Cecil B. Demented with A Dirty Shame

Cecil B. Demented with A Dirty Shame

Cecil B. Demented
A ragtag crew of underground filmmakers known as the Sprocket Holes, who abhor conventional cinema, rebel against the tenets of mainstream Hollywood in this send-up of filmmakers who take themselves too seriously. To further cement the crew’s cinephilic fervor, John Waters imagined a tattoo featuring the name of a boundary-pushing director—Kenneth Anger, Pedro Almodóvar, William Castle—for each member. The Sprocket Holes’s director and leader is the title character (Stephen Dorff) who commands them to kidnap Hollywood star Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) and force her to act in their latest film, shot guerrilla style among unsuspecting Baltimore crowds.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: John Waters. WITH: Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt, Adrian Grenier. 2000. 87 min. USA. Color. English. Rated R. 35mm.

A Dirty Shame
John Waters’s most recent film, A Dirty Shame asks if a concussive knock to the head is all it takes to turn a sex-averse prude—called a “neuter”—into an insatiable sex addict. Ultimately, a Baltimore neighborhood finds itself divided in a war between the neuters and the sex addicts, the latter led by sexual healer Ray Ray (Johnny Knoxville), with several characters—including protagonists Sylvia and Caprice Stickles (Tracey Ullman and Selma Blair)—switching sides more than once. The film’s production design from Vincent Peranio and special effects enable a physical universe that visually and thematically echoes the newfound sexuality experienced by its denizens.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: John Waters. WITH: Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Selma Blair, Chris Isaak. 2004. 89 min. USA. Color. English. Rated NC-17. 35mm.

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