During the drive we got a bit aftectionate / goofy; I started singing a song and Kirsten joined in...
"If you like-a me, like I like-a you, and we like-a both the same.
I like-a say this very day, I'd like to change your name.
'Cause I love-a you, and love-a you true, and if you-a love-a me,
one live as two, two live as one, under the bamboo tree..."
I think she paid a bit too much attention to the singing however, because she stalled out the car when we were rounding the block... so we got back to the parking space, only to see a car gun in front of us and nab it by a second or two. D'oh!
We finally found a parking space further away and walked down 1st St., stopping to check out a street market that they do in SJ on Friday nights. We picked up a handful of bargain used CDs before dropping in at 1st St. Billiards for a drink and a light dinner.
Afterwards, we went to Camera One to see "Secretary"... all and all, a fairly good movie, having to do with how a secretary develops a serious submissive relationship with her boss, a lawyer with his own practice. The actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal, was quite good at playing her character, a deceptively simple woman who is revealed over time as being emotionally complex, vulnerable, and repressed. She masquerades through the world with a smile... a defense mechanism for her abusive, sheltered upbringing, but she harbors a problem with cutting / self-injury and strong submissive tendencies.
Gyllenhaal played such a convincing innocent that it never occured to me that she previously played Raven, the sociable Satanist in Cecil B. Demented. James Spader was also quite good as the dominant lawyer, once again convincingly playing a "sexual deviant". (Does he know how to play anything else?!)
Despite the quality of the acting, the real flaws in the movie were in the editing and screenplay of Steven Shainberg. Shainberg obviously is a skilled director able to create some good cinematic moments, but while the BDSM scenes were often beautiful, they sometimes lacked any real psychological power exchange... the moves were there, but the script wasn't. Likewise, the story suffered at times, both in what it left out, and some of the plot elements it left in. While it was nice to see the evolution of Gyllenhaal's character, it would have been better for it to be more gradual, more powerful, and more logically scripted. Another eight minutes of film combined with about three minutes of cuts would have made a big difference in retrospect.
The best scenes were either about the power exchange between Spader and Gyllenhaal or the moments that explain their kinky personalities, but unfortunately there wasn't enough of either... there were too many external (and somewhat irrelevant) characters, annoyingly incomplete subplots, and even an obligatory public spectacle scene with reporters, shocked friends, et al... as if the implication is that there's something scandalous going on. Frankly, if there was, I would have rather that been the focus.
Another element that I disliked was the sheer amount of "topping from the bottom" that was going on during the movie, in lieu of real communication. I don't know many self-respecting dominants who would have tolerated it for long without a *very* unpleasant punishment...
Still, was it worth seeing? Sure... but mostly because there is a shortage of movies with good acting that tackle this subject matter well. I suspect the movie will resonate within the right circles; within a year, half of the dungeons out there will no-doubt have rooms specifically designed for office-oriented fetish play. Just don't try to top your