Sunday, May 17, 2009
As Alan Smithee gets older, he realizes that there are only a handful of contemporary American directors who have a distinctive voice that one can identify in their films and that can be satisfying in way that is independent of the other qualities of a film. Some examples are Woody Allen and Robert Altman, as well as younger directors like Wes Anderson and Todd Solondz.
John Waters is a distinctive comedic voice, and with Pecker, he reined in some of his more camp tendencies and made what Alan Smithee feels is his most satisfying film. Here's a classic Watersian comic moment: Pecker is an amateur photographer who makes it big in the New York art world. When his girlfriend Shelley catches him kissing the gallery owner, she screams "I hate modern photography!" Alan Smithee has observed that even those weaned on modern Hollywood comedies are capable of understanding and enjoying Pecker. And for those with some discernment, it satisfies.
Alan Smithee finds that re-viewing the work of the aforementioned directors brings him comfort as he ages. The world around him grows increasingly more generic, but their voices remain undiluted. They are American treasures.