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Tag Archives: John Waters

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!

Cry-Baby

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures, Cry-Baby, 1990

Image Credit: Universal Pictures, Cry-Baby, 1990

I recently finished reading John Waters’ latest book Carsick, detailing his experiences hitchhiking across the US. It was difficult to finish even one page of the book without laughing, and it reminded me of what a brilliant comic mind this man has. To that end, I’m featuring one of my favorite John Waters films this week, Cry-Baby (DVD/Download).

Cry-Baby is a spoof of 1950’s greaser movies, wherein the “Drapes” face off against the “Squares”. Johnny Depp plays Cry-Baby Walker, the hot young leader of the Drapes, who falls for Allison Vernon-Williams, a good girl yearning to be bad. In a great meet-cute scene, they lock eyes over polio vaccinations in the school gym. Imagine! People got immunized and it was no big deal! (I digress). Cry-Baby is populated by B-and C-list stars galore- Traci Lords! Patty Hearst! Troy Donahue! Iggy Pop! Ricki Lake!

Johnny Depp reportedly took the role of Cry-Baby (one of his first film roles following 21 Jump Street) in order to poke fun at his teen-idol image. Well, mission accomplished. As Cry-Baby he’s sexy and funny and just the right amount of campy. It’s so refreshing to see him without weird facial hair or feathers or a Colleen Atwood costume. Watching Cry-Baby has reminded me that not only do I want John Waters to make another film, but I want Johnny Depp to be in it playing an actual human being. A stretch at this point, I know.

My drink this week has to be equal parts hillbilly and 50’s fabulous in order to truly do the film justice. I’m sure Uncle Belvedere makes his own moonshine, but I have to get by with the store-bought stuff. Of course this has to be served in a mason jar (which I assume was the stemware-of-choice at Turkey Point). While watching Cry-Baby, I recommend drinking a Lonely Teardrop.

Lonely Teardrop

½ oz Vodka

½ oz Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine

¾ oz fresh lemon juice

½ oz Limoncello

2 oz Sprite

3 oz club soda

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Lemon slice

Mix together the spirits and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a mason jar filled with ice. Top with Sprite and club soda. Garnish with rosemary and lemon.

lonely teardrop

Not only does Cry-Baby have a fantastic cast and script, but the costumes are stellar as well. I admit to having quite a few “square” dresses currently hanging in my closet (thanks Mod Cloth!). But when Allison Vernon-Williams puts on those tight “hysterectomy pants” and makes out with Cry-Baby, I find myself wanting my own bad-girl beauty makeover. Just please don’t let Hatchet Face do my make-up. There are…. no words to describe that face. 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.