Cecil B. Demented (2000)
Title: Cecil B. Demented (2000)
Genre: Comedy | Country | Crime | Genre | Thriller | USA |
Cecil B. Demented (2000)
|Genre||Comedy | Crime | Thriller | USA ||
In front of the cameras and in public, famed Hollywood actress Honey Whitlock, a product of the studio system, is as sweet as her name. Behind the scenes, she is demanding and controlling, making life a nightmare for anyone who has to deal with her, especially her browbeaten assistant, Libby. She and her entourage are in Baltimore – what is emerging as the Hollywood of the east – for the premiere of her latest movie. The premiere gets hijacked by a group of guerrilla independent filmmakers, led by director Cecil B. DeMented, in wanting to make a statement against the Hollywood studio system and the bad movies they produce. Cecil and his band kidnap Honey in the process. What their goal is, with no money per se, to make their own movie starring Honey as a statement against the Hollywood studios. Their general process is to have the scripted elements of the movie, such as Honey’s dialogue, being set against “real life” in they overtaking several of the Hollywood movie studio events in …
Last night, I saw Cecil B. DeMented at a special screening hosted by John Waters, who took questions after the fact. After taking into account my own impressions of the movie, John Waters' apparent impressions, and the comments on this site, I really have to conclude that most of the commentors don't quite get the point. This movie was not in any sense meant to be taken seriously, and yet the detractors label it a hypocritical satire while the fans read it as an honest indictment of Hollywood- in both cases, the commentors are barking up the wrong tree, in my opinion. If Cecil B. Demented is to be taken as a genuine satire, it is clearly meant as a satire of both sides of the argument. Waters does not take sides in this movie- he portrays Cecil and his Sprocket Holes as pretentious loons and cultists, and the "Hollywood (actually Baltimore) Filmmaking Establishment" as tasteless middlebrow panderers. It is obvious in these portrayals that Waters thinks they're ALL pains in the ass- after all, Pauline Kael-ite auteur-lovers ARE pretentious, and Hollywood DOES turn out a lot of lousy shlock. The critic who points out that the Sprockets' tattoos "read like a list of directors kids SHOULD be watching" and who compares the love of Preminger with the dislike of Lean clearly doesn't realize that Waters is in on the contradiction. The Sprockets celebrate "art movies" as they celebrate pornography and Kung Fu flicks. It should be apparent to almost anyone that the Sprockets are no more meant to be role models for the moviegoing public than the makers of "Forrest Gump II" are. First and foremost, the movie is meant to be funny, and it succeeds admirably on that count. True, the humor is sometimes overly crude and often falls flat, but any movie with memorable dialogue such as "Before I was a drug addict, I had all KINDS of problems- now I just have one!" can't be considered bad. Waters seems to consider this film, like most of his others, a lark- a reflection of his own sense of humor. When asked his inspiration, Waters pretty much admits that he just thought it would be fun to suppose what would happen if the readers of Film Threat magazine really took their anger to the next level. When asked if Cecil is a reflection of himself, Waters is quick to discredit the notion, pointing out that Cecil has utterly no sense of humor. In fact, the main target Waters skewers in this film are people who take things too seriously. Judging from the other comments on this page, those humorless people have trouble recognizing themselves in the film.
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