It’s weird now to think there was a time when we took John Waters for granted. From the time he broke through to the mainstream with Hairspray in 1988 through A Dirty Shame in 2004, Waters turned out movies at a pretty steady clip, with a new offering appearing every two to four years. Now we’ve gone over a decade without a new Waters movie, though the filmmaker has stayed busy pursuing other interests, such as writing, art, making appearances in low-budget horror movies, and hitchhiking. Consequently, even a relatively disappointing Waters effort like 2000’s Cecil B. Demented shines a little brighter. Inspired at once by Waters’ love of guerrilla filmmaking and his fascination with the Patty Hearst kidnapping, the film casts Melanie Griffith as Honey Whitlock, a pampered actress kidnapped by a group of underground filmmakers led by the titular Cecil B. Demented (Stephen Dorff). Forced to appear in Cecil’s films, Honey starts to start to come around to his way of thinking, even as the group’s crimes intensify. It’s an uneven film in many respects. It never picks up momentum and it’s easy to think of actors who might have done more with the lead roles than Griffith and Dorff. But it’s also packed with the good-natured sick humor that’s been Waters’ trademark from the start, even after he had to find ways to sneak it into movies that played in multiplexes. In 2015, it’s much missed. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of it. Look for it tonight on Epix Drive-In at 8 p.m. Eastern.
April 21, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day