NSFP

I don't know if that's an official abbreviation, but I wish someone had shared it with me before I put on Pecker in the company of friends and family last night.  It's the first of three John Waters movies I'm watching in preparation for my Dynamic of the City class today.  And boy, is it foul.  Several of the plotlines involve adult entertainment, and this guy is not shy about poking the camera places it wasn't meant to go.  In fact, other than a few lines of well-aimed satire at the artistic upper echelon of New York, the movie was pretty awful.

The first year I taught Creative Writing, the wonderful movie Stranger than Fiction came out.  I happened to see it with Rob, and we both agreed that if ever there were a movie that young writers needed to watch, this was it.  So I made an impassioned plea to the principal.  The movie's PG-13, and I thought I remembered most of the reasons for that rating, which I explained to her in detail.  For instance, the protagonist gets together with a girl and there's a shot of the two of them lying half-asleep in bed together.  I thought this was actually pretty tame, considering it's a monogamous relationship and the thrust of the whole movie is decidedly pro-life and positive.

The principal, an optimistic and wise leader, told me it sounded like a great idea.  So another teacher and I piled students into our cars and left school a couple of hours early to catch a matinee.  (As you can imagine, the students loved this.  And, since I had underestimated the amount of time it takes a dozen high-school seniors to decide on and order lunch, we also had to sneak food into the theater.  That won me street credit for a week.)

Watching the movie with the students, however, I noticed all kinds of things I hadn't when I'd watched it with Rob.  Every curse word made me flinch.  When the camera panned over a couple of naked rear ends in a locker room, I was mortified.  A scene where the main character fantasizes about the girl he likes (no pictures, just voiced-over thoughts) was almost unbearable.  Despite the fact that the students loved the movie and got a lot out of it, I left feeling exhausted and defeated.  I wanted to teach them something, but I couldn't filter out all the junk.

So, I'm sympathetic to my professor.  He probably remembers watching the movie, the cheesy acting and the didactic satire and all the great shots of Baltimore.  If he's like me, he's blocked the memory of the more unseemly bits.  But still, a warning would have been nice, especially before I told my mom to watch.