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Shirley Pimple in the John Wayne Temple of Doom (2000)

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A surreal action thriller essay about the epic duel between the film's heroine and the Hollywood legend created around John Wayne (good vs. evil). Shirley Pimple, an apathetic 7-year-old ... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Chelsea McIsaac ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patricia Rodriguez ...
Shirley Pimplette #7
Rick Trembles ...
Esther Vargas ...
Shirley Pimple's Mother


A surreal action thriller essay about the epic duel between the film's heroine and the Hollywood legend created around John Wayne (good vs. evil). Shirley Pimple, an apathetic 7-year-old who looks remarkably like Shirley Temple, becomes the star of a propaganda film factory, The John Wayne Institute for the Preservation of American Ideals. When she reaches puberty, Shirley develops murderous tendencies, and the Institute tries to keep her under control by attempting to make her a heroin addict, but it doesn't help. In her obsessive hatred of the Institute, Shirley takes up with The Psychotic Weaklings, a group of pants-wetting, child molesters against the anti-John Waynes. Written by Psychoticweakling

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CAD 1,500,000 (estimated)

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Took 18 years to complete. See more »


Referenced in In the Belly of the Beast (2001) See more »

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A "manufactured" cult movie that falls apart
8 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Shirley Pimple in the John Wayne Temple of Doom" is a colossal bore but not without some interest. Who is the audience for this? An amorphous, overwritten anti-war, anti-Hollywood, anti-celebrity polemic done in the manner of John Waters in his early "bad taste" phase (of MULTIPLE MANIACS and PINK FLAMINGOS), crossed with Robert Downey Sr., crossed with the flaming diatribe style of Richard Kern crossed with Lydia Lunch, complete with deliberately unfocused, out-of-focus, whirling camera effects. It's an example of an oft-maligned genre, the "manufactured cult film," or the kind of movie that SHOCK TREATMENT tried to be to cash in on the success of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. It's how we felt about Downey Sr with every film he made after PUTNEY SWOPE. Waters tried this, as well, when he made DESPERATE LIVING on the heels of PINK FLAMINGOS. Like an early Waters film, "Shirley Pimple" is long on bad taste but unlike Waters these filmmakers have no heart, trying very hard to be counterculture and trashy but ending with plain old trash. A plot less burlesque, it follows Shirley Pimple (Temple) as she goes on a rampage against the John Wayne Institute for the Preservation of American Ideals, slashing and burning and murdering all in her path and with the help of punk rocker child molesters who have outfitted live babies with explosives. As the babies blow up waves of armed soldiers, personnel of the Institute, and eventually John Wayne himself (now a rotting living dead soldier), the outlandish characters spew enormously convoluted litanies. These are endless dialogs of not-so-clever wordplay apparently intended to deconstruct the mythologies of both Temple and Wayne. The best part of it all is in the occasional narration that reveals the true histories of Temple and Wayne, although several factual errors pop up (for example, the script claims actor Bruce Dern was blacklisted in Hollywood for being the guy who shoots Wayne in the back in 1972's THE COWBOYS. On the other hand, the recounting of author Graham Greene's exile for calling out Temple's audience as probably pedophiles is interesting). For his low-budget looking "underground" movie, the unlikely named director of "Shirley Pimple," Demetri Estdelacropolis had enough cash on hand to create elaborate scenes featuring military-style explosions and gross-out dismemberments, but blows it in areas such as pace, camera-work, and acting. He has intentionally cast a bunch of illiterates in major parts who can barely repeat the mock-campy lines, highlighted by a shrill, talentless Chelsea McIsaac as Shirley, who looks less like Shirley than a dwarfish John Belushi. The pinnacle of self-conscious "cult movie" humor might be in the war scenes, in which real babies are tossed around in what clearly looks like child endangerment on the set, and idiotic revamps of popular songs, such as "Riders on the Storm" which here becomes "Riders on Methadone" and comes with a repeating chorus of "Scorcese on methadone!" It is no wonder "Shirley Pimple" was never officially released.

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