Hollywood is a pimp. A fat, cigar-smoking chump wearing a fur hat and 12 gold chains around its fat, hairy chest. All of its stars and starlets are an evil brood of scum-sucking vampires looking for the next percentage take, the next summer blockbuster, the next casting couch to audition on. Pumping out comic-book adaptations, terrible sequels to mediocre films, and remakes of foreign films to the nearest American movie multiplex mall theater equipped with thin walls and bad sound systems. How much longer can the works of Peckinpah, Fassbinder, Fuller, Castle, Preminger, and Lee be placed and forgotten in the wrong sections of the local Blockbuster stores? How many more Silver and Weinstein films can we enduring in this stinky, decaying state of American cinema?
But now, from John "I don't give a shit what you think about my movies" Waters, comes the siren call to all frustrated filmmakers and aficionados: Cecil B. DeMented, a warped and twisted tale of how far a filmmaker will go to create a personal vision of internal and social revolution.
Stephen Dorff, in a career-defining role, is Cecil B. DeMented, a crazed director devoted to making the most radical underground film. Together with his film production cult, the Sprocket Holes - who wear tattoos of Peckinpah, Lee, Fuller, Castle, Anger, Fassbinder, Preminger on various parts of their bodies as badges of honor, they kidnap a Hollywood movie starlet, played with perfect ridiculousness by Melaine Griffith, and force her to take the starring role in DeMented's film.
With no budget and no contracts for extras, DeMented and his crew take to the streets for production of Raving Beauty, a crass terrorist film about an angry owner of an independent theater and her brood out to destroy the mainstream film business. Using "ultimate reality" - with real bullets, real people, and real terror - DeMented and his crew of misfits attack a mall theater, terrorize the Maryland Film Commission and crash a movie studio shooting a certain sequel to a really annoying Tom Hanks film. Demented's crewmembers are maimed and killed, popcorn machines are used for target practice, and no one can have sex until the film is complete. It's like Bowfinger, only, you know, good.
The film moves with zigs and zags like the Magic Bullet of Kennedy's assassination. The zeal of DeMented's cause catches quickly and conveys the urgent message of "doing something, anything, for the accomplishment of artistic motivations." The crewmembers all hold the quirkiness common in Waters' previous films - Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Polyester, Pecker -- and speak in the choppy, jaded dialogue used frequently by Waters. It is as if Waters' script strips away the unnecessary dialogue common to most pretentious indie films and just delivers the goods.
Cecil takes such warped avenues of expression that it seems like it might actually outdo itself. You can see how a major studio might take this film, re-edit it, cut a deal with the remaining crew members who are still alive, and make a few sequels, a la The Blair Witch Project.
But that's for the future. Overall, the ride is fantastic; it's one of Waters' best films to date and this year's Fight Club for filmmakers. Fans of the film will certainly want to check out the DVD, which features a commentary track from Waters that's arguably better than the movie itself, plus a Comedy Central behind-the-scenes special about the making of the film.