Growing Up John Waters: The Oddball Filmmaker Catalogues His Many Formative Rebellions (1993)

John Waters seems, now, to have a grand old time being John Waters. But what kind of tri­als must the direc­tor of Pink Flamin­gos have endured grow­ing up in mid­cen­tu­ry sub­ur­ban Amer­i­ca with his dis­tinc­tive set of inter­ests, pro­cliv­i­ties, and aes­thet­ics? The half-hour Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary Grow­ing Up John Waters asks the film­mak­er direct­ly, and he responds with sto­ries of the many acts of rebel­lion he’s had to engage in, from child­hood through adult­hood, to reach his full taste-trans­gress­ing poten­tial. Along the way, we get his always enter­tain­ing­ly askew (if ulti­mate­ly sen­si­ble) per­spec­tives on the ear­ly six­ties, reli­gion, the Cold War, sports, shoplift­ing, the Civ­il Rights move­ment, and Elvis.

Rebel­lion John Waters-style, as fans would expect, bears lit­tle resem­blance to the ways we’ve long expect­ed kids to push back against author­i­ty. “What were your child­hood fan­tasies?” the inter­view­er asks as an open­er. “I ain’t tellin’ you,” Waters responds. “If I ever write about my sex life, I’m mak­ing the mon­ey on it, not Chan­nel 4.” And indeed, you can read much in his three books of prose now avail­able, but Grow­ing Up John Waters by no means skips on the insight, even in mat­ters cop­u­la­to­ry. While dis­cussing the sur­re­al nature of his movies’ love scenes, for instance, Waters makes an admis­sion that fore­shad­ows the theme of A Dirty Shame, which he would make a decade lat­er: “I love sex. But it would be bet­ter if I had thought it up.”

(via Dan­ger­ous Minds)

Relat­ed con­tent:

An Anti, Anti-Smok­ing Announce­ment from John Waters

John Waters: The Point of Con­tem­po­rary Art

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Robert Maier says:

    If you’re inter­est­ed in a view of Waters that isn’t just inter­views, but a fresh eye­wit­ness view of some­one who worked with him for 15 years check out the book “Low Bud­get Hell:Making Under­ground Movies with John Waters” — google it

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.