A Date With John Waters

A Date with John Waters | New Line
By MATT ASHARE  |  February 6, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
Ode to Hallmark
Valentine’s Day, with its heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and colorful candy kisses, is right up filmmaker John Waters’s kitschy alley, not to mention a perfect candidate for the auteur’s obsession with incredibly strange music. Waters is a collector of odd, unintentionally amusing or accidentally poignant, tragically misguided or intentionally bizarre cultural detritus. It’s the lowbrow that raises his eyebrows, and it must have been torture for him to whittle his collection of not quite right love songs down to 14 for this ode to the most Hallmark of all holidays. Some are just too twisted to resist, like Iris Dement sweetly singing “He ain’t got laid in a month of Sundays/I caught him once sniffing my undies” and John Prine shooting back “She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs/Swears like a sailor when she shaves her legs” in the acoustic duet “In Spite of Ourselves.” And there are a half-dozen songs here — Elton Motello’s homo-punk shocker “Jet Boy Jet Girl,” Edith Massey’s literal reinterpretation of “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and Mink Stole’s sassy “Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun,” to name three — that you’d swear were commissioned for this comp if you didn’t know better. Then there are the happy accidents like “Tonight You Belong to Me,” a 1956 recording by a duo called Patience and Prudence, and the proto-dominatrix 1935 Mildred Bailey dittie “I’d Love To Take Orders from You.” And as a reminder that there’s more to Waters’s æsthetic than fun and games or tongue in cheek, there’s Dean Martin crooning “Hit the Road to Dreamland” and Earl Grant’s obscure but touching “Imitation of Life” — tunes from the collection of a connoisseur, not a quack.
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