Well audience, it finally happened. In all of its kinky glory, so emerges the black butterfly from the fetid cocoon. Fifty Shades Free is out, and I can comfortably tell you that it is the hardest film of the three to write about.
Freed commits a cardinal sin in bad moviemaking: It’s profoundly boring. This movie reeks of the “Make three of them” mentality that media has adopted over the last fifteen years. There’s barely enough plot in this series to fill a thimble but bless her heart, EL James has painted an entire trilogy with it. Here we go:
The film opens with Christian and Ana’s wedding, which unlike the Twilight wedding is blissfully short but tragically contains no poorly dressed guests. They decide to honeymoon somewhere nonspecifically tropical, which brings up the first two problems in the film.
Problem the first: As they drive away from the wedding, Christian and Ana approach an airfield with a private jet. Ana exclaims, “You own this?!” to which Christian replies, lovingly, “No, we own it.” You guys, they didn’t discuss finances before they got married. Ana has no idea how much she’s now worth. Intriguingly, this also means that Christian never gave her a prenup before this, so when their marriage inevitably implodes Ana will be able to walk away to the tune of several billion dollars from Grey…LLC? Enterprises? I feel like the name of the company changed between films.
Problem the second: Remember Jack Hyde? Ana’s crazy, rapist boss from the last film? That’s okay, nobody else does either. But he’s back, and now inexplicably he’s a domestic terrorist. Hold on, be careful before you get too interested because this goes fucking nowhere. Jack Hyde sneaks into the Grey building disguised as a janitor and hacks into Christian’s server room before blowing it up with a bomb that’s somehow made out of an old steel flask. That’s not even a joke – I can’t get the screenshot, but if you ever have the misfortune of watching this movie, take a look, it’s a flask.
These questions carry me through the entirety of the film. Every time we have to sit through Christian and Ana fucking I’m wondering what Jack’s doing. Is he mining Bitcoin? Is he throwing some rouge on his lips and entertaining sailors down by the pier? Where does he get this money? What’s he up to now? Is he thinking about me, too?
Ana and Christian come home from their honeymoon because of the attack. Jack, I guess, stole some personal information on Christian, which he could have done without blowing up a server room and nobody would have suspected a goddamn thing, but hey, then we wouldn’t have a movie, Jack would win, and I would be happy.
Ana is introduced to her new private security team – a man named Sawyer, who’s cool, and…a woman. She has a name, but this series tends to spit out people who don’t accomplish anything, so we’ll just call her Woman #4.
Surprise! Christian bought a house without telling Ana, which is becoming increasingly distressing as they continue to, y’know, be married. It’s the house from the boat scene in the last movie. Don’t remember the boat scene from the last movie? There was a house in it! It’s…fine. Imagine asking a billionaire what a rustic cabin looks like and you’ve got the gist of it. Christian hires an architect to tear the whole goddamn thing down and put up a smart house, which is a great idea when your wife was making doe-eyes at it earlier because you know she was stoked about the value of the land and nothing else. The architect is pretty and hits on Christian, so Ana puts on her most intimidating face and tells her to knock it off, proving that she’s just as weird and jealous as Christian, I guess? I think this was supposed to establish that she could also put her big domly dom pants on sometimes, but Dakota Johnson delivered the whole speech at a low, mewling whisper like every line in this series, so it was about as intimidating as boxing someone with no arms. Architect lady acquiesces.
Sometime around now, Christian and Ana get into a discussion about whether or not they want children. Christian says he does, but at some point down the road because, and I’m quoting here, he’s not ready to share Ana with anybody else yet. With a child. His child. This man has a problem.
Jack Hyde, we’re told, continues to do some crazy Mission Impossible bullshit behind the scenes, which is ridiculous because that sounds like a much more interesting movie.
Christian goes away on business, because EL James can’t think of any other way to separate this couple. He insists that because Ana is being hunted by a psychopath that perhaps she should teleconference into work for the next couple days, but Ana is far too strong-willed to be held down by the oppressive wishes of her safety conscious husband. Which, look, I get it. Christian is an asshole. He tries to police every single aspect of Ana’s life, but like, in this one specific instance, maybe you ought to stay home and stop yourself from being murdered. Eagle-eyed readers may be able to figure out where this is going.
Ana ignores the wishes of her husband and goes out for a night of drinking with…a person. It could be anyone, really. You don’t care. Nobody cares. Existence is meaningless. They have a nice time.
As Ana returns home, she’s accosted in her living room by Jack Hyde, who pulls a knife on her before being subdued by Sawyer and Woman #4 and arrested. I start to wish the movie was about Sawyer instead, because he seems like a nice guy.
AND BY THE WAY, there’s a subplot about Ana’s secretary trying to seduce Sawyer, and they make eyes at each other for like half the movie and it goes fucking nowhere. In the movie where everyone is supposed to be fucking, Sawyer can’t get any. It’s a goddamn tragedy is what it is.
Christian comes home, sad that Ana exposed herself to domestic terrorism. Ana (correctly) points out that Jack attacked at the house, so staying home would have been no safer. She doesn’t want to feel like she lives in a prison, which is weird because she married Christian Grey. Christian gives in, and he, Ana, and their friends go on a trip to Aspen, Colorado. This takes about 20 minutes of the film and stone nothing happens. Christian’s brother gets engaged. Remember Christian had a brother? Me neither.
Jack gets out on $500 000 bail, once again raising the question of where the flying fuck Jack gets all this money. Jack claims that he had come to the house to talk things over with Ana, or something, which works despite three witnesses who can testify that he had a knife, and the knife being at the crime scene. In the most shocking of twists, Jack somehow kidnaps Christian’s sister Mia. He demands some money or he’ll kill her, so Ana grabs a gun and goes to the bank, asking for five million dollars. Not like, with the gun. The regular way. The gun is for Jack.
I feel the need to mention at this point that Christian Grey is a multi-billionaire. Billion. With a B. Asking for five million dollars is trivial. This is like me kidnapping your sister and demanding a ham sandwich.
Christian hears word that his wife is absconding with a paltry sum of his money and starts tracking her phone. Everyone follows her to where Jack and Mia are. Jack kicks Ana twice and she shoots him in the leg with the gun before blacking out. Christian and all the police show up and get Jack. Everyone is fine, including the baby, which they have. Roll credits.
There’s some more to it than that – Jack and Christian turn out to be from the same foster family, one of Ana’s coworkers is evil, and some other stuff, but you don’t care. Don’t lie to me, internet, I know you don’t. This movie makes no sense. I want to hope that the book makes more sense than this but I know it doesn’t.
The important takeaway here is that we’re done. Really, truly finished with Twilight, with Fifty Shades, the whole shebang. It’s over. We did it. We slogged through perhaps the worst seven movies ever made, and all for the sake of comedy. You know what? I’m gonna jinx it. I’m going to do it on purpose. I want to see what comes next; I want to know. So here goes:
There’s no way it could possibly get any worse.
So anybody who saw Sunday’s Battleground pay-per-view will be able to tell you that it was bad. It’s made all the worse by the fact that last year’s equivalent was probably the best “B-show” of the year (Meaning it wasn’t WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, or the Royal Rumble). WhatCulture already wrote a lovely article about the obvious stuff so I’m going to stay away from, “Oh, the Punjabi Prison is impossible to see into, and there’s strange racial implications,” and whatever. Other people have said it already and said it better. Instead, I want to talk about Battleground as a signpost of something very simple:The company continues to stay the course.
Also known as “Why fucking awful Fantastic Four movies keep coming out for some reason.”Recently Spider-Man: Homecoming actor Tom Holland revealed in an interview that according to Marvel big-wig Kevin Feige Peter Parker appeared in 2010’s Iron Man 2 in a brief cameo. Some people are chuckling to themselves about it but some people are flipping their lids thinking that Marvel’s had this whole Spider-Man thing on the back burner for seven years and they’ve just been waiting to let the hype train loose from the station until now.
As a Marvel fanboy I’d love to be able to tell everyone that Kevin Feige is some kind of secret genius, but as many people already know, given Marvel’s current cinematic landscape, it was impossible for this to have been the plan all along. To explain why, we have to step back about twenty-five years.
(This article contains in-depth spoilers for Wonder Woman. You’ve been fairly warned.)
First of all, to address the title, take any joke in the film and imagine that it was plucked verbatim from a Zooey Deschanel movie. You’ll be surprised how many of them line up.
Wonder Woman was pretty great. It’s by a significant margin the best live action DC film so far. Of course, the bar is pretty low on those. I want you to bear that in mind while you read this, because I’m going to be critical of it. That’s just what I do, it’s easier for me to criticize. So, yes, you should probably go see Wonder Woman if you have a chance. It’s a good time.
So, I’ve always been a Marvel guy. I’m not sure specifically what it was about Marvel, but when I was a kid I was always way more intrigued by their aesthetic than I was DC’s. Spider-Man and Wolverine were my jam, and as I got older I started to appreciate guys like Iron Man and Daredevil. DC, I dunno. Batman is cool, sure, but that’s one shiny light in a sea of I-don’t-care
Full disclosure, in this article I’m going to be talking about something that is, in strictly technical definitions, pornography. The article is not about the sexual aspects, nor does it feature any sexual images. You’ve been warned in advance.You know what I love? Taking something old and tired and making it new and interesting again. I love, for example, that Cabin in the Woods was able to take the played-out formula for an 80’s-style slasher movie and turn the whole thing on its head until it made that style fresh again. I think that sort of thing is brilliant.
Specifically in this case I want to talk about a visual novel called Grisaia no Kajitsu (“The Fruit of Grisaia”). First, to get it out of the way, yes, I read a lot of visual novels, and no, this doesn’t have anything to do with my weird obsession with terrible erotica. This is entirely about enjoying a good story.
Grisaia no Kajitsu stars Yuji Kazami, a high school-aged boy who’s spent the better part of his life either training to be or actually being a child soldier/special operative. Like all proper anime protagonists he’s got a dark and troubled past – his sister, a God-level genius, disappeared years ago and is presumed dead. Because he lived in the shadow of his older sister, he was neglected by his parents and became an introverted, emotionally stunted child. One thing leads to another and he ends up becoming this amazing secret agent.
Okay, I promise that this isn’t supposed to be a series or anything, but I’m going to be touching on subjectivity again here. Less so this time though, so feel free to sit back, relax, and turn your brain off for this one. If you’d like to check out my other articles on the subject click here and here. I just got back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. I’m not going to spoil it for anybody; no review, no nothing. If you want to form an opinion on it, go and see it for yourself, or else tune in to the Hit Continue podcast next week when I’m sure we’ll talk about it. Yes folks, there’s no spoilers in this one, with one small exception—I’m going to talk about a small detail of the ending in very broad terms.
First of all, hello to all the new people who discovered us at the Calgary Comic Expo! Or, if you’re a regular reader and would like to visit us this weekend, we’re in booth 4540 in the Big Four building. We hope to see you stop by! Okay, article time. So, I just got home from seeing The Fate of the Furious. This isn’t a review of that – if you liked the last seven of them you’ll like the eighth one, that’s all there is to that. What I want to talk about instead is one of the positives of the writing of the, uh, “and Furious” franchise. To a lot of people those are pretty few and far between, so I think it’s only fair to point out when they do something really really correct.
As far as I know there isn’t really a concrete term for what I’m describing, so for the purposes of this article we’re going to talk about this in terms of thematic resonance, or how strongly you relate to the subtext presented in a work. This ties very strongly into my previous article, “On Subjectivity.” (Funnily enough, after writing that article, Greg said it was one of the best articles I’d ever written, while I think that some of my earlier stuff is a little better.) The short definition is this: You’re gonna like stuff that hits you in the feelings more than stuff that doesn’t. This is not surprising. If that’s surprising to you, it’s possible that you’ve never actually seen a movie before. But it does explain a lot of stuff. I have an excellent case study for exactly this topic:
From the opposite side of the equation this is called “knowing your audience.” Knowing your audience doesn’t guarantee a good movie, but it does typically guarantee a profitable movie. The Fast and the Furious movies know their audience perhaps better than everyone except one filmmaker on the planet: Michael Bay.
There are a lot of people, myself included, who shit on Michael Bay pretty relentlessly. For one thing, he wrecked the Transformers franchise for me, and while they were better than that, he also fucked with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which gives him two strikes in my nerd culture book.
Yet the Transformers films have grossed almost $3.8 billion over the course of their lifetime. Despite having an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the oft-forgotten Age of Extinction grossed over a billion dollars on its own. Handily. Why? Because Michael Bay knows his audience.
The man is your go-to summer blockbuster guy. Michael Bay isn’t winning any Oscars because he’s not going for Oscars – he’s going for the kind of popcorn flicks that get butts in seats when kids are off school in July. It doesn’t matter how poorly his films are received for being trite and explosion-y because his target audience is looking for a trite movie that’s full of explosions.
It’s easy to dismiss Michael Bay as someone who doesn’t know how to make movies. It’s an extremely tempting notion because it lets us disregard him without having to think too hard. But the man knows what he’s doing, both as a marketer and as a student of the craft of film. His shots are well crafted, and on the occasional time that he’s delved into something slightly deeper than a rain puddle (The Rock, for instance) he’s shown he has a strong understanding of visual storytelling. That means that he’s making lowest-common-denominator action films on purpose. Why? Say it with me now. Because the man knows his audience.
Fate of the Furious does something similar, both in terms of plot and in terms of what I was alluding to earlier—theme. The series plays on extremely universal and wide-reaching thematic beats: Fraternity, loyalty, self-determination, etc. These things synergize very naturally with the hyper-machismo aesthetic of the films to make them extremely appealing to a large male audience.
Hoo boy. Okay.
So, if you’re one of those people who’s only following wrestling by checking out all of the awesome content that I put out (and really, I assume that’s all of you) then you know nothing about all of the black magic fuckery that’s been going on in the last two weeks. It all began with this wacky thing called the Superstar Shakeup. We talked about it a bit on the last Title Hunt podcast.
So, a couple weeks ago Billy posted an article about why everyone calls Adam “Beast” in Beauty and the Beast. It got a couple people thinking, myself included, but in the end we all kind of just giggled to ourselves and moved on with life.BUT THEN.
After browsing the internet for a while the answer was brought to my attention. I’d like all of our viewers to consider the following scenario:
So, I just got back from seeing Logan (literally, I walked in the door and sat down at the computer) and we’re going to talk about it. Given the title of the article I feel like this shouldn’t have to be said, but if you don’t want the film spoiled you should probably skip this one. Alright, due diligence achieved.
Scott Watmough has many strong opinions about many things that he knows very little about. They're usually about video games.