Fifty Shades of Grey

During the night, I heard the news about the death of Louis Jourdan. I will remember him for “Gigi,” “Swamp Thing,” and “Octopussy.” I went out to Safeway to buy some food. I skipped the strawberries because I didn’t like the color. I walked to Dollar Tree to buy more batteries. I had to look around for a battery for my guitar tuner. I got it at Walgreens. I took the bus over to the Grand Lake Theater to see “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It was the top-grossing movie of the weekend, so I was curious to see what it was like. On the way, I heard the news on the radio that Lesley Gore had died. I took a seat in the theater. I was tired and I fell asleep for about ten minutes before the movie started. Dakota Johnson, the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, was the star of the movie. She didn’t have the strongest personality on the screen, and she reminded me more of Sally Field than Melanie Griffith. Her character, Anastasia Steele, was an English literature major in college, and she interviews this young billionaire named Christian Grey for the campus newspaper. Christian Grey reminded me of Jim Harbaugh and Harry Hamlin. Anastasia catches his interest, and he pursues her aggressively. There was something wrong early on when he showed up at the hardware store where she worked and bought tape and rope. For such a young and driven person, Grey seemed to have too many distractions in his life to be a billionaire. With all the time he spend on the phone and computers hounding this girl, it seemed that his business would go down the toilet. It takes a while for the first sex scene to hit the screen, but from that point, we see quite a bit of Dakota’s bare breasts and ass. The erotic stuff was something like a blend of “9 ½ Weeks” and “Last Tango in Paris.” Christian had an area he called the playroom where he did these nasty weeks to fifteen women before Anastasia. I couldn’t see why he became so fixated on this girl. I also couldn’t see his interest in her lasting for very long. He had only a certain number of whips, handcuffs, leather pads, and peacock feathers. After a while, it’s got to get monotonous for him. How did this all seem too much of a female fantasy? Christian Grey had to be a very rich man, and he was only 27, an unlikely age for someone so rich. He takes her on a helicopter ride that brought to mind Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in “Superman.” He tries to impose a written contract on her, but she ends up changing him. Grey was supposed to be the dominant in the relationship, and Anastasia was to be the submissive. He never offers a clear reason for his behavior. He retreats by saying that it is just the way he is. Anastasia should have left this maniac the first time she got a look at his playroom. It shows that no one who studies English literature in college has the slightest bit of common sense. The movie is too tame for its content. It didn’t have the explicit scenes you might expect out of Nagisa Oshima or Klaus Kinski. This movie should have been really crazy, like what Pasolini might have made out of this material. Anastasia submits to certain acts, but she doesn’t really submit, so it looks like a victory for the woman. It’s nothing to celebrate, though. Anastasia tells Grey to subject her to the worst treatment to expect in the sex games in order for her to understand his motives. He whacks her on the ass six times, but it didn’t seem like the roughest treatment. I thought of Malcolm McDowell getting his punishment in “If…” and the kid in “Fanny and Alexander.” The movie was rather ridiculous and not erotic. It wasn’t quite as bad as I expected. I pictured something like “Showgirls.” It didn’t quite go into that outlandish territory. The ending was a letdown, giving the audience the feeling that nothing happened in the entire movie. Christian Grey has maybe become more human, and Anastasia has had a life lesson through some degrading experiences. I lean towards agreeing with those who have been calling for people to give their money to causes helping women rather than buying tickets for this movie. I don’t want to think about unrated version of this movie that may come out on Blu-ray in the coming months. The situation between Anastasia and Grey is unresolved at the end, while the audience was wanting something more than a set-up for a sequel. It’s incredible that so many people went to see this movie over the weekend. It seemed that everyone was duped into thinking that they would be seeing something worth their attention. I heard songs like “Beast of Burden,” “I’m on Fire,” and “Witchcraft” on the soundtrack. I took the bus back home. Suddenly, it was cold outside, and I wished that I had a sweater. After I got home, I walked over to the record store and bought a copy of The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul.” I watched another episode of The Big Bang Theory with Wil Wheaton. This time he was bowling. He was a devious person. The Twilight Zone was on at 9:30, and Agnes Moorehead was in the episode. I was sorry that I had to go back to work in the morning. Some of the people who died on February 17 include Geronimo (1902), Bruno Walter (1962), Thelonius Monk (1982), Lee Strasberg (1982), and Kathryn Grayson (2010). Today is a birthday for Michael Jordan (52), Lou Diamond Phillips (53), Rene Russo (61), Jim Brown (79), and Hal Holbrook (90). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 17, the Temptations released their first album without David Ruffin, “Cloud Nine,” in 1969. In 1984, “Footloose” was released. In 1989, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was released. Also in 1989, “The ‘Burbs,” with Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, and Bruce Dern, was released.

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