Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder

Farrar. May 2019. 336p. illus. ISBN 9780374214968. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374715571. FILM
Movie director/artist/lecture circuit speaker/all-around trash-talking raconteur Waters has aged, but he hasn't lost his power to provoke. Now in his 70s, Waters still dishes the dirt, outrages and offends, and snarks wonderfully. This collection of essays and musings (after his hitchhiking memoir Carsick) goes on a somewhat chronological path from well-polished tales of cult filmmaking and trashy indulgence to mainstream success, infamy to fame, reminiscences of a pre-AIDS sex and drugs era, even a fantasy of his death and burial. Interspersed are chapters calling for filth activism, gossiping about on-set behavior, serving up sex tips, throwing Hollywood bouquets and bombs, hectoring a malformed baby doll, and considering an acid trip. Some of the longer pieces read more like movie storyboards and get bogged down in excess—Waters even manages to make his own death into an extended zombie apocalypse movie. But the man in the Maybelline mustache will have readers laughing one minute and gagging the next, all while rejoicing that this "filth elder" still walks (or crawls) the earth.
VERDICT For once and future Waters fans. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18; "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/1/19.]
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