Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fifty Shades of Tedious Fuckery (Vol. 1)

I know. I know. But with all the talk of Fifty Shades of Grey and all I was hearing about repeated references to eye colour and the terrible writing in general, I kind of HAD to give it a whack. As it were. And I hated everyone in it and E.L. James for writing it and very nearly gave up on it more than once out of sheer BOREDOM, but powered through in order to comprehensively take the piss out of it here. I intended to make it a Sweet Valley High style post, but it's turned out to be super long because I didn't want to leave anything out and there's just SO MUCH to make fun of. I still haven't actually finished it (the big-ass post, that is), so I'm splitting it up into a few separate posts, of which this is the first. So let's do this.

Anastasia Steele is a fucking idiot and absolutely no craic whatsoever. She's about to finish college and has managed to get to that point without ever getting drunk, kissing anyone or fancying anyone. She mopes about how she doesn't fit in anywhere yet she has people falling over themselves to be her friend and two good looking male friends trying desperately to get into her boring knickers. A fact which she seems oblivious to because, in case I wasn't clear before, she's a FUCKING IDIOT. She also says really stupid things like how her stepfather Ray is "the reason I know the difference between a hawk and a handsaw". Apparently this was something that had to be explained to her.

Anyway, her roommate Kate, who is all no-nonsense and go-getting and says stuff like "capiche" (no one says capiche unless they're in a bad gangster film), needs her to fill in for her and interview mysterious CEO Christian Grey for the student newspaper. So instead of at least Googling this man she's about to interview and has never heard of before in her stupid life, Ana spends some time complaining about her unruly hair and her blue eyes "too big for her face" (because big eyes are, like, SO UNATTRACTIVE YOU GUYS).

When Ana enters Christian Grey's office building for the interview, E.L. James does the most hilariously terrible job of describing it, by saying the words "glass" and "steel" over and over AND FUCKING OVER.

"It's a huge twenty storey office building, all curved glass and steel, an architect's utilitarian fantasy, with Grey House written discreetly in steel over the glass front doors. It's a quarter to two when I arrive, greatly relieved that I'm not late as I walk into the enormous - and frankly intimidting - glass, steel and white sandstone lobby."


After waiting around for a bit, feeling inadeqaute and describing a token African-American man with dreads (of course), Ana makes her way into Grey's office when summoned and falls arse over tit in the door for no reason other than the fact that she's SO ENDEARINGLY CLUMSY. Grey helps her up and the very first physical description of him is "long-fingered".

Better get used to the idea, because his long fingers are mentioned NINETEEN times in this awful book.

We're told how young and attractive he is and Ana is now all flustered and makes a balls of setting up the recorder for the interview. She eventually gets her shit together and asks Kate's questions, whereupon he's all arrogant and self-assured and says stuff like "I'm a very wealthy man, Miss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies", which as Karen pointed out on Twitter, makes him sound like Ron Burgundy. They finish the interview, his eyes "blaze" a bit and then he as good as offers her a job as an intern, despite knowing precisely fuck all about her.

That Saturday, while Ana is at her part time job in a hardware shop - just as well she knows her hawks from her handsaws, so - Christian shows up with "a ghost of a smile on his lips". He's described that way four times during this book. I think his mouth is haunted.

Artist's impression of Christian Grey's mouth.

Also, his voice is "warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel... or something". Or something. Jesus Christ, it's like reading a lovesick fifteen year old's diary. Although saying that is actually an insult to lovesick fifteen year olds everywhere. I'm sorry lovesick fifteen year olds, you didn't deserve that.

He proceeds to buy cable ties, masking tape, rope and overalls, which doesn't at all make him sound like someone who has a cheerleader tied up in the back of a Ford Transit outside. Throughout the whole sorry endeavour, Ana is all fumbling and self-conscious and generally unable to interact with another human being properly. They arrange a photoshoot for Kate's article, an exchange during which "he looks lost somehow, and the Earth shifts slightly on its axis, the tectonic plates sliding into a new position". HOLY SHIT, CHRISTIAN GREY CAN CAUSE EARTHQUAKES.

At one point during his little spending spree on murder/kidnap paraphernalia, Ana's so embarrassed that she thinks to herself "I must be the color of the communist manifesto."

Oh really?

I wonder if that means that she was green, like the first edition? Or maybe her face went orange and stripey and a penguin appeared on her chin? Or maybe she DID just turn red, but there was a saucy black gradient around the edges of her face. She's SO talented.

Anyway, the day of the photoshoot arrives and Ana's friend José (one of the dude friends trying his hardest to bone her) has been coerced into being their photographer. Ana, Kate and José arrive at the agreed location, a hotel suite and when Grey walks in, Ana reacts like no one has ever worn a white shirt and grey pants before.

"Holy crap! He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and grey flannel pants that hang from his hips."

Something you should know about Christian Grey at this point, is that his pants are all too big for him. Every single pants-shaped thing he wears "hangs from his hips". You'd think a billionaire could afford clothes that fit. Also, yet another thing I hate about Ana is that she constantly says "crap" or "double crap". There's even a "triple crap" thrown in for good measure. It's incredibly annoying. As is her constant use of the word "jeez".

Appearances of the word "crap": 94 ("Holy crap" count: 41)
Appearances of the word "jeez": 81

It's fucking ridiculous.

And that's your lot for the moment kids. Stay tuned for Volume 2.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Suits You, Shaw

In today's post, I mentioned that I really liked Prometheus. Yes, there's heaps of holes and unanswered questions that can be picked through after seeing it, but I really enjoyed watching it. Fassbender was great as a sexy robot and I think I held my breath for the entire alien abortion scene. Noomi Rapace's wobbly English accent and the fact that Guy Pearce was all dressed up like an elderly nutsack instead of just hiring an old dude actor were minor irritations (it turns out that Pearce's character was supposed to appear all young in a dream sequence that ended up being cut, so that's why he was all olded up as Weyland) but overall I was a happy cinema-goer.

The actual point of this post though, is to see if it was just me that thought Elizabeth Shaw in her jumpsuit...


...April O'Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame! Incidentally, it's damn near impossible to get a decent picture of the original cartoon April, as a Google Images search for her just brings up creepy fan art of her with her rack bursting out of her clothes or bound and gagged for some reason. I guess that's the internet for you sometimes.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Land of the Five Dollar Shake

The other day I fell down the rabbit hole that was the amazing and absorbing thread on Reddit about fan theories. It's a great but rather long read, so naturally enough, bits and pieces from it were picked out and made a fuss of by other sites. Broadsheet covered one of my favourite ones, which deals with the universe that Quentin Tarantino's films take place in and neatly slots Inglourious Basterds into that universe's history, making it an alternate reality of sorts. I had actually read this theory before on, but managed to completely forget about it, so I got to be amazed all over again.

There have always been indicators that his films are connected, little threads like Red Apple cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burger have drifted by in the background pretty consistently.

Tarantino himself has said that Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega of Pulp Fiction are brothers and now it seems he's previously said that he considers From Dusk 'Til Dawn and Kill Bill as movies within that universe. I quite like this point in particular: "Kill Bill, after all, is basically Fox Force Five, right on down to Mia Wallace playing the title role." And it's completely right, once you swap out Budd for Sofie Fatale.

Mia: "Fox Force Five." Fox, as in we're a bunch of foxy chicks. Force, as in we're a force to be reckoned with. Five, as in there's one, two, three, four, five of us. There was a blonde one, Sommerset O'Neal from that show "Baton Rouge", she was the leader. A Japanese one, a black one, a French one and a brunette one, me.


I really like all the little links and references, like Alabama from True Romance being mentioned in passing by Mr. White in Reservoir Dogs. There's also the fact that part of the landscape of Tarantino's Death Proof is the selection of Jungle Julia's billboards peppered along the roadsides promoting her weekday morning show on the local radio station. Each one has a theme of sorts, including...

...a Kill Bill parody, which further feeds into the idea of Kill Bill being part of that reality's pop culture. Ta dah!