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Polyester

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Polyester 2

Image Credit: Polyester, 1981

As a final love letter to the TCMFF that never was, I decided to celebrate not just a classic, but a cult classic. Polyester (Disc/Download) is the rare John Waters movie that has eluded me up till now. Maybe I’d been holding out for an Odorama screening. Maybe I just wanted to watch this someplace more exciting than my living room. But then, I decided the viewing circumstances were irrelevant; Todd Tomorrow should not have to wait until tomorrow.

Having been raised on soap operas, the day I discovered the Douglas Sirk melodrama was a true awakening. Classic cinema had been churning out these “women’s pictures” (I have as much disdain for this term as I do “women’s fiction”) for decades, and life was suddenly a banquet again.  But once you’ve seen Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life and All That Heaven Allows, where to go? Baltimore, that’s where. With his core group of Dreamland performers, including Divine, Mink Stole, and Edith Massey, The Pope of Trash took these angst-filled flicks and turned them on their heads. It’s clear Waters has a real appreciation for the original genre, down to the peignoirs, clouds of Evening in Paris perfume, and campy character names, but he injects his own brand of modern weirdness too– foot fetishism, doggie suicide, and drag performance to name a few. The story of Francine Fishpaw overcoming her cheating husband and alcoholism is straight out of the Sirk playbook, but the clever way Waters inserts his own brand makes Polyester into something truly unique.

In a nod to the “gimmick” films of the 1950s, Polyester was originally screened in Odorama, whereby audience members were given cards to scratch and smell during certain scenes. Indeed, even without the cards, we see Divine sniffing like a president during a press conference. Most of the scents are pretty vile (model airplane glue, flatulence, skunk), but the first one is meant to lull us into a false sense of security: roses. By adding a few drops of rose water to this cocktail, you can join in the fun even at home. While watching Polyester, I recommend this Stop and Smell the Roses! cocktail.

Stop and Smell the Roses!

1.5 oz Three Olives Rosé Vodka

.5 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Grapefruit Juice

2-3 drops Rose Water

Splash of Sparkling Rosé

Club Soda

Dried Strawberries or Rose Petals for garnish

Combine Vodka, lemon and grapefruit juices, and rose water in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until chilled, then strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with Sparkling Rosé, and club soda. Garnish with dried strawberries or rose petals.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Eventually, Francine learns to stop hittin’ the sauce, but I don’t see any reason for us viewers to stop. Without the famed Odorama cards, we need alcohol as our gimmick. By being something special and different, Polyester breathed new life into the career of Tab Hunter. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll breathe new life into your love of movies; I know it did for me. Cheers!

Top Five Crimes Against Christmas Trees

I know my readers were maybe expecting a top five list of boozy Christmas films, but there is something much more important to talk about this month.  Is anybody aware of just how many Christmas trees come into cinematic danger this time of year?  Perhaps I care too much, or perhaps I just like seeing people throw around their Christmas trees, ornaments be damned.  You’ll never know.  Without further ado, I present the Top Five Crimes Against Christmas Trees.

1)  Divine shoves her parents into a Christmas tree in Female Trouble.

Image credit Dreamland, 1974, Female Trouble

Image credit Dreamland, 1974, Female Trouble

No cha-cha heels for Christmas??  JUSTIFIED.

(For the full, amazing scene, check it out here)

 

2)  Mrs. Jorgenson shoves her daughter into a Christmas tree in A Summer Place.

Image credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

Image credit Warner Bros, 1959, A Summer Place

Merry Christmas, Mama.

 

3)  The Griswold tree catches fire in Christmas Vacation.

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1989, Christmas Vacation

Image Credit Warner Bros, 1989, Christmas Vacation

Never leave a senile relative unattended near your tree.  Just sayin’.

 

4)  Shootout at a Christmas tree lot in Lethal Weapon.

Image credit Warner Bros, 1987, Lethal Weapon

Image credit Warner Bros, 1987, Lethal Weapon

The real crime is not bullets and cocaine flying around the Christmas trees.  The real crime is Mel Gibson’s mullet.

 

5)  Gremlins attack!!!!!!  (in Gremlins).

Image credit Warner Bros, 1984, Gremlins

Image credit Warner Bros, 1984, Gremlins

Scariest.  Christmas.  Ever.