The Annihilation of Fish (1999) Poster

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A overlooked treasure
bobwoolsey28 June 2004
If you like James Earl, you will love this film, I loved A Family Thing and this is better, this time we get to see some of his one on one acting. He is great wrestling with a demon, I love the effect when he throws him out the window. I saw this at a film festival and people who saw it just loved it.

If you see this to rent -- rent it, you won't regret it.

Lynn Redgrave is fabulous, she takes the character and runs with it. I see sides of her, I never saw before.

Then there is Margot Kidder and her come back after her battle with mental illness and she is wonderful, it was like the part was meant for her.

This film is one no one hears about but should, I don't know why. It would have a made a great art house movie but I understand it didn't get much play time.
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10/10
Unbelievably well done, well acted, and well produced.
heamesj31 October 2001
This is by far the best small budget picture this year, if not ever. This movie will win awards, the players will receive nominations. I cannot possibly say enough about this picture. Redgrave was perfect. Margot Kidder, unbelievable... what a casting job. She alone is worth the 12 dollars. James Earl Jones wrestling nothing, falling on the floor...even his Jamaican accent was believable. What dialogue! What a script. From start to finish this one is a masterpiece.
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Annihilation of the movie blahs
jules-1257 December 2001
****This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.***

As an intern at a film company, I had the opportunity to read the script for The Annihilation of Fish over six years ago. I have since read literally hundreds of scripts and in that time have strongly recommended only four for production. Fish was at the top of my strongly recommend list. I am so very pleased to say that this wonderful cast and beautiful direction has made the script come to life in a vibrant, memorable picture that will erase any filmgoing blahs you may have after a season of largely forgettable films.

James Earl Jones gives an outstanding performance as Fish. A Jamaican immigrant, Fish is a longtime janitor at Grand Central Station. Retired, he worried that suddenly he had no use in life. A friend back in Jamaica went insane when he lost his use, so Fish was nervous. One day when he came home, he saw "a most heinous demon in the hallway lookin' up some poor unsuspectin' woman's dress." Knowing he couldn't allow such a despicable act, he takes it upon himself to wrestle the demon, who continues to come back to harass good people. Due to the fact that no one in the world sees Hank (the demon) but Fish, he lands in an institution for the insane. The movie begins as Fish is released from the institution. He comes to Los Angeles to try to start fresh and lands in a boarding house run by Mrs. Muldroone.

Mrs. Muldroone, played elegantly by an almost unrecognizable Margot Kidder, tends the weed in the garden that caused her husband's heart attack. She takes on this unusual boarder asking whether he has any insidious habits or vices. She's thrilled that a man his age keeps in shape by wrestling.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Poinsettia (played exactly as I thought she should be by the FANTASTIC Lynne Redgrave) watches an outdoor version of a Puccini opera and kisses and fondles absolutely no one sitting next to her. People cast uneasy glances at this crazy lady making out with no one. She's convinced she's having an affair with the ghost of Puccini and tries repeatedly to marry him, but no one, not even the most new age of priests, will marry her to a ghost. Devastated, she leaves her lover and goes to Hollywood for a fresh start.

She too lands in Mrs. Muldroone's boarding house and when asked about her insidious habits and vices, she admits she sings opera. Screeches opera is more to the point. Mrs. Muldroone is glad to have her, IF she closes her door when she sings. Situated right across the hallway from Fish, she squawks and he tries not to listen. One night she decides she has to get out and do something, ties one on and passes out in the hallway outside her door. The requisite gentleman, Fish brings her into his own apartment, covers her with a quilt on his couch and lets her spend the night.

Thus begins a funny friendship. She passes out, he takes her in. They start a conversation, they stop abruptly when Hank the demon comes to wrestle. After one such night, Poinsettia asks if Fish plays cards. They begin a marathon gin game that results in a close, sweet relationship. The bulk of the film passes effortlessly as each of the three main characters battles their own ghosts and demons to become a normal person.

The Director let the actors really dig into the script and the only criticism I have is that there were a few really nice scenes that were distracted by poor focus or underlit shots. The acting in this movie is fantastic. Jones' Jamaican accent and tender mannerisms make him such a lovable looney. And Poinsettia's insistence that she's the only sane one in the house is usually uttered at her most loopy moments. Redgrave gives an outstanding performance. She deserves an Oscar and thought small films are generally overlooked for the big statue, her nomination in the tiny film Gods And Monsters gives me hope that she'll be acknowledged this year.

A sweet romance filled with comic gems, this is really not to be missed by anyone who truly loves a story-driven movie with characters that will stick with you for a lifetime. I never forgot them in the six years since I read that script and now, having seen them fleshed out by these two outstanding actors, I won't be able to forget them forever.
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9/10
Engaging Unique Love Story
BillW2 May 2000
A love story about two people (James Earl Jones and Lynn Redgrave) who end up in the same boarding house (run by Margot Kidder in one of her best performances ever), after being rejected by society and the people whom they have counted on for support. As they fall in love they have to deal with the unusual ways that each of them have created purpose for themselves--the very reasons society has rejected them--while also facing their prejudices about age, race, and sex.

I saw this film at the 2000 USA Film Festival and thoroughly enjoyed it. All the performances are first-rate, as is the cinematography, the script and the music.

This film is unlikely to get wide distribution, due to the fact that it does not feature wet teenagers or loud rock-and-roll, but if you do get the opportunity to see it, do. You'll be glad you did.
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10/10
The whole theater was filled with laughter
kencomer3 May 2000
I'm not sure how this movie could have been funnier, but I'm glad it wasn't: if I had laughed any harder, I would have p**d in my pants. Top-flight performances by three top-flight actors made this comedy one of the best I have seen in years.

The ending was completely predictable... If you can't guess how the movie will end after watching the first ten minutes or so, you just aren't trying. Even though you generally know what's going to happen, the craftmanship with which the characters are portrayed makes it certain that your joy is never diminished.

I had the giggles for half an hour. See this movie!
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Awesome funny film
bobwoolsey6 June 2003
Although some of the film was predictable, I fell in love with the characters and the story. What a great show, too bad it didn't make a theatrical release but well worth watching. Some stuff, you just wouldn't think James Earl Jones would do but very good.
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