American director John Waters on the red carpet at the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Rome Film Fest 2020. Red Carpet Film Soul. Rome (Italy), October 15th, 2020 (Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Why John Waters Returning To Directing Is A Big Deal
John Waters is finally returning to filmmaking and will direct a feature adaptation of his novel, "Liarmouth: A Feel Bad Romance." Since the NC-17-rated "A Dirty Shame" is now old enough to go see itself in theaters, it's more than past time for the Pope of Trash to pick up his toilet-brush scepter and crap-covered crown and unleash filthy treasure upon us all again.
Waters' final film before his hiatus was "A Dirty Shame," a riotously raunchy NC-17 sex comedy about Sylvia, a middle-aged woman who has a sexual awakening after a bad concussion. "A Dirty Shame" performed poorly, in part because its rating kept it out of theaters and in part because people in 2004 just weren't ready for something this sex-positive and silly.
Waters is famed for his 1972 ode to going overboard, "Pink Flamingos," in which the drag queen Divine, who was the film's star and a regular collaborator of Waters, is seen eating large amounts of genuine dog feces. Waters has a great deal of affection for his players, and with Divine, even wrote a film that gave her the role most drag queens could only ever dream of.
In the 1981 film "Polyester," Divine stars as Francine, a suburban housewife whose husband runs a porno theater. On top of the divine casting of Divine as a sweet suburban housewife, casting Tab Hunter as a heartthrob was a bit of brilliance, and allowed a then-closeted gay man in Hollywood to be part of queer cinema history.
The characters in his films are a motley collection of freaks, geeks, and weirdos, but he treats them all as if they're just as worthy of cinematic attention as James Bond or Superman. Waters may be the "Pope of Trash," but he's also the patron saint of the pleasantly perverted, embracing sexuality, smashing gender norms, and allowing people to shine at their most authentic.