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Every month, we present Staff Picks at the Oriental Theatre - crazy classics, obscure delights, and cinematic masterpieces curated by the incredible Milwaukee Film and Oriental Theatre staff! Before each film screens, we're having a brief chat with each staff member about their selection. Next up in this series? Our beloved Development Director, Jessica, giving you the lowdown on Cry-Baby! Read on...





What's your name?

Jessica Bursi!


What's your job title at Milwaukee Film? What does that entail?

Development Director - I oversee the contributed & in-kind funds and support for Milwaukee Film (thank you to all of our amazing & incredible supporters who make these fun screenings & events possible!!!!!!!!!).


What's your favorite place to sit in a movie theater?

Rear Aisle (that sounds like a bad band name!)


What's your favorite theater snack?

Popcorn, of course!


What movie did you pick?

Cry-Baby (dir. John Waters)




When did you first see said movie?

Spring 1990 - I saw it twice as a first-run cinematic experience! I was 9.


In ten words or less, tell us why we HAVE to see this movie!

"My brother wouldn't touch your t*++*es with a 10-foot pole!"


Okay - expand on that - why did you make this your staff pick? 

Quite simply, Cry-Baby itself is one of my favorite movies of all time. A righteous send-up of the great 50's juvenile delinquent flicks, it stars Johnny Depp as a high school rebel and rock'n roll renegade who in classic star-crossed fashion, falls hard for a girl (Amy Locane) from the right side of the tracks. The movie takes place over one weekend (one of my favorite sub-genres - a film that takes place in less than 48 hours!) and features one helluva an ensemble: Iggy Pop, Polly Bergen, Susan Tyrell, Traci Lords,  David Nelson, Appleton native Willem Dafoe, and Norman Mailer's son (Stephen) alongside Waters' regulars Ricki Lake, Patty Hearst, and Mink Stole.

Cry-Baby came out in movie theaters on April 6th, 1990, which also happened to be my birthday. I saw the movie twice in theaters and loved it so hard that I chose it as my Staff Pick! So please help me and Cry-Baby celebrate our 29th birthdays :) at the Oriental Theatre this Saturday, 4/13 at 3pm!


Any parting words you'd like to impart?

John Waters is the best. On one hand, his movies are easily enjoyable as beautiful camp fun with great humor, performances, and the details (costume, soundtrack, etc). But digging a little deeper, I swear - his movies can change your life. As a kid, I struggled with being a sensitive weirdo chubby kid who moved around maybe one too many times. When I saw Hairspray and Cry-Baby, I felt instantly at home with John Waters' divine (and Divine) weirdos. By subverting (and perverting!) the norm, John Waters showed me - even and especially through his glorious campy satire - a whole new world of possibility. That you could be big & beautiful & confident, or from the wrong side of the tracks and still be worth something, and ultimately, you can and should believe in and fight for the rights of all humans. What a miracle of film-making to wrap up such transformational themes in cat-eye eyeliner and leather jackets?!!


Extra special thanks to Jessica for taking the time to participate! See Cry-Baby this Saturday - 3 PM at the Oriental Theatre! TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

Posted by: Tom Fuchs