Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2013. Automat Pictures, Making it Big. Cinematography by John Chater, John Davis, Dan DeJesus, David A. Ford, Marsha Kahm, Cameron MacDonald, James Mulryan, Elle Schneider, Steven Wacks, Clay Westervelt. Produced by Jon Glover, Lotti Pharriss Knowles, Lance Robertson, Jeffrey Schwarz. Music by Michael Cudahy. Film Editing by Phillip J. Bartell. Dorian Awards 2013.
Stylish, heartfelt and witty documentary about the now legendary performer who first burst out in John Waters’ underground cult classics. A shy teenager who loved food and fashion, Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead) became the caustic drag performer whose years-long friendship with Waters resulted in his starring in the majority of the quirkmaster’s experimental and later successful films. Divine made a big splash being filmed eating dog poop in Pink Flamingos and became an overnight sensation that led to bigger roles, including a starring turn in Lust In The Dust before Hairspray made him mainstream and Hollywood finally came calling. His first gig in the big time was a guest role on Married With Children but, tragically, his life of indulgent excess caught up with him and he died of a heart attack the night before he was due to appear on the set. Friends and family appear on screen, with his mother the most moving of the interviews and Waters the warmest and funniest: his way of describing his late friend with a frankly humorous tone is touching, never disrespectful but not falsely reverent either.