Thursday, March 3, 2011

The most fun you'll ever have being offended...

Pink Flamingos  (Saliva Films, 1972)

Before the Camera:

Divine  (Female Trouble)
David Lochary  (Female Trouble)
Mary Vivian Pearce  (Female Trouble)
Mink Stole  (Female Trouble)
Danny Mills  (his one and only movie)
Edith Massey  (Female Trouble)
Channing Wilroy  (Female Trouble)
Cookie Mueller  (Female Trouble)
Paul Swift  (Female Trouble)
as The Egg Man

Behind the Camera:
Directed by John Waters
Produced by John Waters
Written by John Waters
I'm not sure there's a whole lot left to be said about Pink Flamingos that hasn't already been said - but I only recently saw it for the first time, so now it's my turn to throw down a few words about this infamous and notorious cinematograph. The story gives us one Divine, the "filthiest person alive," according to both her and at least one national tabloid. She's also known as Babs Johnson, but that's just to stay one step ahead of the authorities, who are after her for murder, theft, and general crimes against nature. Divine lives in a camper in a field with her son Crackers, her protege Cotton, and her mom, the incredible Edie, who sits in a crib in her underwear and waxes ad infinitum on her love for eggs and her hopes that the Egg Man will be dropping by soon. All seems right with the world. Except...the Marbles! Yes, Connie (Stole) and Raymond Marble (Lochary) are a married couple who also have impulse control problems. They run a baby farm out of their house - keeping kidnapped girls chained in the basement to be impregnated by their chauffeur Channing (Wilroy) and selling the babies to lesbian couples. Raymond is also a park flasher on the side. They have read the tabloid articles about Divine, and are livid that their own epic filthiness is not recognized as the greatest in the world. They have launched a three phase attack on Divine - which only has two phases thanks to post production cuts by Waters - but Divine stands ready for all challengers, and soon it is war as both factions throw down in a contest to prove once and for all who deserves the crown of filthiest person alive.

Who would have thought an interior banister would be frozen over?
 Wow. I have seen some movies that are in bad taste; I have seen some movies that had an urge to offend; I've seen some obliviously crass crap movies; but I'd never seen anything quite like Pink Flamingos. Now, to be sure, I genuinely like John Waters. He's a funny, talented guy with a wonderfully oblique view of the world. I'll watch him on a talk show or read a magazine piece by him anytime. I've enjoyed several of his movies. I enjoyed this one. But wow. What I wrote up there is only the merest scratch on the surface of what goes on in this movie. But at the same time that you're being grossed out, you're also laughing because the the tone remains weirdly playful throughout. My favorite sequence is when Divine and Crackers break into the Marbles' home and lick all their furniture and stuff so that it'll reject them. And it does! (see photo above)  The movie is obviously beyond low budget and is very rough and raw, much less polished than the movies Waters was making in the 1980s. Divine is really very good in this role and pulls off playing a woman fairly well - a 250 pound woman with the dress and makeup sense of a drag queen - but a woman nonetheless. In fact, I'm not sure a first time viewer with no knowledge of Divine would necessarily know he's a guy. The rest of the acting is mostly amateur night, but again, that just adds to the strange charm. The film gleefully crosses the line early on, and I went with pretty much every pungent plot twist Waters throws in; however I did find a few moments even a little beyond my goodwill. I'm not going to go into what they were in great detail, but if you've seen the movie, I'd enjoy comparing notes. And of course, the whole filmic exercise culminates in an act of actual scatalogical gormandizing that has made this film both notorious and infamous the world over. It's a hell of an ending, I'll say that for it. Obviously, this is not a film for everyone. I wanted to see it, and I was mostly entertained. If you're curious, if you want to see if I've hyperbolized this one to the nth - then you'll have to check it out. Good luck.
Let's Get Out of Here ?

At approximately 1:18:45, David Lochary no longer wishes to be in a house with furnishings that reject him.

Eye Candy ?
I'm almost tempted to throw in Divine - because he's a lot of fun in this movie - but I can't do it to all my previous winners and all my winners to come. Even if there was someone really hot in this movie - and there's not - but even if there was...they are surrounded by so much grotesquerie in this flick that I still couldn't call her eye candy. Sorry ladies.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Pink Flamingos is simply Divine."

Summed that one up pretty succinctly, BM. Thanks! And til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

1 comment:

  1. It is very difficult to offend me; however, the scene with Crackers and Cotton and the chicken just about did it. Beyond that, good fun!