John Waters Offers Bad Reviews Advice

John Waters Offers Bad Reviews Advice

A bona fide American national treasure, 73-year-old filmmaker John Waters (“Pink Flamingos,” “Serial Mom”) hasn’t really made films in a long time but nonetheless remains in the zeitgeist with books and appearances all over in which he offers up his trademark dry wit.

Once one of the most subversive American filmmakers ever, the stuff that Waters got up to as the self-appointed King of Filth is tame by today’s standards in this day and age, which Waters himself happily admits to.

He’s also a man who has experienced bad reviews in his career and speaking with
Lit Hub (via The Playlist) this week whilst promoting his most recent book “Mr. Know-it-all,” he explains why filmmakers and creatives shouldn’t avoid bad reviews written about their work:

“Read the bad ones once, the good ones twice, and put them all away and never look at them again. Of course what you always remember are the bad ones. You can ask people to quote the meanest review they’ve ever gotten and nobody says I don’t know. But you never answer them, because when you answer them they get to answer you again. So all the people who didn’t read it the first time see it the second time. Sometimes you learn from a bad review. Sometimes they’re right – a little.”

Some filmmakers have been famously vocal about their difficulty with negative critiques of their work, more often you get some who are fully dismissive of reviews on the whole unless they’re gushing. Nonetheless Waters, who has been both critically lauded and reviled in his time, certainly has more experience than most from which to offer his advice from.