Thursday, March 17, 2022

Pink Flamingos is 50 & Hitting Criterion!

Big day for John Waters fanatics -- a sordid crew amongst which your host most assuredly counts his sordid ass -- as today marks the 50th anniversary of Pink Flamingos! Waters made movies before Flamingos and he made movies after but this one's the one that will be in the RIP headlines alongside his name (if he even needs that at this point), so legendary was its shit-grinning impact. It's the film that John made right after this one, Female Trouble, that's my personal favorite and his actual masterpiece if you ask me (you didn't), but Flamingos deserves every ounce of its notoriety -- I am one jaded motherfucker and I still have to cover my eyes several times while watching this movie today! But it's not just revulsion -- what keeps us coming back is John Waters' amazing way with dialogue and his motley crew of outcasts who spit out every morsel as if their lives depend upon it. But wait, I have more to say -- lots more it turns out, over at Pajiba, where I have properly marked the occasion with a retrospective glance back at Flamingos here at 50. Click on over and check it out! 

I'm not the only person marking the moment by making a fresh stain on the carpet though -- the fine folks over at Criterion put off their monthly blu-ray announcement for two full days just so they could announce that they're finally putting Pink Flamingos onto blu-ray in June! Pride Month indeed! June 28th, to be exact -- we knew this was coming because it was mentioned in an interview Waters gave last month (see that here) so I have spent the past few weeks trying to picture what Criterion would do for their cover and I absolutely fucking adore what they did come up with, even if it didn't occur to me in the slightest -- they made it look like the wrapped package of poop that the Marble send to Babs in the mail! It also gives the movie that "pass that thing under the video-store counter" dirty quality that it so demands. The set is loaded with special features, too:


New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Two audio commentaries featuring Waters, from the 1997 Criterion laserdisc and the 2001 DVD release
New conversation between Waters and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch
Tour of the film’s Baltimore locations, led by Waters
Deleted scenes, alternate takes, and on-set footage
And more!
PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton and a piece by actor and author Cookie Mueller about the making of the film, from her 1990 book Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black

Love that they've included some of Cookie's writing -- if you've never read any of her books (which are admittedly tough to find these days) you're in for a treat. She was an amazing woman. But my favorite special feature here already is the video walking tour of the movie's locations that Waters will give -- when I met him a couple of years back at a reading of his last book the only thing my star-struck brain could think to say was that I'd been to Baltimore recently and I couldn't find the exact location of where Divine ate that dog shit, and I was so out of it, being in JW's presence, that I retained exactly 0% of what he said. So basically yes I am telling you he included this location tour because of me. I am calling dibs on this one.

Good lord that photo still makes all the hairs on my body stand on end. Anyway since I brought up the Criterion news I should mention the rest of the line-up for the month of June 2022 -- it's one hell of an amazing line-up even besides. Second and second-most they are dropping Joachim Trier's most recent masterpiece The Worst Person in the World, which was one of my favorite movies of 2021 -- read about that one here. And they're upgrading their out-of-print DVD of Powell & Pressburger's gloriously bizarre technicolor anthology movie The Tales of Hoffmann to blu-ray, a 4K restoration -- read about that one here. But there's even more -- three more actually! Click on over to Criterion to see the word on Shaft, on Stanley Kwan's 1987 ghost melodrama Rouge (which sounds utterly fabulous), and on Ekwa Msangi's 2020 film Farewell Amor, which I have only heard amazing things about. What a month.


Shawny said...

Great shot of you and the dirty duke.

Shawny said...

I have been waiting for Tales of Hoffman. Finally! The film is a difficult watch, but it's also amazing. PF, one of my favorite films. The scene with Divine walking downtown is so powerful. One of the great fuck y'alls.

JimmyD said...

April 26, 2022 is the date for the new edition of Cookie’s book,
Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black
But! If you are a Cookie fan, don’t miss out on 2014’s incredible,
Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller by Chloé Griffin

Jason Adams said...

Agreed on Edgewise, it's wonderful. Reading that's what made me truly fall in love with her, and then I went and read her writing after. And thanks for the info on the reissue, I will def post about that! I have a copy of the original but everyone should read her stuff, she ruled

JimmyD said...

Back in the late 80’s, I wrote to Cookie via Details magazine, where she wrote the Art column. She wrote back. We wrote for a year or so. When I told her I was moving to NYC in October of ‘89 she sent me her phone number and said to call. When I arrived, I called a couple of times but no answer. At the end of November, ‘89, I ran into someone on 8th Street that knew her.
She said, “Oh, hon, Cookie died a couple of weeks ago.”
I think of that every time I walk 8th St.