09 March 2018


Is there more fishy about 
this movie than just the sex scene?
I live in China if you do not know and I basically had to download this film if I wanted to actually see it. I hate watching movies in the cinema here and that is another post altogether. But I had heard of this and felt some slight desire to check it out. I had tried to watch two other films by "visionary" Guillermo del Torro, Crimson Peak and Pan's Labyrinth, but while they looked nice they were so friggin' boring and confusing I could not handle them and quit.  Well I had been hearing all the hype about this new one and that it even had a fish man having sex with a physically impaired human female (she is mute I take it) so I thought that might be cool to see. I downloaded the film and scanned it for quality and also to get a sense of the story line, and there was suddenly a super big issue. The bad guy. The villain. Every story must have an antagonist of course. And I like Michael Shannon as a bad guy, like he was in The Iceman. But I just felt a super WTF moment when it was obvious that Shannon was not playing minor league style bad guy like he did in The Iceman, a murderous thrill killing hitman who sawed his victims to pieces and froze them in meat lockers (with the help of Chris Evans), but he was going to play the most vile and evil type villain imaginable... a patriotic, America loving, conservative white male Christian. Scary stuff man. 

The movie suddenly took on a sort of ET feel to me. Cutesy, misunderstood creature, some sort of human outsider who befriends it and the evil secret US government agency that wants to capture it,  study it, exploit it for money or weapons research (which is what they wanted the fish man for here I understand) or simply destroy it if things get icky. And screw any pinko-commie human beings with a shred of moral dignity (liberals and socialists I guess)  who try and get in in their way and stand up for the rights of some sort of "alien". Get it? Alien? Eh? It's a deep metaphor. Or simile. Or analogy. I don't know what. One has to have a profoundly advanced critical thinking ability to grasp this stuff. I'm just lucky I guess, being raised primarily in Kentucky and Texas I grew up naturally lacking in these skills. Luckily I spent ten years in Seattle and so I picked some limited ability to think there like an advanced human being.

Well, I actually deleted the film along with all its condescending metaphors. Then I thought maybe I could watch it after all with my wife and her brother who is a guest here with us for a few days. So, like a true neurotic, I downloaded it again. I figured it was a brainless Hollywood flick with cool visuals and it did not seems as ploddingly painful as the other two films I tried. To my surprise when  suggested this to my wife (who is Chinese) she said, and I quote, "Oh I heard that is a lame story. It only won the Oscar because of the PC story." The users on movie message boards and sites here (like Dou Ban, the Chinese IMDb) seem to feel the message is glaringly anti-tradtional American and even simple minded. Like a B-movie storyline. Believe me, most all Chinese people do not praise the USA as a whole and see it as competition and even a military rival, but they also do not really see it as the Evil Empire or that people there are treated so unreasonably and unfairly and they are a bit confused as to why movies from the US seem bent on portraying the US and its government as the most evil and dangerous entity to have ever come into existence. And I totally agree with them. The USA is cool. And it was odd because my initial feeling about the film from scanning it was the same as what the Chinese netizens felt in their comments. Of course they had seen the film to get that opinion and many liked the movie as a bit of escapism, but I could tell from what I had scanned with Shannon saying things like "God created man in his image. Does THAT look like God?" and later quoting stories from the Old Testament that this was in fact Hollywood social justice drivel dressed up with artsy European sets and cinematography. All form and no substance indeed.

"I dunno, I give up. The damned Godless thing will not denounce Marxism and embrace white , patriarchal capitalism. On top of that he holds to his views on Darwinism and says Islam is not all that bad. Why can't he just think like me! I guess water boarding would not be of any use here." 

Now, if my wife decides to watch it when she gets home we might give it go, but it is not looking good. I may just pass on it and do some music recording later on Ableton Live or watch some more MST3K, but with Mike this time instead of Joel. Joel gets annoying after a while. But, movies with no social messages for me. I love a movie anymore with no agenda and no message. Especially a social message about America and its brutish and malignant Cold War mentality as seen through the eyes of a European dude who goes to the same gym and stylist as Michael Moore. I hate Oscar winners anymore typically anyway and was upset that James Franco was snubbed for his excellent work on The Disaster Artist because he treated a couple delicate, totally innocent, sweet virgin girls who had yet to even see a man naked in their lives with less than perfect chivalrous behavior. Jeesh, he's James Franco for Christ's sake. I am beginning to see part of my problems with movie blogging these days is I am starting to hate movies and the people who make them more and more.

UPDATE: Wife was not interested and  I deleted it a 2nd time.


Tom Dulski said...

You are absolutely correct about the Patriotic white male christian being the universal bad guy, Black Panther uses a similar villain (or so I hear). But I would really rather hear about why you don't like to go to movie theaters in China. That sounds like it might be an interesting blog post.

Bill Dan Courtney said...


Will do that then. May be interesting to see how watching movies here works for foreigners in general and how it has changed since I first came here in 2004. Give it a few days and I should have something up. Thanks, Bill

Post a Comment

If you have something supportive and cool to say share it and thanks in advance. And if you some sort of weird insult or put down you want to toss at me share it too. But I won't publish it because I have that power mortal.