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4.7 out of 5 stars
Divine Trash
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First let me say how pleased I was to find this DVD at my local public library!
From there I will go on to say what an impressive piece of work this is. Having long been a fan of the movie Hairspray, which raised my curiosity about Divine in the first place, a natural progression enabled my curiosity about John Waters. This is primarily his story, the story of his work, with plenty of interview time with him. What an intriguing individual! What a creative time and place he lived in! How fortunate for all freedom loving Americans that such explorations were possible in that time and place. I doubt they could ever happen today.
True, the films do seem to be in questionable taste, with little, if any, socially redeeming value. But look closer, and you may find your own reflection. What is the value of shock value? What are its drawbacks? What have we gained? What have we lost?
John Waters was not shallow, nor was he untintelligent. He was creatively inspired, and no matter how we react to his work, react we do. Such is the nature of art.
I feel like I got to know the man just a little, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I understood a little more about his work, and its success. Do I approve? I still don't know, but I do know that whether I approve or not doesn't matter.
I do approve of freedom. I believe that no one was hurt, and that violence was not empowered through the message, which makes many of today's movies filthy in comparison.
John Waters is an interesting individual. It would have been intruging to have been in his entourage. One could not have escaped coming out a changed individual. He created a cocoon, a chrysalis, where larvae were nurtured and outrageous butterflies emerged. They loved what they were doing, and they were successful.
If nothing else, it is a deep meditation on the nature of success in a country that considers it a superior export.
...geminiwalker
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As a long time John Waters FANATIC, I found myself glued to this DVD straight through... Although the documentary seems to be nothing more than a film adaptation of Water's two PHENOMENAL books of biographical essays CRACKPOT and SHOCK VALUE (literally, the pages come to life, and many of the quotes and anecdotes) - - the footage is worth it. The documentary is intriguing and informative and has plenty of Pink Flamingos era behind the scenes rare footage. - - You even get to meet his parents. - - While the DVD is visually intriguing, the books are hillarious, making both the books and the DVD well worth getting together. - - For example, in his book Waters tells the story of how the dog that laid the golden egg (so to speak) was a bit poo shy... The documentary, in turn, catches the set up behind the scenes... In fact, it is fascinating not only to watch interviews with a young John Waters, but also to see his directing style in action - - (DVD extras won't blow you away, but still... you'll probably end up watching this film over so many times, it'll be worth getting a DVD, before the tape eventually rips and goes to shreds !) - - Incidentally, there has been a lot of criticism how the DVD focuses disporportionately on Pink Flamingos, however, considering that this was the film that broke him into the public eye and seemed to epitomize his style, I think it is very appropriate, and gives the film a focused point of reference to tell his story from.
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on January 26, 2001
These days "sick and twisted" animation festivals are very popular around the country, especially in college towns. There's something subversive and anti-establishment about them. Well, John Waters was turning out sick and twisted entertainment years before it was fashionable, and he used live actors, not animated characters, to play out his acid-trip stories in his belovedly filthy Baltimore. "Divine Trash" is an extremely interesting and well made documentary following Waters, his cast and crew during the filming of the infamous "Pink Flamingos," the film in which Divine ingests dog excrement to prove she is "the filthiest person alive." It's fascinating to see Waters interviewed today, as a more grounded middle aged man, as well as then, as an obviously chemically altered young director without a care in the world other than getting his vision on film. Actors Mink Stole, David Lochary, Edith Massey and the late, great Divine (on set and in drag during "Pink Flamingos") are interviewed as are various crew members, friends, and even foes, most notably a board member responsible for viewing Waters' work before assigning it a motion picture rating. Many might dismiss Waters' films as talentless trash, but I stand in awe of a writer/director who can plumb the depths of bad taste and create hilarious dialogue for actors who are not quite actors playing characters we've never seen before and are surely never to see again. It's also interesting to see the grass roots beginnings of a film maker who would eventually go on to make more mainstream comedies like "Polyester," "Hairspray" and "Serial Mom." Waters may not be your cup of tea, but "Divine Trash" is fascinating for documentary fans.
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on June 10, 2000
If you haven't seen this yet, you don't know everything about John Waters and his films! Utilizing recent interviews with his surviving cast members (that alone should make you want to see this!); interviews circa 1972 with some of the same people and the dear departed David Lochary, Divine, and Edith Massey; behind-the-scenes footage from the set of "Pink Flamingos"; and scenes from such diverse influences as "Deep Throat" and "Sins of the Fleshapoids", "Divine Trash" is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen! I guess I'm a bit biased since I am a huge Waters fan, but this should also convert any budding Waters fan wondering what is so special about his films! Waters' influences (such as the Kochar brothers, H.G. Lewis, and Paul Morrissey) are also interviewed, along with modern-day filmmakers influenced by Waters! Some of the best quotes are from Waters being interviewed himself and his bewildered parents, who seem to wonder how they could have raised such a weirdo! I am so very happy that director Steve Yeager finally got the video/DVD rights cleared up, so when this film is finally released, it will reach a wider audience. A must-see for any film fan!
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on July 26, 2000
...I can't believe this archive even exists, and has been in hiding all these years! It was surreal seeing Edith Massey, David Lochary and Divine (in drag during filming Pink Flammingos) being interviewed out of character. We even get a glimpse of Divine "rehearsing" for the infamous doggy scene.
Some of this footage has been seen in the Divine profile on E! True Hollywood Story. But it was interesting to also see a creepy, young, long-haired John Waters being interviewed (at 25 yrs old).
Recent interviews with Mink Stole and John Waters' parents also add to the fun, not to mention the former Maryland Censor Board President's recollection of the infamous "rosary" scene in Multiple Maniacs.
I couldn't wait for this thing to get released on July 5, 2000..and promptly ordered it. I wasn't disappointed. Now I'm waiting for Mr. Waters' earlier films to start showing up on DVD!
FYI: Not much in the way of DVD extras here.
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on August 23, 2001
THIS VIDEO IS A FASCINATING LOOK BEHIND-THE-SCENES AND INTO THE MINDS OF JOHN WATERS AND THE ORIGINAL DREAMLANDERS. THE ONLY GRIPE THAT I HAVE IS THE FACT THAT THEY DID NOT MENTION ACTRESS COOKIE MUELLER AT ALL! NOT ONE WORD! AND SHE WAS IN FOUR OF MR. WATERS' FILMS! (THIS OMISSION COST THE VIDEO TO BE RATED 4 STARS, INSTEAD OF MY ORIGINAL FIVE.)
THIS VIDEO IS ALSO A MUST-HAVE FOR ANYONE WHO LIKES 'PINK FLAMINGOS', FOR MOST OF THE DREAMLANDERS' WERE INTERVIEWED WHILE THE MAKING OF THE CLASSIC TRASH MOVIE WAS IN PROGRESS. I KIND OF WISH THAT THE PRODUCERS OF THIS VIDEO WOULD HAVE FOCUSED A BIT MORE ON 'FEMALE TROUBLE', ANOTHER J. WATERS/DIVINE CLASSIC, BUT, YOU CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING.
ALL IN ALL, BUY THIS VIDEO. IT WILL MAKE THE PERFECT COMPANION PIECE TO YOUR HIDDEN COLLECTION OF JOHN WATERS' MOVIES!
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on July 24, 2000
This ambitious documentary concentrates on the legendary bad taste classic Pink Flamingos. Here are interviewed all the cast & crew including the deceased David Locharty and of course the heavy-weight drag queen Divine. The best of this documentary are the film clips that show the making of the cult classic for the first time ever. The "making of" clips are even in a better quality than the Pink Flamingos film itself! Unfortunately, the filtihiest parts of the film can't be shown here, but it is hilarious to see and hear how they were filmed. If you are a fan of John Waters and especially his most notorious film, this documentary is a must. Maby too culturish for some of his fans with all the film critics and historians in it, though.
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This great documentary covering the early works of John Waters lets the "cats out of the proverbial bags". Now you'll understand what makes John Waters work in that strange, magically sick way that thrills millions. Director Yeager really gets to the heart of the matter on all the issues that have made Waters so famous, including the stupid issue on the dog poop scene at the end of "Pink Flamingos". Water explains away all the critism in such a hilarious rebuff that you wonder what the fuss was all about. Note that the nasty Baltimore councilwoman who hates John Waters films is here too. She makes for great contrast. I swear she is the original "Divine" in denial. Yuck!
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on October 27, 2003
I've seen only three of Waters' movies, which is plenty, and I enjoyed this documentary, but five stars? C'mon! It consists of clips from his movies, plus "talking head" interviews with a lot of unimportant (and self-important) people.
Waters comes across as an intelligent and surprisingly normal guy, and it's interesting to learn how his moviemaking style evolved, but the constant references (by others) to his important role in moviemaking history is mostly bunk. The guy made crudely-produced gross-out movies. Nothing wrong with that, if that's what you wanna watch, but Fellini he ain't. Definitely worthwhile for hardcore Waters fans; of marginal interest to everyone else.
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on July 21, 2000
If you're a John Waters fan you will probably enjoy this documentary quite a bit. It has lots of facts about some of the earlier films he did, interviews with Waters and cast members, including the irreplacable Divine, clips and outtakes. I wanted even more but this was great. Besides that the documentary is excellently compiled. The director obviously has a true love for the work of John Waters and his art as well as the unique characters he incorporated into his work.
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