After years of hearing about this film, I finally saw it last night. I’m finding it difficult how to reach a critical opinion on it. The subject matter is largely considered derisive, representing (or exagerrating) a cross section of American society that is widely unseen. Korine has an obvious knack for an avante garde structure which appealled greatly to my artistic sensibiliites. I like the randomness of the images and vignettes presented, but find that the movie asks so much of a personal reaction from the audience. Personally, there are some detestable things in the movie that sometimes appear to be for the sake of being sickening. But Korine’s fusion of documentary and fiction is fascinating if at times vindictive towards the characters or the audience he wants to shock.
“Gummo” is one of those films that, over the years, I’ve found weeds out the people that don’t exactly have the same sense of humor that I do. In my opinion, it’s a very serious film about character-types that do exist in the American culture, but it’s one that you can’t really help but laugh at for the duration, as well. Being born and raised in the southern part of the United States for 26 of my 31 years, it’s saddening to say that these types of characters do exist, and I’m sure it’s not delegated to just the southern regions, either. I’m sure I’d have no problem traveling back down to the South and finding the same “ignorant” people that are being portrayed in Korine’s “Gummo.” It’s a movie that I always recommend people to watch, also knowing that 7 out of 10 people are going to hate it.
gummo is a piece of hipster made trash and is a perfect example of why directors should stick to what they know. wheras kids at least had some insight(as korrine spawns from urban blight), gummo seemed like a senseless and uninformed attack on the midwest by someone that has probably never stepped foot in it. a harsh judgement on middle americans in general and on xenia, ohio in particular, gummo essentially treads on ground it has no business treading upon. whatever happened to a director having at least a modicum of respect for their characters, or at least not so openly passing judgement on them. i can feel truffaut rolling around in his grave. if anyone should have made a film about the “middle of nowhere, ohio” it should have been jarmusch, who grew up near there, but frankly he has far too much class to ever unleash a piece of slanderous trash such as gummo onto the world.
Troy-I agree altho I would have said pseudo hipster. Seems like he got all his knowledge of working class behavior from Jerry Springer shows.
pseudo-hipster is absolutely right. i stand corrected
The thing is, Troy, Korine is sticking exactly to what he knows. Gummo was shot where he grew up, Nashville, TN, using mostly people he knew as actors. For instance, he went to high school with Bryant, the little African-American. That Gummo seemed like a “senseless and uninformed attack on the midwest by someone that probably never stepped foot in it” to you really intrigues me and reaffirms why I love this movie so much. In no way do I see it as an attack, but that you do shows how Korine works as an artist: you just don’t know what to take seriously. Do I laugh at the albino girl missing a toe that works at Krystal? Do I feel sorry for her? Or do I appreciate the character/vignette that may or may not be entirely real? I find this a much more interesting/rewarding approach to characters than in Kids. With Kids, I just kept wanting to scream, “I get it! They’re terrible, terrible people! So what?!” Although you get some of this in Gummo, there seems to be a slight shred of humanity in a few of the characters, just enough to keep it interesting.
I prefer Groucho, but I love all the brothers.
Conceding that Korine makes films about what he knows, while I find it admirable, that does not immediately give his films critical or artistic merit. If some find his films to be enjoyable, I can respect that. When all is said and done, however, a film that has no humanity (with all due respect) and not one likable character, is a tough ride.
CC Fixx is right, these types of people do exist. I feel like I’ve seen that wrestling scene in the kitchen before in real life. I thought Korine captured the realities of just how fucking weird some people really are, but, regardless of all that, I do not enjoy the movie. If it’s on IFC when I’m flipping through the channels I’ll watch it for a bit, but that’s about the extent of my interest in seeing it again. I’ll probably see the whole thing again someday but I don’t expect my opinion of it to change. You never know, though.
Aren’t all hipsters basically pseudo-hipsters? What makes a hipster genuine? Is Chloe Sevingy a genuine hipster? Was Jack Kerouac?
Just as a general opinion, an opinion I don’t really have much to back up, I have a mild hatred for Korine and the films he makes. I think that pseudo-hipster is a perfect word for him, I guess his films can have some merit, yet I (having seen a few interviews) find his to be an overly pretentious hipster, without the skills to back his pretention… but that’s just me.
Calling him a pseudo-hipster implies that being a real hipster is a desirable, positive thing.
Even though you may hate me for saying this, I really enjoy it. It is saddening that people like that exist, not just in America. Harmony Korine presents the ideas and messages in the way of a prankster.
Gummo. I heard about it through my friend Marvin. I watched it online that night, and bought it the next day. To date, that has been the best recommendation of a movie I’ve ever gotten. The images in that movie are…indescribable. Every character has such a unique personality. There expressions tell such an amazing story…I thought it was a great interpretation of how a recovering town lives day to day, passing without judgement, but with plenty of worries.
The scene in which they’re in the pool, and its raining while they kiss is really beautiful.
I’m from a region of great similarity, many of the images are embedded in a nostalgic daydream loom that I take solace in.
there’s nothing “unique” about any of their personalities. they’re all empty and wholly uninteresting. it’s not even good for shock value, the only thing shocking about it is how incredibly awful it is.
it’s a pretentious piece of garbage, the absolute worst film i’ve ever seen.
Hate it or love it, Gummo is still making quavering, argumentative and defensive discussion over ten years after it’s release. Art is never to be loved nor hated, just simply appreciated. As long as it evokes humanity and provokes emotion, the artist has done his job. Korine may he be in a recent Marc Jacobs ad and sporting the most trendiest of plaid shirts and making the most proverbial of trendy “indie” films still has the artistic integrity and guttural precision to dissect the most twisted and awful beings without alienating their world or judging their actions
is a thing in itself to admire. Gummo to me is and always will remain a visceral and compelling masterpiece.
A serious question remains as to whether the director exploits or humanizes his subjects. While the movie has engendered some passionate debate, it is most definitely not a masterpiece.
Why do you say that people in Gummo are “the most twisted and awful beings” by the way? isn’t that conclusion a function of Korine’s editorializing? There are times when he just seems to want to depict the most unappealing behavior by his characters. They must have tender and human moments in their lives as well, but his focus is almost purely on the vile and inhuman ones. Why is that?
I’ve tried to watch this movie 5+ times, never getting past half way point—it’s the only movie highly recommended by Herzog I cannot finish yet—what’s wrong with me?
Nothing’s wrong with you. I love Werner fucking Herzog, but even he can be wrong at times.
The film is pretty divisive. I’ve only really heard of people loving it or hating it. I on the other hand thought it was merely ok. The scene where the rednecks are kicking the chairs ass was lol inducing.
The bathtub scene is … Brilliant, disgusting, hilarious, vulgar, sad and amazing all at the same time.
I think John Waters said this, it is like Pink Flamingos for the 90’s. It’s been too long since I saw it to comment accurately, I liked some, bored by some, it’s like Jackass is you tried to made jackass into a fictional narrative.
You mean not everybody grew up with people like the characters in gummo?! It’s just me? Yikes…
It has it’s moments, (bathtub scene, tap dancing in basement) and those are both of them. Some people treat him like the second coming of Christ for the Arthouse, and I don’t buy it.
His commentary track on Gummo and his appearances on Letterman are enough to let one know where he’s coming from, and how he wants to be seen. Julien Donkey-Boy was pretty painful, and the plot of Mister Lonely (or lack thereof) gives me that puke taste in the back of my throat. To think that Werner Herzog champions him has been enough to make me not trust him anymore either. Her zog has some rare moments still, but his defense of Korine’s work seems pretty un-grounded when everything’s considered.
Korine’s images in some of his films can be interesting, but when there’s ridiculous explanations for them or none at all, it’s hard to credit him as having any kind of artistic process. This seems to be the case with ALL of his films, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m fed up with him.
My boyfriend put Gummo on in the background while we were hanging out one night. After about 20 minuets I could not take my eyes off the television. This movie made me feel like I was a peeping tom, watching the disgusting things people I knew nothing about do. It was weirdly satisfying that I could be hypnotized by such an odd movie. Probably because I had never seen anything like it at all.
“gives me that puke taste in the back of my throat”
Best description of HK ever. Bravo.
I remember watching an extra feature on some DVD version of Julien Donkey Boy, another Harmony Korine movie, where he was talking about how he wanted to film his schizophrenic, hospitalized uncle in the role of the main character, but the hospital refused him, and so he had to settle on an actor. After hearing him talk about that, like that, dressed like he was, I kind of get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I hear anything about Harmony Korine. Even though it’s pretty crude to call HK hipster trash, I’m going to put my tally there.
Does anyone know why Werner Herzog and Korine are so close?
If I were to have come at this film with the lens of a true critic, I would have to dig deep, tear out some sort of meaning, and feed it to my dog. This film was fine. It was not at all seen, in my eyes as very realistic. The characters were just so…not the type I could get a beer with? Except that lil’ punk who killed the cat’s. (KIDDING)
The movie was a tinge too much ‘oh look at all these backwards people all in one movie,’ so that sort of made me ‘meh’ at it.
Love the kid’s hair on the cover, though. Total bad assin’ it!
he was talking about how he wanted to film his schizophrenic, hospitalized uncle in the role of the main character, but the hospital refused him, and so he had to settle on an actor. After hearing him talk about that, like that, dressed like he was, I kind of get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I hear anything about Harmony Korine. Even though it’s pretty crude to call HK hipster trash, I’m going to put my tally there.
Yeah, that is pretty…well… exploitative and all. YUCK.