Like many girls my age, I went through a period immediately after the release of Pirates of the Caribbean in which I was absolutely obsessed with Johnny Depp. My mother had a similar interest, and so we set out on a quest to watch every movie he had ever filmed, including the deeply questionable ones (there are some doozies). And that, kind denizens of the interwebs, is how I ended up watching this little gem while completely sober:
I have since grown older and wiser, and more refined in my cinematic tastes, and thus I now recognize this film as one of the greatest drunk movie watching experiences a person can have. Nothing about this movie makes sense, and that’s before you take the musical numbers into consideration. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with teenage-heart-throb-era Johnny Depp.
The film: Cry-Baby (1990)
The premise: In the 1950s, Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker (Depp) is a bad boy from the red neck side of town, who pals around with a rag-tag gang of musically-inclined delinquents known as the “Drapes.” The gang is made up of Cry-Baby’s pregnant sister Pepper (who already has twin children), the proudly ugly Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnoroski, her boyfriend Milton Hackett (whose evangelist parents occasionally show up to protest the gang), and teenage vixen Wanda Woodward, whose loving and emotionally supportive parents are maybe the film’s greatest punchline. The “plot,” such as it is, starts when Cry-Baby attracts the attention of good-girl Allison Vernon-Williams, the squarest of them all and granddaughter of Mrs. Vernon-Williams, owner of the local charm school. From there, things get out of hand quickly, and somehow this movie goes from standard 80s romance fare to oh-my-god-what-the-hell-is-happening-is-that-the-Benny-Hill-theme-WHY-ARE-THEY-SINGING in about ten minutes.
If you feel like you have no idea what this movie is about after watching that trailer, you pretty must get the jist of it. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, and every second is worth watching.
Why you should watch it: One word: acting. Not, like, high-quality, everybody-deserves-awards, I-hate-you-and-your-perfectly-expressive-faces acting, but rather oh my god what are you doing acting. Everybody in this movie knows exactly what kind of film it is, and they are over-acting the hell out of it to great comedic effect. The fact that the dialogue is just as campy and absurd as the artistic styling only adds to the genius. Here are a few choice quotes:
“You’ve made me the happiest juvenile delinquent in Baltimore!”
“Your Honor, could we take Wanda ‘the fuck’ home?”
“Oh, this is the best gang my grandson could ever have!”
“Let Jesus Christ be your gang-leader!”
“The first thing a Cry-Baby girl learns: our bazooms are our weapons!”
Every single stupid, absurd line is delivered with the kind of joyful relish that can only come from a cast that’s having way too much fun. Same goes for the musical numbers, which are all lip-synced–badly. The songs are all covers of 50s classics, but none of the actual cast is singing them, so you get this hilarious mis-match between the actors and the voice singing. Incidentally, this movie is the reason I know how to do the bunny hop. Thanks, Cry-Baby!
Oh, and did I mention that more than half of the cast of this movie is female? Also Iggy Pop is in it. Naked. No, really.
The drinking game: Drink whenever Cry-Baby cries, Allison gasps, or Wanda scrunches up her face (you’ll know it when you see it). If you’re really brave, add in whenever somebody says “Square” or “Drape.”
Bonus: Drink every time Johnny Depp hates his teen heart-throb career.
Where it’s available: Yes, it is on Netflix!
“Woo-wee, you caught me in my birthday suit! Butt nekkid!” -Iggy Pop