Pecker (1998) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
138 Reviews
Sort by:
Fun Film with a Point
Jimrsjdm16 June 2009
The best thing about this movie is that it is fun. It is full of humorous characters and interesting situations, starting with the blithe, innocent Pecker (played appealingly by Edward Furlong) who likes to photograph almost everything he sees in every day life. Other great characters include Pecker's friend Matt ("he's a thief, but he's really a nice guy"), Pecker's sister Chrissy (who is addicted to sugar), and Pecker's Catholic grandmother who discovers life in a statuette of the Virgin Mary in her room.

The movie gently makes a point about how every day life has many riches to offer, and it succeeds in making this point without being too heavy-handed about it. There is always a risk, when making messages about the value and dignity of "common people", of sliding into a kind of reverse "holier than thou" - but "Pecker" avoids these traps, allowing the audience to get the point while allowing enough breathing room for viewers to compare this message to their own thoughts on the subject.

I recommend the movie mostly because it is a lot of fun.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent, Mr. Waters...
Kevano13 January 1999
In true John Waters form, "Pecker" offers a pure glimpse of human nature. Being human entitles us to our own unique quirks and eccentricities that make us individuals. When we 'seemingly' normal people are influenced by our ever-changing society, that is when the humor begins.

I think the true beauty of this movie is in the acting. Waters guides his cast into committed characterizations, adding layer upon layer of sub-text until they blossom before your eyes. Waters approaches his characters the way a painter approaches his easel and taking a mental snapshot, paints his perspective. Add all these factors in and you see why I say Pecker is a great movie!

Bravo, John. I always enjoy your work, thank you for sharing your art and perspective with the world.
25 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Typical Waters flick
coverme616 July 2001
John Waters does what he does best, creating comedies that hang on

that line between normal and strange. In this time around, Waters directs PECKER, about how the seemingly normal photographs taken by an average small-town kid named Pecker (Eddie Furlong) become over- night successes by different art moguls. Of course, many misadventures abound as Pecker encounters many people with different opinions about his "works of art."

The performances are basically the main highlight of the film. Furlong does a good portrayal of the snapshot-taking teen, while Christina

Ricci also shines as Pecker's alienated girlfriend. Low-key teen actor Brendan Sexton III steals the film as Pecker's best friend Matt, a go-go-dancing klepto, just the right kind of character found in a John Waters' flick!
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
quirky fun
lulu-1025 October 1998
Just saw this in New York, it will never come to St. Croix! I liked it a lot, made me laugh. This is the most accessible of any of John Waters' movies I've seen and I like that, doesn't hit you over the head with weirdness. Waters is so good at taking a normal situation and making it appear just slightly off kilter. There are some great characters here...Ed Furlong is wonderfully wholesome and believable as Pecker, Christina Ricci is terrific in a very intense way as a too normal no frills small city girl. This movie is just plain good fun, it's easy to laugh at everybody and not feel mean spirited. Oh yeah and good to see Patty Hearst having some fun.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A witty view on the American way of life
Mikew300130 April 2004
"Pecker" is a young, unknown photographer from Baltimore who becomes a big star in the public, the media and the local art scene with his pictures showing the dirty reality of all-day life just as dirty underwear or human excrements. It's a typical topic of John Waters Baltimore-based independent comedies to show the weird sides of the American way of life between political correctness fashion and conservative backlashes by exploring the backgrounds of the middle class society of his hometown.

Edward Furlong of "Terminator 2" fame plays Pecker, supported by Christina Ricchi, photographer Cindy Sherman, legendary Patricia Hearst and Water's long-time actress Mink Stole. Although the pacing of the plot becomes a big flaw sometimes and can't compete with the fast and furious joke attacks of Water's brilliant "Serial Mom", it's still has some good laughs in it and some unforgettable scenes like a former junkie-girl who became a vegetarian by sniffing peas from a vegetable dish... "Pecker" is a great comedy about the arrogance of the art scene, media hypes, middle-class sex angst and the strange ways of how to become a pop star without realizing it. Recommended!
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Slight, quiet, humble Waters flick
fertilecelluloid14 February 2006
As I am no fan of almost any post-"Desperate Living" John Waters films, I warmed to "Pecker". After he emerged from the underground, Waters produced trash-lite versions of his earlier works ("Cry Baby", "Polyester", Hairspray") that to die-hard fans looked and tasted like watered down liqueur. "Pecker", which doesn't attempt to regurgitate early successes, is a slight, quiet, humble commentary on the vagaries of celebrity and the pretentiousness of the art world. Waters clearly knows this subject well because he has also exhibited and sold (at ridiculous prices) some of the most amateurish pop art ever created that you couldn't imagine anyone being able to give away if it wasn't emblazoned with the Waters "name". Edward Furlong is fine as "Pecker" and Waters' non-histrionic style is at ease with the subject.
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
wonderful evening
Uli-511 December 1998
I´m from Germany and I love the mvovies. I go 200 times a year. Tonight I saw "Pecker", it was a wonderful evening. Thank you, Mr. Waters. Everybody who has a chance to see the movie, go!!!
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Endearing Mr. Waters
Agent1013 August 2002
John Waters most accessible film to date is one of his better ones, considering it cut down on all of the campiness and outright vulgarity which seem to litter most of his previous work. Sure, the nudity and the sexual references are still there, at least it is presented in a fashion

that cannot be deemed too foul or disgusting. Due to some great casting choices, this film really brought out the silliness associated with modern art and the subjective nature of your modern artist. Funny and somewhat lighthearted (if that is possible for Waters), this is one of those films I would watch on a rainy day.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
John Waters for the whole family!
MovieAlien15 July 1999
Well, with the right amount of censors, I'm sure anyone would like this. While diehard John Waters fans will be disappointed (There's no obese transvestites that eat dog feces or hilariously hideous trailer park characters) it was still an uplifting film with good performances and several laugh-out-loud scenes. An uplifting John Waters film? Yes. He's also known for dark humor; but this film relied on harmless shock value.

Edward Furlong plays the title character, a kid who takes pictures of everything he encounters in his sleazy Baltimore neighborhood. A NY art agent (Lili Taylor) observes his work and he finds he has the choice between either rising to fame (which he loses his friends and family) or keeping his original lifestyle as a poor suburban dweller.

Give this one a try: Expect nothing, and you won't be disappointed.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
To Photograph Life and Find Art In It
bkoganbing10 October 2007
Pecker is another John Waters tribute to the less fashionable side of his native city of Baltimore. Unlike previous films Pecker is set in modern Baltimore of 1998.

And it's centered around a young man named Pecker. Lest you think it describes him anatomically or behaviorally, what it really does describe is his way of eating as a child, sort of pecking at his food. Of course it wouldn't be John Waters without the double entendre.

Pecker as played by Edward Furlong was given a camera as a kid and it's become an obsession with him, to photograph life and find art in it. Art's everywhere, in his girlfriend's laundromat, in the sandwich shop where he works, in his grandmother's obsession with her talking Virgin Mary icon, even in the garbage where two rats are mating.

Soon his pictures attract attention from the art world. But when that happens Pecker's own world starts to crumble around him. How and will he get it back is the story of Pecker.

John Waters surrounds Furlong with a nice cast of supporting players with the usual Dickensian names for their characters. Best are Christina Ricci as Pecker's girl friend, Baltimore's laundromat Queen, and Brendan Sexton as his best friend and professional kleptomaniac.

Pecker is another of John Waters's lighthearted look at life and some of the strange things we find in it. I think only the most hidebound of rightwing people will not find something amusing in Pecker.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
rrrrob17 December 1999
I wish John Waters would stay away from message movies, especially since the message is always the same: Trailer trash good, everyone else bad. This theme runs through Pecker, Cry-Baby, and to a lesser extent, Hair Spray. Serial Mom is his best recent feature--know why? NO MESSAGE!

John has said in the past that he doesn't go for shock value anymore because today's audiences are so jaded. This is flawed thinking, as any newcomer to Pink Flamingos would still be shocked at that film today (my co-workers can attest to that!).

Pecker is a predictable story: Boy takes pictures, boy gets discovered, boy discovers previous low-class existence was okay after all (There's no place like home). Spare us.

Extra credit for the Virgin Mary bit, and the lesbian strip club.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Funny but it's like John Waters-lite
bob the moo9 April 2002
Pecker lives in Baltimore and works as a chef in a fast-food restaurant. He constantly takes pictures of those around him. When he puts on a small show in his workplace a New York agent buys the lot and offers him a show at her NY gallery. The show turns him famous for his honest photos of his `culturally challenged' family and friends. But fame has a price and soon he must turn the tables on the art crowd who look down on his family.

I approached this with a certain amount of good feeling. From the very start we have wonderfully camp music and small town trashy characters – we're in Waters-ville. The actually story is quite simple and doesn't quite hang together as a narrative. However it's all done with a nice charm that makes it fly by, only occasionally does the film drag and the plot weaknesses are revealed.

Waters used to have a niche market in camp and bad taste, however with so many people doing bad taste comedies nowadays he seems to have toned it all down a bit. However he still can do this in his sleep, although the story could have been stronger and he needed to direct with more focus and direction.

Furlong is really good in the lead – you have to admire his role choices (Little Odessa, American History X, this and others) as he could have just tried to be a heart throb after T2. Similarly Ricci is pretty good in a role that isn't quite trashy but isn't mainstream either. The support cast are also good as they have more of the characters that we expect from Walters as well as some famous faces (Lilli Taylor, Martha Plimpton, Patty Hearst) – Brendan Sexton III as Matt is really good but the award for funniest role goes to Hulsey for angry sugar junkie Little Chrissy.

Overall I found this enjoyable despite the story not really moving anywhere fast. Fans may find this to be Waters-lite but even then he can put out a good film.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Boring, transparent, novice, and trite.
borality17 March 1999
From the first five minutes on, I kept shielding my eyes, throwing things, and swearing out of embarrassment for the actors, but especially for the writer/director John Waters. This was like a poorly-written, drawn-out, poorly-directed 90-minute Saturday night Live skit. Boring, transparent, novice, and trite.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
plays like a bad student film
gargantuaboy3 February 2006
Once again John Waters attempts to "Shock" us with his "Bad taste" and "outrageous" casting, but does nothing but bore the audience to death with another pointless dumb movie. The story is about some kid who is nicknamed "Pecker" and he takes pictures of just about anything like an old lady putting clothes into a washing machine or a chef holding a bottle of get the idea. This kid sees art in everything. The movie is so pointless and bad, it plays like a bad student film. A bad student film where the young director is trying to emulate David Lynch or something. There is an old lady in the movie that walks around carrying a talking statue of the virgin Mary. She makes it talk and she just walks around with it. You can hear John Waters saying: "The audience is gonna think this is so weird. I'm just soooo strange" No, John your just boring. Patty hearst makes an appearance as an art admirer or something and you just can tell John Waters thought it was just sooooo outrageous to cast her. No, John it is just boring. Maybe if she could act it wouldn't be quite so bad. There is also a Little sister character who constantly eats and she just likes candy. I suppose that's supposed to be hysterical. OOOh, candy! Lilly Taylor is in it, just so we know it's a small "quirky" movie. Pass on this one.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
John Waters' craziest joke
Primtime1 September 1999
Call me a conspiracy theorest, but I believe that John Waters made this bad film as a sort of in joke just to see which critics would give it good reviews. Pecker is a disgrace of a film, with bad acting, a terrible script and parts that try so hard to be funny that they actually turn the viewer against the film.

The film is its smartest at the start when we are first introduced to Pecker and his neurotic family and friends. Once we really start to know them, they all seem either fake (little Chrissy), uninteresting (the two homeless people; Why?), or just plain annoying in a bad way (Pecker's mom and sister). Furlong never seems to understand his character and is never convincing (he doesn't even seem to know how to hold a camera). Ricci is also less than convincing unlike many other critics would like to believe. Compare her work here to The Opposite of Sex and you'll see what I mean.

There is no continuous story to this film and the story used isn't interesting. A lot of sub-themes are introduced and never explained why. For instance, Pecker's dad's bar that makes no money. What is the purpose of this? None.

I must applaud John Waters on his in-joke and choose to give him an average rating for doing so, otherwise the film itself gets a 2/10.

5/10 stars.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Indeed, it's very odd
The_Void7 March 2005
'Pecker' is one of those films that you watch when you've got nothing better to do. However, unlike many of those films, Pecker is one that almost makes you glad that you had nothing better to do as if you had, you wouldn't have seen it. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have been at lottery HQ collecting my winnings, on the phone to a representative from my local pub telling me that I've won free beer for life or even simply enjoying a night in with several top supermodels; but on the whole, I rate the eighty five minutes I spent watching this as time well spent. The film is called 'Pecker' because that's the name of it's central character, but something tells me that Mr John Waters named the film so for other, more innuendo related, reasons. Anyway, Pecker is a rather odd young man who lives in a rather odd small town somewhere in America. Pecker's hobby is to take photos of anything and everything, and claim that it's art. This hobby, one day, attracts the attention of a New York art dealer and Pecker is transported into super-stardom, much to the dismay of his Laundromat obsessed girlfriend and the rest of his small town.

Director John Waters directs the film in a very surreal style, which gives it a very unique edge, and instantly grabs your attention. Waters evidently doesn't care about the integrity of film-making, and so sees fit to meld together something that can easily be seen as a mess. The leads carry Waters' mess with vigour and gusto, but never really impress or deliver great performances. Edward Furlong gives his character a naive edge, which bodes well with his small town roots. He does look more than a little bit embarrassed at times, but sort of adds to the kitsch appeal of the movie. Christina Ricci does her usual 'bitch' thing, but it doesn't work in this film as her character is supposed to be a more down to earth and snob hating, so to have her as a snob herself ensures that the film loses yet more credibility and makes it even more of a mess. The film will offend some viewers for it's rather graphic lesbian strip club scene; not to mention it's central, gay club, location, and that adds weight to the idea that this is very much a 'love it or hate it' sort of film, and I'm sure that's how Waters wants it. I, however, do not add weight to that claim as I merely thought it was 'pretty good'. Take that John!
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A failure in many areas.
MrPink0804 July 1999
I think you either love John Waters, or hate him. He's an odd bird really, at least in my eyes. He typically directs movies which seem inviting enough for me to rent, but are never good enough for me to like.

The story, as you probably already know,follows a boy nicknamed Pecker, played by Edward Furlong of Terminator 2 and American History X fame. I don't believe Pecker was written well at all, so nobody could have done much with the horrible character. Furlong tries to make the best out of a bad character, but with his stock on the rise now, I doubt he would have taken this part if he had it to do over. Christina Ricci's portryal of Shelly is decent, but flat at many times. The rest of the cast gives decent, but no outstanding performances. Waters tries so hard to make this movie funny, he poorly wrote it, and poorly directs it. The film has no vision, and frequently goes in directions that makes me wonder how it even got released. It's not funny, it's not touching, it's not dramatic, it's just not entertaining, not on any level.

I can't give it more than 2 out of 10.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A monotonous excursion through recycled screenplay odds and ends
Steve Pulaski10 February 2012
After making grotesque pictures with heavy commentary subtly thrown in, writer/director John Waters ventures out of his comfort zone and jumps into the mainstream world. Pecker is a landmark for Waters since this is his first effort that was very mainstream in 1998, but for audiences and fans of his older work, it will most likely be a mediocre excursion. At least it's over pretty quickly.

Nothing in Pecker is very funny. It lacks the satire and wit of Waters' previous pictures that weren't in his comfort zone. In his more modern films like, Cry-Baby and Serial Mom, I was able to retract a moral, a message, or even a clever parody element currently absent from Hollywood films. I wasn't able to pick up too much from Pecker, although it might be trying to play off of the rags to riches formula. If it is, it's too subtle to even notice.

The story revolves around a teen nicknamed Pecker (Furlong). Apparently, he pecks at his food a lot and, viola, a strangely placed, perhaps innuendo-driven name was born. Nevermind. Pecker is an amateur photographer, which is already annoying. He is constantly snapping pictures. Click, click, click. Snap, snap, snap. And he never stops. It's almost maddening to see how many times he does it. Granted, real photographers don't care if you're in the middle of a conversation, if something appears to be interesting they'll interrupt you with a snap of a camera. It is realistic, but it's incredibly overdone.

Pecker takes pictures of all kinds of things. From random facial expressions to private parts and sex acts. He captures them all. His long suffering girlfriend (Ricci) is oblivious to art, and she pretty much captures the personality of the rest of us as we wait for Pecker to break new ground or for Waters to win us over with some great comedic relief. But it's like waiting for Christmas in the dead of July. It's not going to come anytime soon, and it's foolish to expect such an occurrence.

Pecker's work becomes recognized by a famous art dealer. His dysfunctional family is the ones that are the true victim to his acts. They are the ones exploited, and Pecker just sits back, wondering if he did anything to start this. One character that I found cute, but very underwritten (much like Christina Ricci's character) was the borderline kleptomaniac best friend of Pecker played by Brendan Sexton III, a terrific and underrated talent in the world of film. The problem is he never gets his time to shine either. Instead he's replaced by such desperate antics like Pecker's grandmother's talking Mary statue that is nothing but a frozen plot device that is practically useless. Not to mention, the film's love affair with constant flat jokes.

Waters' regulars like Mary Vivian Pearce and Mink Stole are here, but not in mass amounts. Perhaps including Mink Stole as the grandmother would've provided a great deal of laughs. Laugh at you must but it would (1) make Pecker more tolerable than it already is, and (2) be the perfect, out of place role for her since she did such a wonderful job in Female Trouble as a fourteen year old girl who didn't look any younger than thirty.

I've always said that anyone can throw on a cheesy costume and make a parody, many can make an homage to their favorite film, but only few could pull of a very good satire. John Waters can pull of a great satire and possibly do all of those other things very well. So why did he choose to focus on a film with no wit, direction, fun, laughs, or purpose? Pecker isn't long at eighty-six minutes, but becomes a monotonous excursion through recycled screenplay odds and ends before eventually arriving at a questionably worthy conclusion. What the *click* was that all about? Starring: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, and Brendan Sexton III. Directed by: John Waters.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Alternative option.
insomniac_rod20 April 2008
Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci are an excellent couple and demonstrate it with their unique charisma featured in this movie.

This is the typical "alternative" or indie movie with a plot that features a rare situation that suddenly becomes really important.

Pecker is an average boy who has an old camera and his main hobby is to take photographs of the exotic habitants of the small town where he lives in. Suddenly an alternative artist pays attention to his work and hires him in order to expose his work in some important festivals and more.

But Pecker life changes drastically as now fortune and fame seem to infuriate the town's people who are Pecker's main inspiration. Even his sexy girlfriend gets mad because now he does not pays the "adequate" attention to her.

Well this is an Indie movie with an edge but not for everyone. It may seem boring or pretentious for some people but still I think it worths a watch only because it offers something "different" than Hollywood's typical standards.

To describe in a few words: This is the typical Christina Ricci and John Waters movie. That's it.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that the "Full of Grace" lines are really annoying. Geez.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Pecfect Name for this Film
whpratt16 February 2006
This is a very light headed comedy about a wonderful family that has a son called Pecker because he use to Peck at his Food. Pecker loves to take all kinds of pictures of the people in a small suburb of Baltimore, Md., and manages to get the attention of a group of photo art lovers from New York City. Pecker has a cute sister who goes simply nuts over SUGAR and is actually an ADDICT, taking spoonfuls of sugar from a bag. There are scenes of men showing off the lumps in their jockey's with grinding movements and gals doing pretty much the same. It is rather hard to keep your mind out of the gutter with this film, but who cares, it is only a film to give you a few laughs at a simple picture made in 1998.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Worth its weight in nitrate!
Gorgar26 June 2002
Saw this again recently on Comedy Central. I'd love to see Jean Schertler(Memama) and Emmy Collins(Hippie in supermarket) cast as mother and son in a film, it would probably be the weirdest flicker ever made! Hats off to Waters for making a consistently funny film.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Just how far can a boy and his 35mm camera go?
andy_swt11 April 2000
This is John Waters best film to date. The characters are obvious and symbolic, just as in his other films. So there are no surprises or character changes. I enjoyed the film because of the wittiness and pace of the story. It was good story-telling with honest people.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Cute and quirky
Eboni Lee6 January 2016
Great light hearted characters that each bring their own special style to the story. Pecker see's the world through his camera and one day unexpectably shares that with the world but not to everyone's liking. It's not like anything I've seen before but brings a certain familiar teenage coming of age feel to it. I most likely wouldn't go out of my way to purposely putting this one again but i would sit down and watch it if I flicked passed it on late night TV. The whole concept is good but does feel a little jumbled at times. If your looking for a light hearted comedy than i recommend giving pecker a go.

One of furlongs better films in that later of his career 7/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Ultimate Movie Review! - - @tss5078
Tss50789 June 2015
If you've never seen a John Waters film, then you don't know every penis joke in the book. For nearly four decades, the Hairspray creator has made a career out of letting people know he's gay, through odd ball characters, weird story lines, and every innuendo in the book. Pecker is the story of obsession, weather it's about the main character's obsession with photography, his girlfriends obsession with her laundromat, or his managers obsession with him, everyone has a strange obsession. Pecker (Edward Furlong) is a teenager from the small town of Baltimore, Maryland, who has been taking pictures for years. Finally, he's having a show at the fast food restaurant he works at and to everyone's surprise, a New York City gallery owner shows up to make Pecker he new protégé. The whole family goes to the big city, where Pecker becomes a star, putting his town and his whole family under a microscope. As is common in Water's films, the characters are as strange as can be, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why he decided to portray Baltimore as a small town. Edward Furlong stars as Pecker, and even though he has long been one of my favorite actors, even he couldn't save this film. I like weird and admire something different, but Pecker was so far out there, that it became a farce of itself. The characters are uninteresting, the penis jokes are old, and the obsessions are just so above and beyond believable that it turns the whole film into one bad joke. As I said everyone is obsessed with something and that really foreshadows the main story. From his grandmother who talks to the virgin Mary to his sister who is the biggest gay pimp in Baltimore, all the obsessions blend into one big gay, confusing, ridiculous ending. I've seen several John Waters films and for the most part have found them to be pretty funny, but Pecker is just so far out there, that it's almost unwatchable.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
John Waters finally comes into his own
HoTy14 December 1998
What a delightful picture. John Waters, often known as the king (or queen) of shock has finally come enough mainstream to be able to weave a story that really hits home on so many points. It's a poignant satire of celebrity worship, the "art" scene, and the mindless wealthy. John may have come more mainstream, but he certainly didn't come all the way. Nicely woven throughout the film is John's weird and iconoclastic humor. This picture is funnier than "What about Mary" and certainly has more meaning.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews