Someone in the internet interverse referred to the movie, the Shape of Water, as Fucking Nemo. That has stuck with me.
I’ve read a review over on Movie Boozers where they shredded this film, nearly as much as they went after the Fifty Shades stuff. Okay, not as much, but close. If you’ve never heard of Movie Boozers, go check them out. I find myself actually LAUGHING OUT LOUD at their take on the current and past crop of films. [It might even have been on Movie Boozers where I read that reduction of Shape of Water into Sex with Pixar Character.]
1. Shape Of Water: That said, Shape of Water robs me of the ability to coherently speak due to its staggering levels of self-indulgent, and highly disturbing, narrative dissonance. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME BELIEVE IN AN INTERSPECIES LOVE STORY IF THEIR BIG ROMANCE PRIMARILY INVOLVES LINING UP EGGS ALONG AQUAMAN’S TANK FOR BRING-YOUR-PET-TO-WORK SNACK TIME BEFORE YOU, UGHHHHHHH, BANG HIM GIVE IT UP AND SWIPE LEFT ON TINDER LIKE THE REST OF US, BISH. Oh, yeah, I wondered when the all caps button would get stuck again. No. Just no.
So, I rented the film. Yes, from Red Box. I’m one of those people who miss Blockbuster. Now you have a real and awful glimpse into my soul.
The Shape of Water had just won the Academy Award for, uh, everything? Best Picture, at least, I remember that. And it’s by the guy who did Pan’s Labyrinth. Which, if I need an excuse to sob and feel bad for days, I pop into my DVD player and wallow in the soul-destroying beauty of that film. I don’t need an excuse to sob and feel bad for days, my brain does that to me all on its own…so.
Okay! I expected a gorgeous, dark film, full of uncomfortable truths and great visuals. Perhaps the people who had not liked this film were more into Lifetime movies about abused women taking back their lives and crazed stalkers being brought to justice. Or movies where shit blows up and it’s ninety percent men with lots of sweaty muscles on display and giant weapons, not to mention shotguns and flamethrowers. Tee hee.
First off, the film really is gorgeous. The tones reflect a rather watery world, with cool wavery blues, shadows, blurred lights, night setting…yeah. The tiny apartments they lived in, yes, yes, yes. People with no actual money living in tiny dark dingy places! Yes, ma’am! Our heroine masturbating every night before she goes to work, hey, who hasn’t done that when having to work graveyard? Hands? Tee hee.
Though, I honestly did like that this woman, who lives alone, masturbates on a regular basis and the film maker regards it as normal and natural. It’s just part of who she is. Score! She’s not waiting for some man or beast to ‘wake her up’. She’s woke, baby. It’s just rather startling and pleasant to see a depiction of female sexuality that’s about HER PLEASURE and that she just enjoys it.
It also gave the movie a foreign film air. As America cinema tends to paint women as shrills, shrews, bitches, cold sex-hating ex-wives or very young whores/madonnas. Masturbation among American cinema females is seen as desperate, old-maid behavior. See Girls Trip for an example of this. Jokes about detachable shower nozzles here please.
Okay, before we veer off into how the movies treat women’s sexuality…
Secondly! I expected more and got far less from this movie. The story…eh. It’s the wallflower and the outsider; they just added a fishman to the mix. Is that bestiality? If you’re having an affair with something with gills? Are we edging over into, gulp, tentacle porn? Well, sort of. We do get brief fish/heroine sex. We also got a finger show on how the fishman’s penis works.
Now, Adult Nemo, wow. Well done on that. It didn’t look like some skinny dude wrapped in plastic and making weird sounds, like oh, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. There seemed to be an utter believability to this fishman of Shape of Water. That it could mate with a human…eh. Does that make it part human? Because that would get into some actual legal and ethical issues over keeping it locked up, torturing it and yes, you guessed, killing it and then dissecting it later on.
Because what do movie scientists and military folks do the very second they get their moist hands on something exotic, out of this world or unknown and rare? Right! They wanna cut it up and look at its guts! Oh my goddess!! Can we for once NOT GO DOWN THIS PARTICULAR PLOT HELLWAY? Scientists find some one of a kind creature and WANT TO KILL IT RIGHT OFF? Are you INSANE? I just…it’s just not logical or…god damn it!
What if they had discovered the fishman was some sort of undiscovered evolutionary shoot of humans?? What??!! I’m already more interested in that angle than the tired, played out, little shy mouse falls in love with some outcast who falls in love with her, wah, the end.
Thirdly–The storyteller, the film maker here…took away her voice. My my. In a time when it’s so horrifically obvious that women’s voices are already pretty much silenced, to feature a MUTE FUCKING WOMAN as your main character…Jesus wept.
And then that dream sequence where she sings and dances…dances with the fishman…I…I honestly didn’t know what to make of this. Because it seems more fairy tale/fantasy than the entire film combined and then some. It jarred me. It was beautifully done but seemed at odds with the entire rest of the film. Ah, there it is.
Okay! Here’s four. Here we go. Hold on to something.
Let’s move on to the super-concentrated Batman-esque villain that rape-romps his way through Shape of Water, shall we?
Michael Shannon is one of my favorite actors. He’s scary-sexy; yeah. I can’t explain it better than that. He should have been Christian Grey. I bet Shannon spitting out those truly abysmal lines would have been something to hear and watch. That intensity, that quiet intent, that notion that he could go pussycat or psycho tiger and you’d welcome both.
My crushes are weird and varied, sorry. If you got through my take on The Big Lebowski…yep.
Now! As the villain of this film, eh. I’m going to blame the story here.
This villain, a government procurer of oddities–honestly, that’s what I thought his job was. He just goes around slapping the shit out of weird animals/human hybrids and grinding his teeth because his wife talks too much-– brings in a tank full of SOMETHING to this government facility in Baltimore, Maryland.
It was found in South America. It does not like our villain and shows this by biting off two fingers, which our heroine finds. Now, the fingers being sewn back on to his hand and then rotting away…that alone was great. It was visual, it summed up the villain, it…yeah. Our villain is a rotting smelly finger! Got it!
The problem with the villain? One-note. Bang bang bang. He’s one of the sharks from a sharknado. You just sit back and wait for someone to chainsaw this guy in half while spouting a sporty one-liner.
Not to mention, he’s such an OBVIOUS villain, everyone knows to avoid him and fight him. He’s repulsive, he’s a bully and then some; he’s a concentrated dickhead.
I wanted so much more from Shannon’s role. Oh my gosh, a love triangle developing instead of him trying to be a rapey asshole to our heroine.
What if he had been torn by the empathy and such Rita shows to the fishman [is there an official name for the creature?], which makes his job all the harder as he, too, starts to understand and sympathize with Fishy? Sort of like the Russian spy guy…who had an actual character, motivation and arc. He, the Russian spy guy, sympathizes with the monster, and helps with the escape…by planting something that so very obvious the Russians would have used…in a facility full of American military personnel. I just. Ugh.
What if we get to see something other than kill kill wanna rape that silent freak girl I’m mean mean mean from the villain? Give Shannon a real acting challenge. Give him a place to go. He can’t start at ten and stay at ten and end the movie at ten. Boring!
And worse, just bad screenwriting. It’s a rookie mistake. This is a rookie mistake in a straight to dvd movie called Bad Villain, Part 8, Revenge of Squishy. [A Finding Nemo shout-out.]
Give us a story where we root for everyone and it breaks our hearts. Because those we root for can’t all win in the end…which is rather closer to actual stories of love in real life.
This is touted as a fairy tale.
Fairy tales tend to teach lessons. On behavior and what to do and how society deals with those who step off the path. [Badly. Badly is the answer. Do as you’re told, ladies.] So what do we learn from The Shape of Water?
Love conquers all, even death. Yeah, except it doesn’t.
Bad guys always get theirs. Yeah, except when they don’t and they seldom do in real life, if their lawyers are competent.
Friendship is rewarding and wonderful. Yes, actually, it is. Point awarded. I really enjoyed the relationship between Eliza and Giles, played by Richard Jenkins. Far more than the romance between Rita and Adult Nemo…oh dear. I keep thinking her name is Rita. It’s not?
Scientists are evil and always want to kill everything. Except for the Russian double agent guys, because they know about being different? I’m not sure at all here what I’m supposed to take away about scientists.
Red shoes are a sign of rebellion.
Oh yes, you thought I wouldn’t bring up the RED SHOES our heroine, Rita, [or Eliza. Why do I think her name is RITA? Why?] bought and then wore. Women and shoes, oh yes. Uh huh. Though, women really do love shoes. Here’s why.
Your feet don’t look fat in shoes. Your shoe size doesn’t go up or down, after all.
No one looks at your feet and tells you about the latest diet craze or that you have such a pretty face, it’s a shame you’re such a hideous porker from the depths of hell. Of course, if you have hooves for feet…welp. So no, women can’t win this one, either. Sorry!
Same thing with jewelry or scarves or hats.
But. Red shoes. She couldn’t buy them before she…DISCOVERED NEMO LOVIN’. And got her groove going and discovered her inner sand dollar! Oh god damn it to hell and back and then back again.
An actual romance novel/chick flick staple! Fuck me running.
That woman who finds courage to buy some article of clothing because…I just can’t, my brain liquefied for a bit. It’s Pretty Woman and she gets to wear pretty clothes! Incoherent scream snarls inserted here.
It might seem I hated this movie. I didn’t. Most of it was well done and entirely watchable. Other parts, not so much. I wanted to love it, I just couldn’t get there. It was no Sharnado II. Feeble joke but you get the point? Sharknado II came together as a whole…Shape of Water just did not. This is why I do not review movies for a living or, um, ever.
Yes, I did compare a movie about sharks raining down on NYC with a movie about interspecies romance that won actual big time awards. Yes, I did.
I had the same problem with La La Land. I could admire the artistry, and that scene in the planetarium, City of Stars. Wow. That I actually watched with real wonder and a slight ache in the remaining straggles of my soul. But the La La story, oh so overdone and been there many times feel to it. Trying to make it in LA as an actress…slap me with a mackerel. And the ending. I wanted to just beat the film makers with a sack full of moldy pudding. It would be gross but not leave bruises.
I hesitated about posting this at all.
It’s rambling, long, disjointed, full of adult language and adult themes and reveals I have a bit of a crush on Michael Shannon. But.
It’s my blog, right?
A few only will glance at this and then go on to look at cute cat videos and some super-popular mommy blog and add their comments under politically charged stories written in the Washington Post.
And last night, Michelle Wolfe roasted all of D.C. and the media. She didn’t mince words. So, if she can do that, I can post a random movie review.
Oh, the mini garden is doing okay. In case you were hankering for news in that area from yours truly.