In front of the cameras and in public, famed Hollywood actress Honey Whitlock, a product of the studio system, is as sweet as her name. Behind the scenes, she is demanding and controlling, making life a nightmare for anyone who has to deal with her, especially her browbeaten assistant, Libby. She and her entourage are in Baltimore - what is emerging as the Hollywood of the east - for the premiere of her latest movie. The premiere gets hijacked by a group of guerrilla independent filmmakers, led by director Cecil B. DeMented, in wanting to make a statement against the Hollywood studio system and the bad movies they produce. Cecil and his band kidnap Honey in the process. What their goal is, with no money per se, to make their own movie starring Honey as a statement against the Hollywood studios. Their general process is to have the scripted elements of the movie, such as Honey's dialogue, being set against "real life" in they overtaking several of the Hollywood movie studio events in ...Written by
John Waters wrote up the lyrics for the spoof rap songs on the soundtrack ("Bankable Bitch (We Don't Need No Pitch)," "No Budget", et al.) during the screenwriting phase, but the music supervisor couldn't find any rappers who were familiar with filmmaking lingo. Waters then met, quite by accident, Baltimore rap producer Steven Janis. Janis provided DJ Class and a number of other Baltimore-area rap artists, all of who had to be familiar with the pages of moviemaking terminology that Waters provided. See more »
In the chase scene with the Baltimore PD, the left front tire of the police cruiser is shot causing it to go flat and the cruiser to crash into a movie theater box office. As the cruiser slams into the box office, the tire has miraculously been re-inflated. See more »
Raven, you know, you're a really pretty girl. You could escape from all of this madness.
Escape to what, Honey? I mean, my father is Zo-Zo, the three headed guard dog at the gate to hell.
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
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The credits thank "Fred and Ginger" both insinuating Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the dance duo, and "Fred e Ginger" a movie by Federico Fellini, paying homage to the duo. See more »
There was a quick shot in earlier prints of the movie theater showing the director's cut of "Patch Adams", where we see the sign advertising the director's cut. This shot can still be seen on the intro to the DVD menu, and in one of the trailers. See more »
A wildly satirical look at mainstream and underground cinema
I haven't seen enough John Waters movies to make a comparison to this one, so I can't tell if this was his most impressive work or not. But impressive, it is. I can see that Waters has a keen eye for satire. He does a fine job at mocking both underground and mainstream cinema, without being too exaggerated. He never goes over the top. Some of the scenes may be a little less than satisfying, the comedy may sag at times and there are very few actual "laugh out loud" gags--but at least Waters doesn't overdo the comedy to the point where it's sickening. Sure, he has a quirky sense of style that doesn't have a worldwide appeal. There is a scene in the movie involving a porn star and a gerbil (use your imagination). However, what Waters has is edge with taste. None of this mindless, gross-out crap we often spot in recent years; his stuff has intelligence.
What's great about this movie is its sense of irony. Stephen Dorff is perfectly cast as the emotionless, soul-less cult director Cecil B. Demented. The great thing about his performance--and Waters mentions this too--is he blurts out the most blatant, silly ideas and he totally plays it straight. He's serious about his cinematic deeds, no matter how far-fetched and stupid they sound. The movie is full of quirky characters. One quote that I will always remember is by Adrian Greenier, who plays the bong-toking crew member, when he's talking to Melanie Griffith's character. He offers her a hit from his crackpipe. She refuses, and he tells her, "I used to have all sorts of problems. Now it's just drugs. It's given my life a real focus!"
The climax is pretty...well...snappy. Unique but snappy. And I think Waters could've come up with something better. I don't know what, I just felt it was missing something.
"Cecil B. Demented" is wild, original and often funny. And after seeing this movie, I'm anxious to check out Waters' earlier work. On the DVD, there is a pretty good commentary by the director. He rambles on at times, but it's often pretty insightful. It's also interesting to find out "There is no extra in a John Waters movie." He incorporates the same cast members into every one of his movies.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
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