She Said: It’s inevitable. Adele will always sweep the Grammys. Somehow, somewhere a Kardashian is sucking up oxygen that could be used to save an endangered species and yours truly, Felix Felicis (Celebrity Jeggings Whisperer) and Hawk Ripjaw (Kitten Wrangler To The Stars) will once again make their annual swan dive into the cinematic sewage that is the Fifty Shades franchise so that you, dearest, most booziest, readery readers won’t have to in a very special Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Fifty Shades Darker. This year we mocked harder, died inside faster, and came out the other side covered in questionable amounts of buttered popcorn and salty self-loathing.
He Said: As it always happens when I go to see a romance film alone (and as a critic it happens way more often than it should), the box office cashier instantly made me remember my singleness with her immediate excitement over me bringing my girlfriend which really drove home the spike of singledom currently lodged in my chest.
She Said: That seems about right because the very universe seemed to be trying to do me a solid and throw every possible roadblock in my way to stop me from watching Fifty Shades Darker. Like a literal roadblock. Like a heinous traffic accident blocked the only road to my local theater for a solid thirty minutes on the day of my screening. I barely made it in under the previews wire and still weirdly felt jealous of the dude carted away in an ambulance. Though it was better than sitting next to gasoline lady from last year, so you win some and then you volunteer to go see a Fifty Shades movie.
She Said: So Fifty Shades Of Grey leaves the audience with a cliffhanger after Ana breaks up with Christian because he spanked her super hard. I guess.
He Said: That was a cliffhanger I was desperately eager to get dropped from.
She Said: I honestly can’t remember because my body rejected that long term memory like my stomach rejects any and all brown liquors. But we pick up after that traumatic incident with Mr. Stalkypants sending Ana some flowers wishing her an awesome first day at her new job.
He Said: Not just any flowers. GREY flowers. Like literally gray, like Christian Grey.
She Said: Ugh. I forgot about that detail. Barf. Which Ana then tries to throw away but couldn’t because her trash can wasn’t big enough so she totes obvi had to forgive Christian for being a super inaccurate representation of BDSM culture and start dating him again. But on her terms so yay for women’s empowerment.
He Said: So the secret is to push people away and they’ll come back to you?
She Said: Hahahahaha just kidding this movie is a terrible representation of literally any example on how to be a decent human being.
He Said: Hahahaha good! For a second I thought there was something WRONG with me!
She Said: Silly rabbit, emotionally healthy relationships are for *kids! (*heavily medicated rich people). So next, Chrana (Christian and Ana) have contractually obligated yet tepid sex every fifteen minutes whilst dealing with the usual things that could pop up in anyone’s love life for the following two hours. You know (your partner’s psychotic ex stalking you, your significant other stalking you, your boss nearly sexually assaulting you, another ex of your partner repeatedly verbally harassing you, your partner being involved in a life-altering accident) the usual.
He Said: I don’t care how much money someone has, once a teleporting ex and the old lady that taught you how to bang are in the picture, I’m out.
She Said: I definitely laughed more than once during Fifty Shades Darker (though not WITH the movie) and also Jamie Dornan aka Christian Grey has crazy upper body strength if the inexplicable pommel horse in his home gym has anything to say about it. They put that scene in there for the ladies and I ain’t mad at it.
He Said: But-
She Said: I’m mad at literally everything else, though.
He Said: Fair enough, because upon reflection there are DEFINITELY moments that absolutely dare you to laugh openly in the auditorium, which in 50 Shades, is akin to walking into a Forever 21 and yelling “Buy One Get One Free to the first person with the beating heart of a stranger in their hands!”
She Said: Never underestimate what a bitch will do in the name of BOGO.
He Said: One such prime moment is one in which Christian uses lipstick to draw the Nightwing logo on his chest as a way to establish where he couldn’t be touched, which pays off later in a brilliant Chekhov’s Chest moment towards the end.
She Said: Call me when he starts painting happy little trees on his happy little chest.
She Said: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Bill Nye The Science Guy has more chemistry with your dealer’s choice land mammal than Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have together in nearly four consecutive onscreen hours so far.
He Said: Dornan looks perma-junk-punched and Johnson looks like she’s trying to get away with farting silently in public at any given moment.
She Said: Has anyone checked on their families? Because it sure looks like some loved ones may have been held hostage to ensure that the required (and with less passion than anyone has ever felt for anything in the history of ever) boinking came in under budget and on schedule. Not to mention the truly bizarre sexual stunts meant to, I can only assume, push the boundaries of “risqué romance” only to land squarely on “disturbingly puzzling”.
He Said: Risque? I’ve been more aroused on a drive to Taco Bell.
She Said: Here are some things I legitimately yelled at the screen during Fifty Shades Darker: DON’T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH!
He Said: YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S BEEN DO YOU REALIZE WHAT KIND OF MOVIE YOU’RE IN??
She Said: OH MY GOD DON’T PUT THAT IN YOUR VAGINA RIGHT AFTER YOU PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH!
He Said: OH MY GOD IT’S HIGH SCHOOL ALL OVER AGAIN!
She Said: THAT CAN’T BE COMFORTABLE.
He Said: I WILL NEVER BE COMFORTABLE AGAIN!
She Said: WHY IS THERE LUBE IN THIS SCENE NO ONE NEEDS LUBE?!
He Said: IT’S SO–wait, he actually slathered lube all over her? A day later I thought I’d blacked out and had a really weird sex dream.
She Said: E.L. James is why we can’t have nice things. Like a script (that she totally ghost wrote via her husband) based off of Twilight fan fiction that’s actually clever. Hell, I’d take dialogue that didn’t sound like it was written by hamsters rolled in mediocre honey and flung at a keyboard containing only cliches.
He Said: Good news, the threequel’s script was made by them just putting a keyboard underneath Christian and Ana when they bang.
She Said: Scene: Chrana go grocery shopping (this man is a billionaire. THEY GO GROCERY SHOPPING FOR FUN. FML).
He Said: Yeah, he always struck me as more of an Amazon Prime Pantry kind of guy.
Ana: When was the last time you went grocery shopping? (yes, this girl is worth stalking across the country for her witty banter alone, folks)
Christian: Last week. (yeah, right, buying China doesn’t count)
Ana: [tosses him a pint of generic vanilla ice cream] Here. It’s your new favorite flavor. (OH MY GOD SOMEONE JUST STABBED ME IN THE EYE WITH A CLEVER METAPHOR GET IT BECAUSE ANA IS A VANILLA AKA NORMAL GIRL SOMEONE JUST FUCKING LIGHT MY FACE ON FIRE ALREADY PLEASE JUST END THIS)
He Said: If someone said that to me I’d show them a pint of Rocky Road, to illustrate my new feelings on the relationship. SEE ANA I CAN MAKE SHITTY RELATIONSHIP ICE CREAM JOKES TOO.
She Said: Accurate transcription of the scene subject to slight alterations as I was halfway through a bra-flask of tequila at this point.
She Said: I feel like Hawk and I are trapped in whatever the torture porn version of a film critic’s hell is with the Fifty Shades franchise.
He Said: We must have done something to deserve this. What did we do? WHAT DID WE DO?!?
She Said: I don’t know, have you purchased a Nickelback album on old Native American burial grounds lately?
He Said: No, but I did accidentally click on one of their videos inside a Starbucks that had kind of a weird vibe… Oh, shit.
She Said: THEN THIS IS ON YOU because whatever we write is basically pointless spaghetti thrown at the wall of white noise that is the Fifty fanbase of sexually repressed soccer moms and the dead-inside-their-souls men who love them ’cause there’s no way anyone sane watched these shallow, cardboard cutout characters bump uglies and walked away feeling good about the quality of entertainment they were just presented with.
He Said: To be fair, I have yet to meet anyone that likes these books and can actually give me a good reason why. Yes, I conduct guerilla interrogations on my friends that have read them.
She Said: I’m getting a weird feeling you do a lot of hiding under beds for this.
He Said: … You’re not wrong.
She Said: If it’s possible, and boy is it ever, there was even LESS character development and/or depth in Fifty Shades Darker than in Fifty Shades of Grey. And you couldn’t even hide it behind a slick soundtrack because that sequel-sucked even harder, too. I’ve seen more emotionally charged performances out of Kristen “My Face Only Makes One Kind Of Constipated Expression” Stewart.
She Said: Taking into account that these films (Grey and Darker) can’t even be adapted from the source material properly into mainstream theaters without watering down the sexual content enough to squeak past an R-Rating, it’s no surprise that the franchise lacks anything resembling tension or pathos, making it laughably bad.
He Said: Come on, give the books a little bit of credit for also lacking anything resembling tension and being laughably bad.
She Said: Like I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to witch-cackle during the scene in which Ana’s boss Jack almost sexually assaults her, but it was so cartoonishly overdone (I’m assuming to compensate for dialogue so bad even Shia LaBoeuf doesn’t wanna steal it) that I couldn’t help it.
He Said: Everything about that character felt like an overblown comedy villain that had the comedy replaced by alcoholism and regret, and escalating into attempts to out-creep Christian.
She Said: I’ll also admit to slow-clapping during Kim Basinger’s (and her super-on-the-nose Mrs. Robinson hair-don’t) final party moment because that was a breathtaking testament to wasted talent. I can only HOPE that if I ever get a drink thrown in my face, a handkerchief handed to me by an ex-underage lover and bitch-slapped by what I can only assume is my now FORMER best friend who happened to be his mother in roughly the span of thirty seconds that, I, too, can drop that ‘kerchief like a hot mic and catwalk out of the scene. #SquadGoals
She Said: I didn’t think it was possible and on a purely masochistic level (Hawk has a condo on that level) I’m actually kind of impressed… but Fifty Shades Of Grey was better than Fifty Shades Darker.
He Said: I know that’s kind of like saying a glass sandwich is better than rat poison sliders, but I agree.
She Said: The first film had a few slick visuals and a semi-enjoyable soundtrack to buffer your soul’s First Class journey into dysfunctional Rom/Com hell whereas Darker only has middle seat coach tickets left.
He Said: And you have to take the moldy seats, one row over from the designated hobo toilet.
She Said: I don’t know how bad a movie has to be for its standards in “quality” (in literally every area of filmmaking) to sink lower than the nuclear dumpster fire that was Shades Of Grey but congrats, Darker, you did it! Your mediocre merit badge is in the mail. We promise.
She Said: Stab me in the eye with a rusty spork before the final film comes out. Wait. Stab me in both. Can’t chance it.
He Said: When we agreed to do this (I still haven’t figured out whose idea it was), I never dreamed it would get this bad.
Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Sip: for every weird, gross, and/or super fucking awkward sexual act. (This is all of them. Pace yourself)
Do a Shot: anytime Christian asks Ana what she wants.
Take a Drink: whenever Grey goes south of the border. Wayyyyyy south.
Do a Shot: for every nipple shot.
Shotgun Your Beer: if you stick around for the mid-credits teaser trailer for Fifty Shades Freed.