John Waters, the "Trash Pope", raised in Baltimore, lives in a very specific nexus of high and low art, a cultivated (and difficult to replicate) aesthetic of his own. Fans are reminded of this when the creator of Hairspray and Pink Flamingos launches his list of the top ten movies. at Artforum every year.
2019 is no different, and this year's selection is healed to inspire the expected rainbow of "yes, brilliant!" Reactions. "Oh, John, really?" (Who can forget 2017 when he arrested Woody Allen between Lady Macbeth and Tom from Finland?)
Number one on his list is Climax, by Gaspar Noé, the Franco-Argentine film director who made Irréversible and Enter The Void. Your thumbnail review concluded "surte, baby, surte!" (K. Austin Collins of VF called this "a dull new but lively new one.")
Eight of Waters' choices would hardly be fodder for conventional multiplexes, but those that popped in include Once upon a time … In Hollywood and, get ready, the Joker. From Todd Phillips / Joaquin Phoenix's supervillain tale, he called it "the first big-budget Hollywood movie to happily inspire anarchy." (VF's Richard Lawson found this a little more worrying.)
Elsewhere in the mix, you'll find famous titles like The Souvenir, Pain and Glory, and Aretha Franklin's long and late documentary Amazing Grace. In addition, Waters recognized off-radar films such as the Iranian director Ali Abbasi's Swedish fantasy Border ("if Eraserhead had cousins") and the Penny Lane Hail Satan documentary? ("Don't send money to Toys for Tots this Christmas, give it to these heretics," he said of the film's subjects, Lucien Greaves and the Satanic Temple.)
He also featured his favorite French director Bruno Dumont again for Joan of Arc, and found a spot for Fatih Akin's German film The Golden Glove, which features 38 in Metacritic and Waters calls it grotesque and terrible. . "Shame on you, Fatih Akin, for doing this. Shame on me for putting you on this top ten list."
Waters has not been sitting in the director's chair since 2004, A Dirty Shame, although you have heard his voice as a first-class passenger on Alvin and the Chipmunks: The 2015 Road Trip, where the computer spawned a rodent holder. made it clear that he was familiar with the filmmaker's work and preferred his first unrated work.
The man who claimed to have often been confused with Don Knotts hits the road with A John Waters Christmas in Seattle this week, making stops in Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and, yes, Baltimore.
Waters' list (minus his remarks) is:
10 – Joker
9 – The memory
8 – The golden glove
7 – Pain and Glory
6 – Save Satan?
5 – Amazing Grace
4 – Border
3 – Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood
2 – Joan of Arc
1 – Climax
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