The term maverick connotes the desperado, bucking society, doing it his way, causing some havoc along the way. That's John Waters. His aggressively wild and wonderful filmography of 12 features represents one of the most individualistic visions in cinema. And the way he's made most of these films has been very atypical, keeping a great deal of creative freedom in his early cult hits (Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos - "When Divine gagged, the whole world gagged with him" - Female Trouble, Desperate Living, Polyester). These films made him infamous, which ironically lead to his recent crossover popularity, appearances on Letterman and a string of, yes, Hollywood flicks.
Hipsters needn't worry, though, that our man has sold out. Waters' Hollywood films have at times floated within the waters of populist commerciality (Hairspray, Ricky Lake; Cry Baby, Johnny Depp; Serial Mom, Kathleen Turner) but have never anchored there. In fact these films have all the freshness and vitality of the earlier, crazier stuff. Still one can't help but wonder if newfound money pressures might eventually tame the creative inferno. Now making films with singular budgets that would have covered the entire gamut of his first seven features, Waters has entered a new realm of fiscal responsibility. Yet, he claims things have essentially remained the same: "In the old days, I would talk somebody into giving me $25,000, and it didn't work, I owed it to them, which was really scary. Hollywood is certainly no more pressure than independent films, and maybe less."
As the focus of our maverick tribute to the great shockmeister, Cinequest, in conjunction with San Jose State, is very proud to present An Evening with John Waters as part of Cinequest After Hours.