John Waters Picks ‘Jackass 3D’ as One of the Best Movies of the Year
John Waters, the confoundingly unpredictable cult art-house film director, has chosen his 10 favorite films of the year. There are a few surprises on the list.
Artforum today publishes a list of some notable artists’ best-of lists for 2010. Among the participants is John Waters—the perennially pencil-mustached director who gained notoriety as one of the art world’s most esoteric and marginally mythologized filmmakers with his movie “Pink Flamingos,” in which a drag queen known as Divine eats feces.
So while some of films on Waters’s list fit in with what you’d expect to be his year-end favorites— Gaspar Noé’s hypnotic “Enter the Void,” for instance—some of the other picks will probably surprise you: “Jackass 3D,” for instance.
Waters cites a predictably subversive interpretation of the jock shock flick:
“A scatological, gay, s/m, borderline snuff movie amazingly embraced by a wide, American blue-collar family audience. Isn’t Steve-O chugging down a glass of sweat collected from the ass-crack of an obese man and then vomiting at you in 3-D the purest moment of raw cinema anarchy this year?”
For the same reasons I’ve long maintained that the most subversive thing Radiohead could do at this point in their career is to put out a pure pop album of top hit singles, my opinion is that it would have been more subversive for Mr. Waters to pick a movie like “Jackass,” or even better “Harry Potter,” simply because he loves a good story.
I suppose his number 5 pick, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” comes close. Even though there was something countercultural about the fascination with this gaudy public persona that turned the documentary into a hit, the film itself turned out to be a surprisingly human story about loneliness, laugher, regret and ambition.
For the most part, the rest of Waters’s list follows the expected parameters of an eccentric art-house director who has refused to leave his home city of Baltimore despite his success seemingly as an act of defiant camp. There’s an old famous rumor about Waters, that every year he throws a Christmas party where 100 guests each bring 100 small, individually wrapped gifts, yielding 10,000 gifts under his tree for guests to open. Perhaps this year, under Waters’s tree, a few of those guests will find themselves unironically face to face with Johnny Knoxville.