VIDEO : 25 YEARS LATER, `FLAMINGOS' STILL SHOCKS.Byline: Robert Bianco Special to the Daily News
When it was released in 1972, ``Pink Flamingos'' was the unchallenged pinnacle of poor taste.
Tastes have changed over the last quarter century. Language has coarsened coars·en
tr. & intr.v. coars·ened, coars·en·ing, coars·ens
To make or become coarse.
Adj. 1. coarsened - made coarse or crude by lack of skill
inferior - of low or inferior quality , movies have become more explicit, and audiences have become harder to shock. Yet as John Waters' cult classic celebrates its 25th anniversary, I'm happy to report ``Pink Flamingos'' still maintains its power to surprise and sicken. Whether you think America's tastes have declined or improved, ``Pink Flamingos'' is still certifiably, undeniably tasteless.
It's good to know some classics have held up.
``Pink Flamingos'' (1972, New Line; $19.98) returns to video after its brief theatrical rerelease re·re·lease
tr.v. re·re·leased, re·re·leas·ing, re·re·leas·es
To release (a movie, for example) again.
re in a special digitally remastered anniversary edition that includes ``never-before-seen footage.'' (Considering what got into ``Pink Flamingos,'' one shudders to imagine what could have been cut.) Starring the late and legendary 300-pound transvestite trans·ves·tite
One who practices transvestism.
transvestite Sexology A person with a compulsion to dress as a member of the other sex, which may be essential to maintaining an erection and achieving orgasm. See Transsexual. Divine, the film is the simple story of a simple woman's drive to be the Filthiest Person Alive. Having defended her title, she celebrates with a film-ending meal of dog excrement excrement /ex·cre·ment/ (eks´kri-mint)
2. excretion (2).
Waste matter or any excretion cast out of the body, especially feces. .
Ignore the film-buff debates and tell yourself it's an editing trick. You'll sleep better.
Undeniably unique (how many other films get so much mileage out of dog poop Poop
A slang term often used to describe people with insider information.
Not the most illustrious name.
See also: Insider Information and egg-sucking?), ``Pink Flamingos'' is best seen by the young - though not too young. College age seems about right. If you're way past college and you still haven't seen ``Flamingos,'' it may be best to remain uninitiated.
Everyone, however, should see at least one film by John Waters, one of the film world's true and rare originals. A four-tape Waters collection (``Pink Flamingos,'' ``Desperate Living,'' ``Polyester'' and ``Hairspray'') is available from New Line for $59.98, but unless you're already a devoted fan, four at once may be three too many. Consider starting slowly with one of the following:
``Hairspray'' (1988, New Line; $14.98): Waters' most accessible and popular film is also widely considered his best - though fans of the more outrageous early movies would disagree. This musical satire set in a 1962 TV dance show studio defends outcasts and attacks racism while maintaining a benevolent sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour and wonder - no easy task. It's Divine's last movie, and the movie that made a star out of a pre-diet Ricki Lake This article is about the person. For the talk show, see Ricki Lake (talk show).
Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968) is an American actress and tabloid talk show host, perhaps best known for her long-running Ricki Lake , who went on to set nadirs of taste on her own.
``Polyester'' (1981, New Line; $19.98): Waters' first stab at a mainstream movie stars Divine as a frustrated housewife who finds the man of her dreams in Tab Hunter Tab Hunter (born Arthur Andrew Kelm, July 11, 1931) is an American actor and singer. Biography
Hunter was born in New York City, New York, to immigrants from Germany. . The movie was filmed in ``Odorama,'' but unfortunately, the video does not come with the required scratch-and-sniff card.
``Serial Mom'' (1994, HBO Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO)
A form of oxygen therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen in a pressurized chamber.
Mentioned in: Ozone Therapy ; $19.98): Waters' maternal heroines tend to be loving and well-intentioned, but, well, a tad unbalanced. In ``Mom,'' a very funny Kathleen Turner plays a perfect housewife who finds it necessary to kill people who threaten her view of perfection. What, you've never felt like strangling someone who wears white shoes after Labor Day Labor Day, holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on the first Monday in September to honor the laborer. It was inaugurated by the Knights of Labor in 1882 and made a national holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1894. ?
Elsewhere on video:
Like ``Pink Flamingos,'' ``Das Boot'' (1982, Columbia TriStar; $24.95) is returning to video after a limited theatrical re-release. ``Boot,'' however, returns in drastically altered fashion: This 3-1/2-hour director's cut director's cut
The version of a film in which the editing process is overseen, executed, or approved by the director, usually including footage not included in the standard release. , supervised and re-edited by writer-director Wolfgang Petersen, is almost twice as long as the 1983 English-language video release. The restored version is being released in letterbox The effect of displaying a wide screen movie on a standard TV set the way it was originally shot in full panoramic format. On the TV, the image frame spans the full width of the screen, but because of the difference in aspect ratios of the two formats (wide screen movie vs. in two versions: dubbed or in German with subtitles.
Horror guru Wes Craven revived his career with ``Scream'' (1996, Miramax; priced for rental), a surprise hit that puts a witty twist on slasher films. Rent the original to prepare yourself for the inevitable sequels.
``In Love and War'' (1996, Warner; priced for rental): Chris O'Donnell stars as Ernest Hemingway, who is nursed back to health by Sandra Bullock. Bullock's character, the World War I medical volunteer, inspired ``A Farewell to Arms.'' Amazingly enough, audiences didn't buy it. After ``Love and War,'' the word was Sandra Bullock should never choose another period piece. (After ``Speed 2'' - possibly the least exciting action movie ever made - word is she should be prohibited from choosing her own movies at all.)
``Ridicule'' (1997, Miramax; priced for rental): This highly praised French comedy (in French, with subtitles) follows a visiting country engineer to the court of Louis XVI. There he develops the two weapons needed for survival: a quick wit and a sharp tongue.
Two films new to the rental market are notable mainly for their casts. ``A Couch in New York'' (1997, BMG BMG Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (Germand: Federal Ministry for Health)
BMG Be My Girl
BMG Blue Man Group
BMG Bertelsmann Music Group
BMG Be My Guest
BMG Browning Machine Gun
BMG Bulk Metallic Glass ; priced for rental) stars Oscar-winners Juliette Binoche and William Hurt; ``Gridlock'd'' (1996, PolyGram; priced for rental) stars the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
A ruthless prisoner being transferred to a federal prison by air kills the guards and hijacks the plane. You can see it this year as ``Con Air.'' You could have seen it last year as ``Turbulence'' (1996, Warner; priced for rental). And knowing Hollywood, you'll see it again next year.
Photo: Jerry Stiller, left, Divine and Ricki Lake in John Waters' 1988 film ``Hairspray.''