By 2000, John Waters wasn't shocking all that many people, and in Cecil B Demented he's largely playing to an adoring crowd of movie nerds, happily referencing his favourite directors and genres. None of the (slightly overpacked) cast seem to be taking themselves too seriously, and it's a lot of fun. However, it also feels like an extended cinephile skit, one which has used up its best ideas by the final gunfight.
Honestly we need more Cecil B. DeMenteds in our filmmaking system - people who actually like making movies as opposed to getting a paycheck for unmemorable commerce. While John Waters clearly doesn't like Cecil's lack of humor/respect for other lesser beings nor should anyone resort to actual terrorism, I've got to admit that we all crave subversive cinephilic punk instead of mass-market superhero digital fertilizer.
How can you not fuck with this movie? It's got a great cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Harry Dodge, Stephen Dorff, Michael Shannon just to start!) the cinephile tattoos with the perfect design. Second time i've seen it this year, always a killer fun time seeing a rich woman get turned to the dark gonzo side. Celibate for celluloid!
¡Amo a John Waters! El rey del cine basura hace una sátira sobre Hollywood, con un cineasta que se toma el aspecto de guerrilla literalmente. Nombres de autores tatuados, lemas de batalla que claman por la muerte del cine malo, cine de arte vs cine comercial, radicalización de activistas propiciada por el mismo sistema opresor, una causa por la que vale la pena morir. Le hace honor al título, ¡realmente es demencial!
Bad taste is a Waters hallmark, so we get a take on Patty Hearst with the kidnapped heiress herself playing a cameo. The film falls apart toward the end, but it has so many hilarious moments, and Melanie Griffith looks so bad-ass after she morphs into a film terrorist, that you cant help but love it. Falls short of greatness, however, because it is more endearing than menacing.
John Waters adds to his portfolio of unique films with this action-laced film about a cinema cult of youths trying to thwart the Hollywood machine with a film of their own. Waters's picture boasts an impressive and truly diverse cast with pleasing aesthetics throughout, but is simply not a great film. That's not to say it is not an entertaining feature for the majority. Overall, it's creative but lacks in many areas.
While not the most outrageous from John Waters, Cecil B. Demented manages to lampoon Hollywood movies as well as the industry's culture- all while being self aware of the Waters brand. There are fantastic characters and plenty of great lines- especially if you're a fan of film, underground or blockbuster.
Cecil B. Demented is a hyperbolic fever dream that examines Hollywood elitism. In doing so it ironically showcases someone working to boosting their own ego and leveraging their powers over others, much like the institution they consistently criticize. While it satirizes the industry and its ill intentions, it too satirizes the individuals and ill intentions that rebel against it.
The “studio system” being satirized feels almost quaint compared to today’s franchise hellscape, but the spirit certainly holds up. And for all his anarchic inclinations, Waters flat-out knows how to make a movie. There’s none of the disorganization or lack of structure that others so often try to pass off as “daring.”
The sentiment is fine but if it was made by anyone else, I would say its disingenuous . Since it's John Waters, I'll just say it's misguided. Some of the lines are funny but could have done with a lot less preaching and a lot more of the ideas from the very difficult to take seriously Cecil B Demented. A film about revolutionary cinema filmed in the same way the films it supposedly doesn't like isn't a great look.
With this film, John Waters is telling a new generation of directors "You have power. Make your movies as crazy as you want." While also critiquing the soullessness of contemporary cinema. These ideas lurk in most of Waters' movies but this one addresses them in the most mature and straightforward way.
This tends to get cast as lesser-Waters since it doesn't go as hard in the paint (or the puke), but there are still plenty of laughs —plus there's baby Michael Shannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, etc. Though we've begun to look back at 1999 as a halcyon year in film, Cecil B. Demented reminds us there was plenty of pabulum to overthrow.