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What's Up Magazine

Fifty shades of better movies

Feb 25, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
The poorly reviewed movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, had very little staying power at the box office during its second weekend of release. Expectations were higher considering the bombastic sales of the big old paperback edition (more than 70 million) and the record-breaking more than one million Kindle editions sold.

Fiction bestsellers exploring human sexuality are nothing new, however. From Lady Chatterley's Lover to Tropic of Cancer to Fear of Flying, grownups and curious adolescents have sought some answers to questions often too difficult to pose to another person. And we enjoy the excitement. An entire literary industry has been created around romance novels and “bodice rippers” (see any illustrated cover for explanation of that description). And then, of course, there’s premium cable TV where R-rated movies have found a safe haven. Keep in mind that we’re talking quality productions with major stars—not Cinemax After Dark.

The general consensus is that the Fifty Shades movie is a failure because it simply wasn’t a very good movie. There are alternative movies, however, that provide titillation, artistic merit, and intellectual satisfaction. We took a very unscientific, though entertaining, poll around the What’s Up? offices and came up with a few recommendations:

Body Heat—Great movie, great plot line, and oh so steamy, literally, as it takes place in Florida in the summer.

The Big Easy—This time steamy, humid New Orleans lends the perfect atmosphere to an exciting mystery.

Nine and ½ Weeks—This very-thin-on-plot film really caused a stir in its day, but Kim Basinger was gorgeous and, believe it or not, Mickey Rourke was really cute.

American Gigolo—Provided equal time for sexy, semi-nude men. Not surprisingly, it made Richard Gere a star. (Honorable mention here for Gere’s Breathless with its brief, full-frontal nudity of an actual A-list male star.)

Wild at Heart—A lovers-on-the-run tale from the director of the far kinkier Blue Velvet, and starring a surprising appealing Nicolas Cage.

Extra Credit—Go to IMDB and download Miami Vice season 3 episode 20, “By Hooker by Crook,” to view the very hot-for-TV pairing of Shades star Dakota Johnson’s parents, Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, two years before her birth.

--Sarah Hagerty
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