Watered Down

The 1980s, when Waters published two books, made two nouveau teen movies (Cry Baby and Hairspray), and appeared as a guest commentator in Newsweek, signaled his arrival in the mainstream. But, although he has managed to release only two features since Hairspray, the '90s have been the real Waters decade: the Menendez brothers, Jeffrey Dahmer, Joey Buttafuocco, Tonya Harding, Lorena and John Wayne Bobbit, Marv Albert, and Dick Morris are all Waters characters--not to mention Jerry Springer and every single one of his guests. And, speaking of the filthiest people alive, what of Lucianne Goldberg, Linda Tripp, Ken Starr, and the stain goddess named Monica?

Filthy? Perhaps we should say tacky. Tripp and Starr don't even have the uncouth cool of the evil heteros typically played in Waters's early movies by David Lochery and Mink Stole. Perhaps that Chelsea gallery which transforms the innocent Pecker into a hot commodity is not really the voracious and snobby New York art world but an even more voracious American media culture. Could it be that Waters is the snob, reacting to the saturation of his own once-rarefied vision?


Written and directed by John Waters
A Fine Line Features release
Opens September 25

These days, the President of the United States finds himself playing the Divine role in a real-life remake of Pink Flamingos. The spectacle of Bill Clinton eating shit may be enough to make even John Waters gag.

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