"Trash Humpers" Movie Review

8/28/2010 Posted by Admin

"Trash Humpers" 

Movie Review

Directed by Harmony Korine, running time 78 minutes

By our guest blogger, Kicia Sears

"Trash Humpers," the most recent film by Harmony Korine of "Kids and Gummo" fame, consists of random video footage of Korine, his wife and a few others dressed as seniors who troll around Nashville, TN. They break things, harass children, berate each other, imitate masturbating plants and, as the title denotes, hump trash cans. Filmed on video, Korine wanted it to feel spontaneous and it certainly does. It is basically just a muddling of ideas. Korine wishes to make a point about modern society with the movie but not only is the point hackneyed, the movie is so incoherent and irresponsible with its statements that it is rendered ineffectual.

In the first half hour of the movie, it becomes apparent that the characters are all speaking in affected southern accents. At one point, the female character wears a confederate flag. Therefore, it would appear that the South is being spotlighted in Korine’s statement about American life, but it’s not clear what point he’s trying to make.

Characters then move into old stereotypes of homophobia and racism. At one point, the trash humpers come across another vagrant who decides to recite a poem that is an ode to the trash humpers. Just in case anyone missed the symbolism, this character will tell the audience that as humans, we are obsessed with material goods and waste so much that it would be a logical progression for some people to become sexually attracted to the receptacles that hold our refuse. Regardless of whether one agrees with the logic of this argument, it jars the audience from the mood of the movie.

"Trash Humpers" was filmed in only a few weeks. It is one thing to attempt to obtain a gritty, spontaneous aesthetic and to improvise dialogue. However, "Trash Humpers" reveals a complete lack of effort.

Korine did not do any of the hard things about making a movie, like writing a coherent plot with good dialogue, or spending the time trying to set up perfect shots. If one were to watch this movie without knowing that there was a director, it would seem as though it were made by a bunch of high school students. Unfunny jokes are repeated ad nauseam. It’s like watching a bad comedian with the awkward, churning feeling of watching someone who thinks they are hilarious, when they absolutely aren’t. The lack of effort put into the movie–not to mention Korine’s expectation that not only did it need to be a feature length, but also could be entered into film festivals–feels arrogant.

Harmony Korine is a creative mind who showed us what he could do with more challenging stories like "Kids and Gummo." However, he alienates the typical moviegoer with senseless violence and shocking images. Though intentionally random, "Trash Humpers" is unsuccessful in communicating its message without a poem spelling it out for the audience, and even then the message is boring and vague. Even for such an unconventional filmmaker, "Trash Humpers" is an inept mess of a picture.

Grade: D

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