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Filmmaker, director and writer John Waters, sometimes called the "King of Bad Taste" or the "Pope of Trash," has built a reputation for shocking his audiences.
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John Waters was born on April 22, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland. Sometimes called the "King of Bad Taste" or the "Pope of Trash," Waters has built a reputation for shocking his audiences. He started out making short experimental films in the 1960s. Roman Candle (1966), one of his early works, marked the first time Waters worked with Divine, an oversized, over-the-top transvestite.
Filmmaker, director and writer John Waters was born on April 22, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland. Sometimes called the "King of Bad Taste" or the "Pope of Trash," Waters has built a reputation for shocking his audiences. Many of his films satirize suburban America as well as many social conventions and attitudes. He started out making short experimental films in the 1960s, often using friends as actors and holding small showings in offbeat locales. Roman Candle (1966), one of his early works, marked the first time Waters worked with Divine, an oversized, over-the-top transvestite.
Turning to feature films, Waters made Mondo Trasho in 1969. Divine starred as a hit-and-run driver who looks after her dead victim. Waters went to create what is considered by many to be one of the grossest movies of all time. Pink Flamingos (1972) features Divine as Babs Johnson. Johnson is a mother who leads her family in a battle against the Marble family to determine which group is the filthiest. One legendarily disgusting scene from the film has Divine eating dog excrement. The film became a cult classic and a popular choice for many midnight showings.
Moving toward the mainstream a bit, Waters made Polyester (1981) with Divine and Tab Hunter, a movie star from the 1950s. As with many Waters films, the storyline is an absurd take on suburbia, exaggerating the usual martial squabbles and family problems. Starring as a discontented housewife, Divine must contend with an unfaithful pornographer husband, a sexually promiscuous daughter and a glue-sniffing son who likes to stomp on people's feet.
Still filled with unusual and offbeat characters, Water's 1988 film Hairspray was a much tamer effort for the legendary filmmaker. Instead of grossing out audiences, the movie centered on the struggle of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teen, to join the cast of television dance show. Set in the early 1960s in Water's hometown of Baltimore, the film's heroine, played by Ricki Lake, also speaks out about a pressing issue of that era - integration. This story of an underdog overcoming obstacles struck a chord with many audience members and has become Waters' most popular and best-known work. The film was later turned into a successful Broadway musical and a film version of the musical was released in 2007.
His next film, Cry-Baby (1990), took audiences back to the 1950s. Featuring Johnny Depp as the title character, a teen delinquent from the wrong side of the tracks, the movie is a send-up of the teenage exploitation films of the period.
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