003777Reviews & Counting
A Dirty Shame
DVD disk
06.24.2005 By: JaneBlo
A Dirty Shame order
John Waters

Tracey Ullman
Johnny Knoxville
Selma Blair


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After an accidental concussion awakens the carnal urges of convenience store owner Sylvia Strickles (Tracey Ullman), the people of Baltimore become pitted against each other in an epic battle of decency versus depravity and sex addicts versus neuters. Sylvia meets Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville), a tow truck driver and sexual saint with eleven apostles, and together they lead her devoted husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak), and her go-go dancing, mammary-enhanced daughter Caprice (Selma Blair), down a whole new road to sexual satisfaction. What’s going on? Whatever it is, it’s a dirty shame.
I’ve always loved director John Waters’ films because they are original and quirky and often have freaky, funny story-lines starring very cool actors. Some of the frequent actors he’s hired are Mink Stole, Divine (RIP), Traci Lords, Patricia Hearst, Ricki Lake and even Johnny Depp who starred in Waters’ big hit “Cry-Baby”. But my favorite Waters’ films are Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, and you’d have to see them to understand why. In this newest Waters’ film, he again uses Mink Stole (Marge the Neuter) and former gun-toting heiress Patty Hearst, whom I adore, but the main focus is on Tracey Ullman, an adorable woman who’s not only a great actress, but a funny one as well. Her daughter (Blair) has ginormous breasts and is therefore known as Ursula Udders and she’s great in her role as a depraved, sometimes virginal (neutered) young girl. Her go-go dancing to “Red Hot”, with a security anklet on in the beginning of the movie, is wonderful. The male leads are greatly cast, Knoxville plays the sexual healer/saint so well, as does Isaak in his role as the sweet, decent husband who’s trying to come to grips with his wife’s bizarre, newly uncontrollable lust.

The rest of the cast of characters in this film, including the “bear” family, the cop who dresses and acts like a new-born (infantilism), and Big Ethel, Sylvia’s mother, are a wonderful addition as the supporting cast and they make the film a true pleasure to watch. One of my favorite lines in the film has got to be when a little boy in a car says, “Dad, someone’s licking our tires (dirt perversion) to which his mother replies, “Honey, don’t look”. We discover a whole grab-bag full of interesting sexual perversions and expressions in this film, such as shrimping (it sounds so cute), tromboning (not so cute, if you knew what it meant), funch, sneezing in the cabbage, yodeling in the canyon and much, much more. So in a sense this film is quite educational too. The catch-phrase is, “Let’s go sexin’ ” and trust me, do they ever. Towards the end of the film, there’s a huge head-butting/orgy scene that’s very freaky, and the special effects throughout the film are just fantastic, especially with the sexualized trees and the squirrels who are animated. Beware of the Hokey-Pokey “bottle” scene with Tracey Ullman, but don’t miss it, it’s the tops.

The soundtrack to the movie is amazing, mostly rockabilly and quirky songs, and is available to purchase. It features one song in particular I really liked because I hadn’t heard it in over two decades and I used to love it and it’s “Red Hot” by Billy Lee Riley. The other songs are also very cool, and most feature sexual content, and you’ll love the lyrics to the “Pussycat Song”. Nothing is sacred here, as in most of Waters’ films, and that is exactly why his fans are so loyal to him. The title of the film “Boom” features very briefly in the film, which is amazing since it’s one of my favorite movies ever and it’s also one of John Waters’ favorites (and no one else’s, I believe).
Scandalous Audio Commentary by Writer/Director John Waters: Mr. Waters is a pleasure to listen to, he speaks a lot about every little detail in the movie and he does it eloquently. I was never bored once during his commentary and I learned lots of interesting tid-bits, such as the fact that this film was pitched to the studios as a “cunnilingus-concussion” film, which I found cool.

Another feature commentary: Five of the main crew members of the film discuss the film-making as they saw it. Not as cool as hearing John Waters speak the commentary, but not a bad idea for those of you who can’t get enough of this movie.

Shocking Featurette “All the Dirt on A Dirty Shame”: John Waters, the cast of the film and crew of the film, called the Dreamlanders, discuss all different aspects of the making of the movie, and there’s an inside look into the making of those infamous “ginormous” breasts of Ms. Blair’s too, for those of you who always wondered about them. An 80-minute long, jam-packed with information featurette that will please any and all John Waters’ fans.

Deleted Scene: The shortest deleted scene I’ve ever seen, but definitely worth checking out. Not for the squeemish.

Trailers: The movie’s theatrical trailer as well as a bunch of New Line trailers including some for Polyester, Pink Flamingos, Pecker and Female Trouble.
If movies about sex, and especially kinky perversions, turn you off, then you should avoid this movie like the plague. However, if John Waters’ films and other freaky natured, B-movie type films are your idea of a good time, then this will be a perfect purchase or rental for you to enjoy. This great sexploitation film, reminiscent of the B-movies of long ago, is in fact a “dirty” movie so not for the young ‘uns. The DVD features enough fun bonus extras to satisfy you without giving you too much of a good thing, and all in all, I’d say this is another fantastic John Waters’ film to be enjoyed by his fans and fans of all quirky comedies to watch over and over again.
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