Gummo (1998)
Rated NC17

Starring: Jacob Sewell, Nick Sutton, and Chloe Sevigny

out of

It's been awhile since I've seen a movie that made me cringe as many times as I did while watching Gummo. The film, directed and written by Kids writer Harmony Korine, depicts life of teenagers in Xenia, Ohio following a devastating tornado.

The film has no real story or plot. It's a series of vignettes featuring the young white trash inhabitants of Xenia killing time and trying to entertain themselves. Most of the film features Tummler (Nick Sutton) and Solomon (Jacob Reynolds) traipsing around town engaging in such fun activities as killing cats, sniffing glue, paying a man to have sex with his retarded wife and turning off a comatose woman's life support because "she's already dead."

There are some people who will no doubt defend Gummo as an eye-opening film about life in a broken-down town in Middle America. There are probably people who feel that this film is honest and unflinching in its portrayals of wayward youth with no guidance and nowhere to direct their energy. Fine. I can see those as being valid opinions but I wholeheartedly disagree. Gummo may be eye-opening and unflinching, but that doesn't make it any good.

There are occasional flashes of brilliance in some of the script. A monologue that Tummler delivers to the aforementioned pimping husband is absolutely hilarious. However, most of the "script" sounds like it was ad-libbed. When that style of scripting works, it can be called documentary-like. Here it sounds like non-actors are trying to act and not succeeding very well.

Gummo comes off as a behind the scenes look at the lives of Jerry Springer Show guests. If you're into that kind of entertainment, Gummo is probably your idea of good cinema.

Trivia: Chloe Sevigny, who stars as Dot, also served as the film's costume designer. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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