Projections - Movie Reviews

Cecil B. Demented Cecil B. Demented

The rebel spirit of independent film making comes to the fore in John Walters' Cecil B. Demented, a vigorous satire which wryly plays off the patty Hearst tale in anti Hollywood fashion.

The bold director sets his sights on teen cinema goers who revel with the parodies of the likes of Scream and its successors.  With a performance by Stephen Dorff that gamely merits his title role, Walters has a more biting and rough version of the last year's cunning Bowfinger.

As the title indicates, Walters doesn't have quite the handle over his ideal subject like Martin did, with Eddie Murphy and cast mates.  Still, Cecil B. Demented boasts spry work from Dorff, Melanie Griffith, and a hip cast.  Its opening is as good as any of Walters' darkly acrid films, which range from Polyester to the more recent Pecker.

There's much humor from the derision of hit movie songs, and multiplexes get jibed as a Pauly Shore comic film festival is proudly displayed at theaters.

The creative, but wacky, Baltimore director briskly transitions to an energetic, flavorful depiction of anarchy by cinema vigilantes led by terrorist Cecil B Demented (Dorff).  Griffith's spoiled Honey Whitlock milks reporters at her plush hotel suite and the diva harries her publicist Libby, (Ricki Lake).

Honey's life is turned upside down, when Demented and his "Sprocket Holes" backers hijack the Baltimore venue hosting the charity premiere of Honey's new film.  As Honey cries for Jack Valenti, the militant infiltraters saver autonomy over awful cinema.

The kidnaped mainstream starlet, on a career decline, is heavily made over for Cecil's "Raving Beauty."  Then the captive Honey is the embittered wife of an unsuccessful art film exhibitor, ready to chastise the mainstream faithful.

Cecil's ultimate reality includes the use of non-thespians and as the Sprockets take a vow of celibacy while "Raving Beauty" is in production, with their hormonal energies transferred into Demented's artistic vision.

A Maryland Film Commission event is sabotaged, and they hit the set of the $65 million sequel to a hugely affecting Tom Hanks' movie entitled, Gump Again.  Cecil and the Sprockets have to enlist action movie buffs, to contain an irate family audience.

Walters gets some comic support from his younger troupe representing the Sprockets who pay homage to lauded directors like Peckinpah and Preminger, even Pop Art icon Andy Warhol, with tattoos.  Jack Noseworthy covers over his straight hairstylist and Alicia Witt has fun as porn star, Cherish in a naughty film series, one of which is called Rear Entry, in which she's featured with a gerbil.  Just another exalted raunchy romp from Walter's insatiable imagination.

Punk and psychedelic atmosphere are conveyed with texture from Vincent Paeanio's designs, with Cecil's abandoned lair looking like a hallucinogenic junk house.  This is Walter's demented declaration of independent film making.

Cecil B. Demented

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