Off The Beaten Path – Cry-Baby


Image courtesy of (amazon.com)

Notable Cast Members:

Johnny Depp……….Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker
Amy Locane……….Allison Vernon-Williams
Susan Tyrrell……….Ramona Rickettes
Polly Bergen……….Mrs. Vernon-Williams
Iggy Pop……….Uncle Belvedere Rickettes
Ricki Lake……….Pepper Walker
Traci Lords……….Wanda Woodward
Kim McGuire……….Hatchet-Face
Stephen Mailer……….Baldwin
Mink Stole……….Hatchet’s Mother
Patricia Hearst……….Wanda’s Mother
Willem Dafoe……….Hateful Guard at Maryland Training School for Boys
Mary Vivian Pearce……….Picnic Mother

Film Synopsis:

Johnny Depp stars as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, a drape, one of the “bad kids”. He’s a rocker and drives the women crazy when he makes one tear drip down his face. Allison Vernon-Williams is a square who’s sick of being good and falls in love with Cry-Baby. This drives her grandmother, Mrs. Vernon-Williams, crazy!

Cry-Baby bursts in on Mrs. Vernon-Williams’ talent show where the squares are crooning their doo-wop. Cry-Baby invites Allison to come hear him sing. Mrs. Vernon-Williams is aghast and Baldwin, the square who likes Allison attacks Cry-Baby who lays him out flat with one punch.

At the drape hang out the women are skeptical but they accept Allison. The girls give Allison a drape makeover and she joins Cry-Baby on stage to rock out. Later Cry-Baby teaches Allison how to French kiss. “You open your mouth and I open mine and we wiggle our tongues together and it feels real sexy!” This is also when we learn that Cry-Baby’s father was the Alphabet Bomber, blowing up buildings in alphabetical order, and he died in the electric chair.

Meanwhile the squares are vandalizing all the drapes cars and they set Cry-Baby’s motorcycle on fire, inciting a huge riot. Of course all the drapes get locked up while the squares are let go.

The next day all the kids are brought before a judge.

Wanda: Would you just get me the f*ck out of here?
Wanda’s Mother: What’s “f*ck” mean, Hector?
Wanda’s Father: Oh, Maggie, it’s just a teen nonsense word Wanda uses to make herself feel all grown-up.
Wanda’s Mother: Your Honor, could we take Wanda the f*ck home?

The judge releases all the kids. All but Cry-Baby, who is to be locked up until his 21st birthday. Mrs. Vernon-Williams takes pity on Cry-Baby and tries to help out but to no avail. Cry-Baby has to get out, they’re going to cut his hair!

To make matters worse, Allison gets back together with Baldwin, who announces on the radio that he could sing better than Cry-Baby.

Luckily Allison sees the light and, in a hot little red number, sings “Please, Mr. Jailer” outside the prison just as they’re about to cut Cry-Baby’s hair. The song wins over the judge who lets Cry-Baby go. With Cry-Baby free he just has to settle things with the squares and what better way to end a 50’s rivalry than with a good old fashion chicken race! Only this time it’s with a twist, Cry-Baby and Baldwin riding on top of the cars!

Chock full of great 50’s rock songs (and few new 50’s sounding songs written for the film), John Waters’ standard cast of misfits, and a few new faces (who else would put Traci Lords and Patty Hearst in their movie?), this is Water’s at his best!


Meet the drapes left to right: Hatchet Face, Milton, Wanda, Cry-Baby, & Pepper

The Story Behind It:

My love of Johnny Depp began after seeing Dead Man and Ed Wood. My love of John Waters came a few years later when a friend of mine introduced me to him through Pink Flamingos, which I’ll admit I didn’t like at first, but own and love now. I was intrigued by Waters’ offbeats film and started to see more of them. Serial Mom, Pecker, Polyester, and Desperate Living, to name a few, but Cry-Baby was not available on DVD, so for years it eluded me. When finally it was released I went out and bought it straight away and I loved every frame of it!

This was, after all, not only Johnny Depp’s first worthwhile starring role (not counting Private Resort), but it was the film that broke the mold of Depp as a “Hollywood Hunk” which he’d earned while doing “21 Jump Street.” He hated that people thought of him that way and Cry Baby was the perfect way to start getting away from that stereotype.

This film is an essential for any Johnny Depp fan (forget Captain Jack!) and if you’ve never seen a John Waters film this a great and safe place to start.