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Two Tuesdays: Hairspray (1988)

A 'pleasantly plump' teenager teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
(PG - 92 min.)


Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Discover cinematic connections with Two Tuesdays—a curated film series pairing related movies on the last two Tuesdays of the month. This series is Free for Members.
June 18: Cry-Baby (1990)
June 25: Hairspray (1988)

directed by John Waters, and starring Ricki Lake, Divine, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Leslie Ann Powers, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Michael St. Gerard. Hairspray was a dramatic departure from Waters' earlier works, with a much broader intended audience. Hairspray's PG is the mildest rating a Waters film has received; most of his previous films were rated X by the MPAA. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film revolves around self-proclaimed "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation. [Warner Bros]

Starring: Ricki Lake, Divine, Jerry Stiller, Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Vitamin C, Debbie Harry
Director: John Waters
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Family

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"Thoroughly deserving of its cult status."

— Kim Newman, Empire Magazine

"The defining moment in the auteur's career-long dedication to lionizing Baltimore's misfit population."

— Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness

"The movie is a bubble-headed series of teenage crises and crushes, alternating with historically accurate choreography of such forgotten dances as the Madison and the Roach."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"While it's corny by design, Hairspray also aims to get at something truthful, about the various kinds of prejudice [...] and how youthful optimism and music made a difference [...]."

— Noel Murray, The Dissolve

"Not only Waters's best movie, but a crossover gesture that expands his appeal without compromising his vision one iota; Ricki Lake as the hefty young heroine is especially delightful."

— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

"Ricki Lake’s unselfconscious performance as the all-dancing, all-bouffant Tracy Turnblad is a joy, Debbie Harry makes a fabulous bigot, while Waters seems to delight in the many toe-tapping dance routines as well as his own deliciously arch dialogue."

— Kevin Maher, Times (UK)