Monday, February 7, 2011

Hairspray, 1988

Situations Of A Film

I’m sure that this is not the best film ever made or even the director’s best film but John Waters’ Hairspray has always seemed like a classic to me. From the first time I saw this as a child I was attracted to the grittiness and odd humor that is the genetic makeup for the movie. There’s something about this movie that’s perfectly sleazy and depicts teenagers so well. But… let’s face it; the movie would be nothing without Devine. This was the first Waters’ film that I ever saw and after seeing the creature that is Devine I had to follow Waters’ muse throughout his work.

History of the Genre:

The movie is classified as a comedy but I feel like it has a less commercial approach to getting laughs. There aren’t very many gimmicky lines or a moment in which you feel the need to wait for the laugh track. I would say the humor is almost a parody of the early 1960s, laughing at the obvious subject matters (race, discrimination, hair, and acute sexuality) and using the characters to develop a rich comedy.

Out of all Waters’ films this is the tamest in every way. The humor is still a little more natural than other comedies but Hairspray is definitely the most seen of any Waters’ movie. It also received the lowest MPAA rating out of all the movies Waters directed, being PG while most of his films are R, MC-17, and even X.

Economics of the Film:

The budget of Hairspray is said to be about about $2,000,000, which is relatively low. But for Waters it’s one of the pricier films he’s made. At the box office it made $577,287 the opening weekend. For 1988 that is the most lucrative number but this is one of the few Waters’ films that made it “wide stream”.

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