Cry-Baby

Cry Baby

"I have run out of things to watch", "I have seen that before"," there is nothing on this telly" and "All these channels but nothing decent on it" All things I have said during this period of self-isolation.

Then I stumbled across this movie from the 1990 American romantic teen musical movie written and directed by John Waters and starring Johnny Depp called Cry-Baby. Now, I love movies and thought I had seen most, if not all of the (I am going to say unique) movies you could think of - that was until now.


Johnny Depp is joined by Susan Tyrell, Polly Bergen, Iggy Pop, Willem Defoe, Traci Lords and Ricki Lake in this musical comedy that spoofs films such as Rebel Without A Cause and Jailhouse Rock.

It is set in 1954 Baltimore, and the first thing you see is a fashioned 50's style Universal Logo and some 50s style music. A stage curtain opens, and the movie begins. It is a classic love story, a well-behaved young lady named Allison fancies a bit of rough and falls for a teenage orphan from the wrong side of the tracks - Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker. Cry-Baby is a rebellious rocker that has a gift that no men I know of have, he can make women swoon by shedding a single tear.

Cry-Baby is the leader of a gang of "Drapes", which includes his teenage sister Pepper, facially disfigured Mona "Hatchet Face" Malnorowski, wild and free-spirited Wanda Woodward, and Milton Hackett, the nervous son of overzealous religious activists.





The “Drapes” welcome pretty much anyone as long as a good time is to be had and often listen to doo wop music where as the “Squares"display confederate-imagery and listen to ‘hit parade’ music.

One day after school, he is approached by Allison Vernon-Williams, a pretty girl tired of being a "Square", and the two fall in love.

That same day, Cry-Baby approaches the "Square" part of town to attend a talent show at the recreation centre, where Allison's grandmother hosts events and introduces himself to her. She is sceptical of his motives (he is from the wrong side of the tracks after all). Cry-Baby invites Allison to a party at Turkey Point, a local hangout spot for the “Drapes”.

Despite her grandmother's scepticism, Allison accompanies Cry-Baby to Turkey Point and sings with the “Drapes”.

As Cry-Baby and Allison tell each other about their orphan lives, Allison's jealous “Square” ex-boyfriend, Baldwin starts a riot.

[Allison stops Cry-Baby from fondling her]

Allison: I wanna let you, but I can't, for my parent's sake, Cry-Baby. They're both dead. I'm an orphan!

Cry-Baby: I'm sorry, Allison. But no wonder we're together, honey. I'm an orphan, too.

Allison: You are?

Cry-Baby: Yes! And orphans have special needs.

Allison: Just on the outside of the shirt, okay?

Cry-Baby: That's right, Allison. My father was the "Alphabet Bomber." He may have been crazy, but he was my pop. Only one I ever had.

Allison: God. I heard about the Alphabet Bomber. Bombs exploding in the... in the airport and barbershop...

Cry-Baby: That's right. All in alphabetical order. Car wash... drug store... I used to lay in my crib and hear him scream in his sleep..."A,B,C,D,E,F,G... BOOM! BOOM!"

Allison: But your mom...

Cry-Baby: My mother tried to stop him. She couldn't even spell, for Christ's sake, but they fried her too.

Allison: [to Cry Baby] Mommy and Daddy took separate planes for safety, you know, in case one plane crashed, I'd still have a living parent. But Cry Baby, both planes crashed, and I never saw my parents alive again.

Cry-Baby is blamed for the riot and sent to jail, outraging all his friends.

Eventually, Allison is persuaded by the newly established alliance with the “Drapes” to stand by Cry-Baby and join the campaign for his release ("Please, Mr Jailer" one of the catchiest songs ever!).

Cry-Baby is released but immediately insulted by Baldwin who, after revealing that his grandfather is the one who electrocuted Cry-Baby's father, challenges him to a chicken race.

Cry-Baby wins, as Baldwin chickens out, and is reunited with Allison.

Baldwin: You think you're a big man, Cry-Baby, but you're lower than your dead father! And guess who pulled the switch on that jerk? My grandpappy, that's who! And every Christmas since, my whole family gathers together, and he retells the story of the day he electrocuted your daddy, and we just laugh!

Hatchet Face: Let me punch his ugly face!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: It's okay, Hatchet. You're beautiful, baby. But I'll take care of this maggot! Do you know how to play the automobile game called Chicken?

Baldwin: Sure! My car and your jalopy! We head toward one other at full speed. First one to turn the wheel before we smash is a chicken!

The Judge: Is that legal?

Mrs Vernon-Williams, Allison's Grandmother: Stop this insanity!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: I got some new rules, sucker! How 'bout you and me on top of the car?

Baldwin: [hesitates] I'm man enough, you big cry baby!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: That's "Mr Baby" to you! Fellas of the press, this chicken race tonight is for my daddy. And I'd like to sing something in his memory. Something hill-billy... something colored!

[Baldwin groans]

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: Something, my daddy, would have loved!

It's much like Romeo and Juliet, exceptJuliet (if Romeo and Juliet had catchy and addictive musical numbers), and instead of the Montagues and the Capulets, you have the “Squares” (good guys) and the “Drapes” (bad guys). If Romeo and Juliet had catchy and addictive musical numbers like "Please, Mr, Jailer" a song I still haven't been able to get out my head!),

The movie gives you gang fights, jail time & heartbreak all in the quest for love as Cry-Baby must battle a grandma, an ex-boyfriend and even prison to be with his girl.

The cast is hilarious, and Ricki Lake had one my favourite lines in the movie "The first thing a Cry-Baby girl learns is, our bazooms are our weapons."

Allison: It's really wild, but I'm-I'm afraid that I'm not gonna fit in here. You know, with your friends and stuff.

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: You're cool, Allison. You just look square. Underneath it all, I think you're really hep.

Hatchet-Face: Well, what have we here?

Wanda: The first square to ever set foot in Turkey Point.

Pepper: Hey fine mama, welcome to the Jukebox Jamboree!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: These are the Cry-Baby girls. That's Wanda.

Wanda: Dig it, babe. You need a new look!

Hatchet-Face: Don't you got tits? Stick 'em out, for God's sake!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: That's Hatchet-face. She don't mean no harm.

Pepper: The first thing a Cry-Baby girl learns: our bazooms are our weapons!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: Now, Pepper's pregnant, but she can fight like a man!

Wanda: I wouldn't be caught dead in a full skirt.

Pepper: Hey girls, what do you think? Let's give Allison here a bad girl beauty makeover. You game?

Allison: Sure! Think I got what it takes?

Hatchet-Face, Wanda, Pepper: Whoa ho ho!

Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: You got it, Allison. You got it raw!

However, my favourite character would be Kim Macguire's Hatchet Face, a tough-as-nails girl gang member. Kim’s make up and her facial expressions make her fit the roll perfectly. Hatchet Face owns her ugliness and uses it to her advantage. She gets the fella’s and breaks all the norms with regards to beauty.

Anyone who has watched any previous John Waters films will know he is out there and he has his own style of writing dialogue. If you haven’t seen any of his previous movies be prepared for silliness, vulgarity and humour.

4 views
  • Facebook
  • https://www.instagram.com/epicshenanigators/

© 2023