Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"An excercise in poor taste"

I’m shocked people didn’t post several times on this movie because everyone’s reaction was the same—grossed out, horrified, shocked, nauseated, and a hundred other synonyms for the word barf-o-rama. Although I consider this one of the worst films we’ve watched in class, I’m not here to talk about how much I hated it (though I’m not sure if I’ll hold back entirely) but to figure out why it’s considered to be the cult classic. So it’s time to play devil’s advocate.

According to IMDB and Wikipedia it is considered a crime comedy, but I’m not too positive how comedy comes into this except maybe because of its repulsiveness—that is to say it’s so repulsive that its hilarious. At first glance I’m sure many would dismiss this as filthy garbage, and although it might be, isn’t that the point? John Waters, a very interesting person with a wild imagination to say the least, knew exactly what he was doing and how people would react but who really knows what his intentions were. Luckily I found out. When the 25th Anniversary re-release came out, John Waters was asked about the creation of the film and he said, “I just wanted to make a movie that would make me and my friends laugh I certainly never thought that I would be talking about it 25 years later. But I'm very proud and I think it holds up. I've seen it with all kinds of audiences, and three generations later it still has the power to make people nervous. It's a little terrorist bomb, which is how I always wanted this movie to be.” What a funny inside joke this turned out to be.

The movie is beyond explanation and criticism and obviously isn’t your conventional film, but it’s a film only John Waters could do. No matter how much you can hate this movie, you have to give the man credit for being able to create something like this. Especially when this movie was made over 30 years ago and still has the same nauseating effect now as it did decades ago, is a feat in and of it self. It’s a movie where you can remember exactly where you were and when you first saw it. Unfortunately, certain scenes, or most scenes, are not easily forgettable. But beyond what is seen on the surface, a piece of shock cinema, it can be considered a satire of society’s obsession with fame and the lengths one goes to achieve it. If you watch reality TV shows (watch from 3:15), the things people do for money or just their 5 minutes of fame is incredible, so how is this any different?

From the same interview from before Waters says, "I was trying to make a movie for my audience at the time - the midnight movie audience, which I knew would be fairly eccentric. I wanted to prove to them there was something left that could still surprise them and make them laugh, because they all thought they had seen everything." Boy, did they think wrong.

One reviewer describes the movie as either wonderfully atrocious, or atrociously wonderful, depending on how you look at it. So before you crap on this movie (for Divine to eat up) read some of the comments people wrote about this film and appreciate it on a different level not based solely on aesthetics alone because you’ll probably get dizzy and queasy. It also came in 29 on the list of 50 Films to See Before You Die on some show that aired in the UK.

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