Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I must see this movie

I love John Waters, and I'm so glad that he's given up the task of making movies without lots of nudity. The cast of A Dirty Shame looks to be like they are a lot of fun, too. This is a positive review, but as usual with reviews of Waters movies, the reviewer seems not to realize how Waters is more in control than you'd think.

Like many, if not most, of Waters' movies, "A Dirty Shame" has no discernible sense of rhythm or pacing, features loads of hammy acting, and just doesn't know how to resolve itself.

I think that if he wanted to, Waters could make a movie that lulls you with its excellent pacing. But I think he deliberately tries to capture the off-kilter pacing of old B movies. You can argue whether or not it's a good choice, but I don't think you can argue that it's not an intentional choice.

Personally, I think the off-kilter pacing works. Like this reviewer points out, most movies now are really slick, and so something that's not will shake you out of your complacency. Certain movies of his would not work at all if they weren't off-kilter, the perfect example being Hairspray, which was so weird that the sudden introduction of the politics of intergration into wasn't as jarring as it would have been in another movie.

Waters is the B movie aficianado to end all, which this reviewer should know. I was disappointed to read this sentence:

With her enormous bazoongas (Blair wears prosthetics the size of watermelons -- an unintentional but fitting tribute to the recently deceased Russ Meyer) and her, ahem, outgoing personality, Caprice has gotten into so much trouble that Sylvia and Vaughn have been forced to lock her in the garage.

If she means unintentional because Waters had no way of knowing the Meyer would die the same week this came out, then fine. But any fool can see just from the ads that this is a classic Waters tribute. He has repeatedly claimed Russ Meyer as one of his biggest influences, and it was really just a matter of time before he had a character reflecting Meyer's biggest obsession.

While it may seem as if Waters is making a statement about society's increasing efforts to limit our sexual freedoms, I don't think he's particularly interested in anything so dull.

I think it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. I saw Waters speak a few months ago, and while he adores making fun of censorious old farts, I don't think he has any desire to see them keep on keeping on. Unlike the creators of "South Park", Waters doesn't seem to think that offending for offense's sake is all that funny. Most "shock" humor isn't offending anyone's prejudices so much as just reaffirming the dominant prejudices of our society in an impolite manner. A good example would be that train wreck of a movie Shallow Hal, which was just a bunch of fat jokes that were excused by piously admitting that the fat girl character was a human being, but only after she proved herself by being the perfect woman in every other way--self-sacrificing, quiet, shy, insecure--perfect!

In contrast, Waters loves to have fat characters in his movies and their very right to exist is never in question. Ricki Lake's character in Hairspray is fat, but she is popular and fun and the movie doesn't strain itself trying to convince you of this. Waters assumes that you can see why for yourself, and if you can't, well sorry you are such a sad sack of a human. Waters populates his movies with misfits and outcasts and then just demands that the audience accept them without having to be pandered to.

Also, he doesn't have the pious regard for sex that other "shock" humorists have while thinking they don't. Regardless of the juvenile joking you'll see in movies like American Pie or the Farley brothers' movies, they will never cross the sacred line and admit that women that are not perfect beauties have sex. Maybe it's because he's gay, but I think it' s mostly because he likes puncturing people's illusions, but Waters loves to show ugly people of all stripes cheerfully having sex, women included.

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