Some 34 years after the Supreme Court ended segregation, John Waters made Hairspray, probably his most wholesome film ever (it's rated PG), to relive his Baltimore youth among the regulars of his local American Bandstand-esque dance show. Hairspray's The Corny Collins Show was indeed based on a real Baltimore show called The Buddy Deane Show, and Waters' skewering of the young Elvises and their high-hair girls is dead-on.
Set in 1963, Baltimore was still fighting integration by refusing to let black youths participate in shows like these. The minority finds an unlikely champion, though, in Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) an enormous girl who only wants to dance! As the pretty kids push against the rising popularity of the fat girl, a convenient analogue to racial discrimination develops.
Continue reading: Hairspray Review