Harmony Korine Is Not An Auteur, You Stupid Hipsters

If you watch Gummo backwards…it’s still a pretentious piece of crap!

Harmony Korine, for those who have better things to do than watch the Independent Film Channel at 2 a.m., wrote the Larry Clark cult classic film Kids and has written and directed a number of grotesque art films like Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy and Trash Humpers.

You’ll excuse my second concentration in film studies; it wasn’t my major.  I’m not a filmmaker myself.  I am nowhere near the almighty authority on cinema culture.  But I can tell you that Korine’s films suck on just about every conceivable level, and it continues to blow my mind that hipsters parade his filmography as art and his status as some sort of observational mode fictional verite auteur.

My response to that: no.

Anyone else pens a dreadful script with a grating soundtrack, they get slammed for it.  Korine slaps a piece of bacon on a bathroom wall and — VOILA — art!  It say something!  There is subtext!


Korine is a second-rate screenwriter who scripts for shock value.  Hey, wouldn’t this scene be awesome if a seven-year-old made several obscene scatological references?  Wouldn’t this character arc be awesome if the husband pimps out his mentally-retarded wife?  Let’s add some nude Chloe Sevigny in here!

See, this is why I hate celluloid hipsters.  They don’t like film because it’s good film.  They like film because it runs counter to good film and polarizes their perspective from everyone else’s.  And that’s not even a badfilm argument, per se, that’s just what hipsters do: hey, here’s something that completely contrasts with the norm, let’s automatically assume it to be cool and culturally-relevant!


Attitudes like these make me applaud the gentleman in New York who went to the trouble of setting up hipster traps around the city:

Pictured: PBR, American Spirit light cigarettes, pink sunglasses

(Although I know a few non-hipsters who might spring that trap, too.)

I don’t know if this is a rant against Korine, hipsters or both.  But Korine films really have no redeeming values.  That probably reads like a purist argument or some sort of advocation for censorship, but I’ve seen worse that meant more.  And Korine is hardly the only avante-garde filmmaker to make a movie that got the masses talking through abstract symbolism and scum-of-the-earth central characters.

My problem with Korine, then, is that his films spend so much time wallowing in the absolute pits of America, focusing on the proverbial dregs of society and going to such great lengths to show the disgusting underbelly of the forgotten…and do nothing in the process.  Yeah, we see he’s gross.  Yeah, we see they’re morally-bankrupt.  Yes, this place breeds a culture of sub-humanity.  So?  Now what?  Congratulations, you’ve killed a cat.

Korine still doesn’t have anything on Bret Easton Ellis.

In the end, Korine’s films don’t say anything.  I wouldn’t argue that every film has to say something, but if your film is pretty much complete crap from every conceivable angle (acting, writing, cinematography, soundtrack), there kind of has to be a point.  Otherwise, it’s just the summation of substandard filmmaking.

Hey, I like badfilm.  I don’t know that I would go as far as to say I can watch The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and enjoy it ironically, but I’m okay with badfilm.  Korine doesn’t qualify for that, though.  Korine qualifies as pretentious, as some nihilistic artist drowning in his own self-assured urine-soaked genius.  All you hipsters that enable that?  I hate you.  I hate that you allow Korine to keep making films.  I hate that every Korine film that comes out is the exact same as the one before, but sputtering on shock value because he’s practically exhausted his supply and still completely void of content.

Advice to hipsters?  If you want to roll around in the rat droppings of Meth County, Middle America and pretend like it means something, or that the meaningless means something, charge up your economy car and drive out to Tipton, Indiana.  I doubt their gas stations sell American Spirits, but you could probably find some PBR if you look in all the wrong places, and you’re completely entitled to converse with the locals and hopefully catalyze more conversation than the stilted half-dialogue that plagues Korine’s scripts.  More than likely, you’ll get a few grunts and a secondhand high.

Still better than sitting through a Korine flick and convincing yourself it’s art.


10 Responses

  1. your an idiot.

    • don’t bash harmony korine. just because hipsters have paraded his work, doesn’t mean its not good. his films don’t have any meaning because thats the way he wanted it to be portrayed. its just another view of life. why should it have to have any meaning? you don’t know anything about good film, you have that right. the first and foremost rule about film is to be open minded.

      • “the first and foremost rule about film is to be open minded.”

        Says who? Sorry but I don’t follow societal norms and rules.

        *See what I did there ;).

    • Everything has meaning. When people try to make something look like it has no meaning, or obtuse to meaning, they MEAN to do it. Very simple. I think even the lowest form of scum on this planet (hipsters) can understand this.

      If everything has meaning then that must mean that hipsters are still a smaller part of the norm and thus fail in a very ironic way. Coming from a psychological perspective, most hipsters are looking for a way to find themselves by trying too hard to be different. If they weren’t so stupid they might have found that being themselves would be the best place to start.

      Alas, the plight of our society. I’m sure it will be illuminated shortly.

  2. There are no negative or positive connotations attached to the word ‘auteur’. It is simply used to describe a filmmaker who influences their films so heavily that they rank as their author. So yes, regardless of how much you hate Harmony Korine, he still remains an auteur…and a fucking compelling one at that!

    • To the poster posing as Gus Van Sant (but why anyone would want to pose as the man who directed Finding Forester, I can’t imagine):

      You say that Harmony Korine is “compelling” as though compelling is in and of itself a virtue. The word “compelling” means forceful, demanding attention, or convincing.

      You could argue that Korine’s work is forceful, but I would counter-argue: for what purpose? To what end is it forceful? The only thing his films force audiences to do is notice them, and by extension, him. This makes him seem like a self-aggrandizing twat. His films may demand attention, but for a film to simply demand that you to pay attention to it doesn’t automatically grant that film merit. “I Spit on Your Grave” demands attention, and so do Joel Schumacher’s “Batman” films. But that doesn’t make them good films. Being forceful and demanding attention is simply not enough. And I don’t think anyone can successfully argue that Korine’s films are convincing of anything, except that the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes still has merit, even after all these years.

      I’m not arguing your opinion that Korine is a good filmmaker; that’s a matter of taste, and obviously, our taste differs, whether you are actually Gus Van Sant or not. All I’m trying to say is that it’s not enough to simply be compelling. Saying that he’s compelling is like saying he’s “motivating.” But for what purpose does he motivate? I ask you.

      Art should compel us, motivate us, but it should compel us to do something, or at least to think something. Korine’s work doesn’t do that. Korine’s work does little more than ask us to acknowledge its artfulness. Which compels me to label it vapid.

  3. Harmony Korine to me is basically a pointless and much less talented version of Lars Von Trier and it is obvious from interviews with the man himself that he is pretentious in all the wrong ways.

  4. “it is obvious from interviews with the man himself that he is pretentious in all the wrong ways.”

    Yes. And it’s also obvious from his interviews (and his films, of course) that he isn’t an intellectual and he doesn’t have any interesting ideas. His mind and personality are as shallow as his films.

  5. I have never even heard of Harmony until I just saw Springbreakers, which has to be the worst movie I have seen in theatres. That means Mortal Kombat 2, Any Given Sunday, the Cell, and Gigli were all superior movies… insane. Out of curiosity I sought out Gummo, and was really disappointed with his lack… anything. So are his movies essentially supposed to simply show how crappy life can be, in a stylized fashion? Springbreakers took a good cast and had each one, with the exception of James Franco, play a character with no life to them. No purpose. Nothing. I could see the observation of minutia being artistic, but it does not mean it is good or worthwhile to do so. Though this blog was written just over 2 years ago, it holds true as I live today.

  6. This article sounds like something you’d read on hipster runoff.

    I’m always baffled by people who put something down based on the fact that a specific group of people enjoy it.

    I dislike pretentious fucks as much as the next guy, but maybe if you worried about what you like rather than not liking things people you don’t like do like you’ll like things that you like rather than things people you don’t like don’t like.

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