Tag Archives: fifty shades of grey

Lame Adventure 455: Fifty Shades of Estrogen

Last Friday, the thirteenth, I celebrated Valentine’s Day early, when my dear friend, the cinemaniac, Milton, treated me to the movie adaptation of E.L. James’ blockbuster novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of lip biting.

Fifty Shades of lip biting.

Neither of us had read these books, which have sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into 52 languages. Friends have declared that these three novels were terribly written; they’re rife with repetition and dripping with dull dialogue, the epitome of hackwork. Considering James’ wild success, Milton and I respect her achievement. She cranked out a trilogy at warp speed while I agonize over writing a single 790 word blog post for two days that’s destined to be read by 37 people, a beagle and two cats.

My boss, Elspeth, read all three volumes on her Kindle, but she mis-downloaded the third installment, Fifty Shades Freed. She was halfway through reading about a battleship, or possibly it was a paint catalogue, when she noticed that the writing had improved significantly. Eventually, she wondered what happened to the protagonists, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and why was it taking so long for another sex scene?

Milton and I kept our expectations for the film low, at bottom of the ocean level. He was hoping that it would be a campy movie pleasure like his favorite, Valley of the Dolls. My preferred trashy film is Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! When I told him that Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, and her grandmother is Tippi Hedren, he began fearing the worst, including that I might reconsider joining him. I remained committed, so off we went to the AMC multiplex on the Upper West Side.

Milton holding our tickets.

Milton holding our tickets.

When we arrived at the theater about an hour before show time, the line was so long, we had to wait in a second line in the lobby outside the entrance. The vast majority were women in their twenties through forties who had come in packs. There were literally herds of women. Standing directly in front of us was a married couple in their seventies prompting Milton to suggest sotto voce:

Milton: There are some nipple clamps in her future.

When we were admitted entry into the theater, a cavernous space that filled quickly, we were able to score excellent seats in the center section. Late arrivals appeared stunned that the theater was jam packed. Apparently, these lunkheads missed the memo that the film of an insanely popular sadomasochistic love story on opening weekend is a crowd-magnet. The energy in the room was pure electricity and female hormones. Milton was the only male, not only in our row, but in the row behind us as well as in front of us. He observed the ladies:

Milton: They’re just so excited about being beaten up!

The ads prior to the start of the film were for Revlon and other products that were geared directly for this audience. The marketing was brilliantly calculated. Most of the trailers were dreadful, but we enjoyed the one for a Judd Apatow comedy due out in summer called Trainwreck.

As for the film, which has garnered predominantly negative reviews, we thought that both leads, an Irish actor named Jamie Dornan, who plays the billionaire boy wonder with a helicopter, hang glider and flogger, Christian Grey, and the aforementioned Dakota Johnson, shared chemistry. Both had genuine charm, but Milton had the impression that Dornan was struggling to suppress his Irish accent throughout. The pacing was long. It could have easily been cut by half an hour. The screenwriter, Kelly Marcel, did a decent job eliminating much of the horrendous dialogue in the book. There was genuine tongue-in-cheek humor throughout. But our loudest laugh was at a line uttered in sheer torment that is a play on the series title. That bit of dialogue was unintentionally hilarious.

Our biggest criticism, other than the slow pacing, was the big build up sex scene that takes forever to arrive where Christian unleashes his dominant side. He’s been yammering about his kink for two hours of film time or maybe it was two days in real time. When it finally happens, it’s so bland. I thought:

Me: He’s got a red room packed with tools of torture, why’s he practicing T’ai Chi on her with a feather duster? Huh?

Milton surmised:

Milton: It’s the Madonna of movies: it promises a lot but delivers nothing.

We left in silence until Milton declared:

Milton: I can’t think of anything more boring than straight white woman fantasy.

There are many pretty grey silk ties like this one.

There are many grey silk ties.

It’s on track to take in $500 million at the box office worldwide. That’s a lot of green.

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Lame Adventure 322: Cake Chaos

Whenever someone’s birthday rolls around at my company we have a cake.  In departments other than mine, where quantity steamrolls quality in appeal, it’s often a mammoth-sized confection of a dense cheese variety topped with gelatinous uniformly sized strawberries that I suspect are manufactured by Dow Chemical.  Our showroom manager, Coco, refers to these cakes in two words:

Coco: Colon cleanse.

Any cake that can double as colonoscopy prep is not welcome in my department, Design.  In general we prefer delightful treats in bite sized-portions.  I’m thinking that next year I might request a cake so small and luxurious that my sidekick, Greg, will be assigned to stand next to me to hold my candle.  That’s another rule of Cake in Design.  The candle is limited to one.  This probably has more to do with my boss Elsbeth and I being a combined 833 in dog years.  We share a mutual disinclination to blow out a forest fire of eyebrow singeing flames.

This week my buddy and colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) celebrated her natal date.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) told me that she didn’t want a cake and was more in the mood for a fruit tart.

Me: Could you go for a raspberry tart?

How about a raspberry tart like this one decorated with a single candle?

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Yes.  And don’t worry I’ll act completely surprised like I had no idea it was coming when you guys give it to me.

Me: Possibly you could appear so shocked, you could fake fainting?

I called Le Pain Quotidien and special ordered a seven-inch raspberry tart for my colleague.  Elsbeth gave me the payment in cash.  Greg, who does all the heavy lifting including that of 14 ounce tarts, picked it up. Then, we had to come up with the latest harebrained ruse so (not) Under Ling (anymore) could feign surprise.

Elsbeth sent her to the photo room to take a photograph.  I had the bright idea that if we sent our unpaid Summer Intern to the photo room to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) this might take our veteran staffer off the scent for a nanosecond.  Elsbeth thought that was brilliant.  The boss gave Greg, who was working in our warehouse, the universal hand signal screaming one of two things, “Yes, I have read all three installments of the Fifty Shades of Grey series” and “Get your ass in here now!”  I lighted the candle on the cake and ordered Our Summer Intern:

Me:  Okay, go now — get her!

Greg raced into our office as our Summer Intern raced out.  Elsbeth, Greg and I  waited.  And waited.  We were approaching a ten count when our superior spoke:

Elsbeth:  Where did our Summer Intern go?

Greg:  Wasn’t she just supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore)?

Annoyed, I left our office, and thoroughly scoured our warehouse for our missing  Summer Intern.  She was either expertly hiding from me, or she instantly found a paying gig, or she was living my fantasy i.e., she walked out the door and just keep going.  I returned to our office intern-less with this report to my waiting Superior.

Me: I don’t know where she went.

Elsbeth: You took so long I thought you went missing!

Greg:  Like an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Everyone who steps out to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) disappears!

[insert beat]

Elsbeth (to me):  Just get (not) Under Ling (anymore).

I visit (not) Under Ling (anymore) in the photo room, and lamely say:

Me: Elsbeth wants the camera back.  Now.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) (muttering to self):  Finally, I get my cake!

We eat the cake baffled over what happened to our Summer Intern, but not that baffled that we sent out another search posse.

Picture perfect slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for herself.

Mangled slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for me.

My phone rings.  It’s Coco’s extension:

Coco:  Your Summer Intern wants to know if she can come back upstairs now?

Me:  Was she down there with you all this time?

Coco: Yeah.  What the hell’s going on with you guys?

Me:  She was supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) – not visit you!

In response to Elsbeth asking me what happened to our missing Summer Intern I calmly explain to my superior that there was a miscommunication.

Then I popped my fork through my plate.

Stabbed plate held by Elsbeth.