Monday, February 16, 2015

Throwing shades of gray

I have no plans to see Fifty Shades of Grey. I briefly considered it when I saw Dakota Johnson, but that fleeting glimmer of interest ended before I finished reading the name Dakota Johnson. Just like with the source material, there is nothing about this movie that intrigues me. Bondage does nothing for me, and the idea of an all-dominant man in any situation makes me want to burn every sepia-toned photo I’ve ever seen.

Fortunately for me, there’s a cinematic antidote! And unlike its corruptive counterpart, its title is as black-and-white as they come. Old Fashioned. It’s 50 shades of gracious!

Its trailer immediately states that it’s NOT based on Fifty Shades of Grey. Which, you know, phew. The two prime hallmarks of good entertainment are that 1) it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey and 2) it’s utterly reactive. That second point is why Star Wars’ “This Ain’t The Godfather” ad campaign put that franchise in the record books.

The Old Fashioned trailer goes on to define the protagonists by how much they’re not the protagonists of that other filthyfilm. Then there’s a scene where — no joke — Mr. Not-Grey makes Miss Non-Ingenue step outside while he fixes her stove because he refuses to be alone in a room with a woman who isn’t his wife. Because real men have firm foundations of faith that shred like wrapping paper if a woman isn’t cast on the other side of the screen door. Oh, and only the man gets a name in the trailer, during the card that says the woman can see him now. Somehow, old-fashioned doesn’t even begin to describe this.

Old Fashioned aims to rope us in with a budding relationship that isn’t built on the sociopathic tendencies of Bond, Grey Bond. Which is all well and good, except that it doesn’t do that at all. The couple in Old Fashioned isn’t any more of an equal partnership than the couple that employs blindfolds and binds. At least the latter has some modicum of trust.

To consider Old Fashioned the story of a healthy relationship is to employ the most binary of thinking: “Fifty Shades of Grey is bad, so this must be good!” It’s the same limited thought process that suggests all people are either single, hard-partying hedonists or responsible married people (I am a single, hard-partying hedonist, but that’s beside the point). It denies that there is middle ground or — dare I say it? — shades of gray.

Think I’m being too hard on this humble little flick? Well, check out this other trailer:

Yep, that’s aimed at dads who were apparently going to take their “little girls” to see Fifty Shades of Grey, but who should totally see Old Fashioned instead, because that choice will directly determine whether or not the girl chooses a husband that is sufficiently like her father.

That’s about 50 shady things to unravel right there. But I’ll let them speak for themselves.

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