I saw Fifty Shades Darker five times in a row on opening day and reviewed it each time on Funny Or Die’s Snapchat/Instagram Story. Here’s the full video of the day followed by a detailed recap of each screening.
I watched the first Fifty Shades movie the night before (so I wouldn’t be totally lost) and felt deep waves of pain and regret over what watching the sequel five times would be like. The first was so shitty and bad, I had trouble sitting through it once. If I had seen Fifty Shades Of Grey before buying five tickets for Darker, I probably would’ve picked a different movie. I checked online before going to bed and confirmed my suspicion that I was the only person with a ticket to the 11:15am screening the following morning.
The First Screening (11:15AM)
I did not like Fifty Shades Darker very much the first time around. The story and pacing were a mess and there were some pretty glaring plot holes that asked the viewer to make unreasonable leaps of faith for a flick that’s just supposed to make you horny. And to make matters worse, I wasn’t horny at all after watching Fifty Shades Darker the first time. As a journalist concerned with facts, I was documenting my horniness level on a scale of 1 - 10 throughout the day. I started at a 1 and was still at a 1 after the first screening. Some of this could have also been due to the time of day and general anxiety about having to see this movie four more times. They definitely ramped up the sex from the first movie (which had pretty tame boning scenes in this guy’s opinion) but most of it felt so over the top and corny. Like who has sex with pants on?
The crowd was also odd. I wasn’t the only person in the theater at 11:15am, but I was the only guy. There were six middle aged women scattered throughout the theater sitting alone, presumably to get horny before noon by themselves but as a community which is so fascinating to me, and two gal pals sitting front row center. I wondered if some of these maybe moms in my midst didn’t know how to get away with looking at porn on their phones or a shared family computer. I debated interviewing one of them about this and quickly decided against it.
The Second Screening (2:15PM)
For my second screening, I was joined by Mistress Justine Cross who is a professional dominatrix in Los Angeles. I found her online and, after a brief email correspondence explaining I was not trying to make fun on her profession or community, she agreed to be a part of my story. I asked her to please come in whatever clothes she’d normally wear to a movie. She said she would normally wear “fetish casual” to which I replied, “I don’t know what that means, but sounds good.”
Fifty Shades deals extensively with BDSM and I was curious to know how accurate it all was. So I had Mistress Justine bring along a small device to electrocute me every time the movie inaccurately portrayed BDSM or I wasn’t paying attention. She plugged it into some sterile pads, put them on my arm, and did a test zap before the movie started so she could get familiar with my pain threshold. “I hadn’t used this in a while, had to test it on some dungeon slave pussy this morning to make sure it worked,” Mistress Justine nonchalantly said. It always feels good to work with professionals who check their gear. We established the safe word as, “Please pass the Milk Duds,” which was perfect because you might hear that in a movie theater anyway.
Seeing as it was only my second consecutive screening, I was still able to stay pretty focused. Especially since I was motivated by the fear of electrocution. Mistress Justine really only zapped me twice for yawning and once for checking my phone. And much to both of our surprise, she very rarely shocked me during the actual BDSM stuff because of how accurate it all was. Those silver balls (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you see it) got zero shocks. Same with the leg separator toy or the fact that nipple clamps hurt more when you take them off or getting quietly fingered in an elevator.
Mistress Justine zapped me every time Christian has sex with his pants on, something she also agreed was fake news. She also started zapping me every time something happened that she didn’t like. She thought the singer at the masquerade ball had a stupid haircut (she was right) and zapped me for it. When she realized I thought Ana’s best friend and Christian’s sister were the same actor because they’re both women with blonde hair, she did not hold back on the zaps. During a particularly intense sexual harassment in the workplace scene she damn near took my arm off. All in all, she probably electrocuted me 40 times throughout the film. I’m relieved to report that getting electrocuted during a movie is not something I’m into or would want to do regularly. This is great because that would be super weird and is also definitely not a hobby I could afford.
It was also fun to see the movie with someone, because we were very quickly goofing on the same stuff I thought was dumb during the first screening. There’s this photo gallery scene in the beginning, with big pictures of Ana that are SO stupid, and when Mistress Justine laughed out loud as they came on the screen I knew I was in good company. I paid her for her time and services after the movie and got a receipt for our accounting department. I also made sure we got a picture together.
The Third Screening (4:45PM)
My third screening was at 4:45pm and there was a noticeable shift in the crowd’s energy. Stuff that I had been laughing at all day (Ana being surprised to learn her boss who tried to rape her got fired or the top of Christian’s pubes being gratuitously in frame for no reason like who asked for that who wrote a letter asking for that) was getting audible crowd reactions. People were coming to see this movie with friends and goofing on it and laughing. I warmed up to the whole thing and, because I wasn’t sitting there in fear of getting shocked by a stranger, enjoyed the third one the most so far.
I also realized, just like when I did this last time with La La Land, how much I missed in earlier screenings because I zoned out. Like the scene when Ana finally touches Christian in his no-no lipstick zone (lipstick zone was perhaps the most stupid part of this movie) didn’t even register to me as a significant moment until the third screening. Which is crazy because that’s a pretty big moment. I wasn’t sure if my brain was actively tuning out things so I would have new stuff to pay attention to, or if this movie was just bad. It was probably a little bit of both. I remember thinking that one day I hope I look as good as Kim Bassinger does at 67.
I decided my favorite part during the third screening was the scene transition that goes from Christian putting the silver balls in Ana’s vagina into the shot of the fleet of cars pulling up to the masquerade ball. It’s a great transition and has a little comedic beat and the music cue works really well. My favorite minor character was the guy who tends to Christian’s yacht when he’s not there. I made up a whole backstory for him. In my head he’s a divorced dad of two and making it work but wishes he could spend more time with his kids but Christian’s yacht isn’t going to tend to itself. I ended the third screening and was at a 4.5 on a scale of 1-10 horniness, which is actually below average for me on a Friday evening but a new high score for the day.
Fourth Screening (7:15PM)
I decided to start drinking white wine in between the third and fourth screenings. It was a great decision; in retrospect I should’ve been doing it the whole time. The movie theater I was at had a bar (every movie theater should have a bar) and it was packed with folks who were clearly Shade heads. The group I started talking to were all in silly masquerade masks. One of them had a leash around her neck that was being held by her friend. It reminded me of when my friends and I would see Star Wars and bring light sabers into the theater, except this might actually end with someone in the group having sex in the next two years.
The crowd in the fourth screening was on fire. Hooting and hollering and being rowdy as hell, I loved it. When Christian goes down on Ana while she’s standing up, there was an applause break. I’d definitely never heard that before in a movie theater for a guy eating a girl out, pretty cool moment. I finally got what I was seeing and got very into the fun of the movie. White wine definitely helped. Again, should’ve been riding that wave since round one.
But not everyone was on board. A group of older lady voices kept shushing a group of younger lady voices. If you’re wondering how I could distinguish the difference between a young lady voice and an old lady voice, the answer is one sounds like she pays her own cell phone bill. These older women were either diehard fans of cinema or wanted to be horny in peace or maybe both. I empathized with them, because if you’re turning to this movie for sexual arousal then your shit is probably pretty fucked up at home.
I went to the bathroom about 40 minutes in, because at this point I was having a hard time sitting still, and walked by a few of the shushers talking to security guards. They were snitching on the young ladies having fun! It was clear the shushers were going to win this one, they were just more organized and motivated to be horny than the youths were to have fun. They also have decades more experience asking to speak to a manager. Security came in, and the girls calmed down a bit, but the crowd was still goofing on all the goofy stuff and, much to my total surprise, my fourth screening was my favorite one of the day yet. These were actually getting better. I stopped keeping track of my horniness because I had put down a few glasses of wine and didn’t want to inaccurately attribute anything to the movie when alcohol was doing a lot of heavy lifting.
The Fifth Screening (10PM)
When I saw La La Land five times in a row, the fourth one was by far the hardest to sit through, so I was bracing myself to have a rough fourth Shades. When the fourth one breezed by, I thought I was in the clear. This was a mistake. I hit a wall at the beginning of the fifth screening and the minutes absolutely crawled. I think I got up to use the bathroom or stretch my legs every twenty minutes, it felt like I was losing my mind. Sitting in a dark room all day watching softcore porn punctuated by a bad plot had taken its toll on my mind and body. I was pretty sure I was going to have diarrhea when I got home.
I came back from one of my breaks and realized I had no idea what part of the movie I was watching because all the plotlines were so awful and blurred together. I actually felt dizzy trying to think about what point in the movie I was at. Was Ana the CEO of books yet? Does Christian still have a lipstick square on his torso? My head hurt. I was drinking coffee to keep my eyes open and dumping eye drops into my dry sockets with hopes they’d soak deep enough to re-moisturize my soul. This was a shame because the 10PM crowd was by far the most lively, but I had exhausted myself and was dead inside and just too far-gone to enjoy any of it.
I saw Christian miraculously survive a helicopter crash one last time, with only his shirt getting a little dirty, and got up to do my last check-in on Snapchat. My final thoughts are it’s a fun thing to see with friends and have a good time, but it definitely sucks as an actual movie. I do not recommend seeing it five times in a row. And the way they handled the whole Ana saying “yes” thing was so poorly done. They make it seem like it’s yes to the apartment, but maybe also to marriage, and then Christian announces the engagement, but then he proposes again. It’s enough to give you diarrhea except I didn’t actually have diarrhea when I got home. Thank god. Also Ana’s photographer friend cracked me up. They do a few quick shots of him that are so unnecessary, he’s a super funny minor character when you focus on his screen time. The part when Christian uses the thot force on the bootleg version of Ana to get her to lower her gun was the only time I laughed out loud in the fifth screening. It’s my favorite part of the movie. The only thing I was horny for was sleep. I had been at the movie theater for 13 hours and went home.
Compared to seeing La La Land five times in row, the aftermath of this wasn’t so bad. After La La Land I was having these intense moments days later where I could hear all of the songs of the movie playing in my head at the same time. It felt like I was going crazy and I was scared it would never go away. With Fifty Shades Darker, I was scared I might never be horny again. Several friends and one coworker asked me if I masturbated when I got home after the movies (I have great friends and coworkers) and the answer is a resounding no. I was totally exhausted and in no way sexually aroused after seeing that movie five times. But don’t worry, I have masturbated since then because masturbation is cool and sex is great and thank god this movie didn’t ruin those things for me because they’re two of my favorite things and I’d probably kill myself. Also,in case you didn’t notice, my shirt slowly got shades of grey darker over the course of the day because I’m the undisputed greatest of all time.
I think I’m doing this again for Power Rangers in March, but open to any and all suggestions. See you guys next time at the movies!