Friday August 5, 7:20 pm and 9:40 pm at IFC Center: $15
John Waters’s second full-length film, Multiple Maniacs, a black-and-white absurdist comedy that he shot in 1970 for just $5,000, might be his best film ever. But most of us wouldn’t know– the film never saw wide release beyond a 1994 VHS tape. Until now. Thanks be to the Criterion Collection for restoring this masterpiece to its former, er, glory’s not the right word exactly– unless of course we’re talking glory holes.
Most of the Dreamlanders, including Cookie Mueller, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce and, of course, Divine star in the film. Divine plays the ringleader of maybe the freakiest traveling freak show ever seen. It turns ever freakier when, growing bored of the surprising finale (an inevitable robbery that greets patrons at the end), she decides to up the ante and starts blowin’ brains out willy nilly. As you might imagine, this leads to some serious spoiling of a damn good arrangement.
John Waters outdoes himself here with a scene in which Mink Stole jams a rosary up Divine’s butt while the former recites the Stations of the Cross. And that’s only the start of the filthy, dirty laundry list of what Divine is subjected to throughout the film, which I guess you could call “sex acts,” as long as your definition of gobbling the ol’ pork slider (so to speak) allows for surf n’ turf participants too. In maybe the most hilarious scene ever made ever, Divine is attacked by a giant lobster (lord have mercy). Her shrieks are so loud and terrified that the poor girl must be allergic to shellfish, either that or that lobstah was a terrible lay.
To celebrate the film’s re-release at the Provincetown Film Festival in June, and subsequent arrival in the form of a strange object they’re calling a “DVD” (“Finally, Multiple Maniacs looks like a bad John Cassavetes film! I couldn’t be more thrilled!” John Waters says in a press release), the film will be toured around the U.S. at select theaters. The first venue of the bunch is IFC Center, where the 7:20 pm screening, which features an introduction and Q&A with John Waters, is of course already sold out. How quickly are those 9:40 pm screening (John Waters intro only) tickets gonna fly off the digital shelves? Well, the real question is– who are you gonna have to sic a giant lobster on to get into that first screening?
Malá Morská Víla (“The Little Mermaid”)
Friday July 29, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
If you thought that the whole Sea Punk thing was over, and kinda weird/dumb anyway– think again, bro. I’ve got a solid source who tells me that Sea Punk’s coming back, baby, and my guess is this is how and where it’s gonna start: by way of an undersea realm where psychedelic jelly fish float past gorgeous, Czech speaking maidens with towering Marie Antoinette dos and pastel-hued, crepe-crinkled robes. There’s a reason why this might look familiar if you’re a Czech film nerd– Ester Krumbachová of Valerie and Her Week of Wonders took charge of set design.
Seriously, though, don’t even roll your eyes at the prospect of a Czech version of The Little Mermaid, because Malá Morská Víla is hardly just that. For one, that blubbery octopus has been replaced by a wicked Sea Witch, and you can sit their contemplating just how much cooler you’d be if you were raised on this as opposed to Disney’ shell-bra’d, crimson-maned broad. That sexed-up sardine doll doesn’t even hold an itty bitty birthday candle to this dusty little siren spawn.
Filmmaker Karel Kachňya earned his stripes during the Czech New Wave– a period of revolutionary filmmaking during the ’60s, a relatively relaxed time in terms of socialist cultural policy in then-Czechoslovakia. So you just know that this one’s gonna be pretty weird. Aside from incredible visuals that are so much more mossy and barnacle’d and dark and complex than any garbage Disney could dream up, the plot also has much more sinister undertones. After all, this teenage mermaid’s making a pretty rash decision to sell her fins and leave behind her scaley bod in hopes of becoming the object of the Land Prince’s desires. When will she learn that her fishy self is worth so much more than some Barbie doll dude?
Thursday July 28 through Tuesday August 2 at Sunshine Cinema: $14.50
Journalist David Farrier has dedicated his career to uncovering the weirder shit in life, something we can all appreciate here at B+B. “Competitive endurance tickling” was going to be just another strange subculture that Farrier uncovered and wrote about to the delight and entertainment of people scouring the internet everywhere, but things didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, Farrier happened upon a bizarre tickling ring, one where deceit, greed, and power were all just part of the game, all of it centered around an LA-based tickling empire known simply as Jane O’Brien Media.
The doc follows Farrier as he unravels the competitive tickling mystery and discovers that the company might be engaging in widespread blackmail of its ticklees, and perhaps even inundating them with ticklers who dole out more intense tickling than the unwitting participants (mostly young, swole-as-hell dudes looking for a better way to score easy cash than letting people suck plasma out of their veins or something) had bargained for.
You can read more about the controversy and legal battle surrounding the film here, or just do yourself a favor and go see the movie. There’s no better way to imagine the utter horror of being strapped down and poked and prodded like you’re nothing more than a baby piglet, being overpowered simply because you make a strange snorting sound when the bounds of your temper are tested and the powers that be have deemed such a terrible thing marketable. Perhaps one day the long arm of justice will reach these atrocity exhibitionists and mercilessly tickle them too.
Friday July 29 through August 4 at Metrograph: $15
Smithereens is one of those films that’s bound to make you seethe with fiery-hot envy– why, oh, why isn’t it 1982? Unimaginably hip things were going down on the Lower East Side then, and Wren is maybe cooler than anybody– you can smell her strut from a mile away. But truthfully, Wren’s just another Jersey girl trying to make it big in the downtown music scene. The lengths that this girl goes to–even shacking up with Richard Hell– I mean, sheesh!
Cooke Mueller also makes an appearance and, backed by a soundtrack penned by The Feelies, you know you’re gonna be jumping in your movie seat, vibrating and shaking as if you’ve been boosted back to life by a defibrillator. (Let’s face it, we all needed a little jump start at this point in the summer.) Even the stuffy ol’ New York Times declared this a “most engaging movie,” when it was released. So rest assured that you can bring your Tinder date if you must, knowing that there’s something even for the squares.
If you’re still not convinced– try this one on for size: Metrograph says, “Smithereens has the feel of a fallen John Hughes movie: Beefaroni, Pac Man, and youthful angst in a hustler’s world.” We’re so there.