© 1977 Charm City Productions

Desperate Living (1977)

Desperate Living, like all of John Waters’ films, is one that I have seen many times. While it is not as notorious as Pink Flamingos, nor as lauded as Polyester or Hairspray, it is one of my favorite Waters films. Waters has always been a filmmaker with a disdain for reality, and Desperate Living is his most fantastical film, borrowing from The Wizard of Oz and the Brothers Grim to fashion a demented fairy tale. Although the absence of Divine is felt, Liz Renay is quite funny in the part that was written for Divine (who was committed to starring in a play at the time), and it is impossible not to laugh at the sight of Edith Massey perched on her throne with her little legs dangling below her. Not only are the characters great, but every other line is infinitely quotable.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch‘s “all I got is a Barbie doll crotch” is recycled from this movie.

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“Hey! Look, son, I'll tell you, I'm really busy, but... I'll tell you what I do need. I need some good luck.”
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from The Black Stallion