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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Schlocktacular

By Mark Mitchell

“The Pope of Trash,” “the Prince of Puke,” “the P.T. Barnum of Scatology,” “the Sultan of Sleaze” and “the Baron of Bad Taste.”

These are the titles that have been used to describe filmmaker John Waters, and for him, this has been the language of love.

“I pride myself on the fact that my work has no socially redeeming value,” Waters wrote in his autobiography titled, Shock Value.

Waters is nearly as famous for his per-sona as he is for the films he’s directed. With his pencil-thin mustache and clean-cut suit and skinny-tie look-like some demented ’50s high-school guidance counselor-he’s appeared frequently on TV talk shows, in movies and as a guest voice on “The Simpsons.”

But mostly, of course, there are the movies. Waters’ place in movie history is such that you need only hear his name to see the picture reeling in your head. You might imagine bodily fluids (both animal and human), rats, roaches and “actors” with bad skin and missing teeth. You might look back fondly on a 350-pound transvestite sensation named Divine. You might also think of deliciously ludicrous dialogue-“Oh, honey, I’d be so happy if you turned Nellie?you could change! Queers are just better. I’d be so proud if you was a f** and had a nice beautician boyfriend. I’d never have to worry. I worry you’ll work in an office, have children, celebrate wedding anniversaries-the world of a heterosexual is a sick and boring life!”

Generation after generation has de-lighted in being grossed out by the ulti-mate gross-out flick, the “Citizen Kane” of crap, “Pink Flamingos.” For more than a few of us, it’s part of the nostalgia package of our lives-the quintessential midnight show, alongside “Dawn of the Dead,” and we’ll always remember Wa-ters fondly for providing us-the young and defiantly unshockable-with the consummate gag memory: Divine rolling dog doo around in her mouth, and gag-ging herself.

You wanna talk neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini?

You can keep your exploration of the division of mind and spirit, Ingmar Bergman! Just give us Divine lifting her dress and shoving a steak down her un-derwear!

Though it’s highly unlikely he will ever be honored at the Kennedy Center alongside, say, Martin Scorsese or Fran-cis Ford Coppola, Waters will always be loved as our most sublime schlockmei-ster. He is as American as John Ford and as tough-minded as Sam Peckinpah. His movies are far, far cries from cinematic works of art, but the best of them have as much kick as a Rogers and Astaire dou-ble feature. It’s been a long, nauseating haul, but Waters, in true pioneer spirit, has made it as an American icon.

“Even if I discover a cure for cancer, the first line of my obituary is bound to mention that I once made a film where Divine eats dog s***. Which would be OK with me.”

John Waters will be appearing at Salt Lake’s Tower Theatre on Friday at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Sundance Film Insti-tute’s 25th Anniversary celebration. Admission is $20.00 and includes a screening of either “Pink Flamingos” or “Hairspray.”

John Waters brings his filth-addled genius to the Tower Theatre this Friday, Oct. 13

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