Trash Humpers -- Film Review

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Harmony Korine is clearly an acquired taste that even few critics have ever really bothered to acquire. Films like "Gummo" and "Julien Donkey Boy" are uncompromising, in-your-face works that usually only make sense during the scenes in which you are being most completely grossed out.

An argument can be made, though, that Korine really should be looked at as a film artist (in the sense that Bill Viola is a video artist), rather than as a traditional filmmaker. Conventional things like plot, narrative, and consistent characterization are purposely neglected in his world, while the striking, usually controversial, image reigns supreme. This penchant, however laudable aesthetically, does not usually lead to distribution deals.

This strategy remains fully operative in his latest non-film, "Trash Humpers," which follows a crazed group of old people, using very old video equipment that produces an image that is constantly degraded (in both senses of the word) and that is often barely visible. The title comes from a running motif that has the three principal "characters" constantly dry-humping garbage cans, trees, telephone polls, and other stationary objects. One can only hope, for the actors' sake, that this is all faked.

We watch with bated (or bored) breath for 78 minutes as crazy people sing crazily, destroy furniture, smash dolls' heads with hammers, tap dance, power wash wheel chairs, eat pancakes with dishwashing liquid on them, riff on why it would be better if we were all headless, sing Christmas songs while having their penises stroked, put on a sock puppet show, jump on trampolines in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, and so on.

In other words, not for the faint of heart or for those who like their films to have beginnings, middles, and ends.
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