Gummo [VHS]

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Product Description

From Harmony Korine, screenwriter of Kids, comes a haunting portrait of life in small-town America. Through a collection of dreamlike and devastating images, Korine offers a glimpse of Xenia, Ohio, a world existing in the aftermath of a tornado.

Customer Reviews:

  • Harmony Korine's White Trash Masterpiece...
    So many wonderful moments... The first time I watched 'Gummo' is permanently etched into my mind. It was one of those rare and incredible sensory experiences that stay with you. Like the first time you hear `Bitches Brew' or see `Requiem For A Dream'. `Gummo' is not your typical Hollywood film; its non-linear flow really turns some people off. Not every film needs a cogent story arc. `Gummo' is more a series of vignettes and unique characters, filmed beautifully by Jean-Yves Escoffier. He viewed white-trash suburbia (outer Memphis) through foreign eyes as if it was a third-world country or an alien landscape. It is presented to the viewer lovingly here. The retarded, mullets, and the disturbed denizens of Xenia, Ohio are beautifully combined in a surreal stew of glaring reality. At times, `Gummo' has the feel of a documentary (possibly it is). There are few `proper' actors in this film and that definitely adds to the charm. Korine claims to have assembled most of his cast in approximately 45 minutes from Memphis Burger Kings and Laundromats. Nick Sutton (Tummler) was discovered by Harmony on a talk show that pertained to `paint-sniffing survivors'- he commented that anyone who can survive copious amounts of inhalants must have a good constitution and that those were the kinds of people he wanted to work with.
    Much has been made of the shocking nature of this film. But really how shocking are animal abuse, inhalant intoxication, and the exploitation of the retarded? It was all simulated (probably not the inhalant usage though) for this film. These things happen every day. Korine has a knack for letting the camera naturally flow places it has likely never been. There is an indescribable aura permeating virtually every frame of this wondrous creation. It is one of my favorite movies.
    What is `Gummo' about? Korine basically follows Tummler & Solomon (Nick Sutton & Jacob Reynolds); two lost teenage boys as they go about the business of amusing themselves, having milkshakes, and staying sane in Xenia, Ohio. This is facilitated by indulging in inhalants, purchased with money obtained from selling dead cats to an unscrupulous store owner who then sells the felines to a Chinese restaurant. The camera also follows Helen, Darby, and Dot. Dot is played beautifully by Korine's girlfriend at the time, Chloe Sevigny who also handled the wardrobe for this movie. By the way, you will undoubtedly see some of the best dressed people ever in this film (and let us not forget the spectacular display of mullets).
    A number of scenes from this one-of-a-kind film will stay with you long after watching it. The soundtrack is another highlight, for it is one of the best I have ever heard. The movie really wouldn't be the same without the exquisite soundtrack which includes Sleep's `Dragonaut', Buddy Holly, Ray Orbison, Brujera, Eyehategod, and other delights.
    I can't recommend this movie to all. If you prefer big budget Hollywood fare and linear narrative, then please steer clear of this amazing film. However, if you are adventurous, artistic, and fascinated by the human animal in its natural habitat, then by all means see this incredible film....more info
  • Typical uber-bitchin' indie flick.
    No real plot here, just a lot of socially dysfunctional trash acting the part in southern Ohio. It's interesting like a train-wreck so it doesn't get 1 star. The train-wreck qualities aren't enduring enough to grant it a higher rating though. Supposedly it was originally given an NC-17 but was trimmed down to an R. It makes you wonder how weird the uncut version was....more info
  • Disturbing and unforgettable
    The first time I saw this movie, some friends were having a little party get together. That was not a good way to see this film because some parts are terribly disturbing and some parts are laugh out loud funny--but then you wonder if you'll be struck dead for laughing at something like that. If you want to see people that are very different and don't have the same lifestyle as you do, this could be very entertaining or even horrifying--depending on your lifestyle. I was horror stricken through most of it. Having also seen the movie True Stories which was made ten or more years before Gummo, it is very easy to see the distinct similarities yet True Stories is much lighter and funnier. What is Gummo? It is a train wreck that you can't quit looking at even though it is going to leave a little scar. This movie is certainly not for everyone. ...more info
  • Harmony
    If you can stomach it, get this movie. From the maker of Kids and tons of other crazy stuff, see what the boys of BELLY (Hype Williams) were watching on tv after Hype's opening rob scene.

    This film seemed well put together. The events were humorous and realistic. What I love about Harmony's work is that it makes you think, it forces a physical reaction and a dialogue after being smacked in the butt or the face, or th... he's always very direct in that way.

    Inde film makers Must Watch. Notice use of low-budget film work and sound. Looks good and edits uniquely Korine. Notice casting and anywhere-usa locations. The power of disturbing scenes add depth to film, such as Horror, and is uniquely Korine....more info
  • It deserves 5 stars and 1 star at the same time
    Some movies are "so bad they're good." This movie is so disturbing, it's art. Anything that could leave that much of a lasting impression on just about anyone who's watched it clearly has some merrit.

    Part of me wants to give it 5 Stars. From the twisted combination of bunny boy imagery and eerily-quirky folk singing in the intro, to the more memorable scenes of depravity, to the random low-fi (perhaps real) interludes depicting all sorts of nastiness, the film certainly does an excellent job capturing the emotion that is the disturbing side of low-class white America. As a youth, I spent a lot of time hanging out with the kids on the wrong side of the tracks, and a lot of its depictions ring true, and it truly leaves you nauseated, somewhat like a good roller coaster ride.

    Another part of me wants to give it one star. The recurring theme of animal cruelty is in poor taste, and renders the film entirely unwatchable to anyone who's sensitive to that sort of thing. I could never share this film with my girlfriend, for instance, without owing her weeks of apologies and dozens of roses. Animal cruelty and cat overpopulation are realities of the White Trash world, but one scene would have sufficed... they really made it such a recurring theme that it was overly-sickening, and it detracted from the film immensely for me. Also, it really felt like everything that could have been taking place in this town was passed through a filter that only allows sewage to pass through. There was really no room made for the light side of humanity. In reality, the law of the Yin Yang pervades... there's only so much darkness that can exist before a spot of light manages to pop out. If Bunny Boy was the light, it was a rather dim one. Way too unabashedly nihilistic for my taste- to miss the seed of good that exists in people is to fail to capture the whole picture. If I were pressed to write a term paper for the positive elements of humanity showcased in the movie, I'm sure I could dig something out, but it was very deeply buried by a bevy of completely inexcusable characters.

    Also, I didn't feel like the movie really delivered any point aside from "poor white people are really, really, really, really screwed up." Some kind of revalation or resolution might have been nice, or at least some sort of finality that placed a philosophical capstone on the whole exploration. As it were, it seemed more of an exPLOITation. The movie felt like it was always trying to one-up itself in terms of how shocking and depraved these characters' lives and actions could be. The more subtle scenes were far better than those that tried to shock you with brute force.

    So ultimately I split the difference and decided on three stars. If you're adventurous and enjoy movies that give you a real kick to the gut and give you sociological nightmares (i.e. any fans of the IFC channel), this is a must-see. If you require movies to have some semblance of a storyline or if you find depictions of animal cruelty intolerable, then avoid this film at all costs....more info
  • Crazy
    Fucking awesome movie. Seen it like 3 times and it's so great. Confusing to some but you'll get it.
    GET IT LOL...more info
  • completely unwatchable.
    gummo is without a doubt the worst film ive ever seen. well thats not entirely true. i didnt watch the whole thing because i couldnt. the movie is so utterly pointless that anyone with any common sense could stand any more than the ten minutes i saw. at first i thought it might just be a slow beginning but then i fast-forwarded scene by scene and it just kept getting stupider and stupider. the film may seem like a documentary about the aftermath of a tornado in a small american town but there is absolutely nothing worth seeing or even appreciating. the entire film is made up of random unconnected scenes. some of these include a boy in a bunny hat peeing over a bridge, two kids on bicycles who talk about a lesbian cat and middle aged women talking about darkening their nipples. these scenes might come off as hilarious if the film weren't presented in such an eerie atmposphere with its strange lighting and silent background. some people call the film genius and visionary but it isn't. films are created to entertain and there is NO entertainment value at all in this film. the film couldve maybe come off as watchable were it a documetary or comedy or drama or horror movie but it blends all these genres into something that any serious moviegoer would puke at. if put into the hands of a different director perhaps it couldve been a better movie but obviously the director must stick to screenwriting and never enter the realm of directing again....more info
  • Mixed Feelings
    Honestly, I don't know how to feel about this film. The formal structure of the film is brilliant. Korine uses a collage style that mixes film, digital video, home movies, and photos. He employs not a conventional linear narrational structure, but a more associational, non-linear logic that resembles poetry rather film. This idea of form has great potential, but I don't know that Korine fulfills that potential. Gummo is so reference-heavy (much like the poetry of T.S. Eliot) that it's almost impossible to understand all of the connections Korine makes and to understand the metaphors. Many of the images he uses (like Bunny Boy) have the potential to be symbolic, but in an interview on the special features of the DVD, Korine explains that like Bunny Boy and the title, Gummo, a lot of the images and references were things that he chose just because he liked them and wanted to see them in a movie. To attribute symbolic meaning to these things may be beneficial for the viewer as a personal exercise, and if an audience is affected by the associations they make on their own, that's great. However, I think that giving the credit to Korine just because he chose images he simply likes may be unwarranted.

    I also think that Korine also uses a lot of shocking material for the sake of shock. Gummo is set in Xenia, Ohio (though actually shot near Nashville) and focuses on the poverty-stricken society that strives to exist in the aftermath of a tornado (although attributing the state of the town on the tornado seems like a red herring). So much of what the film depicts is pretty disturbing. We see kids who kill cats and huff glue, a man who prostitutes his sister with downs syndrome, and a girl who describes the sexual abuse she receives regularly at home, just to cite a few scenes. Most of the characters are violent, racist, and ignorant, and many of the actors are actually members of the surrounding community who are playing themselves. As a result, I sometimes feel like Korine is exploiting them as freaks. This especially concerns me in the scenes involving Ellen, the mentally disabled woman who is shown shaving her eyebrows off. I'm worried that Korine is somehow trying to benefit from the spectacle of this image, and the shock value it has, which I find cheap. I think Korine does a lot to shock his viewers and not much in the way of making us sympathize with his characters, especially those who are violent and racist.

    Fans of the movie often defend Korine's intentions by arguing that he is attempting to show that although these people seem like lowlifes and freaks, they are still beautiful and interesting in their own right. I do agree that they are beautiful and interesting, but I don't think that Korine is responsible for giving us that. He is so busy showing us the gutter of humanity that when he does attempt to show us the beauty, it's buried under the hatred, violence, and abuse the characters subject each other to. Korine doesn't show us beauty overpowering the grotesque, though perhaps he attempts to. What we end up with is beauty buried under the grotesque. For that reason, I don't think the actual thematic content of the film lives up to the potential given by the form Korine has created. Each time I see Gummo, I walk away feeling pretty indifferent about the characters, like I haven't learned anything I didn't know before. I don't think anyone can presume to know what Korine "meant" by the film or if there was any greater intention at all. If there was, I think Korine's attempts to express it were ineffective....more info
  • White Trash needs a Movie Too!
    This movie is interesting... ugly as it may be. It a hyperbolated view of our modern trash-reality. I saw this movie when it came out and yes, I loved it. With lines like "You look smell a fag rabbit" etc it had that avant garde artiness that I cant get enough of. The plot in the true scense of the word is missing but this defines the the complete oblivion that the characters exist within. This lost world of white trash we are presented with is truly a microcosm of the mindless class of people who exist in their tiny worlds looking for the next fix of glue or shoe polish. In this respect it is a decent film.

    As I watched the film two weeks ago I really couldn't say much for it. It is funny in its vulgarity in parts but really is nto shot well and seems like a low budget documentary with out any direction at points and seems like bad student film with its shoddy voice overs in other parts. The filming is stark and seems like it was shot with one camera (cinematography is somewhat better than the blair witch project) Maybe age has tempered my views.

    That being said, check the film out. I would be wrong to say don't watch it. It is interesting visually (and I think about it often) and will make you think a bit. Their isnt a lot of substance here but it is worth a single view.
    ...more info
  • Exploitation
    This film could have ended arbitrarily at any point without sacrificing any meaningfulness, since it had none to begin with. I saw it out of curiosity. The fllm is a mess - it's basically the lowest of lowlives engaging in reprehensible behavior. I wish the tornado had dropped a few houses on these people. They're right out of Deliverance - except that movie was entertaining.
    I just waited for this to end. Thank God it finally did.
    ...more info
  • Don't Look at My Rating, Read My Review
    Now, this is not a movie that you need to add to your DVD collection, nor is it a great movie. Why 5 stars then? Cause this is what life is like. Not my life by any means and most likely not your life. But there are people out there and THIS is their life. One of the things I hated about the movie however was Bunny Boy. If this was some kind of metaphor I didn't catch it. This was simply a pointless character. Harmony Korine (the writer of "Kids") has made a movie that is just...Weird. It doesn't really have a plot either. The film is virtually a series of flashing images. But it basically shows us the lives of Tummler, Solomon, Darby, Dot (Chloe Sevigny,
    "Boys Don't Cry" who also served as costume designer), and Helen. Their lives are twisted and a little bit disturbing. It is told in sort of a documentary like fashion. But the film is filled with graphic images like Tummler and Solomon killing cats, putting them in a bag, and selling them. And there is a LOT of homosexual overtones. One scene with a kid in drag I found sick and creepy. A-.
    (Note: I would never buy this movie, nor would I watch it again. I am grading it on the sole fact of its no holds barred
    look at life)...more info
  • very real, very tragic, very "funny"
    If you are a fan of the bizarre then this movie is definetely worthy of a viewing.
    Many have passed this movie off as pointless, but to do so would be to do the same to it's "stars". A HUGE portion of this film was shot in the real houses that are in the film, very few were dressed down to look the way they were, they just went through a real community and rolled the tape. Many scenes were purely random improvs, or locals showing off for the camera, but that only adds to it's authenticity.
    You could call this film f***ed up, but then so is the rest of america, and this film is a piece of it....more info
  • Spanker Had Gravy On His Tie.......
    As strange as this may sound "Gummo" will always hold a special place in my heart. Why? Well, this is the one of the first movies that my then girlfriend, now wife watched together. Ahhh memories....Anyway, "Gummo" has it all: kids sniffing glue, kids mutilating cats, a couple of drunk guys wrestling a chair, a "gay" black midget, a brother who pimps out his retarded sister and an albino girl with no toes looking for a "sensitive man". If all the aforementioned activites seem like they would be interesting to watch then this is the movie for you. I can almost guarantee that at least one time during the film you will ask yourself, "Are these people really acting?" And the answer is...well I'll leave that up to you John or Jane Q. Viewer. If really weird movies are your thing give this DVD a spin and see what you think.
    P.S. The soundtrack is awesome....more info
  • I am actually from Xenia, and this is not about Xenia
    This movie is a sick display of what never happened in Xenia.
    I won't be able to get those 90 minutes of my life back but thankfully, I didn't waste any money on that piece of filth some refer to as a movie. I have lived in Xenia for about 5 years now and I have never known anyone who sells cat carcasses to chinese restaurants, constantly wears pink bunny ears, wrestles with chairs, or eats dinner in the bathtub. I know the movie is supposed to be set in my hometown but even our white trash isn't that white trash. So, thank you, Harmony Korine, for putting Xenia on the map. Now the world can see what a well-bred, civilized little town we are....more info
  • The America we don't want to think about, so ultimately don't.
    I've been wanting to check out this Harmony Korine person, being that in general people are pretty impressed with his work (minus a few film snobs, some of whom's opinion I trust, so I was very interested to see which side I would join).

    This is a documentary-like look at small-town America, not the small-town America that has nerds dancing to electronic music or the small-town America filled with hyper evangelists, but the small-town America with a Wal-Mart, dirty homes, and a lot of stray cats... hick-ville, basically. I think the most noteworthy feature of this film is the fact that almost all of the characters are as unpleasant to look at as they are unpleasant to think about, which is of course why the camera stays on them for long periods of time and lets them tell their own story, forcing us to see and think about them.

    I'm pretty sure it's meant to be disturbing, in a way, especially to happy suburbanites, but the problem with disturbing material is that once you've seen something more disturbing than something else, the latter doesn't really have much of an effect anymore. Still, I could call the film unsettling and not be lying... though nearing the end I began to get antsy not because of the subject matter, but because it was beginning to drag.

    Here's an interesting point to make about the film: I love cats, a lot, and seeing them hurt or tortured angers me and upsets me to great degrees. But the treatment of cats in this film didn't really upset me too much because it felt natural considering the strays and the type of world these people lived in. So is that a symbol of this film's strength, or weakness? I'm not sure, I'm pretty sure a second viewing could help answer that, but then again I'm not really sure I desire a second viewing because I feel pretty finished with the work as a whole.

    --PolarisDiB...more info
  • Please enter a title for your review
    Harmony Korine relies on pushing the obvious hollywood buttons of sex and violence as much as the indie-film staples of prolonged silences and downbeat dialogue delivery. The main thing making Gummo stand out in the film landscape and seem creative rather than formulaic is the vignette style of filmmaking, the rarity of which gives the film it's novelty value. ...more info
  • That's 90 minutes I'll never get back ...
    It was only out of morbid curiosity that we carried on watching this DVD.

    Not at all to sound clever, to call GUMMO a 'bad film' would be an insult to bad films. IT IS NOT A FILM. It is a loose collection of disjointed, badly shot home videos edited together with a few scenes with a 'star' (Sevigny), the two primary cat-killing sociopaths and the kid with the bunny ears -- and there is *no* storyline, either combined or separate, in these scenes whatsoever.

    None of the scenes make any sense and the pointless forays into the town's home movies (or at least that's the impression one gets) doesn't help at all.

    Its only redeeming quality is some interesting photography (and by that I do mean literally still photography set to video) and imagery (like the kid with the bunny ears playing the accordion in the public toilet). This does, indeed, lead me to believe that perhaps the "writer"/director might actually make a much better still photographer than film maker.

    As a portrait of boredom in a small town devastated by tornado, I suppose I 'get it' -- but there was just so much self-indulgent excess in the film. It could be edited down to 20 minutes. Indeed, it went *nowhere* in 90! Maybe that's the point -- the viewer becomes part of the boredom....more info
  • How American Beauty's little whirlwind became a Tornado
    I somewhat braced myself to see a barrage of the "Wh* Tr*" label being thrown around when reading the reviews of this movie. (A perfect negation to all who claim Americans are comparatively less class-conscious.) If we can get pass additional loaded labels like "Enfant Terrible" and "pretentious," maybe we can all start to see with a fresh eye. It amazes me that so many people trumpet the greatness of American Beauty, but suddenly go sour when the movie Ricky Fitts would have logically gone off to shoot after he became tired of filming the flying bag in the whirlwind, is right here: Symbolically, that small whirlwind in American Beauty that blew the bag around for a five-minute video has turned into the gigantic tornado that hit Xenia Ohio.

    If we can suspend our prejudices at the word "Wh* Tr*" for 90 minutes, then every image becomes a thing of beauty. Is violence bad? Sure. The allusions made from the image of a gang of drunk shirtless guys beating up a chair is scary, I'll admit it. But it doesn't make the image itself ugly. In fact, it's quite gorgeous. Whenever I find that I might get carried away with a little bit of snobbery, all I have to say to myself is this: If Francisco Goya was at that kitchen, if Durer was there, or even Kathe Kollwitz...would any of these artist chose NOT to document the moment?


    So we have to be very careful when we react to something as a result of our upbringing and prejudices versus the lifelong search for all that is truly beautiful.

    Traditional folk singer Almeda Riddle opens the movie with a wonderfully sung Rooster song. Jacob Sewell (with androgynous supermodel looks) dons bunny ears and embodies the violence dished out on stray cats. (The American Humane Society is noted at the end of the film as being on the premises to monitor and prevent any animal cruelty. Prostethetics were used as well, just in case you were concerned). I especially enjoyed the alternate settings of cruelty to cats (from the boys) and adoration (from girls), and the subsequent crossroad leading to that abstract object of desire disappearing...and ending up in the hands of the bunny boy.

    Everything in between is there for the taking. You just have to check your sense of superiority at the door and take every image as it comes.

    For years, I've always said that a traveller to any country or town always brings a fresh eye to the way natives see the things they have taken for granted. Korine mentions this about the cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier as well, saying that the Frenchman sees Nashville with the eyes of wonder (which we should all possess on a daily basis).

    Of course, it's possible to argue that if you look without discrimination, then taste and preferences are all but abolished. You might as well just let the camera roll. That's a mistake. Taste and preferences (which, in another word is prejudice) are instilled in us. When you come out of an instructive movie like Gummo, you begin to reassess what you have taken for granted (or flat out ignored) all along. Hopefully you'll see your surroundings with a fresh new eye....more info
  • Is this too much reality for you, folks?
    Well, what can I say, director Korine seem to want to challenge the audience to find the justification for his debut film. Following by his screenplay, "Kids", which he wrote at 19, further carves out his relevance in today's cinema as one weird director. This movie without a story or seemingly without a script can form many reactions. Korine follows various characters in a backwoods town at Xenia, Ohio which was once nearly devastated by a tornado. The lives followed here include mostly adolescents and centers on two boys, Tummler (Nick Sutton) and Solomon (Jacob Reynolds). Solomon's father was killed during the Xenia tornadoes...and the film follows these boys on various destructive and self-destructive exploits that defy any cinematic validity. This is not film in most ways, it is real life. This "real life" includes glue sniffing, riding dirt bikes, sex and watching such challenging scenes as a man pimping his mentally ill wife who spends her days bedridden and dolled up like a 2-dollar hooker. At the same time we also meet two sisters, Dot (Chlo? Sevigny) and Helen (Carisa Glucksman), who want to become stripper's .Then there is also a boy (Jacob Sewell) who wanders around town wearing pink bunny ears.

    Korine constructed his movie as a series of vignettes depicting these characters and various others engaged in disruptive behavior. The episodes range from funny and beautiful to gratuitous and senseless. I found the cinematography of "Gummo" stark, depressing but oddly hypnotic. It's really the way that the director filmed it (scratchy montage, digital low-quality shootings), and the conversations between the two boys that make the movie compelling and fascinating to watch. I found the performances, including that of Chloe Sevigny to be honest, authentic and sad.

    The movie is filmed like the lives of all the people in the village. There's no real development, people don't really do much to improve their situation, and it's a secluded world they live in. The weird southern-style music and the many unexplained characters like the pink-bunny boy make it a surreal experience. The most memorable scene: was Solomon bath scene.....tell me just how disgusting can a bath be and on top of that while eating dinner?!?

    It would be nice to think that, if they do exist, at least we shouldn't have to look at them... This movie is, indeed, a more gritty and honest version of "Slacker". They make a good double feature. Of course, after seeing "Gummo", you will see the cast of "Slackers" Many viewers have despised this film and it's good that people are offended. Maybe it just means that the movie accomplished its goal.
    ...more info
  • B R I L L I A N T
    It has more to say than some people suggest.

    Watch it. It will affect you in some way. And that is what good art is supposed to do....more info
  • This is an important movie
    I saw this movie when it came out in 1997. It was one of my favorite films. It was visually stunning. It was arty. It abandon plot. It was sort a peek into white trash culture. I just watched it again as a DVD after six years have passed, and I have noticed a few things. One is that it looks a lot better on the screen than on a little TV screen. It seems sort of contrived in parts, where all the voice overs. All the narrations get annoying after a while. Most of the film is beautifully shot and is character driven. All the talk about depression doesn't really add anything. The performance of Linda Manz seems a little odd. It is more like Werner Hertzog's performance in Julien Donkey Boy. Both performances seem off kilter. Watching this movie, years later, it seems still good, but it has lost its impact. Julien Donkey Boy may be the better film of Harmony Korine....more info
  • Anyone Can Make A Movie This Bad
    If you do attempt to view this film take heed to the following warning. This is a disturbing film. It has a disturbing script that was equally matched by what appears to be a home video production crew.

    At no point in your life will ever see anything like this produced again. It is orginal by all means of the imagination. However, the small bits of the movie have a strange reality to them. The movie is about life in Xenia, Ohio after a tornado had hit the town. There is a town called Xenia, Ohio that has had two major tornadoes come through in the past few decades.

    This creative part of the movie is that it appears to be thrown together. There was no need to have a script with this film. If you can imagine something along the lines of "Jackass" then you can also predict what "Gummo" is all about. It's about nothing. The plot isn't worth mentioning - at all.

    Although the idea of doing drugs or being intoxicated while watching this movie may seem cool. You will regret watching this movie later on in your life. This movie represents what everyone believes they have in themselves. Everyone believes they can make a movie. Unforunately, "Gummo" has proved that hypothesis wrong....more info
  • A must-see for film buffs. This is an important movie.
    Harmony Korine outdoes himself in this film by successfully mixing three film approaches/components together: scripted dialogue, improvisation and documentary. This story about the impovershed and somewhat isolated town of Xena, Ohio presents a combination of social commentary, uncomfortable personal interaction and the beauty and tragedy of life. Everyone should see this movie once. It might disturb you, it might make you laugh, but it will definitely effect you....more info
  • gummo-riffic
    i love this movie. the characters are so real and sweet. it gets better every time i watch it. ...more info
  • This Movie is Bizarre,Entertaining,Scary,and Disgusting,All at the same Time.
    Gummo is A look at A group of backward people,living in A small Ohio community.These people are weird,demented,disgusting,and obviously racist.These people are so screwed up,you actually feel kind of sorry for them.Kids going around killing cats,and selling them to restaurants and stores.Handicapped girls being forced into prostitution,5 year old kids,cussing like sailors.A mom sniffing glue with her son,and A bizarre kid(dressed in A pink bunny costume).This movie is entertaining,and in some parts truly captures A bizarre fascination.I give it 3 stars,while the movie is interesting,many people may have A problem with the cat butchering.If you can get past the cat scenes,you might find this nightmarish film,curiously entertaining,in A morbid way....more info
  • You've never seen anything like this.
    If you go into this movie expecting a masterful story with a typical Hollywood caliber budget, you'll be let down because you'll find none of this in Gummo. Gummo doesn't really try to beat you over the head with a storyline as much as it tries to literally transport you into the messed up world that exists in the lives of these people from Southern Ohio. Some of the stuff that goes on in the movie is not that far from reality either. There are people and towns like this out there. This movie has an atmosphere all its own....more info
    Welcome to small town America. Much like WRONG EYED JESUS, GUMMO delves into the part of America we've been unable to stomach as a whole since its inception. In doing so we've have treated it much like any fear; polish it into presentable parodies--i.e. Larry The Cable Guy, Cedrick The Entertainer and Hank Williams Jr songs. But where as WRONG EYED JESUS expanded upon the folklore, GUMMO presents actual lives; and that is most disturbing aspect of this film. ...more info
  • There's something about Gummo...
    If you describe this film to people, and tell them you like it, they'll think you're insane and disturbed. It's a documentary/collage like film about white trash. Some advertisements for the film have tried to portray it as a comedy, but it isn't. It's mostly vignettes from the town of Xenia, Ohio, where white trash and their values reign supreme. Cat killers (no cats were actually harmed), paying for sex with mentally handicapped people, white trash beating up chairs, and paint huffing are some of the attractions you'll see here. But Korine edits and films it in, dare I say, an artistic and interesting way. There is something going on here. This was an independent movie, but most indie movies are just quirky films that aren't that different than what mainstream Hollywood gives us. This is a real independent film. Korine films in 8mm, video, 16mm, and 35mm. He doesn't seem interested in crossover appeal with his work. He captures the despair and nihilism of these white trash denziens. And some of the images stick in your mind, like the kid taking a bath at the end eating spaghetti in a filthy tub. Korine has made only 2 features, but they are both certainly worth watching, and quite beautiful, in their own, strange way. This is a very good film....

    ...more info
  • I don't know who most of you people are...
    but how in the world was anyone seriously offended or disturbed by this movie? Loosen your belt a little. Yes, there are some mildly shocking things going on, but had you never heard anything about this film before? The way I've heard people talk about it, I really expected this to blow my mind. Maybe it would if you had never seen a movie before or were 12 years old, but neither of those apply to me. People keep complaining about the "lack of plot", but since when has it ever been necessary for a film to create a cut-and-dry story for it to be entertaining? This is a documentary-style fictional account of the lives of some off-kilter people in a less than fortunate setting. It is genuinely amusing at many points, and I sincerely enjoyed it. Don't believe the hype about this being so fantastically disturbing. Unless you read cat fancy or live in a world without sexual depravity or poverty, you should only cringe a bit....more info
  • Retards Killing Cats
    A theme which prevades this movie is of defective people doing mean things to cats. Gummo portays the lives of several young people (aka, white trash, mostly) living in a run down part of some town in Ohio (although I believe the movie was actually shot in Tennessee). The characters are shown engaging in some fairly bizarre behaviors. There are several episodes in this movie which are quite interesting and which seem to attain a high level of artistic integrity. Other episodes seem a little thrown together. The characters portrayed in this movie are for the most part believeable as most of us who work in either education, law enforcement, or the mental health professions can attest to and so the creator of this film should be commended for his work in this regards. Also the ambience of certain scenes is striking, however, consistent quality is not maintained throughout this movie and that is its main flaw. On the other hand, I would give this movie three and a half dead cats (or stars) on a five point scale which is a lot more than I would give to many blockbusters and otherwise popular and critically acclaimed movies. I suppose that some people might find the imagery and the topics dealt with in this movie disturbing, but this movie deserves special praise for its realism and the efforts of those involved in this film should be applauded. In some ways I'd compare this movie to "Jackass - The Movie" in that part of the reason that it's so captivating is because of the strange and bizarre behaviors shown on the screen, but while "Jackass" was all about shock value, this movie seems to have a bit more to it than just offensive or alarming behavior. A short, but interesting, interview with the film's creator is also included on this DVD. The film's creator deserves extra praise for presenting the characters without judging them. Although I refer to the characters as retards who kill cats, the film's creator portrays them in a non-judgemental, almost sympathetic, manner....more info
  • overrated/underrated
    Some call this a masterpice others purile [...].. A film that divides opinion so sharply must surely be a provocative piece of work?
    For this alone i've given it 2stars, it opens a debate. Unfortunately Gummo is far from being a masterpiece. I appreciate many of Korines professed cinematic heroes, Alan Clarke, Werner Herzog, Fassbinder..
    In interviews Korine talks a good talk and he has had many esteemed admirers. The reality is that with Gummo and then Julien Donkey Boy, Korine singularly fails to live up to this professed potential. He clearly has a fascination with people on the margins, and his refusal to sentimentalise or condemn them is on one level commendable. However his gaze brings with it no understanding, no willingness to trully explore beneath the surface of his characters.. I am not saying that he should seek to explain, rather to truthfully investigate and reveal.
    Otherwise his films become occasionally artfully shot freakshows that permit no penetrating incites, only smug detachment on the one hand and smug revulsion on the other.
    Korine was young when he made this film, lets remember that. And it did show hints at a potential that many of his heroes hoped they recognised.
    Exploitation is a word often associated with Gummo, and yes undoubtedly there are troubling issues here of exploitation,,(as there are on The Jerry Springer Show, Bum Fights, etc).. The film shows a nightmare world of children with no moral compass, but what is troubling is that Korine seems to have actively encouraged this in order to create entertainment/art.. Sadly his juvenile nihilistic tendencies throughout betray his proclaimed loftly ideals.. (you also detect a nasty snigger through the pain)
    I wish korine well, he is supposedly using and a little lost, and I hope his time gives him a new perspective and purpose..

    ...more info
  • genius
    I loved it. It's origonal, very artistic, and put together nicely. I've noticed a lot of people wrote bad reviews about the movie... I guess they didnt understand it and the characters. Or probably have horrible taste in movies. Anyways watch it, regardless of the comments, you just might like it....more info
  • A huge step back from KIDS
    In my personal opinion, i felt Gummo to be a boring film. Harmony Korine is a talented individual, but it seems that this film was missing an important element. That element was a storyline. Kids is a masterpiece,due to the fact of a great storyline. I didnt feel a connection with the characters of Gummo. I felt there wasnt a main focus to the film. It was sprawled out disconnected. But never the less, i did understand his reasoning for taking you into the world we stereotype as white/trailer trash. But overall, Gummo is a million pieces to a puzzle that aren't put into the right slots. ...more info
  • Wow.........
    "Gummo" brings things into perspective that people in our modern day America just dont want to think about so .... dont. "Gummo" is a disturbing film but in a very good way, it's not Hollywood. Hollywood tries to think that it shows people real and diverse lives but in the end always gets caught up in the drugs, sex and politics that people just thrive on.

    For those of you that think that "Gummo" is just a bunch of retards beating on cats, you do not see the deeper meaning, what the film is trying to do is show people and audiences that the kind of things that you see in "Gummo" are all around us, devestaded societies, crumbling economy's and weather induced ruins ect:. There are so many places in America that are this way, and people just dont think about it therfore they are not adressing the matter or doing anything about it. This low budget film will hopefully open a few people eyes that dont know or dont think about what is really going on in some places threw-out the United States. The movie is real, it's not hollywood and its not for people with an I.Q of under 100, I hate to be harsh but think about "Gummo" after you see it dont just dismiss it as weird stupid or pointless.

    Grade: B...more info
  • 90 minute ode to torturing cats.
    Watching this film, I was reminded of a a term Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert used to employ to describe schlock near the same level as Gummo back in the day. That term would be "geek show". And no other combination of words describes this film better.

    The film revolves around a character whose name I didn't catch. Filmmaker Korrine must've realized before casting began that he was in trouble. This lead character is completely void of any interesting character traits other than the fact that the actor playing him looks like the result of a brother-sister union. Gummo follows this unfortunate character (along with other distasteful characters that populate the film's tornado-ravaged town) through a series of "oh-so-disturbing" scenarios that seem to exist simply to shock the viewer rather than to build towards a cohesive plot. Within the film's ninety minutes viewers are subjected to children struggling to recite essay-length dialogue peppered with every curse word you can imagine and very little else, a brother pimping his mentally challenged, overweight sister, and a group of girls examining a pet cat's nipples (among other places) to determine whether it's pregnant.

    Even with all this, Korrine does manage to succeed in some arenas. The scenes with Chloe Sevigny and her sisters(?) were so good that I yearned for them to appear more frequently. In fact, they should've been the movie. And Korrine DOES establish an authentic and memorable setting with his rural Ohio town. But still, Gummo falls short. Trash connoiseur Howard Stern and Jerry Springer accomplish what Korrine does with Gummo on a daily basis. And at least they aren't so pretentious as to try and pass it off as art because of indie/ironic soundtrack selections. But of course, you can't criticize films like this without the risk of being grouped in with all the other middle-America squares who just didn't "get it". Sadly, that's not me. I've seen and enjoyed movies more shocking than Gummo and will continue to. The difference between Gummo and those films is that Gummo settles for being a sideshow and sacrifices a plot in doing so. ...more info
  • WTF was that
    This movie RAPED my mind..... I have no Idea what I watched...

    I recommend it for those that are crazy or wish to be crazy...more info
  • Crappo
    This is a waste of time made by director with nothing to say, who still wants to be a filmmaker. Trash like this inevitably triggers reviews rife with words like "genius," "misunderstood," "surreal," and "cult." The lower-middle-class white Midwest has become the happening place for hipster artists to go slumming for material, but all Korine seems to have gotten out of it is an episode of "COPS" slapped together with some cheesy film-school-assignment cinematography and editing. Too bad, because the film's premise (a town recently ravished by a tornado) could have made for a truly edgy exploration of an American social stratum that's usually ignored....more info
  • Ack
    I started watching "Gummo" because of Linda Manz. I loved her in "Days of Heaven". I got about 15 minutes into and turned it off. I had to. I was...what's the word I'm looking for?... Ah, yes, I was disgusted. I find no redeeming value in watching this movie. None.

    There's sick and twisted that's great(like any of the Romero zombie flicks). There's weird and disturbing that's great(like any of the Jodorowsky flicks).

    Then there's "Gummo". The title makes me think of gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Which makes me think of dog turd stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Which leads right back to "Gummo".

    I usually don't write bad reviews about movies because they are all subjective. But I had to say something about this horrible movie. And plead with people to pass this one by. Life is too short to watch crappy movies. If you want to see a "bad" movie try "Plan 9 from Outer Space", "Manos, the Hands of Fate", or any of the MST3K fare....more info
  • Documentary-ish as all Harmony Korine films are . . .
    I bought this thinking I hadn't seen it - alas, yes I did! I definately remember the scene of the boy in the tub filled with murky water eating a candy bar, and his mother tap dancing in the basement. . .It's not quite as good as it's rated, but I - well, I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but it is interesting. If you can find that dark place that people retreat to after complete decimation - wrap your head around that - and you can see these people, sadly, but look around they're there. The whole cat thing I could do without - and it's really disheartening if that goes on - but the kid Soloman played by Jacob Reynolds shows some potential in recoverying - although, it's pretty obvious his mother would like to keep him a little boy forever. I've like Jacob Reynolds ever since I saw him in "the road to wellville" - he's not only interesting looking, but he's quite an actor - I'm gonna have to see more flicks he's been in....more info
  • It's rare when pretentiousness & white trash mix, but....
    This feat is artfully accomplished in Gummo. While it's laudable that the film doesn't preach easy answers to difficult questions regarding the underbelly of white America, it's a wholly ineffectual romp into the muck, and it seems the only point of the film was to nauseate the audience. In case you think I'm squeamish, I thought that Kids was brilliant, and I'm as willing as anyone to sit through some pretty dark stuff, like Requiem For A Dream, Blue Velvet, Elephant Man, etc. But Gummo is different. This is merely a self-aggrandizing muck fest, and there is not one character that elicits even the smallest amount of sympathy from us. And the Rabbit-Boy addition was mere pretentious weirdness. It's really too bad, because I would have liked to like this....more info
  • Gummo....
    Gummo is pretty sick, but I can attest to the sort of reality it imitates. It would be better if it really were all made up, but this kinda stuff happens every day in rural America. Pretty sad huh. That's why we shouldn't send jobs overseas....more info
  • WAKE UP!
    All I can say is that anyone who gives this movie a negative review is just not getting it. This is not a comedy. This is reality. I can show you many places where people live this way. How can you say you dont like a movie that shows you something real and makes you feel something - whether its anger, disgust, repulsions, or sympathy. NObody can say this is not an interesting film in the least. Just becasue it doesnt leave you feeling all warm and cozy inside and just because you cant show it to your kiddies doesnt mean its not an excellent movie. Which it is by the way! ...more info
  • Complete Dreck
    I wish I could give this movie something worse than a one-star rating, it's by far the worst movie I've ever seen in my entire life. That being said, I also think that everybody should see this movie just so they can truly appreciate movies that are only bad, like Waterworld, Gigli, etc. While these movies are insipid, at least they're bearable. The entire time I was watching Gummo I was praying that a mountain lion would scratch out my eyes and eat my brain just to end the torment. I always thought Harmony Korine was a pretentious jackass but this sent me over the edge. Seriously, when the most likeable character in your movie is a boy who walks around in bunny ears and actually has no speaking part it's very possible that you've chosen the wrong vocation in life. I think he would do much better as an FBI interrogator or something, because he obviously has an unnatural talent at making people feel like death is a pretty good option compared to what he has to serve out. In short, Gummo is crap on toast. ...more info
    Granted, Gummo is not for everyone. But I bought it because I find it oddly fascinating. I used to screen my dates for suitability by having them watch Gummo--the "Gummo test". This didn't work out real well. Most bailed withing the first 15 minutes. ...more info
  • A film you should and must see but one that inherently can't escape its own ugliness; "C"
    A good friend cautioned me many years ago that this movie was "messed up" (though he used much harsher words than that) and, essentially, so disturbing that he couldn't even watch it to the end. These were strong words considering that he was one of the most creatively liberal minds I had ever met. I wanted to see it though because we had both seen "Kids" which director Harmony Korine had also worked on, and I appreciated his attempts to depict the "harsh" reality of modern times. I knew, going in, that this film had the potential to take "harsh" reality to the next level and in that sense, be a truly remarkable film. 'Gummo' really does set a new boundary that is likely not going to be crossed for some time to come in terms of the aforementioned "harsh" reality - the film is documentary in its style and is filled from beginning to end with profoundly disturbing images and utterly depressing situations. I will defend the film to a certain extent because it is completely successful in showing situations that the reader realizes reflect the darkest sides of humanity. On a personal level, I really connected with its theme of examining our modern society and its often amoral nature. Despite this, I can't go around saying this is one of the best films ever made - I love stories that feature bleak outlooks and the absence of any true heroes. I even wondered myself then why I couldn't rate this film more highly. Ultimately, I'm realizing that this is a film that MUST and SHOULD be seen for all that it reminds us about the absence of moral models and nurturing home environments, but one that you'll feel isn't any "better" or more grand than the characters that it depicts. Did Korine fail then in making this movie? Absolutely not - you're left feeling empty at the truth of the film but also a certain appreciation that such truth is trying to be conveyed....more info
  • What pure trash.
    Having lived in Xenia Ohio for several years now, I can tell you this peice of crap is completely false. Beleive it or not, there are people out there who think this is 'based on a true story' and that Xenia Ohio is really like this. The only thing 'true', is that we have had 2 tornados in the past 25 years, one of which in 1974 destroyed most of the town. Not in the '1990s' like the film potrays. This is not some racist white trash breeding ground, in fact a good portion of our population is of African orgin. I wouldnt care about this waste except that we know have vistors dumb enough to look around for the false landmarks in the movie.

    Aside from my obvious bias, the movie is a bore. There is no plot, and the film relies on shock value like the usual reality-show world BS that is popular now....more info
  • "Life is great. Without it, you'd be dead."
    "Gummo" is a rough film to rate. It's got no plot or story, appears to have been almost entirely improvised, and seems to exist pretty much just to exist. It's little more then a half-amusing/half-disturbing collage of scenes/vignettes that border on skits chronicling life in the rural town of Xenia, Ohio. If I lived there, I would be seriously bent after watching this. There are two primary themes present: country hicks are crazy, and all cats must die. Seriously, this flick is like torture porn for cat haters. While a lot of reviews I read hail this piece of highly independent cinema as everything from an artistic interpretation of rural culture to science fiction to inspirational faux-documentary, they are pretty much all wrong. "Gummo" is just "Gummo". Any artistry found in several minutes of homophobic ranting from young children or drunk adults wrestling a chair while their buds cheer them on like it's the greatest thing they've ever seen is nothing more then what the viewer ascribes to it. And that is what makes this a worthwhile film: every person who watches it will get something different out of it, good or bad.

    The segments are so loosely connected and inane that I wish the director had used title cards to begin each one. Titles like "Parents Huff Chemicals With Their Children", and "Girls Rip Tape Off of Their Nipples To Make Their Breasts Look Bigger" tell you everything you need to know about a given scene. That's as deep a story as you're going to get. Xenia is one of those trailer park towns where it's still acceptable to say things in public like "I hate ni$%ers" out of the blue for no reason and the explanation you need to offer it "they just pi$z me off". Feral cats are all over and local kids use techniques ranging from BB guns and broken glass in a can of tuna to physical drowning to kill them for fun and profit. Profit? Yeah, they sell them to a guy who's got a connection at a Chinese restaurant. Yum. If your humor is black enough, you'll find some chuckles, but more then likely you'll just be sickened.

    Now, I came from a place more rural then Xenia and I can assure you that not everything you see in "Gummo" is fictional. In fact, it may not go far enough as far as exposing the true deviancy of this down-home fantasy ideal that America has cooked up. In the country where the only way to tell people where you live is the name of your street (assuming it has a name and isn't just a dirt road) you practically live outside of society mentally as well as physically. The culture that often arises from a lack of education and social norms coupled with sheer boredom is not nearly as pleasant as moronic country music songs make it out to be. "Country boys and girls getting down on the farm" is probably closer to this film then the crummy tune. In the city we turn on the news and see child or animal abuse and violent beatings and think "oh my god, how horrible". In rural America, that's just part of the landscape, not news at all.

    The critics who praise "Gummo" as a refreshing look at the culture or deride it as an elitist mockery of it are both wrong and have likely never lived in the country. It's neither. The film is definitely a freak show, and one with a lot of truth to it, but to somebody whose lived amongst ditch bank Okies, it's hardly refreshing. Nor is it a realistic account of rural life. While it appears to be almost documentary in nature, it has a lot of indie weirdness that baits critics into attaching deep artistic meaning to what a shirtless boy in pink bunny ears represents or a mentally retarded girl in a Krokus shirt who runs around singing her ABC's. Every character appears to be inbred or mentally handicapped and apparently also gain a healthy sexual appetite by the time they hit grade school. A lot of this stuff appears to be there just for the indie kookiness/WTF factor. So it's not really fact and it's not entirely fiction. What is it? It's somewhere in the middle, which is to say it accomplishes very little.

    Now, my biggest factor in rating anything is how much I enjoyed it. I can't really say I enjoyed watching dead cats getting hung and beaten with sticks or shot over and over with a BB gun. Gay hick trying to make out with a deformed midget on the couch? Sorry. Young children having sex with a mentally ill prostitute? Ummmm, no. Just not my cup of tea. Chicks taping their nipples? Okay, I can dig that a little. The movie isn't wretched and the audacity of it along with the black humor gives it an energy that will certainly appeal "Gummo" to many cult cinema enthusiasts, but at the end of the day it's not really my thing. The soundtrack rocks, though. My childhood was not a happy one and this felt to a degree like revisiting it. I don't put dead animals in people's mail boxes anymore (not that I'm admitting to such a thing) and it's been a long time since the cops chased me for throwing rocks at moving cars with my friends in the middle of the night. I've no need to further explore the doings of middle America. But if you are curious about what a semi-authentic country song would be about or just want to see some really messed-up random hillbilly sh!+ then give this film a try.

    2 1/2 stars, rounded up for uniqueness.
    ...more info
  • True horror
    This is a horror film where the horror is in a near real life experience. These are the people that you see out in public and think "they're STRANGE". Or worse these are the people you meet as friends of your most out there friend and you hope to Hell you never have to be in their presence again. Forget the blood drenched aliens and what-not, these characters are more disturbing because they are way too close to real....more info
  • Pathetic- One of the worst
    I just finished watching Gummo. What a mistake it was buying this piece of trash. Anyone who found this movie funny is disturbed. This isnt humorous at all and im into dark comedy. All it is is a bunch of sick depraved scenes rolled into one pile of trash while they are calling a movie. Its more like a documentary type film, if you want to even call it that. One of the other reviewers said ( get a sense of humor ). Heres some scenes from the movie and you be the judge as to if you have find these things humorous. A brother pimps his mentally disabled sister.- Killing and abusing cats. - The rest of the scenes i cannot even say on this site. This isnt a comedy. I have seen kids and was expecting somthing worse but i never expected this. There is absolutely no merit to this film whatsoever. It dosent even deserve a review. I am writing this review to warn you all not to purchase this movie. It will be a mistake and a waste of money. ...more info
  • cautionary tale
    When I first watched this movie I was thoroughly digusted and disturbed, which is what Harmony Korine was trying to get across I suppose. Then I caught it one night on IFC, then a friend of mine rented it, so the more I watched it the more I began to see the psychological and social aspects of it. This flick is supposed to freak you out, it a indepth look at white trash culture that is relevent, as opposed to stupid but acceptable expamples seen on Cops or Jerry Springer. What is the difference between the gay midget in the film and some gay midget on the Jerry Springer show or Maury Povich. For everyone who gave this flick one star and said it was horrible, well maybe you should stick with Hollywood generated movies that have no creativity and generic and typical. Parents should show this film to their kids, schools should show it to students entering the sixth grade as a cautionary tale, hang around with the wrong crowd and this is your future, killing cats for money, sniffing glue, and taking care of your old sick granny while hiding transvestite glamour shots of yourself. You have to accept this movie for what it is, even though I wouldn't consider this film a comedy it's definitely funnier than any Larry the Cable Guy, Delta Farce crap that's so popular today. ...more info