Saturday, November 15, 2008

The annals of bad taste: "Pink Flamingos"

The latest entry in the series that's slowly taking over the-blog-that-no-one-reads is the mother of all tasteless and trashy media. Without Pink Flamingos, there would not be a Jackass or Borat. But most people probably recommend the execution of its director/producer/writer John Waters after viewing, or at least demand their previously virgin minds back. I would never recommend this film to anyone with a soul.

When people discuss the most disgusting scene in "Pink Flamingos," they usually reference Divine eating shit seconds after it tumbles out of a dog's asshole.

So, ordering the notorious John Waters 1972 trash classic from Netflix, I figured that would be the pinnacle scene (or nadir, I don't even know any more) of filthy behavior perpetrated by Divine and her cohorts. Everything else in the film would be a little less extreme. I figured, "hey it can't be much worse than 'Jackass,' and it was made 30 years ago, how shocking could it really be?"

I was wrong. There are two scenes in particular, plenty more foul than said shit-eating scene, that I will never be able to un-watch. If people really wanted to mention the most disgusting scenes in the film, they would have to admit to watching some sick shit, and that's how you end up with me and my three buddies, which now have a shared, scarred experience — similar to the recent South Park where the gang can't get images of Indiana Jones getting raped out of their heads after seeing the most recent film in the franchise. You know how your parents seemed to walk in on the worst part of any movie growing up, even innocent ones? Well, they could walk in on just about any second of this film and disown you forever.

But the film is a cultural touchstone, released around the same time as "Deep Throat." "Pink Flamingos" is not pornography in the traditional sense, but it's definitely pornographic. "Pink Flamingos" allowed the freaks and assorted counter cultures to go to an art house theater in a big city, and see some truly envelope-pushing shit, roll around in it together and enjoy the stench. The acting is terrible, possibly purposefully so, the film is grainy and the camera is shaky. It's the kind of movie Rob Zombie probably grew up watching (Along with the "Last House on the Left"). In fact, you can see influence from "Pink Flamingos," even though it's a black comedy, all over the "Devils Rejects" and even some mainstream horror affair — i.e — people doing horrible and freakish things to others and themselves just 'cuz.

The plot revolves around a couple, one red haired and one blue, who are deeply offended when they learn that Divine (the main character) is regarded as the filthiest person alive. They take the very idea that anyone could be filthier than them as a personal affront. For instance, the couple's main source of income involves kidnapping hitchhikers, ordering their servant to impregnate them, and then selling the babies to lesbian couples.

The couple's first act of vengeance is mailing Divine a piece of shit gift wrapped in a nice bow and shiny paper. Not to be outdone, Divine and her two grown children embark on a quest of stunts to prove that they are, still, the filthiest people alive.

In short, as my friend said, "that was disgusting, but I'm glad I saw it." I wouldn't use the word "glad," but when its over you feel like you just returned to your own brain. I would not recommend watching "Pink Flamingos," unless you know everyone you are watching it with wont hate you forever. I'm pretty sure one of my friends will need counseling, and isn't that the highest praise anyone could ever give glorified trash?


Amber Krosel said...

Does Divine work at Diesel? I think I saw her there before I left Peoria.

Anonymous said...

thats aweful, Im sorry
I like the tags by the way