Cecil B. DeMented

The rap on john waters is that Baltimore's titan of trash (remember Divine noshing dog shit in 1972's Pink Flamingos?) has lost his edge in the age of Farrelly hair gel. Pay no mind. Waters never fails to sneak in a few good ones. What better time than summer 2000 to kick Hollywood in the scrotum for its blockbuster mentality?

Stephen Dorff bites into the tasty role of Cecil B. DeMented, the leader of the Sprocket Holes, cinema terrorists who kidnap bitch movie queen Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) and force her to star in their indie film, Raving Beauty. Out to punish supporters of mainstream films — clowns who applaud Les Enfants du Paradis being "finally dubbed in English!" — Cecil's Sprockets swear off sex and use the energy to commit atrocities like wreaking havoc at a screening of Patch Adams: The Director's Cut and on the set of Gump Again. All grist for Cecil's film. Honey pulls a Patty Hearst and converts, renouncing her sellout career.

The jokes are hit-and-miss. But Griffith has a ball tweaking her diva image. And Alicia Witt is delicious fun as a porn star named Cherish. When the Sprockets hide out at a theater showing Rear Entry, an anal epic co-starring Cherish and a randy gerbil, Waters pans across the members of a masturbating audience. Now that's cinema. DeMented is Waters the way we like him — spiked with laughs and served with a twist.

From The Archives Issue 848: August 31, 2000
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