Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Sanitizing Waters

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On Sunday my daughter and I went to see the movie Hairspray.  We’ve been waiting for it to come out and would have went to see it on Friday but our day was filled.

So now that I’ve seen it… eh.

The music was great although not memorable except for the final song, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Good Morning Baltimore”.  The acting was good; I really liked Elijah Kelly who played Seaweed, he’s a great singer and dancer.  I’ve never seen the broadway rendition, but I have seen the original several times and the original 1960’s music is stuck in my brain (The Roach and I’m Blue are iconic) but I would never compare Adam Shankman’s musical to John Water’s original.

As I think back I realize it might have been the setting.  To get good seats my daughter and I went to the movie theater close to our house instead of the one in the city or across the river.  We couldn’t help but notice we were the only faces in the room; the place was filled with white movie goers of all ages and there were parents there with their tweens.  As I watched the dance sequence where Tracy, Seaweed and the black cast members dance and sing on a bus I think to myself, “I wonder if my mother would like this movie?”

And I hit the problem right on the head.

I love Waters.  His movies are fun and irreverent.  They thumb their noses at the man.  But I wouldn’t necessarily call some of them family movies.  His movies and usually his audiences are filled with subversives.  We come to laugh at ourselves but also to feel empowered by the fact the those in the mainstream didn’t get the joke. 

Who else but Waters could get away with putting all the black kids in slow learner’s class?  Or decide to have beatniks (wonderfully played by Pia Zadora and Ric Ocasek) chide Ricky Lake’s Tracy for being so uncool because she was a “hair hopper”.   Or have a fat girl become the most popular girl on a dance show anyway.  Waters doesn’t see things the way the rest of the world sees them; he views life through glasses that makes up down and down up. Similarly to how Tim Burton puts a moribund twist on the world, Waters has a way of creating parallel worlds that we sort of recognize as being a negative film strip of the place we are living in.

Perhaps its because times have changed that Waters can be seen as customary.   Nothing will probably ever be able to top the lunacy of Pink Flamingos but daytime talk shows like the Jerry Springer Show and Maury Povich come close.  The side show performances of those programs make the unmentionable mundane.  I once turned on the Springer show to see a man argue that he should be allowed to marry his rodent because they had a spiritual meeting of the minds.  

Shankman’s Hairspray kind of felt like an afterschool special with a moral: I’m different and that’s okay!  It might have even been a line in the movie.  Looking back forty-five years ago it seems more like nostalgia than it did when it was 1987. 

So, if you are in the mood for an upbeat, feel good movie (and these days who isn’t?) then I would still suggest going to see Hairspray. 

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Written by rentec

23 July, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Posted in entertainment

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