Making It Big

Conversely, as Pecker allegorizes its maker's preference to remain based in his beloved hometown, Pecker represents Waters's idealized vision of himself: the modest Baltimore kid who did his own thing while giving a boost to the members of his surrogate-family stock company along the way. (Perhaps seeing Divine Trash compelled Waters to feel nostalgic.) Resembling the strategic sidestep Tarantino took with Jackie Brown, Pecker (which seems destined for similarly underwhelmed reviews) raises a glass to "the end of irony," defying the pulp fiction that made its director a celebrity. It's a genuinely sweet idea, and the movie, like every Waters production since 1969's Mondo Trasho, is charmingly moralistic: Take care not to sell out your friends and family, it says, and to thine own self be true. What better motto for the artist who dared to immortalize himself through a 300-pound, trash-talking transvestite in cha-cha heels?

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