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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mondo Gummo

I wanna write about some specific things I find endearing about my girlfriend, but she might prefer that I didn't, so I won't.

Instead I'll say a bit about Gummo, a movie I've been watching (in my typical way... not enough time to watch a flick from start to finish, so I watch a bit one night, a bit more another night). Judging from the movie's entry on rotten tomatoes everybody who saw it thought this film was either a masterpiece or the Devil's Handiwork. Have you ever felt like the last of the non-drama queens?

The film takes a Mondo Kane-ish semi-documentary approach to the lives of various white-trash types and makes me feel like I've gone back in time to high school. I had a fairly privileged upbringing, but I spent time with the white-trash (I use that term non-pejoratively, like Dorothy Allison) crowd. The documentary parts of the film where the author just interviews various oddballs have an authenticity that the staged sub-John Waters shock stuff often lack (although getting a guy drunk and letting him whine belongs on Youtube, thanks). Most of the overtly staged stuff feels like any old student film. Director Korine has a lovely visual sense, and his blending of film stocks and oddly synced sound feels like a sensible development of the Natural Born Killers hothouse style. A DVD bonus interview with Korine is a bit like a bargain-basement version of those loopy interviews Dylan used to do when he'd make up odd stories. Here's hoping Korine goes deeper into his off-center explorations of overlooked lives and drops the cheap provocations, which I regard as a distraction from his real talents.

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An anecdote about white-trash high school buddies: John W. was a high-I.Q. fatboy who, in his own words, didn't apply himself. Midway through college I went to visit him in his new apartment in some cheezy neighbourhood of Chattanooga. Turned out he had married a morbidly obese woman who was old enough to be his Mom. They shared the apartment with her two sons, both of whom strongly looked like John's brothers. One wall of the apartment was covered with stacked-up TV sets. Each set had a picture problem, so they'd turn them all on and read across, trying to dead reckon between various v-hold challenged and staticky sets what was happening on Babylon 5 this week. I left, man. Never saw John again. Hope his TVs didn't fall no him.

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