Like many, many people, I have enjoyed John Waters’ films over the many years he’s been churning them out. It all started back in jr. high when ‘club music’ was considered the height of sophistication in our barely teen worlds and, well, what was more ‘club’ than Divine singing You Think You’re a Man. Chris Hendrickson probably still has my album that was lent to him sometime in grade 9. Okay. Unlikely that he still has my album. I’ll stop keeping tabs.
As we all know…Divine to John Waters is a small leap to make and I was soon trolling the video stores for Lust In The Dust (it sounded delightfully dirty to me). I think I went through other JW films before I could lay my hands on that one, though. Polyester was definitely one of them, but I can’t remember what I saw pre-LITD. I did eventually see it…I barely remember it, to tell the truth. I never saw Pink Flamingos.
However…although it was not my fave JW film, Hairspray was definitely a turning point in the JW repertoire.
Clearly a bigger budget and enjoyable in the very JW way, but different somehow. Great movie. I was impressed and it seemed right to make it a Broadway show, but now…with John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. Not so much. Another classic that Holywood has decided to bulldoze into lame mush. This is what I thought.
And…when gay rights protesters started to speak out against John Travolta playing one of the leads, I thought ‘yeah…he a/ belongs to an anti-gay organization and b/ he’s (allegedly) fiercefully closeted himself so…yeah. That’s fair.’
And…when he was quoted (will have to dig up the source for this) essentially bragging about his ‘hotness’ as a woman (let’s all remember this is Edna Turnblad we’re talking about) and how the men on set would grab him or whistle. Now, I know that sounds like a joke and it probably is but…uh…you know what? I’ve got to re-check that. I know that when I read it I felt some sort of sincerity from the guy, but maybe I was just in that mood.
Anyway…my point is that John Travolta as Edna Turnblad is a bad idea on many fronts…as is, in my opinion, remaking Hairspray. Why do you have to remake it anyway? Does a movie from the 80s no longer reach audiences the way it would if it were remade now?