Bound to torture
I went to see Fifty Shades Freed, the third, supposedly final and treacherously fatal cinematic blow of the Fifty Shades franchise. Hoping to keep a low profile I saw it on a Sunday morning. I was, of course, the only single guy sitting in a dark theater with couples of varying ages, primed for groping and sloppy, in-theater fellatio. (Hey, we all know what happens at these damn Fifty Shades screenings!)
So, this is the one where the protagonists Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) get married, creating an eternal bond for their patented strain of lovemaking that involves whips, handcuffs and shit dialogue.
When I sat down to take this fart to the face, I was thinking, “Say, you know what I want with my miserable, dick-killing softcore porn? Give me some car chases and kidnapping drama!” Actually, I wasn’t really thinking that. I was thinking something more along the lines of, “Help me. Help me, please. I want to go home. I want to go home now.”
I didn’t see Fifty Shades Darker, the Empire Strikes Back of the Fifty Shades trilogy. As I recall, I had a hangnail the week it came out, and my physician told me that extensive staring at Dornan’s naked ass and constantly changing facial hair would exacerbate it, so I took a pass. I did see the first one, Fifty Shades of Grey, an experience that had an adverse, lasting effect on my thyroid and circulatory system.
Apparently, in that “I’m sure it was just scintillating” second chapter, some character named Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) was stirring up crap. He returns in this movie all cardboard-cutout angry at Anastasia for whatever she did in part two. (Whatever that was, I’m sure it consisted of her droning in whiny, bored tones.) He follows her around, at one point orchestrating a car chase between Anastasia’s brand new Audi and a Dodge Durango. Who do you think won that race?
While there is supposed to be a plot, Fifty Shades Freed is really just an assemblage of asinine, soul-decimating moments that leave a bad taste in your entire body. Here’s a quick starter list of some of the things Fifty Shades Freed totally ruined for me: Seattle, Audis, Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Dornan sits down at a piano to sing this in a true WTF moment), David Bowie’s “Young Americans” (I heard it playing while Anastasia and Christian were eating steak), steak, butt plugs (actually, kind of OK having this one ruined for me), Dodge Durangos, Aspen, women, men, Mickey Mouse (He’s on my watch face, which I was constantly checking), Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith (they are Dakota Johnson’s parents, and I’m holding them personally responsible.), the color red, sexy architects, sonograms, and the English language.
The movie is set in Seattle. I wanted Mount Rainier—that gigantic, nasty looking, long-dormant volcano—to erupt. This franchise is selling a gazillion dollars in tickets. Surely, they could’ve spent an extra hundred million for a volcanic eruption sequence where Christian and Anastasia get buried in molten lava while playing with vibrators in their torture room. I would’ve upgraded my popcorn rating to a fair for that.
The movie is directed by James Foley, who helmed such classics as At Close Range and, for Christ’s sake, Glengarry Glen Ross. Let’s put this in perspective, the guy directed the Alec Baldwin “Brass Balls” speech, and now he’s directing Seattle-based butt plug mayhem. Oh, wait, check that, he also directed Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl,” so the seeds of suck were planted in the late ’80s. The bastard has come full circle.
Anastasia and Christian have a safe word, “red,” when things get out of hand in their little bondage palace nightmare. From now on, I will have a movie safe word. I think it shall be “jaws,” and I will repeat it aloud when I want a movie to stop. As for Fifty Shades Freed? “Jaws! … Jaws! … Jaws! … Oh, god, jaws! … Jaws!”