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John Waters' Favorite Movies


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THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (2020)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) - IMDb

Watch these two empowering real-life contempt-of-court docudramas together as a double feature. One goes back to 1969, when American white radicals actually had a sense of humor and used it as comic terrorism, and the other shows there was nothing funny about the West Indian immigrants who, a year later in the UK, refused to stop marching and kicked ****. Afterward, go out and film yourself getting arrested at a protest rally. Then you’ll be the best movie of the year.

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SMALL AXE: MANGROVE (2020)

Steve McQueen, Mangrove, 2020, HD video, color, sound, 124 minutes. Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright).

"Watch these two empowering real-life contempt-of-court docudramas together as a double feature. One goes back to 1969, when American white radicals actually had a sense of humor and used it as comic terrorism, and the other shows there was nothing funny about the West Indian immigrants who, a year later in the UK, refused to stop marching and kicked ****. Afterward, go out and film yourself getting arrested at a protest rally. Then you’ll be the best movie of the year."

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AMERICAN MURDER: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR (2020)

American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020) - IMDb

"This doc has the visual goods to tell a hard-hitting true-crime story really well without cheesy reenactments, but what makes it even more powerful is how depressing it is for the viewer to discover the cute guy is the real killer."

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THE ONANIA CLUB (2020)

The Onania Club (2020) - IMDb

OK, I’m really going out on a limb here, replacing Pedro Almodóvar’s exquisite Parallel Mothers, a film everybody should love, with this loathsome unreleased feature everybody will probably hate. The Human Centipede director tops himself with a story of rich Los Angeles women who gather together to **** while watching news footage of the world’s misery. Often wrongheaded but sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, it has been rejected by film distributors worldwide. All I can say is that the movie sure as hell delivers. You will probably never be able to see it. Maybe that’s a good thing . . .

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SAINT-NARCISSE (2020)

Saint-Narcisse (2020) - IMDb

The Canadian punk queer director’s most successfully realized movie, elegantly shot and seamlessly put together. Think Vali the Witch of Positano meets twin Joe Dallesandros. Catholic, sexy, and oh so deviantly devout.

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SUMMER OF SOUL (...OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) (2021)

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) -  IMDb

Beautifully edited from forgotten footage left behind in a lab, the so-called Black Woodstock concert film, originally shot in 1969 in Harlem, rises to the top of 2021 with a vengeance. The camera practically goes down Clara Ward’s throat to show us just where her great gospel voice actually begins. Wait till you see Nina Simone—never angrier! She’ll kick your **** and so will this movie.

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD (2021)

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (2021) - IMDb

Imagine, today, openly gay director Luchino Visconti being allowed inside a high school to parade auditioning half-naked teenage boys in front of him for his film Death in Venice. This harrowing documentary explores the perils of teen stardom for the kid who got the part and went from being the most beautiful to the most **** up.

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ANNETTE (2021)

Annette (2021) - IMDb

The best movie of the year is an insane, over-the-top, and thankfully self-indulgent Sparks Brothers musical about an angry macho performance artist, his opera-diva girlfriend, and their daughter, who is somehow born a puppet. See it by yourself so no one you know can possibly ruin this nutcase masterpiece. Oh yeah—it’s really long.

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RED ROCKET (2021)

Red Rocket (2021) - IMDb

Shocking? Refreshing? The male gaze comes out of today’s PC closet in an incredibly well-cast tale of a washed-up hetero male porn star who goes back to his meth-head ex-wife and mother-in-law in Texas to start a new dysfunctional life. Finally, ****’, fightin’, and frontal nudity are back on the art-house screen, where they belong.

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FRANCE (2021)

France (2021) - IMDb

This psychological study of a fictitious popular female newscaster may start out conventionally, but the assured director’s long pauses and cruel plot twists quickly turn a quasi attack on the media and its ravenous consumers into a searing critique of both the tedium and the emotional risk of living in the public eye.

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VORTEX (2021)

Vortex (2021) - IMDb

The director’s most humane and unironic yet scarily claustrophobic feel-bad drama about death is filmed in split-screen Duo-Vision, so be prepared for twice the disturbing power of his other cinematic shockers.

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH (2021)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) - IMDb

If Ingmar Bergman came back from beyond the grave today to direct Shakespeare on film, this is what it would look like. Kathryn Hunter as all three of the witches has to be seen to be believed.

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