Sunday, November 4, 2007

Polyester



John Waters sixth full length film. By the time Polyester came out, John Waters was doing considerably less drugs and his movies began to move in a more mainstream direction. Waters managed to sign Tab Hunter to the cast and Debbie Harry (Blondie) to do the soundtrack. This movie is much tamer than his earlier films but still retains that wonderful unique sense of humour that Johns movies have always had, and was the perfect prelude to Hairspray (his first truly mainstream success). Divine plays Francine Fishpaw, a hopelessly humdrum housewife with a husband that owns a XXX theater and prefers the company of the dog over his wife. A daughter named Lulu that is the epitome of "bad girl". A son named Dexter that is heavily abusing drugs and roams around Baltimore stomping on peoples feet for the fun of it. Her husband runs off with his secretary which causes Francine to become an serious alcoholic. But better times are on the way when Francine meets Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter). Todd is flashy and rich and sweeps Francine off her feet. In addition, Lulu has had a miscarriage and becomes a good girl obsessed with macrame'. Dexter is arrested for being the "Baltimore Foot Stomper" and is released on an insanity defense. Everything looks rosy until it all comes crashing down when we learn that Todd and Francine's mother are planning to frame Francine, admit her to a mental institution, sell her kids into sex slavery, and run off with the money from selling her house. Edith massey makes a great comeback as Francine's best (and only) friend Cuddles. Mink Stole is another one of John Waters "originals" that makes a reappearance. Most of his early actors had died off due to AIDS and drug overdoses by the time Waters made this movie. Mary Vivian Pearce and Cookie Mueller also make small guest appearances. A fun gimmick that went along with this movie is that it was filmed in "odorama". When the movie was released, a card with twelve scratch and sniff numbers on it was given to the audience members. When you saw the number flashed in the lower corner of the screen, you scratched and sniffed the corresponding number on your card to experience the same smells that would be experienced by the characters. Unfortunately, the smells are terrible... gasoline, a fart, stinky sneakers, pizza, etc. Tying this into the theme of the movie wasn't hard due to the fact that Francine was obsessed with air fresheners and apparently has the nose of a bloodhound. Not nearly as shocking as his earlier films, yet still packed with all the hilarity that emanates from the genius that is John Waters.

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