Returned from The Homeland last Monday. It was a horrible trip. It was horrible because, of the two weeks I was there, after doing some yard work for my Mom, I contracted a pretty bad skin ailment from poison ivy. In fact, as I worst-write this, two weeks after returning, I’m still itching. (But it is getting better.)
I arrived Sunday late afternoon in The Homeland (can you believe there is a govt. agency called that) and drove three hours south along the Atlantic coast till I reached my widowed mother. As usual she was glad to see me. As usual I was glad to see her. But more important I was glad to provide her with a bit of companionship. My mother is not only getting old but after the death of her husband a few years back, she’s now quite the lonely soul. After an evening’s nightcap and a few shared thoughts on our lives spanning an ocean, my first night of sleep in my mother’s house was preoccupied with a damn film I had seen on LH426 to PHL only few hours earlier.
Say what you will, dear worst-reader, about movies shown on the limited space of tiny flat screens on the back of airline seats. And, like audio and music, I’ve learned to cope with all things cheap when it comes to consuming media. Put another way, I don’t mind if I’m seeing or hearing a piece of art that was meant for the big screen on a krappy little screen, including krappy audio. I’ve learned up to this point in life that in the arts, especially the art of story telling, presentation can take a back seat–if and when it must. In this case, the film “The Shape of Water” got my full attention during the flight and thereafter–even while shown on a really krappy screen. In fact, I couldn’t help but preoccupy my mind with the movie while battling the discomforts afforded us all as we travel in/with an industry run by college grad automatons who obviously can’t manage their way out of wet paper bags–which is more proof why not only the airline industry but #Americant is in a perpetual state of bankruptcy. But then again, that’s why I almost never fly US carriers. Go figure.
That’s right, dear worst-reader. The airline industry… Or better put: the human cattle transport industry hasn’t changed in the quarter century I’ve been using it to cross the Atlantic while living as a miserable expat. So when a two hour film can captivate me and take my mind away from $hitty service, $hitty seats, rattling fuselages and stinking compatriots stuck in the same coach-class hell, I’m all for it. And that’s the ticket of these friendly skies, ain’t it?
The Shape of Water is the best film I’ve seen in years. It’s also the first film I’ve seen in years that I think deserves an Oscar–which it won a few days before my trip. In fact, like so many others and just like with so many things that were once about achievement in the arts, this was the first film in a while I thought even deserved to be up for any kind of formal recognition. That’s how bad movies have become in this age of breaking billion dollar box office records with perverted sci-fi and action genre krapp galore! And if I put some effort into it, the only winner of an Oscar that comes to my worst-mind in the last twenty years is Charlize Theron for the film Monster. Now. Monster, the movie, actually sucked. But Theron’s acting was f’n brilliant.
A little side pseudo-review. Although I focused my mind mostly on having seen The Shape of Water, I did skip through Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde while my flight was on final approach to PHL. What a $hitty, unoriginal, boring movie. No different than James Bond, Jason Bourne, Austin Powers, etc. OYG. Hollywood can’t get it’s mojo back even when regurgitating a film albeit with a hot blonde in the fighting lead. Oh well.
Back to one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
Considering what Hollywood has done to movies in my life time, I think that movie making needs to be (finally) turned back over to creative people again. That’s right, dear worst-reader. I am assuming that movie making once belonged to creative people. What has brought Hollywood to where it is today, I won’t attempt to worst-write about here. It’s just that, well, Guillermo del Toro has to be the most creative person in Hollywood in decades. Seriously. Did you see Pan’s Labyrinth? If not, see it now. Unless, of course, you’re anti-creativity and stuck on stupid comic book characters with capes and masks and platitudes. Anyhoo. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is piece of work that makes the likes of Spielberg, Cameroon, and whatever blockbuster action move director you can name, look like what they are: $hit! My hat is off and I bow deeply to creativity and Guillermo del Toro for this film.
That said, spoiler alert.
- The Shape of Water has its problems. The fish-man, for example. I dug out an old DVD of Hellboy the other night to compare fish-men. It is uncanny how the two fish-men are the same. Did Guillermo del Toro borrow the actor, the character, the costume? If so, does that detract from Guillermo del Toro’s story? Fcuk no.
- I knew at the beginning of The Shape of Water and the introduction of the female lead that those marks on her neck would end up being gills. To me that was the weakest part of the film and something I wish could have been expanded on. But forgivable.
- The moment where the archetypal #Americant conservative patriarch who is scared of his own shadow and is given sex by his submissive wife after she pulls her tit out as an offering when the kids finally go to school doesn’t work for me. It’s not how #Americant and its transaction-wives function in their relations. Trust me. I’m #Americant. I know what I’m talking about. Instead. I would have preferred Guillermo del Toro done the scene with the wife whipping out her Saturday night special but only after dipping it in her grab-them-by-the-pu$$y first and then teasing his lips and nose with it. For whatever reason, Guillermo del Toro decided to provide a more human and feminine form of what it is that makes the transaction of marriage sacred in a/the land of free-to-be-stupid. But then again, when it comes to marriage transactions, #eurowasteland ain’t no better. But I digress.
There are so many small issues I have with this film, I’ll not worst-write them all here. Reason? No need to. The movie is just good. Real good. And that’s all that matters. Instead, I’ll go back to my expat cubby-hole and continue the expat dream of living a life like any screwed-up archetypal patriarch should live. Alone and only available to fantasise about how things could be if only a God could be found in a swamp in South America that could/should save us all from ourselves.