Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Movie ~ 50 Shades? Better = If I Were You

All the chat about Marcia Gay Harden just now centres around her role in a movie currently doing the rounds Fifty Shades of Grey , "an erotic romance" adapted from the novel of the same name by British author E. L. James, first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Sigh - oh another of those. Cinema-going is getting more and more like a dragged-out annual mini-series experience these days.

We won't be seeing Fifty Shades of Grey - we can see 'em every day just by gazing upon the downy covering atop our dearest one's noggin. If this review at The Rambling Curl is a fair assessment, we'd be giving the movie a wide berth anyway!

Marcia Gay Harden is, I understand, one of Fifty Shades' pivotal characters. We watched her a few nights ago doing a great turn in a little known film now available on Netflix: If I Were You. This was a rare occasion when both husband and I enjoyed a film with equal enthusiasm. If I Were You is fun, serious and insightful all at the same time. Oddly, very oddly I thought, is the fact that Rotten Tomatoes' professional reviewers, 12 of them - 11 male, gave the movie a hefty thumbs down. The one exception, by gender and opinion, a single female critic, liked it. Hmm. Thereby could probably hang a different blog post - but I'll not bother.

If I Were You is certainly not a chick-flick in the usual sense of that description. The film has elements of farce and some darkish humour all wrapped around a serious theme of infidelity. Marcia Gay Harden carries the movie as wife of a philandering guy. Opening scenes depict her as a hapless, fairly helpless woman probably in her 40s, whose better half, she discovers, turns out to be less better than expected. She gradually develops a spine in some rather unconventional ways, in the process also teaching her husband's "pretty, ditzy young thing" a few lessons along the way, as she learns some herself. The theme is not the straightforward love triangle plot you might expect from what I've written so far. There are several unexpected twists and turns.

If any passing reader intends to seek out the movie on Netflix or other outlet carrying it, I'd advise to just watch it "cold", without reading up on plot detail. I suspect that's the best way to experience this film. We watched it that way, found it almost accidentally, when searching for a movie without beaucoup guns, violence, and CGI-ridden slam-banginess. If I Were You has no guns, no CGI, no violence, but many laughs and wry, chuckle-worthy moments.

Because sometimes Monday is for music, and I know a song of the same title as the film discussed above, here's "If I Were You", written and sung by a favourite artist, k.d. lang. After her song there's a brief interview with Jay Leno.


mike said...

I've not read "Fifty Shades of Grey", but it certainly has people talking since it was published, and now the film. I'm guessing, but the book is probably the better choice (as usual), since the brain is the largest sex organ and the reader can color the scenery as they choose. A bit of sexual titillation is good for the soul and it eases the profound boredom many face in their real relationships (dream lovers!).

I wouldn't mind viewing "Crash" (1996)...not the other "Crash" (2004)...for its twisted, sexual plot (not that I'm into paraphilia):
"Crash is a 1996 Canadian-British psychological thriller film written and directed by David Cronenberg based on J. G. Ballard's 1973 novel of the same name. It tells the story of a group of people who take sexual pleasure from car accidents, a notable form of paraphilia. The film stars James Spader, Deborah Kara Unger, Elias Koteas, Holly Hunter, and Rosanna Arquette."

"Crash" (1996) isn't available for streaming on Netflix. I'm finding that most movies I want to view on Netflix are either on DVD or simply not available through Netflix. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is supposed to be excellent, but only on DVD. I was planning to view "Big Eyes", but after reading the reviews, decided to not waste my coins at the local theater.

Have you seen the sci-fi western "Firefly" TV series? Originally shown on FOX (2202) and now on Netflix. I've been told it's very good, but who knows?! Sounds weird, but maybe I'll give it a try.

I, too, appreciate K.D. Lang. One of my favorites is paired with Roy Orbison...Roy has long been a music hero of mine (RIP):

Twilight said...

mike ~ I think we rented the DVD of the 1996 "Crash" film, during a trawl through James Spader films (expecting to find him more as he was in "Boston Legal" - and failing!) I'm pretty sure we gave "Crash" a hefty thumbs down - seemed simply sick to us, rather than in any way erotic.

We saw "Grand Budapest Hotel" during our free month on Amazon Prime - it was the first film we watched in fact. Very good!

Amazon does seem to have some of the stuff we were hoping to see - even though Netflix has more choices, in general. Probably a crafty way to get people to buy into both!

I have the DVD set of "Firefly", yes, we enjoyed it - wouldn't rave about it, but a decent enough series.

We started watching "Damages" (series) last evening. It's not bad - I think it benefits from being seen in binge-watch mode, as each season concentrates on a single case, so one needs to remember bits of fine detail to follow what's going on. Acting is good - Glen Close in the lead, with guest stars added each season. 1st season has Ted Danson.

Nice duet there - Orbison and kd.
:-) 2 amazingly good vocalists.

mike (again) said...

Have you viewed "Big Fish" or "Mr. Nobody"? I may start with them tonight. The big cold front arrived an hour ago, so indoor fun for now.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ "Big Fish" - we saw it at the cinema back in the UK must have been just after it was released - and shortly before my eventual emigration. Much has happened since I recall very little about the movie, except, I guess, that it didn't impress me much.

"Mr Nobody" ~ Yes, I found it in an online list of "must see these" so we tried it. A definite oddity, very strange. Probably worth a look though, see what you make of it!

It's a very very cold day here too.
Still only 32 degrees at 2.30pm.