With 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Universal Studios Advocates Violence Against Women - N.O.W. Oddly Silent Advocates

"Fifty Shades of Grey" (FSG) is now in theaters.  Critic website rottentomatoes.com gave it a 28% out of 100%.  May I suggest an alternative, "Old Fashioned." This indie film shows a gallant, chivalrous view of women and an alternative to the objectification of the fairer sex that we see in FSG.

One of the worst aspects of this insidious film is that they are marketing sexual violence as Romance! Is this the best Universal Studios can do for VALENTINES DAY?

Am I advocating a boycott?  Christians should know better then to go see this film in the first place.  And, boycotts often backfire (i.e. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST).

But, definitely let your voice be heard to those advocating this abuse of women and families by writing to Universal Studios and telling them how disappointed you are in their support of this abuse.

By the way, FSG sequels are planned.  Here is the link to

Universal Studios Complaint Form:


What will they (and others) do for an erotic encore?  You know that no envelope-pushers wanna be accused of being tame slackers.  No, they want to be EDGY and cool and mostly, to make lots of filthy lucre.

FSG could be called a variety of names.  "Fifty Ways to Degrade Intimacy," "Fifty Ways to Call for Violence and Humiliation of Women," "Fifty Things Studio Execs Wouldn't Want Their Kids to Watch - but it's Ok If it Makes Money, wink, wink."

Ironically, lead actress' mother Melanie Griffith posted a note on Facebook Tuesday, saying, “My daughter Dakota Johnson forbids me from seeing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’”

And wow, where are all the voices against violence toward women!?  The usual suspects are very, very quiet on this.  In fact, a search on “Fifty Shades of Grey” and feminist group National Organization for Women (NOW) comes up, Goose Eggs, zeros.  Why?

Well according to our Catholic friends,

NOW's silence on “Fifty Shades” is explained thusly:

"Nominally speaking, the physical and psychological exploitation of Ana in “Fifty Shades” by her control-freak friend, Christian, should be ripe material for feminists."

"But their reticence makes sense once we understand what really drives them: sex without consequences. For straights, this means abortion rights. For gays, it means a cure for HIV/AIDS. In other words, they want to indulge their sexual passions without being burdened by babies and diseases. Most of all, they do not want to be judged."

"So there you have it. To condemn “Fifty Shades”—even by focusing on how it invites men to treat women as their sex slaves—is to invite judgment on matters sexual. And there is no bigger taboo in the world than that."

More Here: http://www.catholicleague.org/feminists-go-mute-fifty-shades/

 Here's another point of view:

“What’s unique about it is the overall message is that they’re trying to glamorize and romanticize violence against women,” said Amanda Smith, spokeswoman for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which launched a website fiftyshadesisabuse.com.

“It’s such a lie,” Smith said, “telling women that they should want to endure this kind of physical abuse and telling them that women want it, and also pushing the lie that if women are obedient and subservient enough, then they can fix a violent and controlling man.”

Here's food for thought on FSG from my good friend Alex McFarland.

What's Love Got to Do with It?
In "Fifty Shades of Grey," Nothing

Valentine’s Day used to be about roses and chocolates; this year, it’s about bondage sex and psychological abuse. Today, the highly controversial “Fifty Shades of Grey” debuts in theaters across the country. And while the film’s book namesake is purportedly ‘erotic romance,’ in reality, the movie glorifies sexual violence, dominance and psychological abuse.

According to one report, 20 minutes of the 100-minute film are scenes of graphic sex. And the film carries an “R” rating not only for “graphic nudity” but also for “unusual behavior,” which entails BDSM sex scenes (BD=Bondage and Discipline; DS=Dominance and Submission; SM=Sadism and Masochism).

Religion and culture expert Dr. Alex McFarland says the movie is the latest installation in a cultural trend that advances a skewed definition of love.

“Few things are as unthinkable as promoting violent sex and psychological abuse in the name of ‘romance,’” McFarland said. “But it’s hardly surprising that our culture has come to this point when we recognize that for years, sex has been glorified as the ultimate standard of love. And not sex within the God-ordained protection of marriage between one man and one woman, but sex that is simply a means of taking what we want from someone else to gratify ourselves. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ goes beyond even this twisted view of sex and love and elevates sexual abuse as acceptable.



Rating and censorship

Screenwriter Marcel said she expected the film to have a NC-17 rating in the United States.[88] Producer De Luca predicted the film would be rated R.[89] On January 5, 2015, the MPAA did give the film an R rating, basing its decision on "strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and language."[90]

On January 30, in Australia, the film was rated MA15+ by the ACB for "strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity".[91] On February 2, 2015, the British BBFC classified the film an 18 certificate, mentioning "strong sex".[1] In Canada, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, the film was rated at 18A by the OFRB, MFCB, AFR, and BCFCO respectively due to its "occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes, and partial or full nudity in a brief sexual situation."[92][93] In Quebec, the Régie du cinéma rated the movie under the 16+ category for its eroticism.[94] In France, the film earned a 12 rating.[95]

Anti-pornography watchdog group Morality in Media argued that the film's R rating "severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film’s content", and that the MPAA was encouraging sexual violence by letting the film by without an NC-17 rating.[96][97]
The film was scheduled for a February 12, 2015 release in Malaysia, but it was denied a certificate by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) for its "unnatural" and "sadistic" content. The LPF chairman, Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, said Fifty Shades was "more pornography than a movie."[98][99] The film was also banned in Kenya.[100]
In the Philippines, the film's sex scenes were to be censored after protests from various religious groups, and as a result it is in limited release in the Philippines [99]

Opposition campaign

On January 28, 2014, a campaign in the United States by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation started two petitions to boycott the film's release. Their website makes more than 50 allegations that the film has a negative impact on the community. It said, "Hollywood is advertising the Fifty Shades story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women. The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable. Fifty Shades models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check."[101] By February 7, one of the petitions had garnered more than 53,000 signatures.[102] On February 2, in Michigan, a man petitioned to halt the film's release at a local Celebration Cinema. Despite the man's efforts, the president of the cinemas declined to cancel the release of the film. He said, "We’ve been in business for 70 years and people often times object to content, and it’s not our job to censor the content of a widespread movie. It’s not in our best interest. It’s not in the community’s best interest." The film sold 3,000 tickets before the release and was expected to sell a total of 10,000 tickets.[103][104]


Box office

Pre release

Tickets for the film went on sale from January 11, 2015 in the United States.[85] According to ticket-selling site Fandango, Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest selling R-rated title in its 15-year history, surpassing Sex and the City 2.[105] It also had the biggest first week of ticket sales on Fandango for a non-sequel film, surpassing 2012's The Hunger Games.[105][106] It is also Fandango's fourth fastest advance seller of all time behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and The Hunger Games.[107] The demand prompted US theatre owners to add new showtimes.[105][108] Weeks before the film's release, several box office analysts suggested as much as a $60 million domestic four day opening[109][110][111][112][85] while Box Office Mojo reported that a $100 million opening could be possible.[113]
Outside the United States, the film pre-sold 4.5 million tickets in 39 markets.[114] In the UK, the film sold £1.3 million ($1.9 million) worth of tickets a week before its release.[115]

Theatrical run

Fifty Shades of Grey opened in North America on Thursday, February 12, 2015 across 2,830 theaters[116] and was widened to 3,645 theaters the next day making it the widest R-rated opening,[117] and the third widest R-rated release of all time.[118] It earned $8.6 million from Thursday night shows which is the highest late night show for a film released in February, Universal's highest late night show (previously held by Fast and Furious 6 with $6.5 million) and the second highest R-rated preview gross behind The Hangover Part II ($10.4 million).[116]
Outside North America, the film was released in four markets on February 11 — France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Philippines where it opened at #1 in each markets and grossed a total of $3.7 million.[119] It set an opening day record for Universal Studios in France with $2.7 million (previously held by Fast and Furious 6).[38] The film also broke records for biggest R-18 opening day of all time in Philippines and Universal's biggest opening day in Belgium.[120] In Australia, the film was released on February 12 and set an opening day record for both a film released in February and the biggest opening day for an MA rated film with $2.5 million—a particularly barren spot in the winter dump months of the movie-release calendar.[121]

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[122] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 27% approval rating, with an rating average of 4.2/10 based on 148 reviews. The website's consensus reads: "While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen."[123] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critic, the film has a score of 47 based on 41 collected reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[124]
Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News praised the directing, screenplay, and Johnson's performance. However, she called Dornan's performance, the leads' chemistry, and the supporting cast "underused". She praised the film for honoring the essence of its source and the director's way of balancing "atmosphere with action".[125] In The Guardian, Jordan Hoffmann awarded the film three out of five stars, writing "this big screen adaptation still manages to be about people, and even a little bit sweet", and that the sex scenes "are there to advance the plot, and only the most buttoned-up prude will be scandalised."[126] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, writing: "This perfectly normal way of consuming erotica suggests that the movie Fifty Shades of Grey will work better as home entertainment, when each viewer can race past the blah-blah about how well Christian plays the piano and pause on the fleeting image of the man minus his pants."[127]
Marcelo Hessel from Omelete called the film a "little porn for the family" and "a film more pulled over for comedy than for romance, although unintentionally."[128] Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that "the dialogue is laughable, the pacing is sluggish and the performances are one-note."[129] Moira Macdonald from The Seattle Times wrote that "Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, for the record, is not quite as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey the book. But that’s not saying much."[130] The Guardian's lead film critic Peter Bradshaw gave the film one star out of five, calling it "the most purely tasteful and softcore depiction of sadomasochism in cinema history" with "strictly daytime soap" performances.[131]

  • 2/12/15

    When it Rains, It Pours - Daniel Furukawa

    Daniel Furukawa, Producer
    Best Film of 2014 Acceptance Speech

    I recently got a chance to visit with Award Winning Producer, Daniel Furukawa.   His film "What Showers Bring" won the Best Film Award at the 168 Film Festival 2014.

    "What Showers Bring" garnered ten nominations including: 

    Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (2 Noms: Kelli Goss as Rachel, Paige Spara as Leah), Best Screenplay–Drama, Best Scriptural Integration, (use of foundational scripture), Best Sound Design, Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Hair and Makeup. 

    "Showers" Won for:

    Best Film: Daniel Furukawa, Producer 
    Best Actress: Kelly Goss as Rachel
    Best Original Score: Sean Massey, Composer


    JDW: What is your level of experience in the industry?

    DF: I have very little experience on a film or television set. Most of my experience is in shooting and editing for churches, missions organizations, and corporations. A few of our teammates on the project have had some experience in smaller television productions, but for most of us this project was our first attempt at creating a narrative.

    JDW: How did you get started?

    DF: Actually, one of the first video projects I worked on, aside from high school class projects, was a tribute to a friend who passed away in college. I started shooting and editing consistently about 10 years ago for the church where my dad was working at the time.

    JDW: What was your goal in producing for 168 Film?

    DF: Our original goal was to find something to do that would challenge us as a group and stretch us creatively. We had been meeting together for a while and knew that we needed a specific goal to set our sights on. The 168 project provided that point of focus. As artists, we recognized that we had the tendency to plan and brainstorm, but rarely make it to the point of actual execution. By entering 168 we had guidelines and a goal, but most importantly for us, we had a deadline. I think deadlines are the necessary evil for artists. We hate them and need them at the same time. 

    JDW: How did you organize your team?

    DF: We had been meeting for a while prior to the 168 project.  A group of about 8-10 of us, each with our own individual skill sets, had decided about a year ago to meet and create projects on our own. Our hope was to create projects from the ground up, for the sole purpose of practice and perfecting our skills.

    Best Film Team 2014
     Daniel Furukawa, Producer

    JDW: Did you have everything you needed when you started out?

    DF: It depends on how you look at it. We had a camera, a microphone, a crew ready to create and work hard, and luckily, an extremely talented group of actresses and actors who were willing to give up their time.  So yes, we had everything we needed, technically.  We shot on a very small budget (less than $1000), so we made decisions to shoot everything in one day, and mostly with natural lighting.  We also made decisions to shoot in locations that we had access to for free, like our own home. 

    JDW: How did you get the actors that worked on your film?

    DF: Our Casting Director, Genevieve Penn, is very good at what she does. She is an excellent evaluator of talent and potential. We trusted her completely and it paid off. 

    JDW: How did your faith impact the production?

    DF: Our faith impacts everything. I know that sounds like a Sunday school answer, but its true. We hope that our faith dictated the process completely. Our intention was to make a film that would impact people. We felt that it was important to create a story that people could relate to, and in turn, find hope in its message. We didn't want to necessarily wrap it up in a "Jesus Bow," but we wanted people to see that redemption is real, and Jesus is offering it to us. We experienced God's change of plans many times.  He has a wonderful way of taking what we've done (or set out to do) and remaking and renewing the plan into something we never thought possible.

    JDW: What are your plans for the film?

    DF: We want to make it available to as many people as possible, especially as an encouragement to couples struggling with the desire to have children naturally and harsh realities of infertility and other issues relating to conception.  Adoption is a wonderful alternative. 

    JDW: What are your plans for the future?

    DF: We hope to make more films. The 168 process opened our eyes and lit a fire in us to continue to create. We were encouraged not to limit ourselves with our budget and equipment excuses, but to allow the story to drive what we do. My dad always used to tell me when I was young, "the equipment doesn't make the man." That couldn't be more true than in filmmaking. Don't get me wrong, we love gear, but we won't allow the lack of it to prevent us from pursuing excellence in what we love to do.

    JDW: What would you like people to know about the production? About you? About your team?

    DF: We are young and inexperienced, but we are wide-eyed and excited to learn and better ourselves. We know we have so much to learn and we are thankful to 168 for contributing to our journey. Ultimately, we hope that in our team you see a glimpse of our Creator.