Fifty Shades of Grey Was the Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen at 7:45 Last Monday Night

Gus Harrington

Judging by all the online hubbub, it seems that everyone has something to say about the new film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, regular readers will know that I am not typically one to review movies. However, due to the ever-growing cacophony of controversy swirling around this film, I felt compelled to head to the theater in order to offer my enlightening criticism to the mix. And let me tell you, for the entirety of its two hour run time, Fifty Shades of Grey was by far the worst film that I was watching.

Does this film degrade modern cinema, and the whole of culture by extension? I have no idea, but it certainly was the low point of my cultural perspective for about half an evening.


To be fair though, it was the most subtle film playing at the time.

While I do not necessarily agree with every bit of negative press this movie has garnered, I do largely have to side with mainstream critics who panned the film. For example, Katie Rife at the A.V. Club called the film, “the absolute worst piece of cinematic trash that I am currently watching right now.” She has a point, as one cannot help but wonder about some of the decision making that went into the movie’s production.

Take, for instance, the casting of the lead roles. I have nothing against actor Jamie Dornan, but anyone in my theater could plainly see that his interpretation of Christian Grey was the least interesting portrayal of the character that was playing across the screen at that particular time. Not only that, but isn’t the whole point of the Christian Grey character supposed to be how irresistibly handsome and charming he is? It is not surprising what an uproar fans of the book caused when Dornan was cast. He was by far the most hideous, unlikable person to play that role in the film while I was watching it that particular moment.

Jamie Dornan

Clearly the most disgusting man currently featured in this picture.

Many critics have said that Dakota Johnson’s performance as Anastasia Steele was an improvement over the character in the book, but I need to ignore those opinions if I’m going to look at this film objectively. The way I see it, Johnson’s performance, while far from the worst in the entire movie, still amounted to nothing more than single still images projected onto a white background at twenty-four frames per second (to create the illusion of movement) near where I sat around two and a half days ago.

But what of the film’s tantalizing sexual nature? There was so much fanfare and controversy about the film’s sex scenes leading up to its release. While they may or may not have lived up to the hype in a broader cultural context, that is not for me to decide. All I know is that Fifty Shades of Grey was the least erotic of any movie that was playing at the exact time and location that I was viewing it.

Naked Lady Stuff

You might be wondering what my final takeaway is here. Is this film worse than some? Is it better than others? Perhaps. Who knows, maybe I would have liked Fifty Shades better if I was also on my laptop in the theater, simultaneously streaming something like Invisible Mom 2, or watching a Youtube supercut of all the awful moments in Gigli. But unfortunately I wasn’t, so Fifty Shades of Grey must be held (perhaps against its will) to the brutal critical appraisal that comes from being viewed in a total cultural vacuum.

All in all, if Fifty Shades of Grey really wanted to be a romantic romp, it could stand to learn a few things from a film like Pretty Woman, which is my single favorite movie of all time that I also watched at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2004.


2 Stars

About Gus Harrington (16 Articles)
Gus quickly became one of today's leading literary critics, despite not yet having any of his own works published. Gus joined The Double Thumb so that he could “offer an intelligent alternative to the mainstream critic community.” Gus is married to his lovely wife Tabitha Harrington. They live in a beautiful beachfront house in La Jolla, California despite both of them having severe sand allergies. Six months out of the year, Gus tours across the country signing other people's books. Keep an eye out for him in your hometown, and be sure to buy an autograph!

5 Comments on Fifty Shades of Grey Was the Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen at 7:45 Last Monday Night

  1. I have no interest in seeing this, nor does reading the book hold any appeal to me. It’s a little harsh what you said about Jamie Dornan though- he’s not my type, but I try to refrain from making any personal comments about actors’ looks. They are people too! (although, to be fair, he is laughing all the way to the bank and is probably not torn up by your comment, on the VERY off- actually microscopic- chance that he happened to see it. I’ve never seen “Pretty Woman” but I think it takes a lot of guts as a man to admit it’s your all-time favorite :)


    • Gus Harrington // February 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm // Reply

      You know, I actually reached out to Mr. Dornan regarding the comments I made about him in this article. I got as far as his publicist, with whom I held a brief phone conversation.

      “So let me get this straight,” he said to me. “You’re saying that Mr. Dornan is the most hideous and disgusting person in the world?”

      “No,” I said. “I’m not comparing him to anyone else. I’m saying that Jamie Dornan is the most hideous and disgusting person who is ALSO cast in the role of Christian Grey in the 2015 film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ currently playing in theaters at this time.”

      There was a pause.

      “You do realize that Mr. Dornan is the ONLY person cast in the role of Christian Grey in the 2015 film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that is currently playing in theaters, right?”


      The publicist sighed. “So why put a negative spin on it? Couldn’t you also say that Mr. Dornan is the most handsome and talented and wonderful person cast in the role of Christian Grey?”

      “Um, well yes,” I said. “I suppose that, logically speaking, you could say that and it would be correct, yes.”

      “Thank you very much, Mr. Harrington,” the publicist said. “We’ll print that on the DVD cover.”

      He hung up the phone.


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