From the Chicago Reader (June 16, 2006). — J.R.
My Dad Is 100 Years Old
*** (A must see)
Directed by Guy Maddin
Written by and starring Isabella Rossellini
In May 1948 Ingrid Bergman wrote a letter to director Roberto Rossellini: “Dear Mr. Rossellini, I have seen your films Rome, Open City and Paisan and I enjoyed them very much. If you need a Swedish actress who speaks English very well, has not forgotten her German, is barely comprehensible in French and who can only say ‘I love you’ in Italian, I am ready to come to Italy to work with you.”
She was the biggest female star in Hollywood at the time, and the films she mentioned were art house hits. She and Rossellini were married to other people, and the scandal of their subsequent affair led Colorado senator Edwin Johnson to try to bar her from appearing in movies, declaring on the floor of the Senate, “No one can reflect upon her sudden plunge from the highest pinnacle of respect to the gutter without feeling that she is the victim of some kind of hypnotic influence. . . . RKO publicity brazenly termed Rossellini inspired. If this swine is inspired, he is inspired by the devil.” The couple stayed together for seven years, had three children, and collaborated on five features.… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (April 15, 1994). — J.R.
** SERIAL MOM
Directed and written by John Waters
With Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, Matthew Lillard, Scott Wesley Morgan, Walt MacPherson, Justin Whalin, Patricia Hearst, and Suzanne Somers.
“Outside it’s hot and muggy. I buy a carton of cigarettes, ever bitter that I’m taxed so highly (11) on the one purchase that actually brings me happiness. They ought to tax yogurt (12); that’s what causes cancer. A neighbor, who always seems too familiar for her own good, passes me and makes the mistake of saying, ‘Good morning.’ ‘Shut up!’ I snap, making a mental note of her hideous tube top (13) and ridiculous Farrah Fawcett hairdo (14), so popular with fashion violators. And then I see it, a goddam ticket on my car, even though the meter (15) has only been in effect ten minutes. I have to take my rage out on someone! I run toward this fashion scofflaw as she gets into the most offensive vehicle known to man, “Le Car’ (16), and yank her door open as she frantically tries to lock it. ‘Not so fast, miss,’ I bark. ‘There’s a certain matter of this ticket you’ll have to take care of — $16 for gross and willful fashion violations!’ She gives me the finger and peels out, turning up the radio so I hear the voice of the worst-dressed man in music, Stevie Wonder (17), braying in my ears.” — John Waters, “Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate)” (1985)
Neither as energetic and assured as his Hairspray (1988) nor as lackluster and formulaic as his Cry-Baby (1990), John Waters’s Serial Mom alerts us to the fact that the impresario of outrage is getting older and wiser, without ever letting us forget that he still has some fight in him.… Read more »