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Gummo
Reviewed by Oct 14th, 2009

I was predisposed to hating this because it begins with an annoying child’s voiceover, as well as being in a home-video style. LivingDeadGirl and I watched Kids one time while skipping school. I sort of forgot about this, until I saw it in a horror/cult video store in the early ’00s. I didn’t rent it then, either, though. There was some funny-looking kid with pink ears on the cover. I figured Kids was a one-off, it was different, but what else could you really do? The answer: not a damned thing. The voiceovers are incredibly annoying, too.

It’s mostly nonactors just sort of doing weird shit. Some kids kill cats and sell them to a supermarket. It’s set in some backwoods part of Ohio, and I suppose the whole point is to show how stupid and shitty humans are. I could go outside if I wanted reminded of that; I rent movies to forget about people.

I’ve read that Korine is supposedly influenced by the likes of Godard, but that only shows what a horrific failure this is. Godard may have made some boring, over-long stuff, but he attempted to have semi-compelling characters. This is mostly a bunch of hicks running around, swearing at each other and killing cats. Some of the vignettes are fairly interesting, but most are not.

“Life is great; without it, you’d be dead.”

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its worthwhile moments; just that these moments don’t make up for the film as a whole, and it all feels artistically immature in a way that Kids really didn’t. Something like this could work, but this doesn’t. It comes off as a film student trying to be, well, Godard, I guess. When I was in film school, I knew a lot of people who made crap films, trying really hard to be Godard. That’s fine, it’s part of a learning process, I suppose; but these sorts of things should die in film school, relatively unseen.

Again, something like this could work, if it was made properly. Hell, Kids worked. The problem is, when a movie that tries this hard to be new and shocking fails, it just comes off as incredibly pretentious and irritating.

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