Cinepub


Review: Trash Humpers by Jamie

Come gather round children and let me tell you a tale, a tale of the most painful film viewing experience I have ever had. Oh sure, films have tested me in the past what with the boredom of seeing a man beaten and for 45 minutes and then fall down a lot for another 45 minutes that came with watching ‘The Passion of the Christ’ or the more recent boredom that came from watching five people trapped in an elevator in ‘Devil’, Yes, I thought I’d seen it all when it came to cinematic boredom but nothing could prepare me for Harmony Korine’s ‘Trash Humpers’.

The story, such as it is, is that of a group of old people (people wearing old people masks at least) who wander around a rural town and do weird things like defecate in driveways, ride bikes with baby dolls tied to the back of them, throw fluorescent bulbs around and tap dance on the broken glass, stand around doing nothing and, of course, the titular trash humping. They also hump mail boxes, trees and a myriad of other things as well. Good for them. Oh and they occasionally kill people too. Well, these things happen.

They occasionally run into other weird people as well who do weird things for the camera like make train noises for a good three minutes or so or make weird gay jokes with no rhyme or reason to them but for the most part it’s just the old folks just doing weird things and singing weird things. It’s all very weird.

Now, I remember hearing about this film ages ago and being intrigued because it sounded so bizarre and daring and because I couldn’t tell what it was about no matter how many people I heard talk about it. The reason is now clear. The film is about nothing. Now that, in itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not every film has to have a point. Some are just pure, unadulterated works of artistic expression with no reason to exist other than the filmmaker deciding that they should. I‘m sure there are people who will try and tell me that that is exactly what ‘Trash Humpers’ is as well but bullshit, I don’t buy it.

No, Trash Humpers was made just to be weird. And again, there’s absolutely no intrinsic problem with doing that. Hell, I’m fairly sure that’s why ‘Zardoz’ exists as well as a little film called ‘Executive Koala’ (Of course it’s hard to tell if it’s weird intentionally or if it’s weird as a consequence of being a Japanese film) and despite their weirdness, in fact more likely because of it, I think I enjoyed both those films on some level. Trash Humpers, not so much. The reason? I think it’s honestly because it was trying so fucking hard to be weird. Weirdness seemed to come naturally to both Zardoz and Executive Koala. Trash Humpers seemed as though it had weirdness thrust upon it. There was simply no other reason for this film to exist other than Harmony Korine saying “Look! Look at all the weird shit I can put on film!”.

So it failed on that level. But there was also much talk when this premiered at the Toronto film festival about Harmony Korine warning his audience that they should take the title literally and anyone prone to walking out were given due warning. Wow, this sounds like it must be one offensive movie! Was it? Fuck no! Oh, it tried hard to shock and provoke but again it all seemed so fake and forced and the only effect it achieved was to bore. I suppose I should say that I’m not easily offended by films. In fact, the only films I’ve ever found offensive are documentaries made by idiots like ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’, ‘Loose Change’ or ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?!?’. But I have been shocked before (‘Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door‘ for example) and nothing in Trash Humpers was shocking, just deeply, deeply boring and that may be the most offensive thing about it.

I’m sure some people will say I just don’t “get it” and you know what? Good! I don’t want to get it because in order to get it I’d have to watch it again and I’d rather organise thousands of grains of rice in order of size than do that. Fuck this boring, boring movie. No pints out of five. Not sure I’ve ever given that before but fuck me Trash Humpers deserves it. Laterz.

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