I've been hearing about this movie for years and years. The one term that gets bandied about when people mention it is "disturbing", so I figured it would be a natural fit for this experiment of mine. I guess it qualified.
Harmony Korine might be best known for writing the screenplay for another disgusting movie called Kids. I won't be writing about that one anytime soon because I'd have to watch it again in order to do so. But enough about that. Dude wrote and directed this one, and if the blurb I read is correct he had a budget of 1.3 million dollars with which to do so. Holy crap. That's a whole lot of money to make something that intentionally looks like hammered shit.
Gummo, the movie, hates the fuck out of cats. You'll see more violence against felines in this movie than you can swing a stick at...which is one thing that happens to a dead cat hung up on a string. Cats are also shown being drowned in a barrel of water, crawling with bugs, sold to a butcher to be resold to a Chinese restaurant, shot at with BB guns and inspected closely to see if their genitals indicate pregnancy. Why all the fuss over cats is anyone's guess.
Humans don't fare a lot better in this movie, though. You've got a dwarf, retarded people, deaf people shouting at each other, glue huffers, foul mouthed little kids, perverts,a preteen transvestite and a kid who never talks but shows up throughout the movie wearing pink bunny ears. I like to think they were the inspiration for Louise on Bob's Burgers.
Bookoo crazy shit happens, of course. Bugs swarm out from behind portraits when they're moved. A kid in filthy black bathwater eats spaghetti as his mom shampoos his hair. A young woman shows her sister how to rip electrical tape off of her nipples to make them bigger, or something. Two boys pay a guy to have sex with his Down's syndrome sister. If this sounds vaguely incoherent and not very pleasant, you nailed it.
I have nothing against Chloe Sevigny, but her being in this kind of ruins the whole realism thing that Korine was clearly shooting for. She's way too pretty even with her dopey small town hairdo. Not to mention that almost every other person in this movie looks like they're from Dogdick, Arkansas (or Xenia, Ohio for that matter) and are all just method actors except for her.
After watching Gummo, it seems to me that people who found this movie so disturbing haven't spent any time with people like the folks in this movie. Yeah, everything is on a higher level of weird, but growing up in Stockton/Lodi, I met some people who aren't that far off from some of these characters. At least this wasn't shown in smell-o-vision.
Tomorrow: The Woman