In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
Constructing this film through random scenes, director Harmony Korine abruptly jettisoned any sort of narrative plot, so here we go: Solomon and Tummler are two bored teenage boys who live in Xenia, Ohio. A few years ago, a tornado swept through it, destroying more than half the town and killing the same amount, including Solomon's father. The film, from there, chronicles the anti-social adventures these two boys have. These include sniffing glue, killing cats, having sex, riding dirtbikes, listening to black metal, and meeting a cavalcade of quirky, bizarre, and scary people. These include a man who pimps his mentally ill wife to our anti-heroes, three sisters who play with their cat and practice becoming strippers, a black midget fending off the sexual advances of a troubled man (played by the director Harmony Korine), a 12-year-old gay transvestite who is also a cat killer, Solomon's mother who seems to be the only glimpse of sanity, two foul-mouthed six-year olds, and most ... Written by
Instead of using standard movie lights, the production was lit with fluorescent lights to give the movie a haunting, yellowish look. See more »
During the arm wrestling scene, the number of bottles on the table changes between shots. See more »
Xenia, Ohio. Xenia, Ohio. A few years ago, a tornado hit this place. It killed the people, left and right. Dogs died. Cats died. Houses were split open, and you could see necklaces hanging from branches of trees. People's legs and neck bones were sticking out. Oliver found a leg on his roof. A lot of people's fathers died, and were killed by the great tornado. I saw a girl fly through the sky, and I looked up her skirt. Her skull was smashed. And some kids died. My ...
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Punk filmmaking at its scummiest, who's to say this is not genuine gutter art?
Harmony Korine did this when he was 24 years old and everything else aside I like it a lot that a young person gets to tell us what it can be to be young. Irrespective of whether or not a young man has yet found something important to say at 24, I don't like it that professional directors' careers start well into their thirties. There's a big age gap there that is only talked about in hindsight, after the fact. Perspectives and values change as we grow older, whether or not a young man will mature to the point of recognizing the follies and dreams of his youth or he'll embrace the anger and grow up to be GG Allin, and whether or not settling down to a regular life is a personal betrayal of a former self, I think something like Gummo needs to be made and more of it.
This is punk filmmaking at its scummiest, the vibe of antisocial angst despair and anger is pure necro punk rock like GG Allin throwing feces at his audience and smashing beer cans open on his head, it's about being violent and eccentric right now as a means of killing time and making something out of tearing down something else. Yet it's also oddly poetic for the same reason. It's not poetic because a kid will eat spaghetti and chocolate in the bathtub or because a kid with bunny ears rides his bike around a post-apocalyptic landscape of trailerpark white trash, but more because it assumes important things can be said through all this. When Korine speaks of life and death, whether or not life is worth living, when he attakcs society as complacent and apathetic, the results feel immature to me: this is reaction from a vantage point of being too young to start caring, an act of vandalism from the safe point of having your own thing wrecked. But it's good to have these things captured on film then thrown away for anyone who might wanna find them.
I read a bit about Trash Humpers and it seems Harmony Korine doesn't feel there's anything to grow out of. Watching him in his Letterman interviews gives me a clue to all this: the guy is awkward but he's cute awkward, the kind of awkward women want to hold in their arms. I know a skater guy like this, he's 30 years old but looks 25, has his face pierced and hair colored blue or magenta for as long as I've known him, and is endearingly weird. He's never had a shortage of girlfriends. He reminds me of Gummo where despair and malaise plays like a sort of lifestyle. Real awkward people, people who really can't get anywhere in life, don't make movies. I'd like to see their Gummos, this is a bit too cute.
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