“Pecker” (1998) dir. John Waters


“Pecker” is arguably John Waters’ last good film. I hate to say this, because I personally like Waters as a raconteur and essayist. Even for his movies that I didn’t particularly like (“Cecil B. Demented” and “A Dirty Shame”), the audio commentaries on the DVDs are a riot and are worth the price of the DVDs alone.

Having said that, “Pecker” is Waters’ very funny and appealing utopian vision of an unusually cool, but diverse underground … a mix of high-brow and low-brow, blue-collar and hipster, gay and straight, criminal and non-criminal, etc. I’ve never really liked Edward Furlong as an actor, but he’s really great as the title character, an “outsider” artist and photographer who sees beauty and art in (mostly blue collar) things many people dismiss or laugh at “ironically.” His navigation from obscurity to fame to fame on his terms may be unrealistic, but it is inspiring and very sweet.

Despite my sentiments about what a sweet film this is, there is full frontal nudity and a lot of rude jokes / language scattered throughout “Pecker” so if you’re prudish, it’s best to stay away. However, “Pecker” is a very fun movie and it gives one hope that someday, artistic and social barriers can come down and all the cool people can finally come together, hang out, and well, be cool with what each person decides makes them happy.

For better or worse, “Pecker” is the pop cultural artifact that introduced “teabagging” to a wide audience.