No one knows more about everything—especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling—than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world’s great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste, from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.”
Studded with cameos, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman, and illustrated with unseen photos from the author's personal collection, Mr. Know-It-All is Waters’ most hypnotically readable, upsetting, revelatory book—another instant Waters classic.
“Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird . . . [Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes—though they’re brilliantly evoked—but of American fame itself.” —Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review
In this delightful hybrid memoir/advice book, film director Waters shares highlights from his 40-year career and musings on a random assortment of subjects, including music, architecture, and the best vacation spots. Waters, a self-described "garbage guru," begins by providing a wealth of tips for aspiring filmmakers and other artists, such as "Believe your own grandiosity and go wrong to make your career go right." He also dishes on some of his most memorable acting hires, including Serial Mom's Kathleen Turner, who taught him to "pay attention to your stars as if your life depended on it," and Cry-Baby's Joey Heatherton, who, while auditioning, "spoke in tongues convincingly as the script called, but seemed unable to stop." The book's second half gives Waters more freedom to riff, with endlessly entertaining results, whether he is ruminating on his favorite music (including 1960s "car-accident teen novelty records") or imagining opening a restaurant that serves kittens. In a punctuationless ode to Andy Warhol styled after Warhol's "novel" A, Waters asserts provocatively that, as a filmmaker, "Andy was more important than Thomas Alva Edison and D.W. Griffith." Though not quite as surreal, Waters's musings are as funny and eccentric as his films; longtime fans will be delighted with the treasure trove of insights into his brilliant oeuvre.