What with the cat murders, the glue binges, the whole frontal assault on bourgeois values and Sundance taste, it’s natural that Gummo, a portrait of Midwestern teen anomie created by Kids writer Harmony Korine, opened last fall to grand disgust and broad disdain. But its March 24 video release could signal public redemption if disaffected youth take to their VCRs. For the past four months, the curious and the converted have been packing midnight screenings at New York City’s Angelika Film Center. Prominent among them is Gummo producer Cary Woods, who’s taken friends five or six times.
You’d suspect the producer of Scream and coexecutive producer of this spring’s behemoth Godzilla would have better things to do than watch avant-garde trash art that took a box office bath (gross: $87,400; budget: $1.3 million). ”If you love film, you have a responsibility to support people who are going to change the medium,” he says. ”For my money, Harmony is going to do that.”
And Woods — who counts Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Bjork, and ”virtually every young star in Hollywood” as Gummo-heads — feels that audiences are ”appreciating the movie the way we hoped.” That is, by gawking. For Korine — who’s said of moviegoing, ”I want to feel hatred, disgust, anything but boredom” — has devotees paradoxically undevoted to his work. Despite repeated calls, none of the celebs Woods named could be moved to comment on Gummo. After his second viewing an NYU student offered typical praise: ”I would not call myself a fan. I just think it’s interesting. It’s different from everything else playing.” Whelming, isn’t it?