I sat through two marathon Sex and the City movies, were forced to succumb to the clunky and abbreviated Anchorman: The Legend Continues, watched Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts dance in Waterloo Sunset, read the Wiseguy biography of Paul Castellino and went as far as to watch Something Wild, the sequel to the first Jonathan Demme film.
All that was missing was the ballpoint pen all over the faces of the riotous Chariots of Fire at that time. I’d seen Scream, The Lawnmower Man, the fine Prince of Tides, and that not at all uncharacteristic half-hour feature documentary that runs an astonishing four hours long (90 minutes less than the Tron: Legacy star turns).
At 61, I have enjoyed most everything of note that has crossed my TV screen since The Wire threw its final bow, and this Easter served up a bounty that kept me at home for about ten hours. Starting around 3 a.m. on Easter morning, film critic Mark Heuring sat himself on the couch, watching not five, not 10, but 15 films.
THE MOVIEGOER: Our Film Critic Misses Sitting in the Dark With You has its own little mantra. Mr. Heuring provides five reasons for each choice: The movie was not quite good enough for me. He rather enjoyed the movie itself. I enjoyed the filmmaker’s previous output. I really like one of the subjects of my Sunday exposure and, despite my intention to give a full review, I feel a little embarrassed because it’s not my movie. It’s not even my writerly work. This category includes The Forgiven, the decent drama based on the book by the late and much beloved Antony Hopkins, My Beautiful Laundrette (the first three films were in my rotation, too) and the terrifying Hells Angels film Scum. The last film in my rotation is The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s post-modern tale of a ’50s schoolteacher who falls in love with a lonely fish man.
“I don’t like many of them” is the first punch line Mr. Heuring delivers in the new book of dialogue, conceived by the American novelist Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island) and Mr. Heuring as a companion to his excellent 1994 book, Writings in Heat.
Written with a laconic, postmodern style that echoes the documentary writer/director Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell), Mr. Heuring didn’t believe The Shape of Water was a “great” movie but it was definitely his kind of movie: Romantic, quirky, somewhat surreal and with a deeply sweet heart.
Directed by the Miramax executive Doug Wick (The Pursuit of Happyness, Little Children) and his wife Lucy Fisher (The Kid Stays in the Picture), the eerie nightmare set in the 1950s about an amphibious superhero superhero who discovers the secrets of love in a sleepy rainforest forges a very different path to the big screen from Mr. del Toro’s past films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Cronos.
I still have nightmares about swimming in a dark, shark-infested lake in the film – and my finest week of TV viewing was also the very last week of TV viewing.