Mini-Chinfest! “The Shape of Water”


From Guillermo del Toro, creator of sci-fi horror classics like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim and executive producer of Puss in Boots and player of Bullboy #2 in something called Bullfighter comes The Shape of Water. Set during the Cold War, it’s the story of a woman (Sally Hawkins) who, while working in a secret government laboratory/fortress, meets an aquatic creature (Doug Jones) that she falls in love with because it really likes eggs, and who doesn’t like eggs? It also stars Michael Shannon, who plays self-righteous, psychotic zealots better than anybody other than Roy Moore.*

And speaking of depraved sex, there are pretty heavy overtones of interspecies nookie here, or at least some interspecies hot-tubbing. Sounds like social commentary to me! Does this make it groundbreaking Oscar-bait? Probably not, unless you thought The Human Centipede was a sensitive treatment of polyamory, and if that’s the case, you should never watch another movie.

With all the water and probably other fluids in this movie, there are some dominant conceits to be on the lookout for. Metaphor alert: the title of the movie appears to be an allusion to water’s shape being defined by that which contains it. Unless it’s a gas or a solid, in which case there’s a lot more latitude. Can water be a plasma? Not sure the molecular bonds would hold together. Anyway, it probably means love is like water, and the fish-man lives in water, and the woman loves the fish-man, and the fish-man loves eggs.

The Shape of Water hits theaters today, and you should watch the trailer first. And you should probably watch Hellboy first, too, since Doug Jones plays a remarkably similar fish-man in that movie and its sequel, which you can skip. 

*Clarification: the Doug Jones named above is not the Doug Jones running against Roy Moore. Rather, it is the Doug Jones who often plays fish in movies. Roy Moore was invoked only to illustrate depravity and does not appear in The Shape of Water as far as we know.

Chapter 1 Preview

Chapter 1 (excerpt)Please enjoy this preview of MBOTA: Chapter 1, suitable for a festive weekend of consumption that will hurry our world on to sweet oblivion. And don’t forget to read the Prologue, which is like Chapter Zero but with an earthier flavor.

It was Scavengeday, second day of the week, so Super, Flapman, and Gibson emerged from the Grotto to see what goodies they could find or haggle for or steal out in the ruined world. The entrance to the Grotto was hidden under a collapsed parking garage near the city’s waterfront. Or at least what used to be the waterfront of what used to be the city. There really was no city, per se, anymore. Nor was there an ocean now. Instead, there was the Cromulent Zone—stretching from the entire eastern third of the hemisphere and continuing across the dry ocean basin, until it reached its limits against the Atlantic Mountains—the only portion of the Earth that was not utterly uninhabitable. They were in the northern part of the ravaged planet, and though they had heard rumors that some life continued its miserable existence south of the wobbly equator, everyone knew that was absurd.  Continue reading

Thor: Ragnarok Review

Half-baked Review Chinfest banner

Derek: So, here’s our very first Half-Baked Review Chinfest, which I am very excited about! This is a chance for us to bring our unique take on movies to the public. Personally, I think we took the prudent course by letting the Internet mature for twenty years or so before launching this column. No point in rushing, right Mark?

Mark: Right, we’re like a properly aged cheese. But hopefully better smelling.

Derek: Well, if we’re cheeses, then I call Emmentaler, which like me, is Swiss and smells of fresh-cut hay! And speaking of cheese, let’s jump right into the review of Thor: Ragnarok, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third foray into the world of Asgard and Midgard and a lot of planets and dimensions. Continue reading



“Flapman, tell me the story.”

Super Patriot Boy, he who sought the story, lay still in the narrow cavity of his BrixDyne Corp. FrostiSnooz Model 6 sleep/storage crèche. The crèche was a gleaming white cylinder, and in the dark room, its industrial precision jarred against the organic crags and ridges of the stone walls. His request was spoken to the cool, still air, and he had no way of knowing if it had been heard. A few green and yellow status lights along one side of the interior of the capsule, indicating that the occupant was technically alive, cast a warm glow on Super’s head, pale face, and bare chest. Continue reading