Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 78 minutes
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This review was originally published on March 16, 2010.
If you feel like having the age-old conversation about “what is art,” you need not look any further than “Trash Humpers” for an example of how to strike up that topic. Shot and edited on old-school VHS, I’m not even completely sure you can call this a film inasmuch as it’s an experience. A really weird, filthy, creepy, funny and disturbing experience. Korine has stated he wanted this project to be like a piece of found footage that didn’t entirely make sense and had no context. If that was indeed his plan he has succeeded.
“Trash Humpers” focuses on a group of old people who go around humping trash. There are two old men and an old woman (all of whom are not really old but are in old people makeup or masks) and they spend their nights cruising around looking for trash, trees or bushes that they can hump. And by hump I mean they just get right up next to the garbage can and start grinding away. In their spare time they shoot off firecrackers, spank hookers, encourage little boys to be evil, screech uncontrollably and hang out with other local loonies. Sound like any movie you’ve ever seen? Does this sound like a movie at all?
It’s all very confusing and I have to admit, I’m not sure I even liked “Trash Humpers.” But, I respect it and I respect Korine as an artist. I like the fact that Korine can do whatever he wants in his films and he’s a master of making you feel uncomfortable. I also dig the way Korine wallows in these trashy elements, much like he did with the classic “Gummo.” These people in the lower strata of society and economics are out there and Korine knows this. It’s who he wants to show and it’s his choice as a filmmaker to do so. While most films want to focus on beautiful people framed and lit perfectly, Korine chooses the opposite. Yet, through these ugliness comes a reflection of ourselves and that’s no small feat. Then again, Korine is a well known story teller, a fibber, charlatan and a liar. Is he completely screwing with audiences and disguising his jokes as art? Hmm, maybe, but I don’t think so.
I’ve always felt that the discomfort we feel towards Korine’s movies makes them powerful because they’re so human and our reactions are based solely on knowing people like that are out there and we should be damn glad they aren’t us. A majority of American films come from either coast and rarely are the middle sections represented in a way that isn’t glamorized or played up for the hardships poor people face. Korine, as always, does the opposite. You may like or hate his films but it’s doubtful you feel ambivalent about them. It’s also a testament to his artistry that he demands a conversation about his work and to me, that’s good filmmaking.
Posted on May 7, 2010 in Reviews by Don R. Lewis
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- NETFLIX DEEMS “TRASH HUMPERS” TOO OFFENSIVE TO CARRY
- SXSW 2010: DAY ONE, HUMPING TRASH
- FILM THREAT PODCAST – EPISODE 27 – DON AND MARK’S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2010 (HOGWARTS HATES FAT PEOPLE)
- SPRING BREAKERS
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