Hairspray (2007)

Overheard somewhere in Hollywood…

“Hey Eddie, it’s me, Johnny T…remember when you said I could borrow your fat black lady suit? Well, my career is in a total slump, so I figure I could…what? You’re letting Martin Lawrence use if for Big Momma’s House 3? Awww, fuck – looks like I’ll have to figure out a way to get the studio to pay for one….

Travolta pretty much ruins the film for me. He just sucks as Edna. Although I appreciate the fact that he’s the only one that even attempted a Baltimore accent – it is indeed a very shitty Baltimore accent. Likewise the casting of Zac Efron – he is the pussiest Link Larkin I could ever imagine. He doesn’t hold a candle to Michael St. Gerard – the original Link, but then again, who could? Possibly the Elvis impersonator from last week’s America’s Got Talent? I really don’t understand Zac Efron’s appeal – supposedly he gets teenage panties wet – I just don’t see it. I can’t wait until Perez yanks him out of the closet.

When I look at Brittany Snow, I can’t help but see a member of the Aryan Nation. (Me = big Nip/Tuck fan.) Somehow, that typecasting made her perfect for the part of racist Amber Von Tussle. I hate her nose though – she looks like Telly to me.

The rest of the casting was A-okay. Michelle Pfeiffer was an excellent choice for Velma, as was the casting of Christopher Walken as Wilbur Turnblad. Walken really does have some smooth moves, doesn’t he? Nikki Blonsky isn’t as cute as Ricki Lake, but she was really good nonetheless. I hope she doesn’t become bulimic or get a coke habit.

No Madison! No Beatniks! No Franklin Von Tussle or exploding beehives! What the fuck? It’s hard not to compare it with the original, but then again, they took out my favorite things!

I should love Hairspray, but I just can’t. I tried so hard, but every time John Travolta appeared, I just wanted to kick him in his amply padded ass. Even John Waters’ cameo as the ‘flasher next door’ couldn’t make it all better.

 

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

I’ve finally seen John Waters’ favorite movie. I can totally see why this film is his favorite – the cars, the sex, the violence – sure. But what about the big hair, bullet bras and lesbians?

Three lesbian Go-Go Dancers (Are they called Go-Go Dancers because their patrons chant “Go, Go, Go!” at them?) run into a guy and girl out in the desert. After a fierce race, the girls’ leader, Varla, kills the guy with her bare hands (impressive) and takes the girl hostage. While on the run, they come upon a situation that will net them money, sex and violence (not to mention fried chicken) – how could they pass it up?

After watching The Incredibly Strange Creatures or Who Gives a Fuck!!?, my expectations were pretty low. Both are black and white low budget cult films that came out around the same time – 1964/1965, so I was expecting more of the same. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of Meyer’s work. Beautiful cinematography and artfully framed shots. Film stock that wasn’t shoplifted from Sears. A plot that made a little bit of sense. Sexual innuendoes involving trains. This is Film School stuff – why didn’t Paul ever teach us about films like this?

How disappointing is it that there is absolutely no nudity at all in the whole film? I’m pretty sure that this is the only Russ Meyer film with no nudity! Actually, it’s probably a good thing…I would recount the “60s floppy titties” discussion that I had with my husband, but then he would probably get mad at me and not talk to me for a week.

This movie is a pop culture phenomenon – songs have been written about the film, dialogue sampled in lots of songs (like Thunder Kiss ’65) and even has a crap 80s metal band named after it. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see this film back in college when I was dumb and impressionable. I probably would have been dressing like Varla, instead of Mrs. Mia Wallace.

 

Jackass Number Two

Divine is no longer the filthiest person alive – that honor now belongs to Partyboy. I won’t ruin the surprise, but in a movie in which someone also eats cow shit, there are few things that could be grosser to ingest. Ironically, the ingestion of this substance is the one sequence in either Jackass movie that is censored. Those boys can put toy cars and beer bongs in their ass, take a dump on a dollhouse and let a snake gnaw on their sock puppeted penises, but this is the one thing that goes beyond rated R.

Speaking of filth, John Waters himself makes an appearance in Jackass Number Two, performing a magic trick. He makes Wee Man disappear!

Although it was a coincidence that I watched Jackass Number Two immediately following Idiocracy – there’s a connection between the two that cannot be denied. Even though my review claimed that America’s Funniest Videos is the modern day version of ‘Ow, My Balls!’ – Jackass certainly is a major part of the booming testicle injury industry. Plus, Luke Wilson and Mike Judge make appearances in Jackass Number Two – the circle is complete.

All the Jackass-ing around is starting to take its toll on Johnny Knoxville – he’s looking like day old dog shit throughout most of the film. I suspect Jackass 3 might kill him.

Funniest stunt? Old Man Balls – hands down!

Unfunniest stunt? Terrorist Taxi. Although the pube beard was genius, as was getting Jay Chandrasekhar involved, I’m just not ready to laugh at terrorist humor. Sorry – it’s still too soon.

So, even though I am supposedly a grown-up with a job and two kids, I can turn off my brain for 95 minutes and enjoy a bunch of jackasses doing stupid shit. I’m not ashamed – I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed either.

  

Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream

Why are there no more Midnight Movies?

Okay, technically, I know it’s pretty darn easy to find a movie playing at midnight. Practically all theaters now offer midnight showings of mainstream movies. But what happened to those fucked up movies that could only be shown at midnight? Movies that make no sense in the daylight – movies that need the dark.

Midnight Movies covers the six movies released between 1970 and 1977 that defined midnight movies as we know them. Three of them I’ve seen (Night of the Living Dead, Pink Flamingos, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and three of them I haven’t (El Topo, The Harder They Come and Eraserhead). I’ve never even heard of the first two!

There are interviews with the directors of each of the films, as well as stars, producers and those involved in the film in any way. Unlike most film documentaries, actual theater owners and distributors are also interviewed for their takes on the phenomenon.

My absolute number one goal is to see El Topo, which is unfortunately not available on DVD. That looks like the most fucked up movie ever made. It looked like a spaghetti western (or would that be a enchilada western?) but with WAY more violence and WAY more philosophy. I like violence and philosophy, so it’s right up my alley.

As for my Eraserhead procrastination – I can’t explain it. I’ve been putting it off and off…and now I wonder if I will ever sit down and watch it. I think I’m a little bit afraid that I won’t understand it and a lot afraid that I won’t like it. I’m just deathly afraid of losing goodwill towards David Lynch, although Nadja certainly did not help in the goodwill department.

All in all, Midnight Movies provides a good background for those just getting into cult films or a walk down memory lane for those firmly entrenched in the subculture.

    

Seed of Chucky

As we were sitting in the dark, waiting for the previews to begin, I was put in the position of rationalizing why I felt it was necessary to go see Seed of Chucky on opening weekend. I tried to explain what a big deal it was – that it was like Lord of the Rings. My husband said that was the “most asinine thing I have ever heard you say.” (Not as big an insult as you would think – he says that to me all the time. What can I say? I sometimes tend towards the asinine.) I then changed tack slightly to say that I wanted Seed of Chucky to outgross Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Yeah…he laughed at me – but who has the last laugh NOW? Chucky grossed $8,774,520, while Bridget only grossed $8,684,055. In your face, Renee Zellwuhuzajigger! You got served by a KILLER DOLL!

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Seed of Chucky lived up to my expectations and more. Picking up 5 years after Bride of Chucky, we find that the “baby” Tiffany shat out was rescued and taken to Merry Old England to perform as a ventriloquist’s dummy in a freak show. (I guess that was the best way to explain why Shithead sounds like a British Hobbit?) After seeing “Chucky” and “Tiffany” on TV promoting their new film, Shithead realizes that they must be his parents, escapes and mails himself to Hollywood, where he brings them back to life. Then the fun begins…

As with most dolls, the Seed of Chucky AKA Shithead is not anatomically correct. This leads to some interesting ‘Glen or Glenda’ scenes – Ed Wood would have been proud, as would Norman Bates. (As a matter of fact, why DO Chucky and Tiffany have genitals, anyway? Did they add an extra verse to the voodoo spell to ensure genitalia? Surely, the Good Guys dolls were not manufactured with a penis?)

Although the genitalia question remains unanswered, many other questions are answered by the end of this film. What reading material does Chucky prefer as a spank aid? Fangoria, of course. What is the average duration of a Voodoo Pregnancy? 2 days, give or take. (I missed the boat on that one, let me tell you.) Does Britney Spears appear in this film? No, but the explosion of the Britney lookalike is just as satisfying. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to see a killer doll do Kung Fu? Yes, it definitely is hilarious.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention – JOHN WATERS! John Waters plays a slimy tabloid photographer who meets a gruesome end. This is me squeeing with delight!

Although wrapping up nicely, just enough room is left in the ending to justify another sequel. I’ll be sad indeed if it takes another six years to make it to the screen.

A Dirty Shame

Yodeling in the canyon…heard that one before. Whistling in the dark…haven’t heard that one, but I could see it. [Is THAT what the TMBG song is about?] But sneezing in the cabbage? Where the fuck did that come from?

There’s no shortage of euphemisms for cunnilingus in A Dirty Shame. Or any other sexual fetish, as a matter of fact. A Dirty Shame is almost an encyclopedia of freaks…the Encyclopedia Pervertica, if you will…It’s almost as if the denizens of Hartford Road are the descendants of Multiple Maniac‘s ‘Cavalcade of Perversion’, except of course for the fact that they want to assimilate the rest of the town, not rob and murder them.

Tracey Ullman plays Sylvia Stickles, who becomes a cunnilingus addict after suffering a concussion. Her “axis of evil” is awakened by Ray-Ray, who is searching for the twelfth apostle to add to his group of sexually deviant disciples. Ray-Ray is played by Johnny Knoxville, more of an actor these days than a ‘jackass.’ Chris Isaak is Sylvia’s spurned husband Vaughn – he’s come a long way since Chet Desmond. Selma Blair rounds out (and I mean that literally, as well as figuratively) as Sylvia’s daughter, Caprice, who gives Chesty Morgan a run for her money. I’ve got to admit, Selma Blair is growing on me. I can’t hold Cruel Intentions against her if she’s married to a Zappa.

I was glad to see Mink Stole in more of a leading roles than in the last few Waters film. Mink plays Marge the Neuter, which is pretty self explanatory. Her dreams of hymen reconstruction surgery are even scarier than the sex crazed residents of Hartford Road.

The one disconcerting factor about this film was the sheer amount of CGI that was used. Even though CGI is probably the only way to get squirrels to fuck on cue, it still seems a bit out of place in John Waters’ Baltimore. I guess I just need to get used to the fact that CGI is everywhere.

Oh yeah – David Hasselhoff‘s turd – what the fuck?

 

Sweet and Lowdown

This was the least offensive Woody Allen film that I’ve seen to date. Understand that I try to keep my Woody Allen viewing to a minimum – I’ve probably only seen a handful of his films. When I was little, I’m talking eleven and younger, I used to derive all kinds of entertainment from Allen’s films. I’d probably seen Bananas a dozen times before the age of ten. But somewhere around puberty, probably around the time that I transitioned from Barbies to bras and from Kirk Cameron to Axl Rose, I totally lost interest in Woody Allen.

Having taken primarily film classes in college, somehow, the subject of Woody Allen was never really broached. (I did see The Purple Rose of Cairo, but it was for a class on Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature.) I’m pretty sure it was just because Cornelius hated him, not because Allen didn’t have any place in film history. It stands to reason that a man who has churned out a film almost every year for the last 30 years must have had some effect on the medium. And I’m pretty sure that effect was neurotic in nature.

Sean Penn was very entertaining as the legendary Jazz Guitarist Emmett Ray, although only slightly less retarded than in I Am Sam. A loud, obnoxious drunk, Emmett Ray is only pathologically afraid of one thing, Django Reinhardt, the best Jazz Guitarist in the world. See, Emmett Ray is only the second best, as he is quick to tell anyone who asks…or doesn’t ask.

Samantha Morton is amazing as the mute Hattie, a role that I can only imagine would have gone to Mia Farrow, had Woody not married their adopted daughter. Hattie had the curly blond hair, the too thin to be human physique and the blank soul-less stare that Farrow had perfected. Of course, as a mute, she could not exhibit Farrow’s cracking whine, which is all for the better.

Uma Thurman’s character seemed to be utterly out of place in this film. It was as if she was replaying Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction – the same sideways glance, the same too-cool-for-school attitude. I was thoroughly disappointed with her performance.

The only reason that I decided to suffer through watching this film was the fact the John Waters was listed as starring in it. Fuck those Satellite TV descriptions! John Waters had a 45 second cameo and he was billed as a star? Well, the cameo happened over halfway through the film and by that point, I was enjoying myself barely enough to not get up and go in the other room.

 

Cry-Baby

Sublime parody of Jailhouse Rock.

Johnny Depp is Wade ‘Cry-Baby’ Walker, orphan without a cause. He falls in love with Allison, a good girl who wants to be bad. He fights for Allison and does it in song. When John Waters does a musical, he does it right. Even though all of the singing voices are dubbed, there are some great musical numbers. Cry-Baby’s pelvis puts Elvis to shame.

This is the last time we’ll get to see the fat Ricki Lake in film. Between this and Serial Mom, she lost some serious weight, like a hundred pounds. She is Pepper, Cry-Baby’s pregnant sister. She’s already got several kids, what’s a few more?

Traci Lords also makes an appearance as one of the Drape girls. This was one of the first non-porn films that she made – is it any wonder that John Waters would be one of the first to give her a chance? I actually have Traci Lords’ CD 1000 Fires, it’s not bad, just the usual derivative techno stuff, but it does have the main song from Mortal Kombat – bet, you didn’t know that was her.

Last Christmas, I sat around the dinner table with my family and do you know what we were watching as we ate our Christmas feast? You got it, we were watching Cry-Baby. Very fucking Norman Rockwell, if you ask me.

 

Cecil B. DeMented

Life is like a crab cake?

Last night, I crept to the UA Cine all by myself to see John Water’s latest film. It was a week later than I would have liked to see it…but that’s another story entirely. I am glad that I was alone – I wouldn’t have wanted to explain what the hell I was laughing at. Most of the time, I was the only one in the theater laughing. The other ten or so people in the theater were mostly silent. There were two gay men to the left of me – I think there were there ONLY because they were gay, because stereotypically, gay men like John Waters. They were there only to give me a stereotype to mention. Then there were a bunch of alterna-teens to the right of me, I’m pretty sure they didn’t know who Otto Preminger was and why it was funny that Cecil had his name tattooed on his arm. (All the Sprocketholes had a director tattooed on them.) Then there was an old couple in the front. They stayed all the way through the credits, almost as if they had had strokes and were unable to leave. Come to mention it, they were still sitting there as I left…

I felt like I was going back in time as I watched Cecil directing his followers – it was like the Dreamlanders were back. Honey’s platinum locks and black rimmed eyes reminded me so much of Mary Vivian Pearce. Lyle’s perversity and drug use recalled David Lochary, though he didn’t have quite the sexual energy that David did. Petie was Crackers from Pink Flamingos almost, and I could swear that the Lesbo sprocketholes were natives of Mortville. Cherish (Alicia Witt, who started out on Twin Peaks as Emily Hayward) reminded me of Mink Stole – just wanting to fuck. Of course, the REAL Mink was there, but it’s too bad that the old Dreamlanders have been relegated to bit parts and Cameos – I would love for Waters to have Mink as the star again…

It was nice to have the trademark Waters violence back. It had been gone so long that I was actually surprised when people actually started dying. He has never had any qualms about killing off main characters…which makes it uncomfortable for the viewer that identifies with them. Sadly, I identified a lot with Cherish. All she wanted was to get laid…but when she finally did…I’ll let you see it for yourself. (And NO! I do not identify with her because of the gerbil scene. Jesus.)

I have never seen Patch Adams…and there is no way in hell that I would sit through a director’s cut. I am ashamed to say I did see Forrest Gump, but I puked all night afterwards. (Okay, I admit that it was food poisoning from CiCi’s Pizza, but I did puke all night, nonetheless.) It was fun catching the little horrible sequels posted on marquees throughout though – do we really need Scream 4?

I don’t care for Melanie Griffith at all – I am still bitter about the Antonio Banderas thing – but she was decent, I guess. Waters should have gotten someone like Sean Young though – someone who really is scary in real life.

There was quote by Lyle that I think I understand – “Before drugs, I had all these problems, but now that I’ve found drugs, I only have one. Drugs have given me a focus.” I think that’s why most people do drugs. Heh.

 

Desperate Living

This is it…as of now, I have seen every single John Water film that is available to be seen…and I saved the most fucked-up for last!

Divine isn’t in it – but it’s still great. Jean Hill more than fills the space vacated by Divine (literally and figuratively). David Lochary is sadly missed from this one as well…

Mortville is a town full of criminally inclined Lesbians, ruled by the evil Queen Carlotta and her pack of S&M goons. This is your chance to see some really hot sex scenes with Edith Massey and hot young studs (?!?!?!?) She and Princess CooCoo are the only non-lesbians in Mortville…

Peggy Gravel and her nurse, Grizelda end up in Mortville after ‘accidentally’ killing Peggy’s husband and escaping a cop who likes to wear women’s underwear. This is all established within the first 10 minutes!

My boyfriend says I have thing for watching movies where guys get their dicks cut off…it’s because I had him watch The Doom Generation within the first few weeks we dated…seriously, I don’t, I LOVE penises! So I have him watch Pink Flamingos for the first time the other night and before it even starts, he asks “No one gets their dick cut off, do they?” Me – “NO! Of course n….wait, um yeah, actually they do….” Somehow, I still got him to watch it, but you should have seen the look on his face during the ‘Do my balls, Mama!’ scene…Anyway, back to my point, here is another film to add to the pile of “dicks getting cut off” films…but at least in this one, it is a girl getting her penis cut off and she’s doing the cutting herself.

For all you pervs out there, there is an abundance of lesbian sex scenes in this film. (GUYS – Keep in mind the fact this is John Waters – do not watch them with Lubriderm in hand – you could be scarred for life!) I’m not sure which was worse – Jean Hill squishing Mink Stole under 400 pounds of woman or Queen Carlotta getting it from a Robert Maplethorpe reject or post-sex-change bull dyke trying to get it on with 50 year old stripper, Liz Renay.

I long for the days of vintage John Waters. Desperate Living is truly the last of his ‘Trash Art.’