Last night, for the first time in the Academy Awards 90-year history*, a creature feature won Best Picture. Now we know that all the normal critics keep trying to rename and redefine what it is, but us monster kids know that it is a monster movie. Sure, it’s not the first horror movie to win, which would be Silence of the Lambs, but that movie featured human monsters. Yes, there is a monster in The Shape of Water, but he’s the one wearing the tailored suit, not the fish suit. Never in a million years would I ever think that a film like this could even have a chance to win Best Picture. And the creator of this “fairy tale for trouble times”, Guillermo del Toro, also took home the Oscar for Best Director. I am speechless.
So…I’m sure we’ve all heard the Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water got 13 Oscar nominations, in just about every category, except for a couple. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First of all, I’m thrilled and so happy for del Toro and the rest of the creators of this film to see them get the recognition they so richly deserve. I mean, to have this film beat out Universal’s The Mummy in nominations is just incredible! Oh wait…I don’t remember seeing that title anywhere. Maybe I’m thinking the Razzies. I wonder if the heads of Universal are re-thinking their decisions. Maybe they’ll realize that they need to let creative filmmakers do what they do best and leave them alone to do it!
The Shape of Water
Released by Decca Records, 2017
26 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 77 min.
Music Composed and Conducted by Alexandre Desplat, featuring Renée Fleming
Years ago, the only way a soundtrack could grab my attention, I mean really get a hold of it, was that it had to be creepy sounding. Something like Carpenter’s Halloween theme, or pretty much any of John Harrison’s Creepshow. Or maybe something a little more masculine like Basil Poledouris’ amazing score for Conan the Barbarian. But a score for a drama or even a love story? Seriously? Oh how things have changed. When you really love cinema, every part of it can entrance you, from the way the film looks to the sounds that emit from the speakers. And when you come across a film by a brilliant and master craftsman like Guillermo del Toro, you realize how perfect things can be.
Just to get this out there right away, my Best / Worse lists always consists of films that I watched for the first time in 2017, not necessarily that they came out. Most of the films I watch are from DVD or Blu-Ray and I don’t make it to the theater too often to see them when they first come out. Or they might be an older film that I’m seeing for the first time. So no matter when it actually came out, it still is a new movie to me.
I got through 209 films this year, 77 of them were first-time viewings for me. That is a little lower than normal for us, but I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a side project that will hopefully see the light of day this year. Then I can get back to watching more movies!
So here are the top five that I watched in 2017 that made the most impact on me this year.