Fifty Shades of Grey, which at one time was a #1 New York Times (Fiction) Best Seller, is considered by some to be one of the best erotic suspense novels ever published. The book was an international phenomenon, but the movie trailer does not provoke any degree of intrigue or curiosity at all. The trilogy was written by E.L. James, a former television executive-turned-novelist who resides in London.
What makes the movie trailer, as well as the overall storyline, such a disappointment?
In the film, the lead male character ... Christian Grey ... is young, wealthy, and reasonably handsome. Now granted, for many female moviegoers that might seem like the "ideal package," and may very well motivate many of these same women to pay eight dollars or more to view the film in the movie theaters.
For men (even those who are major movie buffs)? Not so much.
What is "out-of-the-ordinary" or "intriguing" about a man who has the trifecta of looks, wealth, and youth being able to get a (younger) woman under his seductive influence? For me, watching this movie would be like watching highlights on ESPN of 7'2" Roy Hibbert or 7'3" Hasheem Thabeet dunking a basketball during an NBA contest. Yeah ... exciting. (Exciting dunk? 6'1" Kevin Johnson dunking over the 6'11" Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1994 NBA Western Conference Playoffs)
Listed below are both five "alternative storylines" as well as five erotic suspense movies that already had better storylines than Fifty Shades of Grey.
Fifty Shades of Grey 'Alternative' Storyline #5:
The character of Christian Grey is somewhere between 65 and 80, and he has a personality that is two parts 'Hugh Hefner' and one part 'Tom Freston.' He goes bankrupt, but while he is down on his luck, he uses his seductive influence to persuade a young attractive marketing prodigy by the name of Anastasia Steele to help him re-build his corporate empire. Actor chosen to play Christian Grey: Warren Beatty, Pierce Brosnan, or Richard Gere.
Fifty Shades of Grey 'Alternative' Storyline #4:
The character of Christian Grey is somewhere between 50 and 60, and he has a history of dating and being married to 'gold digger' types and 'status seeker' types, but then he meets a young woman (Anastasia Steele) who comes from a family that has just as much wealth, if not more wealth, than even Mr. Grey himself. Actor chosen to play Christian Grey: George Clooney or Viggo Mortensen.
Fifty Shades of Grey 'Alternative' Storyline #3:
The character of Christian Grey is somewhere between 35 and 45, and he is a former U.S. Army Drill Sergeant who was discharged from the Army for inappropriate sexual advances toward female soldiers, and now he is earning a living teaching women how to be more feminine and submissive to their boyfriends and husbands. Grey meets a recently engaged woman (Anastasia Steele) who is looking to become less of a prude and more erotically uninhibited to make her marriage work. Actor chosen to play Christian Grey: Ryan Gosling or Sam Worthington.
Fifty Shades of Grey 'Alternative' Storyline #2:
The character of Christian Grey is somewhere between 30 and 40, and he is working as a financially struggling personal trainer at a health and fitness gym, and he meets a wealthy older woman who is somewhat "chubby" (Anastasia Steele) and is looking to lose some weight in order to make her cheating-behind-her-back husband happy. Not only does Grey "train" her as it relates to better eating habits and exercise habits, but he also "trains" her to become a more obedient, submissive, and free-spirited lover. Actor chosen to play Christian Grey: Chris Evans or Channing Tatum.
Fifty Shades of Grey 'Alternative' Storyline #1:
The character of Christian Grey is ... get ready for this ... AFRICAN-AMERICAN. Ivy League educated and wealthy, he publicly gives off the impression of being very conservative and upper middle class ... but behind closed doors, he can hang with the most 'ghetto' of street thugs and gangbangers, and will smoke some of the best marijuana that life has to offer. Grey then meets the prim, proper, prudish, and pretentious (and Caucasian) Anastasia Steele who had only dated upper class, snobbish, wimpy / Beta male type White men prior to meeting Brother Grey.
Anastasia's father presents the public facade that he co-signs with a "post-racial society," but privately, Mr. Steele still harbors some degree of racist sentiments toward Blacks, Hispanics, and even Asians. When the father finds out about his daughter's relationship with Brother Grey, he is torn between an admiration for what Mr. Grey has accomplished academically and financially, but he is still not a fan of interracial relationships. Actor chosen to play Christian Grey: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Omari Hardwick, or Terrence Howard.
To reiterate once again, even if the character of Christian Grey (as portrayed by Actor Jamie Dornan in the feature-film, scheduled for release in theaters on February 13, 2015) has a wide assortment of personality issues and behavioral quirks, there is simply nothing novel or unique about watching a fairly good-looking wealthy man who is in his early-to-mid thirties seducing a naive younger woman. That scenario can happen literally on a weekly, if not daily basis. That would be like watching a movie about a beautiful, sexy twenty-something woman seducing a forty-something or fifty-something married man into engaging in an extramarital affair behind his just-as-old wife's back. Who would be curious to watch that?
A good example of a movie with a unique twist was The Tao of Steve starring Actor Donal Logue as an average-looking, overweight ladies' man and womanizer named "Dex" who has a knack for attracting and seducing good-looking women who 'on-paper' seemed to be out of his league. The story was actually based on the real-life exploits of a man who was a friend of the screenwriters of the film, Greer and Jenniphr Goodman.
Now, I present to you Alan Roger Currie's ranking of the Top 5 Erotic Suspense Films Ever Made (R-rated or NC-17 rated)
Comment: Zalman King is arguably the greatest 'soft porn' screenwriter in the history of Hollywood, with Adrian Lyne a very close second. Nine 1/2 Weeks set the 'standard' for films in the R-rated "Erotic Suspense" genre of movies.
Comment: Even though this film was never released in the movie theaters (it was released on Showtime and straight-to-VHS), I would still rank this as one of the best Erotic Suspense films ever made. This TV movie was also written by the late, great Zalman King, and describes an all-too-familiar story of a woman who is dating and soon-to-be-married to a man who is the proverbial 'nice guy' / 'polite gentleman' type (Duchovny), but her raw sexual hormones are more attracted to the edgy, very Alpha male 'bad boy' (Wirth).
Comment: This film might be the best mainstream movie ever produced that highlights a "BDSM" (Bondage - Domination - Submission - Masochism) influenced 'dominant-submissive' type relationship between a man and a woman. Interesting enough, Spader's character is named "Mr. Grey" in this film. Gyllenhaal actually was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal as the masochistic and extremely obedient and submissive Lee Holloway.
Comment: This film contains some very erotically intense scenes. A young French woman ends up engaging in an affair with an older Chinese businessman. This movie contains some of the most underrated sex scenes ever produced in an R-rated film.
Comment: There have been many films produced about cheating husbands, but of the few films that center on cheating wives, Unfaithful (directed by the talented Adrian Lyne) is arguably the best and most realistic. Actress Diane Lane has never been better. Wild Things has some comedic moments, some dramatic moments, and of course, some highly sexual moments. Most notably was the ménage à trois scene between Campbell, Dillon, and Richards.
Honorable Mention: Basic Instinct, Breaking the Waves, Caligula, Damage, Eyes Wide Shut, Henry & June, Lake Consequence, Last Tango in Paris, Lust, Caution, Monster's Ball, 9 Songs, Nymphomaniac: Volume I and Volume II, Quills, Secret Things, Sex. Lies, and Videotape, Shame, The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover, The Good Wife, The Story of O, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Two Moon Junction, and Wild Orchid.
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Alan Roger Currie is the author of a number of books, including Mode One: Let the Women Know What You're REALLY Thinking and Oooooh . . . Say it Again: Mastering the Fine Art of Verbal Seduction and Aural Sex. Currie's latest eBook, The Possibility of Sex: How Naive and Lustful Men are Manipulated by Women Regularly is also available exclusively on Amazon.com in their Kindle format. You can also download a copy of Currie's eBook on your iPhone, Android Smartphone, or other Smartphone. Starting with Monday, August 4, 2014, you might be eligible to download a FREE copy of the audiobook version of 'Mode One' on Audible.com. CLICK HERE for more details.
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