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John Waters, 1998
USA | Format: 35mm | 87 minutes
Waters’s send-up of the New York art world is also a loving, detailed portrait of working-class life in Baltimore—where Waters, by the time of Pecker’s production, had become a bona fide local hero—and a sort-of allegory for his own rise to fame. Edward Furlong plays an irrepressible teen photographer whose grainy snapshots of local outcasts unexpectedly make him and his girlfriend (Christina Ricci) heroes of the Manhattan cognoscenti (among them Cindy Sherman, playing herself). Whitney exhibits and magazine cover offers follow, but Pecker, in the end, stays true to his roots—in this case, his sister’s gay strip club and his grandmother’s talking statue of the Virgin Mary. At the time of its making, Pecker, despite Waters’s public protests to the contrary, was likely the closest he had come to expressing his own attitude toward the Hollywood system that embraced him.