Pecker with Cry-Baby

Pecker with Cry-Baby

Pecker (Edward Furlong) is an unassuming but passionate amateur photographer who finds art in the mundane or bleak moments of everyday life in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. When he becomes an overnight success in New York City, his life and that of his loved ones is turned upside down. While the titular character is presented as a figure similar to photographer Diane Arbus, he is also reminiscent of John Waters himself, who also transitioned from DIY roots to the “legitimate” art world. The film comments on the commercialization of underground art, celebrity, and the risks of selling out.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: John Waters. WITH: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Mary Kay Place, Martha Plimpton. 1998. 87 min. USA. Color. English. Rated R. 35mm.

Set in the 1950s, Waters’s Cry-Baby follows an endearing gang of juvenile delinquents led by Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker (Johnny Depp). Cry-Baby and his group, known as the Drapes, face off against the conformist Squares when Cry-Baby falls for one of their own, goody-two-shoes Allison (Amy Locane)—wooed by Cry-Baby’s bad-boy with a heart of gold persona. Always heavily involved in the soundtracks of his films, Waters’s specific pairings of song and dance denote his deep musical interest and knowledge. Cry-Baby was Waters's first musical film.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: John Waters. WITH: Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake, Amy Locane, Susan Tyrrell. 1990. 85 min. USA. Color. English. Rated PG-13. 35mm. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. 

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