Pink Flamingos Reviews
A delightfully trashy comedy about a Degenerate Couple trying to take the title of Filthiest Person Away from Babs an over weight woman living with her strange family in a caravan park.
The saving grace of this film is its humor it's genuinely funny but there are some gross scenes to match...not for the faint hearted but a truly unique cinema experience.
Starring my mom, Divine.
As far as transgressive comedies go, "Pink Flamingos" is the one most widely pointed to as the finest, if you can even call a film featuring unsimulated acts of kinky chicken murder, prolapsed anus flexing, and dog poop consumption fine. It isn't so much that the film is good - it, plain and simply, sets out to disgust us, and it succeeds. But is being disgusted necessarily a bad thing? I don't think that's always the case.
John Waters began his career as a directorial outsider obsessed with repulsing his audiences, making films meant to induce vomit, and, if lucky, a laugh here and there. Eventually, he calmed down and made such modern cult classics as "Cry-Baby" and "Hairspray," but "Pink Flamingos," one of his first films, is still his most widely discussed project, in part to its many shocking scenes and in part to the performance of Divine, America's favorite drag queen and, in the context of the movie, the filthiest woman alive (a fitting label considering just how filthy "Pink Flamingos" sets out to be). Is it my favorite Waters film? I don't think so - I find myself more accepting of his later, more restrained stylings. But a film as exquisitely vile as this one has got to be praised; nobody can complete spy missions better than James Bond, and nobody does bad taste quite like Waters.
"Pink Flamingos"'s storyline is more concerned with individual gross-outs than it is with a cohesive plot, but it mostly involves Divine and her cohorts in griminess, which include her mother, the egg obsessed Miss Edie (Edith Massey), her degenerate son, Crackers (Dany Mills), and her fur coat adoring traveling companion, Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce). Divine has just been named "The Filthiest Woman Alive" by a tabloid magazine, and that headline, perhaps a compliment in the film's backwards world, incurs the wrath of Connie and Raymond Marble (Mink Stole and David Lochary), a married couple who believe they deserve such a title. Why? They make their living by kidnapping young women, impregnating them, and selling their children to adoption hungry lesbians, essentially turning their prizes into slaves.
And so a game of one-upmanship ensues between Divine and the Marbles, including fun games of feces gifting, house licking, cannibalistic birthday celebrations, and trailer burning.
Certainly, "Pink Flamingos" wouldn't be such a shoddy novelty if not for Waters's darkly playful sense of humor and the hilarious performances from most of the cast, who make for one of the most eccentric ensembles even put to film. It's distasteful, sure, but the sheer magnitude of its distastefulness manages to be rather funny, whether prudish audiences would like to admit it or not. The dialogue, protruding with a sort of Hollywood mocking camp, is riotous, and Waters's welcoming of his no-budget makes the cheapery carry an unthinkable charm. Divine is a wonderfully subversive Z-star, and supporting player Edith Massey, my favorite of Waters's steady stable of actors, is uproarious as Divine's mentally ill mother.
If I were a critic as respectful as Ebert, then maybe I would make a smarter decision and refuse to give "Pink Flamingos" a letter grade - it's so reprehensible and so magnificently original that examining it, analyzing it, isn't necessarily the right way to go. To exclusively experience it, not write about it quickly afterward, might make more sense. But I can't help but enjoy what Waters has to offer; he does bad taste well, with enough knowing humor to make the film seem like more than a series of unpalatable gags.
There's a lot of shouting, a lot of swearing and a surf-friendly soundtrack, as the film circles around a competition between oddball Divine and her baby-breeding adversaries for the title of 'filthiest people alive'. Characters include a travelling egg salesman, an egg-citable crib-bound Grandmother and a Peeping Tom (or rather, Flashing Raymond) and the marauding plot includes anything from creepy incest and the consumption of dog faeces, to anal stretching and chicken murder.
Despite the fact at least half of this outrageous material is near unwatchable, Pink Flamingos really has to be seen to be believed - it's one of few banned films that genuinely lives up to its myths. This is the filthiest movie alive. Or at least one of them...