Men Named Gray: A Rant

I was preparing to write the film review for next Friday (which is 9 1/2 Weeks) and went to Wikipedia to find the names of the characters, because I can never remember those.

And what’s Mickey Rourke’s character’s name? John Gray.

'ANOTHER top named "Gray"?! HMPH' (credit)

‘ANOTHER top named “Gray”?! HMPH’ (credit)

And that was it.

That was the last Gray/Grey I could take.

I’m working on an essay about the theme of dominance in The Picture of Dorian Gray. So there’s one. Though I’ll forgive that one because it’s Oscar Wilde and that book is AMAZING.

Then, recently I reviewed Alasdair Gray’s Something Leather, which wasn’t all that wonderful, unfortunately. I’d read that the book had something to do with lesbians into kinky sex and was intrigued, then saw the author’s name and thought, ‘Another Gray? They’re everywhere.’ But at least he’s an actual human and can’t help his surname.

It all started with that book and film, though Christian’s name is spelled like the colour, with an ‘e’.

Many years before, I’d seen and loved Secretary, but had forgotten the lawyer’s name was E. Edward Grey until a recent re-watch. That character didn’t have a name in the original short story–he was just called ‘the lawyer’–so I wonder why they chose that name when adapting it. They didn’t say in the DVD commentary.

Then, today. 9 1/2 Weeks and John Gray is one of the main characters.

Is it because I’m just now noticing it and so it’s everywhere? Was one (or more) of these characters an homage to the others so it was on purpose?

I’m letting Alasdair Gray off the hook, but the fictional characters are all men out to corrupt innocent people. Or to show them the darker sides of their nature. Dorian Gray and E. Edward Grey both only show people parts of themselves that are already there. John Gray and Manipulative Abuser take people down roads they don’t necessarily want to go down.

Are they named Gray because they represent moral grey areas and every single one of those authors was just that unimaginative?

Either way, fifty shades of shut the fuck up with that name, already.

Losing my mind

The Pervocracy and Fifty Shades of Grey

I feel you, man.

I feel you, man.

So after watching that film about the psychopath abuser who uses BDSM as an excuse to beat women (and hearing someone who’d read the book that the source character was even worse) I wanted to read the books.

But I didn’t want to actually ‘read’ the book.

Luckily, Cliff Pervocracy took on the job of summing up the book chapter-by-chapter.

Cliff writes about his experiences in the BDSM community. He also lived in Seattle, so he’s able to note every mistake in every way about everything in this book. [Though even I know Vancouver is north of Portland and the farthest west I’ve been in the U.S. is Texas.]

Each chapter has trigger warnings and quotes for some of the most egregious errors whether they be of the geographical, grammatical or BDSM variety.

Unfortunately, the last update was Chapter 25 (the first book has 26 chapters) and was posted in December 2014. I was really hoping to be able to read all three books this way. So I hope Cliff is all right and he gets back to reading and commenting soon.

One of the best parts (and every summation made me laugh out loud) was that Cliff used the manly name generator rather than ever call the character Christian Grey. So there were lots of Dick IronPec and Slab CrumpleCrunch and Buck LargeBoom.

The index for what’s available is here. The last couple of chapters aren’t linked there, but you can find them on the home page.

If you know of another site that has useful summaries of each chapter of the books with notes about incorrect BDSM and just generally taking the piss please leave a comment.

The Worst Thing About Watching FSoG

Sundays are free-for-all days. You get what you get. Sort of a kinky pick-n-mix.

Like so but whips, chains, cuffs, floggers, etc.

Like so but whips, chains, cuffs, floggers, etc.

This week is about the worst, most embarrassing thing about watching Fifty Shades of Grey.

My first film post was about FSoG.

Originally I had sworn to all the gods to keep well away from that Grey fellow and his trilogy of abuse, but eventually morbid curiosity got the better of me. The plan was to live tweet it then I remembered I wasn’t a sadist.

I wanted to watch it, but wasn’t going to give them money. So I torrented it.

The following day I received an email from my ISP saying: Don’t do that! That’s illegal. The company that makes this thing makes us tell you that!

Now, this is not exactly the first piece of media I’ve acquired in this fashion.

It is, however, the first time I’ve received an email.

So now I’m wondering if so many people are torrenting it rather than paying that the company has issued this copyright complaint.

That should tell you something, filmmakers. People are curious about your p.o.s., but they don’t want to give you money, because then you may make more.

I’ll look at the train wreck, since it’s already happened; but I’m not going to derail an entire other train just to see another train wreck.

The worst thing about watching FSoG is that now my ISP knows I watched it. I feel so dirty. And not in a good way.

I want to send them a note saying, ‘I’m better than this.’

Thoughts on the Film Fifty Shades of Grey

Fridays will be film reviews when I have films to review. Recommendations are welcome.

To get it out of the way, this week I’m doing Fifty Shades of Grey. I did not read the book nor do I plan to so this is new to me other than what I’ve heard from everyone, everywhere.

Future reviews will be more critical/serious, but this one is going to be my thoughts as I watched it. Just stream-of-conscious, blarf it out because I refuse to spend any more brain energy than simply watching it required.

I should also note that my copy fell onto my computer from the internet, as I didn’t want to encourage the film-makers to make another one and my copy had been edited so I can’t fully trash evaluate some scenes. Those have been noted.

But on to my thoughts.

Oh yeah, and I'm using Lego versions of scenes for illustrations because why wouldn't I?

Oh yeah, and I’m using Lego versions of scenes for illustrations because why wouldn’t I?

Oh man. Don’t mess up a song I like by using it in this movie. (I Put a Spell on You)

Marcia Gay Harden’s in this?

The obligatory ‘awkward girl trips’ thing. Christ.

Why would someone send an English lit major to do an important interview? This makes no sense.

She didn’t bring anything to write with?

This girl is an idiot. And her name is stupid.

This guy looks like he’s about 12. And from the 80s.

‘I don’t know enough about it.’ You don’t know enough about anything.

Christ. She’s already talking about his heart. And he’s saying he doesn’t have a heart.

OH GOD. He was adopted.

PFFT Are you gay.

I can’t get over that her name is Anastasia Steele. What is this?

Halfway through this scene, which is the first scene and I hate the both of them.

Was the saying each other’s names thing supposed to be profound.

The interview.

The interview.

‘Holy cow.’

She said ‘holy cow.’
Jesus Christ on the cross.

She describes him to her roommate and he sounds like Hannibal Lecter. I’d rather spend time with Lecter, though.

And we have a lip bite.

And another one. This time with one of his hard…long…pencils near her mouth. This storytelling is subtle.

This dude that just showed up, is he supposed to represent her ‘normal’ option?

She works at a hardware store. And she helps him buy a serial killer kit.

I was thinking the music was Harry Potter like then I remembered—Danny Elfman. Whimsical.

Cocky man is cocky.

Oh god. She’s got a case of the Tragedy, as well. Of course.

I study English lit, too. I ain’t no romantic.

Forced Touching. It is Meant-to-Be.
[My husband scoffed loudly and said: There is NO chemistry here!]

More chemistry in the plastic version

There’s more chemistry in the plastic version

What time machine did they use to find that phone?

‘Have you been drinking?’ Like he’s her father and she’s not an adult and they haven’t known each other all of three days.

The physical comedy in this is killing me. If only I had a laugh track.

Every time someone says, ‘Anastasia’ I want to scream.

‘Better than I deserve.’ Oh, what a martyr.

There are probably people who think this dialogue is laugh out loud funny. I can see where the laughs are supposed to be.

‘You’re here because I’m incapable of leaving you alone.’
‘Then don’t.’ Stalk me. Treat me like an object. A child. An idiot. I am Bella Swan and you are Edward. What do you mean Twilight doesn’t exist in this universe?

This dude is supposed to be Master of the Universe Domly Dom, always in control but this…girl is his weakness? Believable.

STOP PUTTING RANDOM SHIT BY YOUR MOUTH. It’s unhygenic. That price gun thing is probably covered in germs.

He's probably qualified to fly an RC Lego helicopter.

He’s probably qualified to fly an RC Lego helicopter.

He can fly a helicopter? How many hours are required to get your license for that? How old is this person? And he runs a business?

Finally, something that doesn’t make me cringe. That is one sweet apartment.

Pretty sure that NDA isn’t legal…

His playroom is cool as fuck. Too bad he’s in it.

Dear Lego, if you made one, we would buy one.

Dear Lego, if you made one, we would buy one.

‘I’d get you out of this arrangement?’ Bro. You are not that great. Not even close.

At the revelation that she’s a virgin my husband laughed out loud.

Yes, Christian, she is biting her lip. That’s all she does.

Yes, Anastasia, you are a situation. Not unlike a natural disaster. Send in FEMA.

Sooooo… He says ‘I will not touch you without your written agreement.’ Then roughly thirty-five seconds later he’s calling her virginity a ‘situation’ and carrying her off to de-virginify her.

Like so.

Like so.

She hadn’t agreed to anything in writing … or otherwise. She just kinda… let him.

The version we’re watching may have cuts or something—the sex scene seems choppy. Whatever. It’s too long as it is.

And now they’re ruining a Rolling Stones song.

Nice tub. (That’s not sarcasm–it’s an actual nice thing. Christian has nice material possessions.)

Marcia Gay Hardin saves the day.
The guy that came in with her made my husband say, ‘Oh God. He was in Pacific Rim.’ That’s my husband’s favourite film. I believe my husband feels he’s been let down by that actor.

They make out in an some point. Look, Legos making out!

They make out in an elevator…at some point. Look, Legos making out!

Anastasia’s room, though, DAMN. Get me some bookshelves in there and yes.

FIFTEEN?! Dude. You’re twelve years old. How old were you when you started this and how long do you usually keep a woman? When do you find time to not-run your business and learn to fly your helicopter.

Oh, there we go. He was a submissive from 15 until he was 21.

Here’s the contract. Some of his terms are a little no…

So… she said no and he just showed up?

Again our copy is choppy on the sex scene.

The Danny Elfman music is so quirky. ‘We’re so kinky, it’s BDSM! Tra la la la la!’

The negotiation scene is the best scene thus far, but how does this girl not know what the fuck a butt plug is. And suspension is a turn off? Okay. There’s no fire play? Mummification? Blood play? This is some vanilla BDSM.

Is this scene supposed to be hot now? Is that what’s supposed to be happening?
Oh another lip bite.

I can't recall when this scene happened, but the Lego bed is mussed! Genius!

I can’t recall when this scene happened, but the Lego bed is mussed! Genius!

He’s speaking at her university now? Um. Oh right. That’s why she was talking to him in the first place a hundred and ten years ago when this abomination started.

He spanked her then left? Aftercare? Something? Hello?

They go to his playroom and my copy is choppy again… what are we missing?

Wow, this scene I can’t even review because it’s been edited to death by whatever back alley coathanger abortion doctor got this for us. I like this version of Crazy in Love, though.

Christians: ‘If you’d just sign the contract you wouldn’t have to think. Stop thinking! Doesn’t it hurt to think so much?’
Anna: ‘Don’t you like me how I am? Then why are you trying to change me?’
Christian: ‘DITTO, ANNA, DITTO!’
Me: Um… she still hasn’t signed the contract and you’ve done some quite heavy play… What happened to not touching her without her written consent?

‘My life was tragic. It was so, so tragic. I am wounded. The woman who gave birth to me has addicted to crack and was a whore and lived in a hole in the ground that was in a tree trunk in a mine. We were regularly beaten by the tree elfs. It was terrible. Please, just do everything I ask and let me be a sociopath. For I am now hot and wealthy.’

Naked Lego back!

Naked Lego back!

Now he’s going to fly a plane. And how many hours does it take to be able to fly one of these? What is this horseshit.

And another scene in the playroom that’s choppy as hell for me. (Still haven’t signed the contract.)

‘Why won’t you let me in?’
Because you talk too much.
But also, he’s been completely straightforward right from the start about what he wants.

Okay. The fact that she never wants to be punished and that he never wants romance = they should not be together at all. Be grown ups and just walk away because you can’t be happy.

‘I’m fifty shades of fucked up.’
Really. That is stupid and makes no sense, but it’s still true.

The only way you can understand is if he goes Patrick Bateman on you?

No! She’s not everything that you want because everything you want would be her but also someone who wants to look like raw bacon.

And whomever edited my copy couldn’t deal with vanilla sex or mild BDSM, but hardcore whipping with a razor-strap (done dangerously incorrectly) is a-okay and requires no editing. Right.

Oh, look, it’s a bookend. She gets in an elevator and they say one another’s names at the end just like the first day they met. Storytelling!

Also: It’s pouring rain during the two big transformative moments in their lives. When they meet and when they ‘break up’. In literature falling into water or being in water can be a baptism from one life to another. Were they that clever or was it just cinematic? I’m going with heavy-handed ‘rain is like tears!’

To say something positive: Christian’s possessions were NICE. And the music I hadn’t heard before was good. See. I can be positive.

Thank you for reading. I promise all other film reviews will be about…other films. And actual reviews.