If you’ve never seen Harmony Korine’s 1997 meisterwerk Gummo, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Rarely do I recommend a film so unabashedly, or so often. It has been my favorite movie for almost a decade, regardless of mood. I’ve seen it a hundred times, easily, and it continues to amaze me in new ways. And yes, it shocks, in a manner I draw great inspiration from. But beyond its often hilarious jolts, Gummo is the most explicitly human and raw film I’ve ever seen. The believability of the scenes- some scripted, some improvised- is so overwhelming and authentic, it pulls you into their world with all the force of the tornadoes that set the film’s events in motion. And you may find yourself every bit as devastated in their wake.
Gummo loosely tells the story of the residents of Xenia, Ohio, a quasi-fictional town that was savaged by tornadoes at an indistinct point in the past, and never fully recovered. The film centers primarily on a small group of children, but as we explore their ruined world, we meet a larger cast of characters, almost all portrayed by “non-actors”. Some are legitimately mentally retarded. It all gels amazingly well, providing a heretofore unseen view of what liberal assholes call “white trash”. I love it so dearly that I could go on endlessly about it, so I’ve decided to instead whittle my thoughts down to my ten favorite (more or less) things about my favorite movie. Here we go! Don’t forget to put out the cat! For god’s sakes! Continue reading →