Sunday, February 4, 2018

He's happy to see me. Every time. Every day.

I'm a fairly nice guy, not physically imposing in any way. The only thing scary about me? Probably how handsome I am. And that I occasionally lie about my appearance.

My point? I've never considered myself a monster.

But I just might be, you know? Turns out, I'm a pretty big fan of hard-boiled eggs. I definitely enjoy a swim. And if you fall asleep on me, there's a good chance I'm sneaking out to the movies. And if you're not careful?

I just might eat your p....

You see...while the bones of The Shape of Water felt pretty familiar (it's basically a super f--ked up/inverted version of Shrek), it's the relentless attention to detail and dream-like nature of the film that elevates Guillermo del Toro's latest offering to something bordering incredible. Imagination and reverence damn near fly off the screen. But while I can't imagine it'll actually win Best Picture, I'd totally have its (scaly) back if it does. 

Set against the backdrop of the height of 50's US/Russia paranoia, The Shape of Water tells the (sorta fairy) tale of Elisa Esposito (the always lovely and often alarmingly naked Sally Hawkins), a seemingly mild-mannered cleaning woman. Elisa works deep in the bowels of a top-secret government facility in Baltimore, pushing a cleaning cart alongside her perfectly sassy best friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer, doing that good thing she does so...good). Not only have they cleaned some shit at work, but they've seen some shit there, too (we all have, right?). But these ladies are smart, dig? They ain't saying anything about it. And in Elisa's case, literally, as this poor woman's been mute for as long as anyone can remember.

Almost immediately, strange things are afoot at the Circle-K, as a mysterious merman/gilled-monster thing is carted into the lab to be poked and prodded by some hardass spook named Strickland (Michael Shannon, thankfully undoing Pottersville). While Strickland seems to genuinely hate whatever the f--k this creature is, Elisa, after a moment's curiosity, has gone full Alanis, and fallen head over feet for the asset. Yep, that giant fish tank in the middle of the lab ain't the only thing that's dripping wet. Seems like now would be the perfect time to fill up the tub and masturbate furiously.

Just kidding. There is no wrong time to do the right thing.

Down in front, Voldo!
Even in the fifties, love is love is love, as Elisa has finally found the one, and ain't no psychotic government agent or top-secret facility gonna stand in the way. Like when you begged your best friend to ask that boy what he thought about you in seventh grade, Elisa is going to need some help to get this relationship off the ground. So our quirky romantic monster movie is gonna take a sharp detour into Ocean's Eleven territory, as this inside job is gonna need some help. Hell, not even some help, honestly, it's gonna need The Help [review].

Though there is clear evidence otherwise, very clear in fact... me when I tell you...this lady has balls. Big ones.
The further I get away from this movie, the more I love it, as I endlessly admire the imagination and creativity found in The Shape of Water. On paper, the plot synopsis reads like a f--king Mad-Lib, with the seemingly random nature of characters and events found in the film not initially making any damn sense (give me an occupation, 'janitor'...give me a place...'top-secret lab'...uh, a body part...'gills'). But under the brilliantly enthusiastic guidance of del Toro, both the fantastic and the mundane are brought to life with such incredible passion, I left the theater nothing short of inspired.

See, as a teacher, sometimes I forget that imagination is still a thing, as I skulk around true old-asshole style, lamenting the fact that no one gives a f--k anymore. Creativity was found dead in a gutter, buried under the weight of a thousand scratched iPads. Not only do kids not care about thinking outside of the box, but they don't give a shit about thinking in general. A film like The Shape of Water renewed my faith in the human brain, and hopefully, it encourages a generation of kids to tell fairly conventional stories in fairly unconventional ways.

Speaking of things you shouldn't watch with your parents, here are the Yays and Boos. Even the bad stuff in this movie was great, so just consider the placement of anything below to be altogeher...fluid.

Hey, kids. Hi. Uh...Daddy's gonna need a favor.
See, you two f--kers need to get on to school asap, mmkay?
Mommy and I have some things to...share.
Her massive left breast, for example.
  • Basically, I parted the Red f--king Sea to make this movie (f--k you, stop signs)....and I did. Just as the title appeared on the screen. 
  • She lives above a movie theater? Damn. Her essay must have been amazing!
  • I'm gonna basically go through the entire cast at some point, but let's start with Shannon. Holy shit, he is incredible in this film. Strickland is such a f--king prick, I can't stand it. But what's even better, is I can't tell whether he enjoys being an asshole or not. I think he does...but I also think he might be f--king loathe it too. This uncertainty? That's like, half the Yay. And everything he says and does? That's the other half.
  • When did Richard Jenkins become the best thing about going to the movies? Oh, right. Since forever. (I might have enjoyed Giles arc just as much as Elisa's, honestly) He was the greatest dude ever (and catapults to the top of the Mount Rushmore of Clutch of Neighbors), before he translated her speech. But when they finally hug? Another theater had water in it.
  • Elisa handles the monster's scream like a f--king champ. Me? I'm out of there as fast I can get my shit-covered pants off.
  • It's still Baltimore, Elaine. And no one likes Baltimore. Truer (and more hilarious) words have never been spoken.
  • Might as well bury the lead down here, but goodness, the level of sexual depravity, er, normal human love was surprising. Almost put a hole in the bottom of my popcorn bag...
  • Dude, Car Salesman Guy knocked it out of the park. 
  • Speaking of clutch performers, I know colluding with Russians is generally frowned upon (well, depending on your political allegiance, apparently), but Dr. F--king Shitbird was the best.
  • Yesssss! Next year's fantasy football team will be known as the Israeli Poppers. Or the Alabama whats-its... (I can't remember the name of Strickland's taser stick, dammit)
  • Wait. If the monster touches your bald(ing, in my case) head, your hair grows back? Where's he live again? 
  • It's kind of jarringly awesome, but that epic song and dance number might have been the most delightfully bizarre moment of this film. And that's saying something, trust me.
  • I'd be a real dick not to mention the ladies, uh, again, but Hawkins and Spencer really are a joy to spend two hours with. Not only are their characters badass, but so are the performances that created them.
  • And finally, the ending. I thought there were a couple of different ways it could go, but I honestly didn't see what happened coming. It was surprisingly...lovely
Good thing she's a cleaning lady...

  • Hey, Yolanda, feel free to f--k off, okay? Letting your friends cut in line is something you should have dealt with at the water fountain in second grade.
  • Aw, Pie Guy is no nice. [cut to: thirty minutes later] F--K THAT ASSHOLE.
  • Strickland's advice was exactly what I would have said to the 18 year-old version of myself. Minus the part about your teeth.
  • Who pisses with their hands on their hips? I've never even considered this maneuver. Never. Oh, I see. This is the part where you tell me this is exactly how all guys with massive dicks piss. Well...I, uh...never got the memo. Or the...
  • I've never been a fan of Corn Flakes. And now it makes perfect sense.
  • I'm not a hundred percent sure which one is the pussy finger, but I'm damn sure everything having to do with Strickland's digits was the worst thing I've ever seen. Jeez, just thinking about what he does as the end...makes me want to throw up...
  • ..directly in Bruce's face! What an asshole! I was initially charmed by his awful husbandry, but screw that shit. You don't sell people out like that, f--ker.
  • I wasn't a huge fan of Strickland electrocuting the shit out of the asset. Why do these guys always have to take pleasure in torturing amazing creatures? That kind of sadistic shit is basically why the Apes will eventually take over the planet.
  • Oh, and Strickland was just as delicate in his treatment of Elisa, too. What the f--k was with his I bet I could make you squeal a little bullshit? Go home and suck your wife's (glorious) titty with all that noise.
  • That general was a dick. I'm a sorry, a five-star dick.
  • On more than one occasion, I wanted to yell run/fly, you fools! We get too many instances of people staring at each other longingly when the shit is about to hit the fan. We ain't got time for googly eyes, dammit. Go!
  • The gesture upstairs was so romantic, sure, but the flooded theater downstairs was not. Not cool, Elisa. For a second I thought I was watching news footage from the Polish premiere of Logan [review].
  • And finally, um, they kind of fall in love rather quickly, right? I guess that's what happens when a nice lady initiates the relationship by giving you her eggs
Obviously, I thoroughly enjoyed The Shape of Water. As hard as it may be to define the film, it's just as easy (if not easier) to enjoy. Being that it's nominated for a ton of Oscars, my recommendation is wholly unimportant - I get that. Besides, as we might have already established, I might just be a f--king monster, you know? And you can't trust a f--king monster.

Instead, you should totally trust 6,000 motion picture professionals. I mean... monsters there.


  1. You don't know which one is the pussy finger? It's the finger you use know what NEVER MIND THAT RIGHT NOW

    Oh man I got referenced in this filthy review, awesome!!! That theater I saw Logan in was in much worse shape than just some water dripping through the ceiling.

    I didn't like this one as much as you did but it was quite lovely and all the performances were good, Jenkins' being my favorite.

    1. Look, I guess he uses a different finger than I...NEVER MIND THAT RIGHT NOW.

      Yes, you did. I wasn't trying to join the perv parade necessarily, but this movie was unexpectedly I'm just following suit.

      Awww, poor Logan theater.

      Ugh, I really, really liked it. Jenkins was incredible as always.

    2. Yeah no one ever wants to join the perv parade but in this blogospere you guys dont have a choice :)

    3. Clearly, I've been incorrectly censoring myself for years. NO MORE.

      [sorry kids]

  2. I also had an awesome time watching this one. I hadn't thought about it being a version of Shrek, but wow, you're right. And Strickland seems to genuinely hate whatever the f--k every creature is.

    1. That's fantastic...glad you liked it as much as I did.

      It's totally reverse Shrek, right? Someone falls in love with something they're not, only to find out that they are actually quite similar? It's an oversimplification...but I think it works.

      I think the only thing Strickland loves is hating shit.

  3. This is the dirtiest review I've read in a while, good thing a cleaning lady was involved.

    Anyway, I liked the film but clearly not as much as you did. I just thought the overall main plot was way too simple for my taste, and while the fantasy part was great, I read fantasy novels, like, a lot. And I'm a huge fantasy nerd (not really but I aspire to be one), and maybe it's the fact that my imagination and my love for fantasy books, but The Shape of Water didn't feel so-... imaginative? Oh well.

    Very sexy review, so thank you, this filled up my Friday night just perfectly!

  4. "Creativity was found dead a gutter, buried under the weight of a thousand scratched iPads. Not only do kids not care about thinking outside of the box, but they don't give a shit about thinking in general"

    Unfortunately, this is spot on. It must be frustrating as a teacher. Are kids curious about anything anymore??

    Otherwise, another excellent analysis, we are both on the same page. This film is like a dream, and as you asaid, the further you are from seeing it, the more you catch yourself thinking about it. I need to see it again!!! So so good.

  5. Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed this one. That’s so true about Strickland - it’s hard to tell if you enjoys what he does, or he does it because he’s used to it. I think, in his final moments, he realizes his “work” was indeed evil. Great film here.