My now husband and I creatively collaborated for a fourth time! I re-introduced him to another one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Cry-Baby. It’s a raunchy spoof sprinkled with a classic charm! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).
We’re taking a time warp to 1954! No, not to Rocky Horror Picture Show, but.. you’re getting warm, haha! Alright, so, just picture it: a high school gymnasium with two long lines of teenagers anxiously waiting to be stabbed with a giant needle, which I presume to be for the polio vaccine. There are two distinct cliques: Drapes and Squares. Drapes are provocatively and darkly dressed, greased back haired guys in jeans and black leather jackets, girls in form fitting, short dresses, high heels, and with heavy makeup. Squares are conservatively and brightly dressed, guys in zoot suits, girls in cardigans, poodle skirts, saddle oxfords, with minimal makeup.
A Drape falls in love with a Square at first sight. The pair later discover they’re both orphans; the Square, Allison (played by Amy Locane), her folks died in an airplane crash. The Drape, Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker (played by Johnny Depp), his folks met their demise in Old Sparky. Cry-Baby’s sister, Pepper, is a pregnant teen mom who “can fight like a man,” played by John Waters’ Hairspray lead actress, Ricki Lake; she gives birth to baby #3 in the back of a car that’s playing chicken. Guess the adrenaline rush induces labor, haha! The bloody crazy punk rocker OG, Iggy Pop, plays Cry-Baby’s & Pepper’s uncle. Former underage porn star, Traci Lords, plays a Badass Drape Bitch, who uses her “bazooms as weapons” to ward off creepy, predatory geezers. Her “Mrs. June Clever” mom is played by none other than Patty Hearst, a former convicted felon (bank robber) whilst under the influence of a terrorist organization who kidnapped her. Another Drape gang member named Hatchet-Face plays a mean saxophone. I mean, who can resist a sexy sax?! I know I can’t, haha!
In my first two movie reviews, 1986’s Troll and 1988’s Mac & Me, they each had random musical/dance numbers that had no relevance to the storyline whatsoever; however this 1990 flick is a.. ♫ MUSICAL! ♪ This flick is where Grease meets Jailhouse Rock, minus the authentic singers. That’s right, Johnny Depp lip syncs every number in Cry-Baby! Even though Depp can sing.. he has provided vocals in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie in a drunken duet ditty of “Yo Ho a Pirate’s Life for Me.” Years later, Depp reveals his singing chops in the musicals: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Into the Woods. Johnny Depp is in touch with his musical side, he’s played guitar in a couple rock bands: Rock City Angels, Pink Grenade, & Hollywood Vampires. Johnny Depp doesn’t dance either, however John Waters somehow talked him into briefly cutting a rug with his fellow juvenile delinquents. Depp has openly admitted that he has two left feet. Even his Mad Hatter’s Futterwacken dance in Alice in Wonderland was CGI! I’m sure the bone bending moves and 360° head spinning had a little to do with it, haha!
This provocative parody packs a punch! And the punch is spiked, so watch at your own risk! You can expect the following and more: Unwanted panties thrown onstage. Licking a lover’s lonely teardrop. Graffitied cars with sugar poured down their gas tanks. French Kissing Lesson 101. A blown up jukebox. Unforgiving noogies. An inflamed, runaway motorcycle. Obnoxious, too-much-tongue-makeout session. A flat tire on an iron lung and then being jacked up to put on a spare. Dropping a trio of F-Bombs, two of which are comedically bleeped so they could keep their PG-13 rating. A glass jar filled with overdramatic, low-spirited tears, and drinking them. An inmate’s ass unexpectedly smacked by a guard as he hops up on a top bunk bed. A boosted helicopter. A three story dumpster dive. Repeatedly pressing personalized license plates of the same name: “Allison.” A needle prick prison tattoo of a lonely teardrop. A pair of tighty whities scooting through a manhole. Giggling vermin. Faux Siamese twins on display in a painted freak show circus glass cage. And a ziplining bunny.
Cry-Baby had a budget of $12M, it grossed $8.3M domestically by the end of its theatrical run, making it a box office flop; even though it was shown in 1,000+ cinemas — an unprecedented number for a John Waters film. Rotten Tomatoes gave Cry-Baby a rather high rating of 73% and its Audience Rating is 77%, which I think is quite generous considering these “professional movie reviewers” seem to despise the majority of my childhood favorites. This one may be the exception. I believe the reason why Cry-Baby resonates with me is because.. sure it’s a silly parody; however, it cleverly pokes fun at the ridiculousness of cliques, colorful language, and anybody who’s.. different. I can relate to not fitting in with the crowd and ruffling feathers along the way just like the Drapes do. I can proudly say I am the only person in my family with a mohawk who went to public school. On a personal note, everytime Cry-Baby says Allison’s name, I swoon and imagine Johnny Depp is speaking to me. He can press my license plate anytime! Check out this crazy camp cinematic tearjerker. I’ll be damned if there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling, Intergalactic Pals, and Imaginary Frenemy blog posts, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). Jaimie decided to take the lead on the overall design of the movie poster because I was drawing a blank on any suggestions or critiques. I was struggling with how to situate the two main characters that made sense for the storyline and to think of an original idea. Of course, it hit me like a bolt of lightning! Right before Jaimie was going to print, I had a last minute suggestion for a entirely new composition! Jaimie was a good sport, he begrudgingly went back to the drawing board, and created the final concept I pitched to him. Luckily, he’s a quick illustrator. I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. We may not color this movie poster, because we think it stands on its own in black and white. We have officially displayed our four movie posters in our living room. We finally made some wall space! Feels good to have a collaborative display piece that you can brag about when guests visit!