair, Ang Lee, or Catherine Breillat.

SUGGESTIONS:  Next time, make your movie at least as compelling as the concession stand advertisements.  Also, if it is going to be soft core porn, make that joint NC17 - maybe that would have appeased the readers and pervs alike.  I’ll still pass.  RED (that’s the safe word, right).

POSTSCRIPT - Shout out to Charlie Hunnam for wisely rethinking this role and backing out.  Huge box office success but you're better than that script and novel.  Good man.

IMTHATDUDE gives 50 Shades of Grey: 1


5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.