This weekend was a milestone for me. Valentine’s Day usually sees me wallowing in self-pity, fighting off the urge to text each of my exes, reaching new heights in alcohol consumption, and sitting on the couch re-watching every episode of Archer on Netflix. Woe is usually me. Not this year. No, this year I decided I’d be a strong, independent, and self-respecting man. So I tagged along with my roommate and went to see 50 Shades of Grey.
You can judge me all you want. Call me a pussy, tell me I’m contributing to the death of decent films and literature, and accuse me of being some creepy perv. These things are all true. But I can’t deny that 50 Shades was not only a…very different (albeit tedious) way to pass the time, it was a treasure trove of unexpected bonuses. If you’re a single dude with nothing better to do, I highly suggest you see it. Here’s why:
1. It’s the best unintentional comedy ever.
I have never heard so much laughter in a theater. It should have been recorded, used as a laugh track on Big Bang Theory, and people might actually believe that show is funny. That’s how genuine this laughter was. The best part is that the scenes in 50 Shades that were supposed to be funny got at most some light chuckles. The running joke of Grey saying “laters, baby” was the height of intentional humor and that was just cringeworthy. On the whole, though, the movie ended up being comedy gold anyway.
You can tell that no one except the two leads and the director took this seriously during production, including the people who wrote the damn thing. The result is a box-office smash that feels way more like a comedy cult classic. Christian Grey popping up out of nowhere every ten minutes like a Scooby-Doo villain? Perfect. Anastasia Steele announcing she’s a virgin? The people in front of me almost died in a hysterical fit. Watching Christina Gay Harden’s career finally shrivel and die? Kinda sad, mostly funny. The soundtrack also lends to the hilarity, since it sounds like Baz Luhrmann assembled it while really drunk.
2. It will make your dreams seem highly attainable.
We all have a lot of doubts as to what we can really accomplish in life. We’re burdened with questions such as “Am I talented enough?” “Will hard work really pay off?” “Can I ever achieve my goals?” 50 Shades answers all of these with a resounding, hard “YES!” No inspirational movie out there can give you as much hope as this can. You want to be a writer? Well, if such a rank piece of shit can go from skeezy fanfic to bestselling novel to international Hollywood blockbuster, there is most definitely hope for you and your pitiful literary dreams. All it takes is lowering your standards until you have none, which also doubles as practical dating advice. You’re welcome.
If you want to become an actor, watching this will reaffirm your convictions. The guy who played Grey either has a serious speech impediment of some kind, or he’s just really bad at hiding his insanely thick Irish accent. Whatever it was, it obviously didn’t stop him. 50 shades of “what the fuck did he just say?” I’m also told the book version of Grey was supposed to be this no-nonsense, mysterious, masculine hunk of a dude. The actor we got was as intimidating as a bag of Skittles.
Anastasia Steele was played by someone I’ve never seen before and probably got the role because, if you squint hard enough, she kinda looks like Anne Hathaway if Anne Hathaway had bangs and no dignity. Biting her lip was the extent of her acting ability. Obviously the Hollywood casting process doesn’t give a rat’s ass about who they’re going to place in a leading role of a major motion picture, so go for it young thespians!
3. It will make your sex life seem way hotter.
50 Shades was touted as this mind-blowingly sexy, outrageously steamy piece of erotica. Maybe the book was, but the movie has to be the worst yawn-inducing softcore porno ever made. If you think the most scandalous act you can perform during sexy time is a spanking, then steer clear my odd monk friend, because this will have you saying at least two Hail Marys. Any woman that bases her fetish fantasies on this stuff will from now on think you’re a porking savant, a god in the sheets, just as long as you’re trying something other than missionary position. The bar has been set so beautifully low. Even if you’re not getting any action, you still have it beat by a longshot. I never thought masturbating would be a more exciting alternative to actual boning, but boy did this prove me wrong.
Think of 50 Shades’ sexual content as that degrading scene in American Psycho with the two prostitutes. Only this time the prostitutes say “Um, no,” put their clothes on, leave, and Patrick Bateman just cries. Roll credits.
The one thing that finally made me flush with shame was the guy next to me clearly getting a handjob from his date. Seriously, can we stop doing that, people? Nothing in 50 Shades was remotely as raunchy as a dude getting tugged in public by a greasy popcorn hand. At least someone in the theater was actually aroused.
4. It’s highly educational.
Did you guys know that men who play sad songs on the piano are always really sad? That it sometimes rains in Seattle? That hot women can go through college without losing their virginity? That an adult male throwing a pouty tantrum is the ultimate turn-on?
Did you know that discovering a room full of sexual torture devices doesn’t elicit an immediate “time to get the fuck out of here” response? That running a multi-million-dollar company only involves sitting at a desk and sexting all day? That some people require elaboration on the term “butt-plug?”
Were you aware that entering into a dominant-submissive relationship requires more paperwork than buying a house? That people who were sexually abused as children might need therapy and not just a hug? That feminism exists?
Damn, I didn’t know any of this. Thank you, 50 Shades, for washing away my ignorance.
5. It will make you a better person.
I’m a firm believer that suffering builds character. If you want to grow as a person, you have to be willing to put yourself through grueling physical or emotional pain. 50 Shades provides both, as your ass will really hurt after enduring the monstrous runtime in those uncomfortable seats and you’ll wrestle with powerful waves of self-loathing throughout the entire experience. The urge to walk out of the theater will definitely surface more than once, but you have to fight it. Think of it as your Rocky training montage. You go in a weak nobody, come out an impervious powerhouse of a human being. After you go through this hell, your soul will be far too dead to feel any sort of weakness ever again. Progress!
Now, you could save yourself $15 by not buying a ticket and just watching Steve McQueen’s Shame or any Lars Von Trier film if you really want some crazy take on human sexuality. Or you could use Bing to search for BDSM (because if you get off on 50 Shades, you definitely use Bing). I honestly think this shit only got popular because people didn’t know that superior porn is free on the Internet. But ignore all that, because spending your hard-earned money on a plotless black hole of a flick will teach you an important lesson in financial responsibility. You’ll forever think twice before paying for anything.
Most importantly though, you really shouldn’t knock something until you’ve tried it. Otherwise, how can you possibly complain about it without talking out of your ass? Wisdom and insight come to those who make horrible mistakes. Seeing 50 Shades of Grey finally afforded me the moral right to actively avoid anyone who enjoyed it. Before I saw it, all I could’ve provided in an argument against it was a weak “Well, it sounds pretty stupid.” Now I have the ability and confidence to declare, “Well, it was really fucking stupid, and here’s why….” And that’s a lesson in power even Christian Grey would appreciate.