FREE BABY WALKER : BABIES MODELING : BABY SUITE PLAY YARD.
Johnny Kitties--Celebrating Johnny Depp--Film #5: Cry-Baby (1990) [December 21, 2010]
"The reason this movie plays on television all over the world is because of the great star Johnny is and what a great actor he is. I'm very thankful that we got to work together--late in my career and early in his. It seemed like the right thing to do at the right time."
Director John Waters
Most people know film director John Waters from his most popular movie, Hairspray
, which went on to great success on Broadway and spawned a popular remake in 2008. Because of Hairspray
's success, every studio wanted to make his next movie, Cry-Baby
. "There was a bidding war!" he said. "It's never happened before or since."
A teen musical that spoofs Elvis Presley movies and the 1950s stance on juvenile delinquency, Cry-Baby follows the lives of teenagers from Baltimore society's two social groups--the Squares (the law-abiding goody two-shoes type) and the Drapes (the greaser, delinquent type). In the film, Drape gang leader Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker (Johnny Depp) falls for Square princess Allison (Amy Locane), and they struggle to cross cultural lines and bring their two worlds together.
Throughout his career, John Waters has earned the nicknames
"The Pope of Trash" and "The Prince of Puke." His movies are an acquired taste, often shocking, and sometimes hard to take. But you've got to admire a guy who is so outside of the box, casts actors from all walks of life, and never quits in getting his movies made or bringing his views to light. "I was a big admirer of John's films," Johnny said. "He was so outside the system and such a great radical of a filmmaker."
His movies were out there! After we saw Hairspray
, my sister and I sought out some of John Waters's earlier films. I don't remember their plots so much as I do their strangeness. In these movies, things were unpolished and unHollywood. I saw people I didn't know existed--people from the outskirts of society--and I wasn't sure if I wanted to know them. I remember feeling simultaneously unsettled and intrigued.
Many fans consider Cry-Baby
pretty tame compared to the director's earlier works, but I always felt Cry-Baby
was an unmistakable John Waters movie. Where else are you going meet a family in which the grandmother and uncle are in a steamy, committed relationship bringing up a gang of juvenile delinquents with hearts of gold? And, don't forget the detailed lessons on French kissing this movie offers!
What I find most interesting about Cry-Baby
is how much is based on real life. Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, John Waters knew Drapes and Squares and filmed in locations that accurately portrayed 1950s Baltimore. The story was inspired by a newspaper article from that time about the murder of a 14-year-old girl. He overheard people dismiss the sensational story: "This is what happens when you're a Drapette." John Waters says he was not a Drape would have loved to be one.A Fresh Start
For Johnny, this film was the beginning of a new life. Having escaped the constraints and unwanted attention of 21 Jump Street
gave him a chance to wipe the slate clean: "It was a chance to really make fun of the image that had been shoved down America's throats by the company that I worked for," he said. "Cry-Baby
for me was the first time out of the gate where I was able to say, 'All right, this is what I want to do. This is the direction I want to go in.' It was the first one."
John Waters found and chose Johnny as his leading man from the racks of teen magazines that Johnny so hated. (Ironic, no?) He said that of all the stars he's worked with in his career, Johnny was the one who fit into his group the fastest and easiest--from Day 1. Johnny confirmed this notion, "For the first time in quite a while, I felt free when I went there to Baltimore. I really felt like I had been accepted into that family."
To me, Cry-Baby
reflects that joy and spirit. Sure, it's extreme and over-the-top, but at its heart is a simple, universal love story. And--above all--it's fun and funny!Stranded in Ohio
I didn't get to see Cry-Baby
in the theaters when it was first released. I don't think my parents yet realized that my unwavering devotion to that guy from 21 Jump Street
was not going away. (Or, maybe they were just hoping it would.) There was no convincing them to drive me 45 miles to the only little theater in the area showing his movie. Instead, I sighed at the Cry-Baby
TV commercials and waited for its video release. (Don't worry--I did finally get to see this movie on the big screen a few years ago.)
Now, I have and highly recommend the director's cut DVD. For some reason, there are several versions of this movie out there, including the one from the theaters and one that was edited for TV. Don't watch the l