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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 17, 2019.
I'm sure he'd be happy to have that as a quote on the box.
He's not for all tastes, to be sure, but some of us around here love his films.
John Waters' style is one of the purest (& very carefully structured, though he would probably deny it) expressions against good taste and style the cinema has ever seen. For me, Mr. Waters' "pollution" is a very liberating, as well as entertaining, force.
This is not intended as criticism of Mr. Colby's post, as I understand exactly where he is coming from, and considering the parameters of Mr. Colby's perspective, I completely agree. Except I happen to love both David Lean & John Waters. That's just my taste, which inhabits both camps, as I am simultaneously (in my cinematic explorations) a classicist and an anarchist. This probably has a lot to do with the time and place I came of age, being the East Village in the late 1960's.
"Polyester" from the point of view of the "well made film" seems like a horrible abrogation, deliquescent, even. However, if you look upon the film's "chaos and myriad of mistakes" as part of a very purposeful and structured aesthetic and radical philosophical outlook, everything changes. Yes, the film is still a pollutant, but let's say it pollutes with a purpose. And I happen to like that.
One more thought. The themes of John Waters' films aren't all that different from Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's "The Red Shoes" & "Black Narcissus"; that is, the complete disintegration of the self through the demonic power of sexuality/and or art. Except in Mr. Waters' case, the film itself is in the process of disintegration, or at least seems to be, thereby uniting form and content. Though I must confess when I was in college, I made some spare cash as a projectionist for one of the film societies on campus, and I was required to screen "Pink Flamingos" every Saturday night at midnight, and it wasn't really fun.
I too am a big John Waters fan, but will concede that his talents for directing and cinematography are minimal. Where he excels is his writing and his personality. I would highly recommend his stage performances (especially his annual Christmas shows) and his books, even to someone who dislikes his films. His latest book, Mr. Know-It-All, is a hoot.
I think it was in his book Shock Value where he had a brilliant idea on how theaters could make money on dreadful films like INCHON -- offer the audience free admission, but then charge them to get out.
"I wouldn't pollute my disc collection by including anything by Mr Waters"
I'll buy it for sure now.
Critics judge by surface details and production values. Artsts judge by ideas. John Waters movies have more ideas that a dozen "good" movies. They're more entertaining than a lot of them too.
The irony of the film's anti-porn protesters' rallying cry of "What do we like? Disney! What do we hate? Filth!" is that Disney actually did face real-life protests over PG-rated content milder than anything in this film once they gave up their G-only policy two years earlier. One such movie was The Devil and Max Devlin, released three months earlier, the movie where Bill Cosby played the devil. At least the stars of Polyester were only committing fictional crimes.*
And I can point to a bunch of things in John Waters movies that also happen in Disney movies, including but not limited to drag.
*The (apparent) reasons for Disney Movie Club choosing The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, which was rated G and made for that crowd, for Blu-ray over that — lack of criminal behavior among the cast members — are now moot even though Max Devlin made more money even then. Likewise, the same year Edward Furlong was in Pecker, he was in American History X with Elliott Gould. If I were Linda Lavin, then I'd be worried.
You and I will keep continuing to read Disney to filth until the day we die.
The irony is that Waters mentions Disney's Cinderella in the original laserdisc commentary, comparing Francine's mother to Cinderella's stepmother, specifically as heard on a storybook record back in the day. Waters was 4 years old when that movie came out.* The one on DVD is separate because Criterion would not let New Line have it so that DVD is also one you'll also have to keep. I, too, kept that and Flamingos and not just for the full-sized Odorama cards.
Also oddly enough, Shout! could include on its Serial Mom Blu-ray both the 1999 solo HBO DVD commentary and the later Universal DVD commentary that included Kathleen Turner.
*When I was 4, outside of Touchstone and the premiere of DuckTales, Disney offered exactly one new movie under the Disney name: Benji the Hunted. One of the protestors' kids name-drops the original in Polyester when begging Wilbur Fishpaw to change the bill to something supposedly more wholesome.
I think it was Disney's 1962 "Bon Voyage" with Fred MacMurray in which MacMurry has an encounter with a street walker on a side walk cafe. Amusing more than anything else in the Disney film.
Assuming Polyester played LA in its original theatrical run, though at which theater I couldn't tell you, I'm convinced Annie screenwriter Carol Sobieski must have seen it at some point. Where else would she have gotten the idea to have the orphans stomp on Miss Hannigan's feet? That wasn't in the original play. That had cuts and reshoots made to it in late 1981 (and still has a 1981 copyright despite coming out 357 tomorrows after this film), and "Maybe" and "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" were among the reshoots. Both end with her feet getting stomped. Just like Dexter Fishpaw, minus the angel dust. That would have brought the death of Mrs. Jensen in Serial Mom full circle.
Polyester does have two legit Disney connections other than the Divine/Ursula one from The Little Mermaid. The late Michael Kamen, who did this film's score, is one: he later did scores for Adventures in Babysitting, 1993's The Three Musketeers, Mr. Holland's Opus, Jack, the 1996 live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians (the animated 1961 original spells out the number, which the mutually exclusive sequels only complicate), and Open Range. The other, believe it or not, is Waters himself. He lent his voice to a Mickey Mouse cartoon a couple years ago. Needless to say, they saw Pink Flamingos if it was one about dogs.
Maybe it's not so odd to see these films in Warner's hands after all since Bugs Bunny is their signature cartoon character.
Tab Hunter's last film before this one was The Kid from Left Field, a 1979 Gary Coleman TV-movie. The last housekeeper to serve Coleman's Diff'rent Strokes* character was Mary Jo Catlett, later Rosemary of Serial Mom, as Pearl Gallagher.
*Silver Spoons also had a Dexter (Franklyn Seales), but he died of AIDS in 1990. Cookie Mueller, who played of the Baltimore Foot Stomper's victims, also died of it in 1989 despite having written a health column for the Village Voice.
You can easily tell the new Odorama cards versus the old ones because the new ones will likely have a WB logo or reference somewhere.
First you could see movies, then you could hear them, now you can smell them. What's next, Taste-O-Vision, where you can actually experience the flavors of the food and drinks the characters eat? It would be like Odorama except instead of sniffing it, you licked it like Willy Wonka's lickable wallpaper.
"Feel-Around" was proposed in Kentucky Fried Movie ...