John Waters

  • Pedro Almodóvar, The Human Voice, 2020, 4K video, color, sound, 30 minutes. Woman (Tilda Swinton). Production still.

    John Waters

    Film director John Waters is working on a novel titled Liarmouth. His last book Mr. Know-It-All (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), was just released in paperback.

    (Tyler Cornack)

    A jaw-dropping, deadpan, bowel-bonkers thriller about a heterosexual dad who after a routine visit to his proctologist becomes a serial killer and inhales his victims up his ass, I kid you not. First a dog, then a child, and finally the very cop who pursues him. The finale takes place inside Dad’s rectum. Ah, they don’t make ’em like they used to!

    (Carlo Mirabella-Davis)

    What can I say? I love movies

  • Todd Phillips, Joker, 2019, 35 mm, color, sound, 122 minutes. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix).

    John Waters

    Filmmaker John Waters’s sixteen-city spoken-word tour “A John Waters Christmas” begins December 2 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

    CLIMAX (Gaspar Noé)

    The best movie of the year gives new meaning to the term “bad trip.” Frenzied dance numbers combined with LSD, mental breakdowns, and childhood trauma turn this nutcase drama into The Red Shoes meets Hallucination Generation. Freak out, baby, freak out!

    JOAN OF ARC (Bruno Dumont)

    There is a God and his name is Bruno Dumont. His piously poisonous sequel to last year’s best film, Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, is artier, holier, and will give

  • John Waters

    JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC (Bruno Dumont) An insanely radical heavy-metal grade-school religious pageant that is sung in French from beginning to end. The actors themselves seem like they might burst out laughing, but this is no joke. It’s the best movie of the year. You’ll hate it.

    AMERICAN ANIMALS (Bart Layton) A true-crime story with a brilliant ensemble cast and the real-life culprits and victims edited in, commenting throughout on the action. Adolescent group madness is a beautiful thing to watch.

    NICO, 1988 (Susanna Nicchiarelli) A small, sad, fearless biopic that asks

  • Edgar Wright, Baby Driver, 2017, 35 mm, color, sound, 112 minutes. Debora (Lily James) and Baby (Ansel Elgort).
Production still. Photo: Wilson Webb.

    John Waters

    1 BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright) The best movie of the year is a popcorn thriller, an art film, and a gearhead classic that grossed over $100 million. It deserved to! Watching the star turn of Ansel Elgort was like seeing John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever for the first time.

    2 I, OLGA HEPNAROVÁ (Petr Kazda and Tomáš Weinreb) A hypnotic black-and-white docudrama based on the case of a pretty, twenty-two-year-old chain-smoking lesbian from Prague who in 1973 hopped in a truck and mowed down twenty pedestrians on a sidewalk. Deadpan indeed.

    3 THE STRANGE ONES (Christopher Radcliff and Lauren

  • Trey Edward Shults, Krisha, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 83 minutes. Krisha (Krisha Fairchild).

    John Waters

    1 KRISHA (Trey Edward Shults) This hilariously harrowing portrait of a family reunion ruined by an alcoholic relative and too many dogs is told with verve and lunacy and features a top-notch performance by Krisha Fairchild, the director’s own aunt. Other people’s hell can sometimes be so much fun.

    2 TICKLED (David Farrier and Dylan Reeve) Hahahahaha! First you’ll chuckle watching this exceptional piece of investigative reporting, but then, once the shocking plot twists begin, you’ll choke on that laughter.

    3 EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Richard Linklater) The best accidentally gay movie ever made

  • Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 101 minutes. From left: Charlotte Goetze (Kristen Wiig), Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley), and Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård).

    John Waters

    1 HELMUT BERGER, ACTOR (Andreas Horvath) Maybe the best motion picture of the year is also the worst? One-time dreamboat movie star and lover of Visconti, Helmut Berger, now seventy-one and sometimes looking like Marguerite Duras, rants and raves in his ramshackle apartment while the maid dishes the dirt about his sad life. The rules of documentary access are permanently fractured here when our featured attraction takes off all his clothes on camera, masturbates, and actually ejaculates. The Damned, indeed.

    2 CINDERELLA (Kenneth Branagh) Yes, you heard me, Cinderella. I fucking love this Disney

  • David Cronenberg, Maps to the Stars, 2014, digital video, color, sound, 111 minutes. Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore).

    John Waters

    1 MAPS TO THE STARS (David Cronenberg) Hilariously funny and, dare I say it, yes, pernicious. I love this film more than I love my own mustache.

    2 CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson) A nail-biting, fear-of-flying 3-D experimental movie where you are locked in six separate cockpits with the flight crew as they reenact black-box dialogue from actual aviation mishaps and crashes. The scariest airplane movie ever.

    3 THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ (Guillaume Nicloux) My favorite writer is now a movie star, and he’s great playing himself in a literary

  • Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers, 2012, 35 mm, color, sound, 92 minutes.

    John Waters

    1 SPRING BREAKERS (Harmony Korine) The best sexploitation film of the year has Disney tween starlets hilariously undulating, snorting cocaine, and going to jail in bikinis. What more could a serious filmgoer possibly want?

    2 CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 (Bruno Dumont) Not since Freaks has there been such a harrowing pairing of a star (the sensational Juliette Binoche) with a cast of genuinely handicapped actors. Once again, the great Dumont proves he is the ultimate master of cinematic misery.

    3 ABUSE OF WEAKNESS (Catherine Breillat) Isabelle Huppert, my favorite actress in the world, plays a crazy director

  • John Waters


    I always look forward to Lionel Shriver’s novels—especially in summer, because she writes the exact opposite of an easy “beach read.” The last one I devoured, So Much for That (2010), was such a feel-bad book about cancer (with an entirely believable insanely happy ending) that it made me feel like either killing myself or planning a joyous vacation. I can’t wait to get my hands on her new one, Big Brother (HarperCollins). It concerns morbid obesity and fame. Don’t they go together like love and marriage, a horse and carriage? Here’s the real reason I love Lionel Shriver:

  • Terence Davies, The Deep Blue Sea, 2011, 35 mm, color, sound, 98 minutes. Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz)

    John Waters

    1 The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies) The agony and passion of obsessive love and a broken heart are so well wrought here that you’ll wish you were suicidal over someone who didn’t love you back.

    2 Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl) Fassbinder died, so God gave us Ulrich Seidl. I laughed uproariously throughout this horrifying portrait of a religious fanatic, and if there’s something the matter with you, you will, too.

    3 Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl) Middle-aged women sex tourists can be just as piggish as their male counterparts. But when the sexually exploited begin to exploit back, who’s the victim?

  • Pedro Almodóvar, La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In), 2011, still from a color film in 35 mm, 117 minutes. Zeca (Roberto Álamo).

    John Waters

    1 The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar) A dark, twisted, beautiful, and, yes, funny shocker from the greatest director in the world. God bless you, Pedro Almodóvar!

    2 Mildred Pierce (Todd Haynes) This elegantly shot, pitch-perfect made-for-TV melodrama makes everyone who watches secretly yearn to be a woman with issues. The best period film in decades—period.

    3 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Jon M. Chu) I’m not kidding. A well-made doc that proves the Bieb was a child prodigy. Wait until you see Justin stick his head into the audience and shake his hair in 3-D. I screamed.

    4 Hadewijch (Bruno

  • John Waters

    1 Domain (Patric Chiha) My favorite movie of the year. A forty-year-old alcoholic aunt (played by Béatrice Dalle—“Betty Blue” herself!) and her gayish teenage nephew form a perversely close relationship by taking walks together. Lots of walks! So many walks you’ll be left breathless by the sheer elegance of this astonishing little workout.

    2 Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé) The best film ever about taking hallucinogenic drugs. Seizure-inducing title credits, cinematography that looks as if it were shot by a Gerhard Richter–influenced kamikaze pilot—even vagina cams. Gaspar, thank you. You’re