Tag Archive: oscar

The Shape of Water

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Since the Best Movie was announced at the Oscar Awards, I have been wanting to see The Shape of Water.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the movie is described as an other-worldly fable. I was fascinated by the character who lives in the water, a creature who looks vaguely like the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Shape of water posterMy son and I watched it together, and because it is a bit touchy at times, I found myself leaving the room occasionally. I don’t like blood or much violence or action that takes place under water.

Our main character is a mute woman who lives alone but has a lively relationship with her next door neighbor. She works at a secret government lab as a cleaning woman. One day a new ‘asset’ is brought to the lab, a creature that needs to be underwater most of the time.

What government interrogator Michael Shannon plans to do with the creature is unknown. But for the present time, torturing the creature is high on his list.

Elisa and Zelda, Elisa’a black co-worker, are allowed to clean in the locked lab. Sometimes, Elisa has lunch in there and develops a relationship with the creature. She teaches him sign language and they begin to communicate.

This is not a movie for everyone. There is violence and swearing and short bits of nudity. But there are also questions of right and wrong and how we treated people in the early sixties that was supposed to be a time of magical kingdoms. You will be required to think while watching this cinematic spectacle of wonders.

Shape of Water Sally OctaviaThis movie is gorgeous to look at. The sets of Elisa’s and Giles’ apartments are rich and detailed. The lab is retro to what we thought secrets labs should look like if they were housing a creature that required living underwater most of the time.

And our water monster is incredible as well, his gills flying out when angry. His scales coming off after hours of torture and deprivations. Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones as our mute couple display more emotions than we ever see in most Kate Hudson romantic comedies.

I know what I saw and I know that this was a beautifully realized movie. But my head is still pondering and wondering at all of the side details and unspoken commentary about life in the Cold War era. Not everyone was valued, people with good ideas and instincts were discarded because they did not fit the boundaries of normal at that time. Even the Russian spy is never everything we think that person should be.

If you plan to see this movie, be prepared for normal to not be so normal. Be prepared for something weird and out of this world. Be prepared for a fairytale where monsters walk free and others wrangle for that hope of freedom. It is a weird and strange, lovely and beguiling movie. One of my friends told me not to waste my time. I am telling you that if you like the weird and beguiling, this might be the movie for you.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle


And On To The Oscars

Family Movie Night

This past weekend saw the Golden globes hand out their awards and next will be various guilds until we get to Oscar Night!

As a movie person, I get really excited about this night and I feel bad when I have not seen all of the movies. But this year I am taking the bulls by the horn. 

Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," picture from IMDb.com

 As of the 18th, you can start your rental road to the Oscars with Golden Globe Best Movie winner, The Social Network.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as the Harvard student who came up with Facebook. This is how he wheeled and dealed (sort of), lost friends, gained business associates and became the youngest billionaire.

 All the critics have raved about this movie, talking about Eisenberg’s  accurate portrayal and Justin Timberlake’s incredible performance. As much as I do not know about computer programming, I want to see this movie for the story.

 Another movie that is destined for a Best Movie nomination is Inception starring Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by

Leonardo Di Caprio in "Inception," picture from IMDb.com

Christopher Nolan. The story is about a man who can steal ideas as people are sleeping. However, Di Caprio is not able to go home to his children. That is when he is offered a deal to plant a suggestion in someone’s head in exchange for redemption.

 What makes this movie fascinating, besides the premise alone, is the special effects of the ever-changing dream world. With a tug of the hand scenes can instantly change. It is incredible to watch along with the emotionally charged story. I was able to get through one hour before I had to turn it off. I plan to rent this movie again.

Grown-up Andy looking at his favorite toys, Picture from IMDb.com

Finally, I hope that Toy Story 3 will get nominated for Best Picture although I suspect it will be placed in Best Animation as a consolation prize. I find this movie to be a thrilling story of growing up, regrets, a little action adventure and, finally, rebirth.

 Now if none of these movies appeal, let me suggest The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two NYPD detectives who hate each other. Luck shines on the caustic partners as they discover a case that could make them into the big-time cops they dream of being.

This is a PG-13 movie, not suitable for the younger members of the family. It looks like a whole lot of fun besides the opportunity to ogle Mark Wahlberg’s abs that were put into shape as he got ready for The Fighter.

Will Ferrell and the hot, hot, hot Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys," picture from IMDb.com

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.

Recently I have been talking about White Sangria on Facebook. It was my drink of choice for our Oscar Night celebration.

My 13-year-old son wanted to make the dinner. His menu was pizza and Red Velvet cake. My husband and I added salad. Plus I made the stipulation that the pizza needed to have two pies that were a bit chi-chi.

When I was in the library last week I looked in a Wolfgang Puck cook book, Pasta, Pizza and More (2000), and found a goat cheese and shrimp pizza. When I reported my findings not a single soul in my house was interested. But we did want to do ham and pineapple. The desire to try goat cheese was still strong so we partnered it with spinach and bacon. These were made alongside a regular cheese as well as a half pepperoni/half mushroom.

Because the entire family was going to be in attendance, this menu allowed the younger children to try something new if they wanted but they could have something to eat in case the different foods did not quite suit their taste buds. Everyone did try the different pizzas but they were not liked by Everyone.

Choosing what to drink was made easy when I realized I wanted something light and fruity. Normally our Sunday meal does have a complimentary alcoholic drink for the adults and I was looking for something to compliment the California theme. I immediately  thought of the white sangria, the recipe being featured in a fashion magazine the year before.

Here is how we made it. In a beautiful glass pitcher we mixed 1 bottle of an inexpensive soft white wine; 1/4 cup of Brandy; 1/4 cup of white sugar; sliced lemons, granny smith apples and green grapes; and crushed ice to desired amount. My husband pulled out the white wine glasses and we sipped on our drinks all night.

It was a good supper and the big hit was the surprisingly mild goat cheese pizza. The varying flavors went well together and were interesting. We also did a spinach, feta, olive and bacon half that was too salty for my taste buds but still interesting. That is what I like about experimenting in the kitchen because you never know what is going to come out of it.

Bon Appetit!

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you considerer it another day or one that you can share with a variety of family members and friends?

 With it being on a Sunday, it means you can take Friday, Saturday or Sunday to have a special meal and time with your sweetie. Maybe you plan to have a special day with the kids, making cookies or a craft.

 I have no idea what I will be doing for Valentine’s Day beyond having the church choir sing a special song for that day to God. After that, all bets are off. I have a feeling I may need to get red decorating sugar so we can make heart cookies at my house.

 What I usually like to do is pick out a special movie to watch together with my husband. It might be Bull Durham or When Harry Met Sally…  Those are classics for our generation. I assume some people will be trying to get An Affair to Remember or Casablanca because those are also classic movies on the subject of love. I might even go as far as to find an old Bette Davis movie so that my son can finally see what a great actress can do in a movie.

I was shocked when I said first said her name a few weeks ago and my oldest son did not know who she was. I told him we need a Bette Davis film fest and the first choice might be Dark Victory (1939) in which Davis plays a socialite who learns she has a brain tumor and there is nothing the doctors can do for her. How she chooses to live the end of her days is the victory here and Davis gives it her all. Bring the tissue box for a performance that was the fourth of Davis’ eleven Oscar™ nominations.

 Davis had a long career starting in the 1930s and lasting until she died in 1989. My son only recognized her when he looked up her career on IMDb.com and saw Watcher In The Woods (1980) on her list of credits. Don’t stop there. Take the time to find some of her greatest performances including All About Eve (1950), The Little Foxes (1941) and Jezebel (1938).

 These movies, while having nothing objectionable, content wise are better suited for older teens. Davis stated that all she ever wanted was for movies to be larger than life. Her goal was to portray life on the screen with a bit of an “umph.”

 Meryl Streep may be one of the best living actresses but Bette Davis was one of the best ever.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.