Wednesday, July 30, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 21 part 1


Here's a thing that's nice for me, even in the midst of reading this terrible book: It looks to me as though, somehow, there are people even now finding this blog and starting to read this mess from the very beginning. Thanks! Extremely satisfying to see that even this week, some of the most-clicked essays at The Complainist are the first couple chapters of the first book. Thanks! It's almost enough to keep me going straight into the third book with no break! But not enough. I really, really need a break. But I can at least get to the end of these last couple chapters. I know I can probably!

Our story thus far:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finally! The trailer you've been waiting for!

I watched it, so you don't have to. Watch it if you want to.

Everything looks awfully accurate, which is too bad, but makes sense. The producers took a look at the numbers and saw that a hundred billion people read the book, so they concluded that there was no logical reason to try to make a movie that would speak to anyone besides committed fans. So they made a movie for committed fans.

I do predict that this movie is going to be better than the book, even though the trailer is pretty bland. Why? Well, I'll tell you. The first thing is that we'll be missing one of the book's biggest drawbacks: unbearably dum narration. Not having to be in Ana's head for two hours will make the movie goddamn delightful in comparison to the book. Oh that leads me to the second good thing about the movie: it's probably two hours long, and it took me a lot longer to read the book. So points for the book!

The only thing present in the trailer that's not part of the book is the shot of CG jogging. The book is so, so talky, and so static, so it makes sense to me that the director was desperate to find some moments where people actually move around besides when they're doing sex. The only time anyone ever moves around in the books is during sex, and you can't put all that much sex into an all-audiences trailer. That's also, I expect, the reason the helicopter and the glider are in the trailer. Both suggest people going somewhere and doing a thing, even though careful readers will note that these are both completely pointless elements. I guess they actually go somewhere in the helicopter but the glider? The chapter featuring the glider is the most pointless in the entire book. It's like a rich-people version of playing miniature golf. Twenty pages of CG and Ana playing putt-putt would've made every bit as much sense.

But yeah- the book is made up exclusively of conversations and sex. The trailer is mostly conversations, with some attempt to make things seem dramatic, but I think the trailer makes plain the book's biggest problem: nothing actually happens.

The trailer does have one huge thing going for it, of course, and that's the next-level great new version of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love." Right? I mean, can I buy that single yet? Like, it's legit so good that you can almost enjoy the trailer if you just don't watch it and listen to it instead and try not to listen to any of the voice of people talking. It's so good that if, somehow? The movie just had Beyonce sounding like that playing the whole time? Or whatever. Just that song on loop for two hours? ALL THE OSCARS.

But in real life that's a four-minute song and they probably won't even use all four minutes of it in the actual film. Hence, no matter what you think of this trailer, you must must agree that the actual movie will be garbage in comparison, because it will have lots of non-Beyonce parts, and the non-Beyonce parts are just going to make you angry.

Am I overstating this? Perhaps! I'm probably drunk (Editor's note: he probably is, sure, but not in a legal sense.) and more important, this terrible book just makes me desperate to enjoy things. The book itself makes me miserable, and the trailer itself is just kinda bland, so anything that's actually good is going to look so good in comparison.

I think, though, that the song itself kind of points out some of the problems with the book, which are likely going to translate into problems with the film.

CG says something like "I exercise restraint in all things," which isn't really true. He's not restrained so much as calculating and cold. So I feel like the trailer is kind of trying to suggest a romance where a couple of characters are "crazy in love" OH SHIT LIKE THAT SONG CALLED THAT! but that isn't really what happens. I guess Ana kinda gets swept up in things kinda? But not really. It's more like "sociopath in love" and that's why the only way to make this movie truly accurately would really be to cast Benedict Cumberbatch and for the director to say, "Hey just pretend you're still playing Sherlock and just do whatever he would do if he were rich and liked to spank people."

But really, you know that part in the trailer where they kiss in an elevator or whatever? That's right after CG says the famous line, "Fuck the paperwork." As in, he kisses her without first having her fill out certain bits of paperwork. That's how crazy in love he is: he kisses a lady who wants to kiss him without having her sign any forms first. This is not a story about two people getting swept away in an intense romance. It's the story of a guy who's a real asshole slowly bullying a woman into doing whatever he wants. The director is wise, though, and is trying to play up the parts that suggest "swept away" and downplaying the whole "sociopath" angle just a little bit.


I should start a kickstarter. "Send me to see 50 Shades so I can blog about it!" I could probably raise twelve bucks, right? Some of you would throw in a quarter, right? I'm sure you would! Sure you would!

Maybe I should just buy the Beyonce single and pretend I'm watching the movie. That'd be cheaper! And also way better.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 20

Yes, you're right:

I'm having a hard time finishing this. Each chapter is getting just a little more difficult because each chapter is getting just a little more worse and more painful. If, somehow, I were reading this for not particular reason other than, I don't know, to punish myself or something, I would quit here. There's no book left. There's no story left. So I'd just say, "Look, book. I get you. I've read enough." And then I would put it down and never pick it up again. Ooh or maybe I'd leave it in the bathroom as a sort of conversation starter, for anyone who steps into my bathroom. And when people asked me if I'd finished it, I would say "yes" and not even feel guilty about the fact that there were a couple of chapters at the end that I'd skipped. Because I've finished it. Let's be real. And if you've been reading along? You've finished it too, in your way.

Let's get through this last little bit, though. We are completists, not just complainists. And so we shall continue.

The primary crimes of this book, I would say, are twofold:

1. Total lack of shape. Or, rather, it has a shape but the shape isn't compelling. It has three "acts" kinda, but not in the conventional sense. I just mean it has three bits that are smooshed together into a single book. We get 1) the part at the beginning where Leila is a big problem, then 2) the middle part where Jack is a big problem and 3) this pre-wedding part at the end that's pretty terrible and features a helicopter crash because I don't know I guess because something had to happen and that's what EL decided to have happen?

2. Everything that happens in this book already happened in the previous book. It's exactly like a big Hollywood sequel where the actors are just kind of hitting the same marks as they did in the previous movie, but with more budget. Likewise, many of the false conflicts in 2 are just sort of "bigger" versions of shit from 1. Examples:

    • 1: CG pesters Ana to sign sex contract. 2: CG pesters Ana to marry him.
    • 1: Ana says no, but José persists. 2: Ana is nearly assaulted by Jack.
    • 1: CG buys Ana a car. 2: CG buys Ana a different car. 
    • 1: Ana is prescribed contraceptives. 2: Ana is prescribed different contraceptives. 
These are just the ones that are easy to remember and pop into my mind quickly. I am confident there are more. What's worse is that often, the characters say something along the lines of, "Oh just like last time" as they are repeating themselves. They know that they're just doing the same shit, which means the author knows she's just writing the same shit, and yet she persists in doing it to us anyway. Ugh. 

I'm not sure if it's just the cumulative effect of the two books that's weighing me down further, but I'm pretty sure, now that we're so close to the end, that book 2 is a lot worse than book 1. Book 1 is similarly shapeless and contrived and dum, but at least it follows a certain kind of arc. There is some sense of momentum as we approach the end and the 'final' conflict between Ana and CG. This is not much praise; what I'm basically saying is that book 1 is better than book 2 because book 1 at least kinda sorta kinda feels like an actual book, at least in comparison to its sequel, which is just a bunch of different bullshit happening for no reason. 

I guess I should repeat a version of a warning that I've warned earlier: don't read these books. And if you should happen to read the first book somehow, DO NO read the second book because it's bullshit and I hate it and you will too. I mean, unless you're into that kind of thing, and if you are, you probably aren't reading this blog anyway and so I'm not talking to you anyway so ugh leave me alone already geez.

But I am talking to you so let's get caught up with our backstory, shall we?

Our story thus far:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 19

Everything is fine and they're going to get married.

I apologize for the lateness and everything.

I went on vacation and I'm all jetlagged kind of sort of, or at least lately I can't stay up until 2 like I usually do so this didn't quite get posted Tuesday morning like I planned. TRAGIC! I am sure that totally ruined your day. But at least you get to read it Wednesday instead! It can fix your Wednesday after I ruined your Tuesday so it all kind of evens out, right? Kinda? Maybe?

Whatever. This is a short chapter so let's get right to it!

Our story thus far:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fifty Shades Shadier: Chapter 18 part 2

I rushed through the last one because of the World Cup and I'm rushing through this next one because I'm going on vacation and I'll be in an entirely different country by the time this is posted. But really, the really-real reason I keep rushing through these is that this book is terrible and increasingly difficult to deal with. It almost managed a little bit of plot earlier--some of the bits with Leila and Elena introduced some legitimate tension into the first third or so. But those situations have all been seemingly dealt with handily, so we're just left to wait for Ana to decide if she'll  marry Christian. EL does introduce some new bullshit at the very end of this chapter, but I'm sure that's going to disappoint.

Our story thus far:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 18 part 1

Ana and Christian look at a mansion and then start eating dinner.

Look I know nobody is reading this anymore. I'm not even reading it anymore. Nobody is, except for maybe my friend Selena who sends me quote-texts that I am always extremely happy to receive because that is basically the highest possible compliment. Oh and also? I mean I'm not going to say I'm drunk because that wouldn't be entirely true but it wouldn't be entirely false either. Because I just watched the US lose to Germany by a single goal and that game started at 9 and what? Am I going to not drink during it? No. I'm not going to not drink during it. Are you following me? I barely am.

What's a bummer tho is that by the time you read this, the US may well have played Belgium and you're going to be like, "This guy is behind the times! I thought this blog was up to the minute!" And it isn't.

Whatever. I'm going to delete all this later probably anyway. (Editor's note: delete all this later anyway.)

Our story thus far: