The Fish-Porn Flick That Beat Get Out and Won the Oscar for Best Picture, Explained

Illustration for article titled The Fish-Porn Flick That Beat iGet Out/i and Won the Oscar for Best Picture, Explained
Screenshot: Fox Searchlight (YouTube)

Wait, someone really fucks a fish? Asking because I heard that someone fucks a fish in this movie.

Not technically a fish. According to the Wikipedia page about this film, it’s a “captured humanoid-amphibian creature.”

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Oh, so someone fucks Aquaman? That makes sense. I mean, Jason Momoa is that dude, and ...

No. Not Aquaman at all. Just a fish ... man.

So back to my original question. Someone fucks a fish?

Yes. Someone fucks a fish.

What is the name of this movie?

The Shape of Water. Other names considered include The Fish That Saved My Pussy, Aquamandingo and Moby Dick ... but Like, Literally.

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Does anything happen in this movie other than fish nookie? Or is it straight gonzo fish porn?

Yes. The fish is like a spy or something, and there’s this secret plot involving Russians and the Cold War and the space race, and ...

Wait, did you just give up halfway through your own answer?

I did. I just didn’t feel like thinking about the convoluted plot any more. Just know that it all builds up to some hot mute-woman-on-fishman action in a bathtub.

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Who created this movie?

Guillermo del Toro.

Does he specialize in amphibian back breaking?

No. He’s actually the mind behind Pan’s Labyrinth, which is one of my favorite movies, and many other films melding fantasy and reality. He’s a gifted filmmaker, and I think this is his first foray into fish fucking.

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This actually sounds like quite an intriguing and ambitious film.

I agree! Imagine the balls it takes to walk up in a studio like, “Give me some money to make a period-piece porno about a fish that is also a spy.” During his acceptance speech for his Best Original Screenplay win, Jordan Peele mentioned that he stopped writing Get Out “about 20 times” because he thought it was impossible.

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Well, Get Out, both the best and the most important movie of 2017, lost last night to Grinding Nemo. So anything is possible.

You mean anything is possible ... if you’re not a black person?

Oh yeah. I forgot that part.

Anything else?

As good as Black Panther is, its Oscar chances would probably be better if it were named A Fish Called Wakanda instead.

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Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

lollypoplips
Kyo Soma A.

For the Oscars this year, racism & hatred towards a fish is much more palpable than actually talking about the issue in film. After seeing Shape of Water it was beautifully shot, the main love interest has an disability (doesn’t happen often). That’s nice, but even del Toro used problematic tropes. The gay best friend who is alone and never had a relationship / the black female sidekick / the black female has a horrible husband (enforcing again the negative viewpoint of black love) / the villain was wooden and not that interesting. So, del Toro couldn’t even write his way out of using static stereotypes when he’s writing a movie about looking past appearances. Weird. However, if someone said would you rather see Shape of Water than Phantom Thread, I would much rather see Shape of Water. Phantom Thread was hard to watch.