Review: A Dirty Shame DVD
When John Waters lost Divine an era of great bad filmmaking came to an end. The Woody Allen of Baltimore, Waters manages to scrape together funds every few years to make a film that will most definitely suck, yet still must be watched out of counter-culture obligation. A Dirty Shame is his best film since Serial Mom and a hundred times better than the career depths of Pecker and Cecil B. Demented, but the party ended years ago for the shock value of John Water's bad taste.
Waters has a puritan streak that comes out in his mostly faux-shocked amazement at what people do for pleasure. He's a reserved voyeur in the cultures he embraces, and I'd say he's more like his parents than he'd admit to, but he's always admitted to being a closet upper middle class square. A collector of sexual phraseology, Waters waters A Dirt Shame with every nugget he could find, and while on one level it's funny it's also less of a script than a laundry list. The best perv tidbit in the film is the "Upper Decker", rivaling "Tea Bagging" in my heart as the funniest thing in the universe.
A Dirt Shame is shocking I guess but not to anyone I'd hang around with. It's true to its camp vision but the lesson of it is known before the film even starts so it just plays itself out and then ends. Thematically it's a lot like Hairspray but I don't envision a Broadway run for this one. Does the world need another John Water's counter-morality play? Probably not.
Technically A Dirty Shame is Water's Citizen Kane. The lighting is perfect, the acting good across the board and the endless reaction shots from extras finally achieve correct timing. Nobody mangles Water's stilted dialogue, which makes me miss Edith Massey that much more.
This film proves once again that most people look good in layers and layers of clothes. Patti Hearst is either addicted to botox or face lifts. David Hasselhoff makes a weird cameo in the same year he made a strange cameo in The Spongebob Squarepants movie.
Here's some funny trivia on this NC-17 film:
"When the MPAA were asked what would needed to be cut to obtain an R rating, they replied that if everything the MPAA objected to were to be removed, the movie would only be 10 minutes long."