Fifty Shades Freed was definitely the final straw. When I first discovered the premise for this book/movie, I knew it had to be a joke. That there was no way a couple that has their entire relationship centered around BDSM would end up happily married. Well that’s exactly how Fifty Shades Darker ended, with a proposal. Fifty Shades Freed focuses on Mr. and Mrs. Grey as a married couple. Still having sex, but in a variety of unsexy ways. Like with ice cream, in a car, or while getting a haircut. In regards to nudity, it’s now almost exclusively bare breast shots. Making the movie barely earn its erotic status. Since a movie about a recently married couple is boring, there way of making it interesting is by filling it with out of place action. Now there’s car chases and hostage negotiations. Leading to perhaps the most unrealistic ending I’ve seen in a long time. Where it flashes forward to Ana and Christian as a happy couple with kids. At this point in the franchise I really took time to reflect on how bad this trilogy is. How unmemorable the supporting characters are. Well at least Rita Ora was finally able to sing in Fifty Shades Freed. With the song “For You” by her and Liam Payne. It also brought up unexplained questions like, what the hell does Christian’s company actually do? Or why can’t the trilogy decide on a tone? Fifty Shades Freed finally freed us from this unsexy sex franchise (if only movies like Book Club would stop making it relevant again).
Ana and Christian get married
Preceded by: Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Darker is the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey that nobody asked for. Well the first movie made money. So I guess somebody was asking for it. Even though I was completely unaware of the book’s sequels or if they were even popular. Of course in this day in age, if a book adaptation is even a little successful, the rest of the series is almost guaranteed to get adapted as well. Unlike most franchises at the time, Fifty Shades Darker was released 2 years after the first movie. Leaving room for parodies like Fifty Shades of Black. Although there’s a reason why romances don’t get sequels. It’s because most romances end with the couple getting together by the end. Making a follow up seem kinda pointless. Fifty Shades of Grey ended with Ana leaving Christian after asking to be punished. Leaving the abusive relationship was clearly the best ending, but they kept it going in the most unnatural way possible. Fifty Shades Darker sees Ana return to Christian after they run into each other in another stalkerish way. They resume their relationship and Ana is suddenly fine with all the BDSM stuff again. As if nothing was wrong to begin with. They also explore the even more messed up reason why Christian is the way he is. By roping in respected actress Kim Basinger. As far as sex or nudity is concerned, they scaled it back for some reason. Making for an incredibly forgettable experience. Of course just like before, the song “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by ZAYN & Taylor Swift was the only good thing about it. Fifty Shades Darker is definitely the darkest period in this already unnecessary trilogy.
Ana and Christian attend a costume party
Preceded by: Fifty Shades of Grey & Followed by: Fifty Shades Freed
Fifty Shades of Grey is the phenomenon that took the whole world by storm (whether we wanted it to or not). Unlike most book adaptations, I knew about Fifty Shades of Grey long before a movie was even announced. Back in 2012 when the book was at its peak of popularity. All I knew was that the book was written by a female author (E. L. James) and very popular with older women who saw it as some kind of sexual fantasy. It was also popular for how ridiculous the dialogue and internal monologues are. From the excerpts I read (or celebrity readings I’ve heard), I had no idea how a movie that isn’t NC-17 or higher would even be possible. Since the book is practically porn. Well they somehow found a way and that’s how we ended up with the crappy Fifty Shades trilogy. As it turns out, Fifty Shades of Grey is also the most successful fan fiction ever written. Fan fiction being something fans and/or weirdos use to write their own original stories involving characters in pop culture. Under the username Snowqueen’s Icedragon, E. L. James originally wrote “Master of the Universe” as Twilight fan fiction…
Ana and Christian kiss in an elevator
Fifty Shades of Grey actually shares many similarities with Twilight. Both in quality and characters. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are a lot like Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Only without the vampires. Like Bella, Ana is a meek everywoman and like Edward, Christian is powerful and mysterious. Fifty Shades of Grey starts with English major Ana Steele interviewing billionaire Christian Grey for her college newspaper. What some people might call sparks fly between the two. Leading Christian to stalk Ana until they eventually end up together. Going on trips to fancy places and riding in his private helicopter. You’re probably wondering, what about the sex? Well Fifty Shades of Grey certainly has some of that. With Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan both being naked for a majority of the film. However, despite being R rated, I felt like they might have been holding back. Half the time, the movie is more concerned with boring contract discussions about Ana’s sexual preferences. Which brings up my biggest problem with Fifty Shades of Grey as a whole. I hate anything involving BDSM or bondage. Mixing pain with pleasure is just uncomfortable to watch. Even though the movie doesn’t go nearly as far as it could have. Christian’s interest in nothing more than a dominant/submissive sex relationship with Ana takes up most of the movie. Leaving plenty of room for cheesy dialogue and emotionless performances from both leads. Leads that most fans felt were miscast. Like the book’s author, Fifty Shades of Grey is directed by a woman. Based on the underline abuse of the relationship, I’m still not sure why anyone (especially women) would find this sexy. The only positive thing I can say about the movie is its music. “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding is an awesome award worthy song (even though “Earned it” by The Weeknd is the one with the Oscar nomination). Aside from that, the movie was a huge critical failure and even won the Razzie award for Worst Picture (tied with Fant4stic). Fifty Shades of Grey should have remained a guilty pleasure book, instead of a thrill-less movie.
Ana and Christian in the Red Room
Followed by: Fifty Shades Darker
Dick Tracy was first introduced in a comic strip dating back to 1931. As long as there have been newspapers, there’s been a Dick Tracy comic in it. I sort of kept forgetting about the movie because its based on a comic strip, but my mom suggested it a couple of times. Since it features actress Glenne Headly (who my mom used to know in college). Dick Tracy was a hard-boiled square jawed detective who always wore a large yellow trench coat and fedora. He wasn’t a superhero, but his 2-Way Wrist Radio was one his most defining character traits. True it came out in the 90’s, but the idea for a Dick Tracy movie spanned two decades. With Warren Beatty always attached to the role. He was also the movie’s director and producer. What makes Dick Tracy unique is how much effort they took to make it look like the comic. With everyone wearing colorful outfits in the backdrop of a colorful city. The premise is nothing too special. Just an average detective story with a kid sidekick. Really it’s the movie’s technical achievements that make it stand out. Dick Tracy has the highest Oscar wins of any comic book movie (which is 3). It won Best Makeup for its recreation of all the comic’s strange villains. Best Art Direction for its aforementioned color palette. And Best Original Song for “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” sung by Madonna. The movie also boasts some good performances form Al Pancino and even Madonna. I didn’t watch Dick Tracy when I was younger (though if I did, I would’ve seen the other Roger Rabbit cartoon it came with), but I can certainly see the appeal.
Dick Tracy watches over his city
Coneheads is the first movie based on characters from a Saturday Night Live Sketch to receive a less than warm reception. Up until this point there were only 2 SNL movies. Both The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World were considered some of the best comedies of their respective decades. Coneheads is another story. It showed early signs of there being a flaw in stretching a sketch into a full length movie. I’ve only sat down to watch Coneheads once. Most of the time I’ve seen it in pieces. Coneheads was about a family of aliens from the planet Remulak. Aliens with tall cone shaped heads that told people they came from France. In the movie, their origin as alien refugees settling on Earth and starting a family is explored. Along with a group of government agents trying to track them down. Apart from those little story details, Coneheads is mostly just a bunch of jokes about their unusual behavior. Which I found funny for the most part. Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin fully commit to these ridiculous characters. They were so memorable that they randomly reprised their roles in a State Farm commercial several years later. Sadly, it’s also the only SNL movie to feature Chris Farley in a prominent role. Coneheads isn’t SNL‘s best movie, but it should elicit minimal gratification if given the chance.
Masters of the Universe is one of the first movies based on a toy that’s also based on an animated series that’s also made in the same decade it was the most popular. I had both a He-Man and Skeletor toy when I was a kid. Along with a coloring book. However since I wasn’t born in the 80’s, I never watched He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. But I always thought He-Man and his catchphrase “I have the power!” was cool. What I did see when I was younger though, is the live action movie Masters of the Universe starring Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella as He-Man and Skeletor respectively. While the cartoon was (let’s say) flamboyant 80’s fun. The movie takes all the action to the boring grimy real world. Something I always hate to see with animated adaptations, because it’s just so lazy. He-Man’s planet Eternia and Castle Grayskull are seen briefly at the beginning and end with it cutting back occasionally. Can we please just have a cartoon character who isn’t turned into a “fish out of water.” Dolph Lundgren has the muscles for He-Man, but I could do without the mullet. He’s also the least memorable thing about the movie. Frank Langella isn’t half bad as Skeletor, but the makeup could use some work. Not to mention his visible eyes. While I didn’t mind Masters of the Universe when I was kid, it’s nothing but a cheesy cult film now. Hopefully they’re able to reboot He-Man far better someday.
He-Man, Teela, and Man-At-Arms
Office Space is all about the exciting world of a white-collar office workers. I’ve never held a position in an office cubicle, but I’m sure it’s pretty accurate. Peter and his friend’s Samir and Michael Bolton (no relation) are all fed up with their jobs. A common theme in movies released in 1999. So Peter comes up with a plan to take money from their company Initech. Which includes wrecking the copy machine. But not before living life to the fullest with his new girlfriend. It took me awhile to watch Office Space. Despite it being directed by Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-Head & King of the Hill. I suppose I was just too young to get it. Not that I wasn’t at least familiar with all the memes and memorable scenes. Like VP Bill Lumbergh, with an annoying habit for saying uh, yeah, and okay. Very meme-worthy. However, the real star of the movie is Milton. The timid mumbling worker who gets treated like crap by the company. All he wants is to keep his stapler, is that too much to ask? Interestingly enough, Milton was the star of a couple of animated shorts that the movie is based on. Office Space shows that even white-collar slobs can live the thug life if pushed too far.
A Wrinkle in Time proves that Disney should just stick to animation, live action remakes, Marvel, and Star Wars movies. Since A Wrinkle in Time was a huge critical and financial failure that I could see coming from a mile away. Before the movie came out, everybody had high expectations for it. Either for it being directed by Ava DuVernay or for starring Oprah. Whatever the reason, I shot down the movie almost immediately, because I started to see a pattern with this type of Disney movie. Live action CGI filled makeup & costume heavy overblown Disney movies simply don’t work unless they’re a remake of something familiar. I got serious Tomorrowland vibes from the movie. A Wrinkle in Time has something to do with a girl named Meg, her stepbrother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin (who sort of wanders into the movie without explanation). Meg’s father is lost in space or something like that and three Mrs. help her to find him. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit. None of whom make the story any easier to follow. Even less when Oprah is 10 feet tall and Reese Witherspoon transforms into a giant leaf. Some people call it really trippy, but I’ve honestly seen trippier. This version of the story is also more diverse. Almost to the point where it seems like they put more focus into that then story or character development. For me my biggest complaint is the secularization of the story. The book is very Christian and the movie removes all of that. Making it some kind of “the universe” thing and disappointing fans of the book in the process. Clearly other Disney movies like The Chronicles of Narnia have proven that Christian themed books can be very successful. Just like the previous adaptation, A Wrinkle in Time is a waste of time.
The three Mrs.
As it turns out, A Wrinkle in Time has been adapted before. Back in 2003 with a TV movie. I didn’t really want to watch this version, but my brother forced it on me. The only good thing about doing that is that at least I knew the story before I saw the 2018 version. Sort of, because the story doesn’t exactly make sense. I’ll save most of my thoughts on the overall story for that review. A Wrinkle in Time (2003) is about 2 hours long and nearly put me to sleep several times. Being a TV movie, it has cheesy digital effects with more reliance on set design. It also stars the second Kitty Pryde actress, Alan Abernathy from Small Soldiers, and the boy from The Ring. I never read the book, but my understanding is that A Wrinkle in Time brings together themes of science and religion. With the Bible being quoted numerous times throughout the book. One positive I can say about this version is that at least the Bible is quoted once in the movie. Other than that, A Wrinkle in Time (2003) is a waste of time.
The three Mrs.
Bébé’s Kids is the first animated movie with a predominantly black cast of characters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have much to offer. I didn’t even know it existed until I stumbled upon it on TV once. The story for Bébé’s Kids is based on a stand-up act from late comedian Robin Harris. I’m familiar with him, but I never watched his routine. In the act, Harris agrees to take his girlfriend to Disneyland with four troublemaking kids that belong to a mysterious woman named Bébé. In the movie, Disneyland is changed to “Fun World” (for legal reasons of course). Bébé’s kids are also trimmed down to three. Instead making the fourth kid the girlfriend’s son. The original story is also more mature. So they had to make it more kid friendly. Although it still earned a PG-13 with some sexual humor and a few bad words. The reason it looks so much like The Proud Family is because the animators are the same. Bébé’s Kids biggest problem is how its source material doesn’t really translate well to a movie. Since it mostly leans on stereotypes. Not that I didn’t at least see the guilty pleasure value in it. Bébé’s Kids is just hardly impactful.
Robin Harris drives around Bébé’s Kids