Each month I’m going to take a look at an actor, actress, or filmmaker that I grew up loving and has informed my own career (if calling what I do in the industry qualifies as such) in writing or performing. Films are supposed to be fun, entertaining ventures that allow an escape from the day-to-day happenings of our lives. Why not celebrate the uncelebrated, folks. Join me on my quest as I gush over those who have inspired me to put words on a website that will ultimately never equate what it means to be honored by their peers at an official award show or film festival.
As a kid growing up in Northern Illinois I always found Hollywood films as the ultimate escape from my trashy city surroundings. One summer, at the age of thirteen, I found the films of John Waters. Much to my surprise John Waters was the very man behind the brilliant film “Serial Mom” which I enjoyed at the inappropriate age of seven. “Serial Mom” had stuck with me for sometime and falling down the Waters’ rabbit hole I was thrust into the worlds of “Hairspray,” “Cry-Baby,” and “Pecker”, and I loved it.
It wouldn’t be for another few years that I would realize that what I was experiencing was John Waters-lite. A more family friendly version of the director that was known as the Pope of Trash. Sure, I’d read online about his infamous film “Pink Flamingos,” but reading and seeing are two very different things.
Finally sometime around 2000 New Line Cinema released Mr. Waters’ films on awesome double feature DVD collections. Hairspray/Pecker came first. I was safe again all these years later. Polyester/Desperate Living was next. Dipping my toes into the seedy side of Independent film, my safe escape of Hollywood via Baltimore began to look more and more like my own backyard in shithole Rockford, IL. Finally Pink Flamingos/Female Trouble was in stock at my local high priced chain store. I remember racing home to my DVD player and falling head over heels in love with the insanely talented, and equally stunning Mink Stole.
Mink Stole’s presence in the films of John Waters was one of many the filmmaker had bonded with in his youth. Her ability to transform herself between roles is uncanny. Whether playing an obscene narcissist or disgruntled housewife on the verge of a mental breakdown, Mink’s early worked laid the foundation for what would become the perfect Waters’ character. With Waters’ you often find yourself drawn to the antagonist or protagonist for many of the same reasons. In “Pink Flamingos” you root for Divine to out-wit the Marble’s at every turn, but her actions are equally as deplorable as the Marbles. So how do you possibly choose sides in actions of the grotesque? Simple. Connie Marble is a cunt. Stole’s wicked portrayal of Connie Marble is applauded by Waters’ fans and critics alike for her willingness to go as deep as the material allows.
As Waters’ movies became bigger studio fare, Mink and her fellow surviving Dreamlanders found their roles becoming lesser and lesser. As Collin’s studio producer Tammy in “Hairspray,” Mink found herself in new territory as an uptight yet hip woman of the 60s. In “Cry-Baby” she found herself playing a Mother figure. 1994 proved to be the perfect melting pot for Mink as she found herself in “Serial Mom” as Dottie Hinkle. Dottie is tortured throughout the film by Kathleen Turner’s titular character. “Serial Mom” had the perfect ingredients of Waters’ filth roots and Hollywood influence.
I believe I’ve heard Waters say this is his favorite film he’s done. It’s easy to see that being a true statement as it is as close to a perfect Waters’ film as you can get. Obscene yet silly, “Serial Mom” makes the argument for the filmmaker that he can have his cake and eat it too. And Mink plays a terrific victim. Her commitment to the role is exactly what Waters and Turner need for this film to work. Turner’s over the top introduction is a thing of beauty, but the film thrusts itself into top speed when you see her first prank call to Dottie. What Stole delivers on the opposite end of the call is as close to a flawless tennis match as it gets. Up to this point of the film we’re seeing Turner slam perfect serves into the wall. Mink’s introduction is two pros lobbing the ball to one another, and it’s fantastic to watch.
Over the years Mink has found herself working alongside many independent filmmakers, as well as writing a weekly column for the Baltimore City Paper. Back home in Baltimore the veteran of stage and screen also released a wonderful album “Do Re Mink” in 2013 via a successful Kickstarter campaign. The album is currently available on Apple Music. Mink’s sultry take on “Female Trouble,” “Bang Bang” and “What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry” are swingin’ tracks that beg to be played while lounging about with a glass of Duke Bourbon in hand. Mink, we adore you.
Jeremy Morrison – Staff Writer
Co-creator/host of the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, film reviewer, screenwriter, Jeremy has more than eight years experience in television and film production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. J-Mo lives by one motto: #wecantallbezacksnyder