Did you secretly hate the 50 Shades of Grey books as much as I did? Did you also spend countless bookclub nights stuffing yourself with brie and trying not to get too freaked out by your sister-in-law’s confessions about acting out the scene in chapter 9? Did you see the trailer for the upcoming movie and long for an alternative romantic film that didn’t involve safe words? Well, the Lord has heard your prayers. Old Fashioned, the Christian alternative to the 50 Shades of Grey movie, is being released in theaters on the same day and as much as I want to hate on it, I have to admit it looks pretty good.
Actor Rik Swartzwelder wrote, directed and stars in the film, which IMDB describes as follows: “A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.” The film is being compared to 50 Shades not only because of it’s release date, but because Swartzwelder set out to rival the franchise with a film that comments on God’s role in love and physical intimacy.
I should be clear that I am not a very religious person. I went to Catholic school growing up and I baptized my sons when there were born, but beyond major holidays (and even then, not since the kids came along) I don’t get to church and I’m okay with that. I approached the idea of Old Fashioned the way one would a person handing out free tubes of hand cream at Costco- cautiously optimistic, but very wary of the sales pitch.
Maybe it’s the fact that I much prefer Swartwelder’s golden boy locks that remind me of yummy Sam Rockwell to Jamie Dornan and his cold, cyborg-like gaze. Or perhaps it’s that I personally feel rulers are for scrapbook projects. Or maybe it’s just that I still hold a candle for Ryan Gosling, despite his new status as a DILF, and the trailer for Old Fashioned reminds me a little of The Notebook. Whatever the reason, you have to admit it looks pretty good:
Sure, the theme song isn’t quite as catchy as Beyonce’s Haunted that accompanies the 50 Shades trailer. There are no flashy helicopters, no red rooms of pain, nothing to indicate the leading man is a billionaire. But Old Fashioned seems like a real love story made with actors that can do more than make sexy faces for the camera. Assuming the rest of the film isn’t Christian propaganda telling me my rightful place is in the kitchen, it seems promising.
I know the likelihood of my finding a sitter and getting to see either of these movies in theaters is as wild a fantasy as that thing Christian does to Ana with the pink leather riding crop. And i’m sure I’ll view 50 Shades of Grey at some point for the pop cultural references alone. But if I had to chose where to blow $14.00 this February, my money is on Old Fashioned. Praise Jesus, or whatever.