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Look out for more coverage of
A Dirty Shame in our magazines

THE MOVIE: A Dirty Shame

THE STARS:
Tracey Ullman • Johnny Knoxville • Selma Blair
DIRECTOR: John Waters

Selma Blair THE CONCEPT:
In John Waters new comedy, a horny horde of sex addicts invades a blue-collar neighborhood in Baltimore, to the shock of the ‘neuter’ neighbors, including Sylvia Stickles (Ullman) a grumpy, repressed middle-aged woman. However, when she suffers a head injury, she sees the world through hypersexual eyes.

U.S. RELEASE: September 24 2004, Nationwide • Rated: NC-17

THE COMMENTS:

JOHN WATERS:
“I was completely shocked that this movie got a NC-17 rating. I was as shocked as I was the day Hairspray got a PG-13 rating. It was something I just didn’t expect. Other people say to me, ‘Are you crazy? What other rating could A Dirty Shame have gotten?’ I really believe if Clinton was President, this would have been an R.”

TRACEY ULLMAN:
“I like [John Waters] individuality and energy. I like the way everyone looks so real, and yet sometimes they are surreal. And I love that he’s so faithful to Baltimore. My husband though it was fabulous and really funny. He said, ‘You’ve got to go right out there, Tracey. This is one of the last frontiers: a sexual comedy.’”

JOHNNY KNOXVILLE (Ray-Ray, a sexual healer):
“John Waters is outrageous, but he’s a sweet guy. He’s a ball to be around. He’s an inspiring guy, he reads five newspapers a morning, gets 100 magazines a month, and in his house there are books stacked 8 high in every chair. I feel like I’m not doing enough with my life as far as getting all I can out of the day. He’s a very hands-on as a director. These movies are distinctly his personality, so I wanted all the input he had and he would give it to us.”

SELMA BLAIR (Caprice Stickles, Sylvia’s daughter who had enormous breasts):
“The poor teamsters on the set thought they were real [laughs]. I wasn’t recognized down there, so they just assumed John Waters got an actress who had abnormally large breasts. And I hear that some old ladies on the set who were visiting said, ‘Oh that poor girl, she is deformed. Don’t say anything because it will hurt her feelings.’ That is a deformity that I could do without. They were really big!”

WATERS:
“I made the movie I wanted to make. It was never supposed to be more shocking, it was just supposed to be a comedy about sex that I had never made. I grew up with sexploitation films as being a genre I knew well. I think this is a joyous movie, I don’t think it’s a nasty movie, there’s no violence in it, I don’t think I picked any fetishes that are against women, I think it’s a feel-good-sex-fetish-miracle-religious movie!”

ULLMAN:
“[When I read the script] I thought, ‘Oh good – I can look really terrible because it’s a John Waters film.’ He’s not going to say, ‘You’re a middle-aged housewife, but you still have to look glamorous.’”

WATERS:
“Besides being a really good comedian, Tracey is a fearless actress. She’s a character actress, which is what I always like for my films. In real life, she’s quite gorgeous – but you don’t know that because you always see her playing a character role. She loves to go into character and she really went for it in this movie. She was such a team player and I think Tracey made Sylvia Stickles completely believable.’

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Fine Line Features
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #649, October 2004 cover

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Film Review, Sex 2004 cover

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