Wednesday, July 19, 2006

CGI Jizzim

This is Mazur. I'm suppost to write about flicks, so here goes:

I love John Waters movies. LOVE ‘em. No one, with the arguable exception of early Almodovar or Jack Smith, has to ability to bring so much snidely winking social commentary to the stale melodrama and simultaneously so much sincere aesthetic examination and existential questioning to trashy gross-out narratives. I don’t know of anyone who can evoke both the banal drudgery and intense surreality of lower middle-class suburban life so seamlessly and effectively. Most importantly, his movies are just really really funny.
Anyway, I finally saw his new one, A Dirty Shame. With it he does what most lifetime eclectic filmmakers seem to do near the end of their careers, overtly cannibalize their old style and content. It usually seems to stem from attacks that they have gone soft or sold out, so, stepping up to the plate (or the chopping block), they make an extremely self-conscious return to form, often lacking the original energy and spontaneity that gave their initial cinematic rebellion its power. However, these films often benefit greatly from a more mature and confident eye as only a veteran after a lifetime in the trenches can possess. It’s as if they are finally able to exhale, assured of their sucess. Examples would be Scorsese’s Bringing out the Dead, Lynch’s Mulholland Dr., and Bunuel’s The Phantom of Liberty, all great films. I think, though, that A Dirty Shame may be one of the best examples of this phenomenon simply because Waters' style of campy enlightened entertainment lends itself so well to the financial upgrades not possible in his early works. He is able to realize the bright almost psychedelic Douglas Sirk-esq pallet of suburbia hinted at in Polyester and give us beautifully cheesy computer effects like ass-banging squirrels, hedges shaped like nutsacks, and knots in trees that look suspiciously like anuses. When most oldschool directors try to use CGI effects to flex their new financial muscle, the results are lame at best, but here it fits in perfectly with his well-established style, enhancing rather that upstaging the content. Check it out, it’s pretty damn entertaining.


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