TV Party Tonight! #027

TV Party Tonight! #027

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Friday, 19 May 2017
COLUMN

Serial Mom
Collector’s Edition

John Waters is a man I’ve never quite been able to figure out. He’s all over pop culture; appearing in everything from the Simpsons to a political guest on Bill Maher. The man is eccentric both in style and opinions and definitely leaves a mark on everything he does. But I think it would be fair to describe John Waters first and foremost as a writer and director. I’ve always heard of the strangeness of Pink Flamingo, but having it described to me, it never sounded like my cup of tea. My dive into the world of John Waters instead is going to be Serial Mom and I am so glad it was.

I think it’s safe to say that this is one of John Waters’ more underappreciated movies. Being unfamiliar with Waters’ work and watching Serial Mom one is completely struck by how well-honed and polished of a movie this is. From the very start, this movie meets its mark on every single level. It looks unmistakably 90s, yes, but also the pacing is perfect, the humor is rapid fire, the sleeze is unapologetic, and most of all, the tone is just right. We’re dealing with a very serious subject here that handled in someone else’s hands could easily turn tasteless, but Waters chooses to tell the story almost like a cartoon (even with its music cues) and a smart audience will have no trouble picking up the satire which fuels this story.

Finally, another pat in the back to John Waters for his casting and the performances he gets out of his actors. A supporting cast which delivers an over-the-top and fully committed performance only builds the foundation for Kathleen Turner who is an unstoppable juggernaut in this movie.

Shout! Factory here gives us their collector’s edition blu ray release which is a carryover from the previous collector’s edition with an additional conservation with John Waters, Kathleen Turner, and Mink Sole, along with the commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes segment and making-of feature from the previous release.

Although I’m sure Serial Mom is a cult favorite for many reasons, the charm of the story and performance of its actors are simply part of what makes this a high quality movie that’s as hilarious and shocking now as it was 23 years ago. This Collector’s Edition gives Serial Mom the treatment it deserves.

Get it here.

Some stray observations:

 

  • In the conversation piece Waters lets us know both him and his mom think this is his best movie.
  • It took only a brief inspection to realize why L7’s cameo band is called Camel Lips.
  • It’s incredible the amount of dedication in this movie. For example, that’s Patty Hearst as the white-after-labor-day juror in the court scene.
  • Fucking Don Knotts.

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