Cecil B. DeMented (2000)

You think you’ve seen and heard it all in your life. And then you realize that the homicidal cult of psychotic movie freaks who are intended to be the twisted villains of this John Waters pic, are people you tend to agree with. I agreed with  everything these psychos screamed from beginning to end, and that’s frightening. I admit that. Now lock me up before I do something rash in the name of good filmmaking. I’ve not always been a fan of John Waters films, particularly his dark comedies, but with “Cecil B. Demented” I was surprised to see that not only did he concoct a damn fine movie, but he also manages to convey obsession for the film  medium that’s amped thirty percent into the sociopathic circle (Look for Maggie Gyllenhaal in a funny performance as a sadistic goth).

Because, even though the cult here are indeed freaky psychopaths, they also make sense, and their reasons for being the way they are manages to go beyond a simple plot device. They’re devoted movie fans who want their films to change so much, they’ll do whatever it takes to get their goals accomplished, even if they have to kill. And kill, they do. They’re also a lot more ballsy than the groups who preach about change and don’t act on it. Cecil leads a group of pure sociopaths into an elaborate plot of kidnapping one of the most famous yet bitchiest actresses Honey Whitlock. An actress who is already on the way out. To combat Hollywood commercialism, and to basically reflect on the entire Patty Hearst incident, the group basically persuades Whitlock to see their points of view explaining their utter disgust at Hollywood, and are intent on creating their ultimate film.

Also, they’ve vowed not to have sex with one another until it’s complete. Also, in one of  the more creative plot elements, each members has their favorite directors tattooed on them. Which is pretty difficult when Cecil’s girlfriend is a gorgeous sex starved porn actress. “Cecil B. Demented’ was a surprise for me, especially since it was the only Waters film I sought out years since its release, and it’s an entertaining dark comedy that Waters jabs with subtle truths, and gripes about the system, especially the MPAA who is an enemy in the wings that stands in the way of this group and their plan of film domination. Each individual member is one potentially capable of commercialism, and Cecil is the constant center who keeps these sheer freaks in check with his delusions of grandeur, and his ultimate masterpiece.

Dorff’s performance as Cecil is delightfully zany, and he’s the exact archetype of Water’s filmography, the purely insane hero/villain you can’t help like, even when he shoots someone. Waters satire of the film buff and the film industry is warranted and criminally under-appreciated to an audience who just didn’t get the point Waters was trying to make. This isn’t just a movie, it’s the anti-culture director expressing anger at the studios for their consistent lack of creativity in film making, and it works. I loved this.