The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Baby Depp before he got stuck in a pirate costume

with 19 comments

I often get mixed feelings when I catch up with movies that the established stars of today made early in their careers.

Seeing how young they were once upon a time I’m painfully reminded about my own mortality. We’re all heading in the same direction, towards decay and eventually death. Noone escapes – not even famous actors.

At the same time I get a little bit warm at my heart. How young and innocent aren’t they? Oh, if they only knew what a bright future they would get.

When Johnny Depp turned up in Cry-Baby, recently screened at my local film club, I could barely recognize him. So different was his appearance compared to the character figure trotting around in a pirate costume that we’ve gotten used to. The sight was a bit saddening. After all those years, what has become of him? Jack Sparrow and nutsy Burton characters. Is that’s all there is to him, all that he wants to do?

I didn’t dwell long in those gloomy thoughts though, because Cry-Baby isn’t the kind of movie you dwell over. It’s a cheerful, sparkling, bubble-gum smelling musical with an upbeat rockabilly soundtrack that will raise your spirits and let you escape the drudgery of the real world, if only for an hour and a half.

It’s the first movie by John Waters I watch. From what I’ve learned he’s supposed to be some kind of master of “bad taste”, but I didn’t quite get that. Perhaps it’s the times that have changed. In 1990 his cartoonish art direction probably stuck out a bit. At this point we’ve seen this kind of esthetics in a number of movies, particularly those that are based on comic series.

As it was now I enjoyed the colorful costumes, the over-the-top characters and above all the song numbers that almost got me to stomp my feet and clap my hands. The only thing that stopped me from doing it was that I was in a theatre and I thought the other members of the film club might have found it somewhat annoying. So I behaved. I’m no Jack Sparrow after all.

Cry-Baby (John Waters, US 1990) My rating: 3,5/5

Written by Jessica

November 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Cry-Baby

19 Responses

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  1. I love this movie. It’s so much fun to watch. It’s more of a restrained film from John Waters as opposed to the work he did in the 70s. What I love about this film is the casting. Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, Patty Hearst, David Nelson, Iggy Pop, and Willem Dafoe. Plus, it’s got great music.


    November 8, 2012 at 1:34 am

    • Oh yes! I agree about the cast. So many great names there. I guess this is what Rock of Ages could have been, instead of being horrible….


      November 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

  2. You are all about the gems this week 😉 I love this as well. As you say, it’s sparkling and doesn’t take itself seriously in any way. Also, I’m a sucker for that 50’s-music. It is however one of the movies where Waters have moved into “kitsch” rather than “bad taste”. Less daring perhaps, but still damn entertaining.


    November 8, 2012 at 6:02 am

    • I’m not sure I’ll like the “bad taste” version of Waters. Perhaps I should just let it stop with this one.


      November 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

  3. This film was funny. Love Johnny Depp, the stud. Gah he should buck up his career.


    November 8, 2012 at 6:14 am

    • He totally should. It’s time for a revival. Let us see the birth of Johnny Depp 2.0!


      November 8, 2012 at 7:34 am

  4. It’s been ages since I’ve seen this Jessica but I remember really liking it. It was a bit tame by Waters’ standards but still good. You should give his other films a chance though. He’s done some crap but the likes of “Serial Mom” and “Pecker” are great.

    Mark Walker

    November 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

    • OK, I hear you! I will look out for more by him. We often feel the same about films.


      November 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      • Yeah we certainly share similar tastes Jessica. Waters is definitely an acquired taste and not all of his films work but I must admit that I enjoy his brand of shocking humour.

        Mark Walker

        November 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm

  5. personally I remember Johny Depp as a deadman, not a pirate, but I heard he tried way more professions ( ).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ll watch a movie and would not recognize him there until end titles.


    November 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    • Jessica, I’m glad you enjoyed this film! When Susan Tyrell passed earlier this year, I specifically mentioned this film (she portrayed Ramona Ricketts, along with Iggy Pop as her husband!). It’s certainly one of John Water’s more accessible films, and I prefer it to “Hairspray”. I live near Baltimore MD, where John Waters resides, and I just get goosebumps when I tink about it.

      I would suggest a couple other late John Waters films for you to view…all of them have that same “Naughty but nice” vibe that Cry-Baby has….”Polyester”, “Cecil B. Demented”, and the absolutely terrific “Serial Mom.

      Karl Kaefer

      November 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      • It’s definitely accessible, not an aquired taste but something that just about everyone could like. You could tell from the atmosphere in the theatre that it was popular. Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to try to look up something more by him.


        November 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    • Hehe, that one was wonderful! It’s quite an assembly of strange characters! My favorite is the Emo Wolverine!


      November 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm

  6. Great review. Hairspray is another fun Waters flick and pretty normal by today’s standards. No poop-eating there.


    November 12, 2012 at 2:10 am

    • Thanks! Poop-eating? Didn’t see anything of that in this movie. Sounds like if there are a few Waters movies that should be avoided.


      November 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

      • Jessica, John Waters early films featuring Divine are pretty revolting….the shit-eating sequence comes from his film Pink Flamingos, which is a film about 2 families vying for “The Most Disgusting Human Beings on the Planet Award”…and by the way, the shit-eating is real. Other films you should avoid if you don’t have a stong constitution are “Mondo Trasho”, “Multiple Maniacs” & “Female Trouble”.

        Karl Kaefer

        November 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  7. I never saw this, but I remember my sister being crazy about this movie and actually rewatching this tons of times…


    November 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    • Then you’ve probably seen it without seeing it, having it played in the background. I wouldn’t watch it over and over again, but it’s certainly entertaining.


      November 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

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