Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea
Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea (2004)

John Waters narrates this quirky documentary about Southern California's Salton Sea, a man-made lake that was once considered a prime recreation location, but has turned into an ecological disaster. Directed by Chris Metzler and Jeff… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 12, 2004
DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
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Critic Score: 96% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Plagues And Pleasures is a thoroughly engrossing account, both humorous and disheartening, of a once bustling community ravaged by ecological change and human greed.

Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly

While the doc flounders as a coherent story of human folly, it's a cheeky travelmercial guaranteed to get the curious to make the road trip to this near-abandoned resort.

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John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press

Plagues and Pleasures is simultaneously fun and creepy, best appreciated by those who enjoy similar profiles of Detroit's crumbling grandeur.

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Marty Mapes
Movie Habit

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is funny and compassionate, but it shows us a future that could befall any American community that suddenly becomes economically unsound, or politically inconvenient.

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Mark Feeney
Boston Globe

It makes for a strange, but somewhat endearing, melange of the grim and comic.

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Cliff Doerksen
Time Out

Narrated with morbid relish by John Waters, this witty doc chronicles the rise and ruination of the Salton Sea, a tiny inland ocean once promoted as 'California's Riviera' but now a festering, apocalyptically hideous ecological disaster zone.

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Jean Lowerison
San Diego Metropolitan

Narrated by John Waters, Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is an odd bird -- wacky and poignant, funny and sobering, but this portrait of a forgotten paradise is a must-see.

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Noel Murray
AV Club

The movie is engaging for the way it documents the rise and fall of a semi-natural landmark, and especially for the way it shows how people still come to California to remake themselves.

Robert Horton

As documentary subjects go, the Salton Sea was ripe for the plucking: This man-made phenomenon is one of the weirdest stories of the West.

Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile

a one-off kinda film that is worth seeing for its sheer jaw-drop factor

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Flixster Audience Score: 85% Flixster User Reviews
Eric Alvarez
VERY interesting documentary on one of my favorite places to visit. For those who know a lot about the Salton Sea or for those who know little to nothing at… More
paul sandberg
Back at the beginning of the last century, mankind had some grandiose ideas and in several areas decided to play god while having no idea of the consequences.… More