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I have no legs. I have no legs. I have no legs.
July 29, 2010 6:50 PM   Subscribe

"Kids, a film about a bunch of hard-living New York City kids, premiered 15 years ago today. It seems that in many ways the city seems to have forgotten the film, just as many of those involved in the film also seem happy to forget it." Proof that 80s New York was Hella Real (courtesy TMN).
posted by geoff. (123 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kids was the most disturbing movie I ever saw when I was younger (I guess I was 22 when I saw it in the theater). There were a few reasons why: I knew tons of skateboarders and bmx kids, and a few of them were just like the kids in the movie. They stole stuff, they broke stuff for fun, they broke into places, they drank and did drugs for fun, and one guy I rode with rarely was purported to have killed a homeless guy in a fight using his bike. Seeing people on screen acting exactly like the sketchiest people I knew in real life freaked me right out and made me more aware of who I was hanging out with and I called it quits many summer nights in the years that passed whenever I could tell people were getting out of hand.

Another thing the movie shocked into me was the final scene where the guy has sex with the girl on the couch while she's asleep. I remember watching it and thinking that it was messed up (doubly so because she's recently HIV positive, but whatever). But it was weeks later when another friend asked about the movie and said "how could you watch that final rape scene, it was too crazy and I had to leave" and my first thought upon hearing that in my sheltered, suburban, white, male-dominated upbringing was "Rape scene? When?" I was naive, and I assumed all instances of "rape" were the stuff of movies -- big scary guys popping out of the dark to assault a strange woman, it hadn't even occurred to me that it's more often men that women know taking advantage of them and it really opened my eyes to learning more about it and being way, way more empathetic whenever the subject came up.

Anyway, that movie still freaks me out so much I'll never watch it again. Weirdly, I was just thinking about the film last week for the first time in years, wondering whatever happened to all those actors.
posted by mathowie at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2010 [50 favorites]


I also remember seeing this in theatres when I was about the same age as the kids in the movie (which confuses me, because it must have had an R-rating, but I definitely went on my own..). I also re-watched it several times since, most recently this past October or November. It still carries weight, and a lot of the scenes are difficult to watch.

One thing for anyone who missed it - the soundtrack is certainly worth checking out. Still one of my all-time favorite soundtracks. Interestingly, I recognize the picture in the article from the cd booklet - except here they've cropped out Rosario Dawson's crotch.

And R.I.P. Justin Pierce - had no idea he killed himself, but I remember being pleasantly surprised when he showed up in the movie Looking For Leonard. Saw that in 2002, but he apparently committed suicide in mid-2000 ... weird.
posted by mannequito at 7:06 PM on July 29, 2010


Kids portrayed a city that I never knew—and what's most worrisome is to think that maybe, just maybe, it never existed, except to be sold to me.

I agree with mathowie. I was round about the the actors ages when this came out and I can tell you without a doubt that these kids did and still do exist . I didn't think being English would exclude you from knowing that. Unless you grew up all posh and stuff.

I was just thinking about the film last week for the first time in years, wondering whatever happened to all those actors.

I was thinking the same thing.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:09 PM on July 29, 2010


I was a teenager living in Houston when this came out, and then later living in small-town Oklahoma when Korrine's Gummo came out. I didn't see either until much later. Actually, when I finally saw Kids, I was a film student at NYU living in the Hayden dorm for the summer, and had the kinda freaky experience of watching the Washington Square beat-down scene with my window - the window my tv was up against - in the shot.

Anyway, back to Oklahoma, where one of my friends was telling me about the movies, and she said, "I get the feeling that we [meaning kids in small towns and suburbs] like Kids more, and people in cities like Gummo more, because we don't have reality to compare them to."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:09 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


wondering whatever happened to all those actors.

The guy who played Telly came full circle and played Johnny the addict in The Wire. I think a couple of the other guys died. Chloë Sevigny gave Vincent Gallo a blowjob in The Brown Bunny.
posted by ghharr at 7:10 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rosario Dawson is doing alright.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:12 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Odd. Taylor seems eager to dismiss Kids as a snapshot of real life, as if, in being unable to sample that kind of teen-hood himself, he refuses to accept the existence of that thing he did not have and will now never have. And then he projects that ambivalence onto Clark.

Life is not always wonderful for teenagers, even in America; categorizing their problems as being mere melodrama over lost allowances is what we would like to do. Kids and Bully make us uncomfortably unable to brush very real incidents aside.
posted by adipocere at 7:12 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Harold Hunter died of a cocaine overdose.
posted by ghharr at 7:12 PM on July 29, 2010


When I saw the film, I was around the same age as the kids in it. There was a stark contrast between my life and "theirs." (That this film was actually a work of fiction was easy to forget.) These kids were the "real deal." I clearly was not. New York City was a playground for them, full of drink, drugs and sex.

I got the same feeling from it, although I was a little younger than the cast (13? 14?) and I grew up in Brooklyn. Now I'm 25 and I'm very, very glad the movie had little influence on me and did not an instill an idea that its events were "realness". I'll probably never watch it again, but I did recently see The Wackness, which takes place at roughly the same time, and was shocked at how sanitized they made the era.

my first thought upon hearing that in my sheltered, suburban, white, male-dominated upbringing was "Rape scene? When?"

I had the same weird feeling about that last sex scene, too. Just, like, that something was wrong with it. Fortunately, my cousin, who showed the movie to me, was there to explain what exactly happened and why it was rape. So, for all the bad shit in it, it taught a 13-year-old griphus at least one very important lesson.
posted by griphus at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2010


The second link is a kind of mixed up film with scenes of Times Square in the 80s (you could not exaggerate, although it was even more incredible in the 70s). The film gets really interesting about two-thirds of the way through, when the guy starts shooting film through the front window of the subway. I was a front window man of long standing.
posted by Faze at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2010


The real bad guy in the film is HIV. Without that, it would just be a precocious Bleu du Ciel.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:14 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fifteen years ago wasn't the 80s, and Times Square isn't Washington Square. Love the 2nd link, but it doesn't really have anything to do with Kids (which I don't love that much).
posted by neroli at 7:17 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


The first time I met Rosario Dawson was when she was on a panel at CMJ shortly after the film came out. I was working security and had a nice chat with her while we figured out where she was supposed to be. Who knew she'd be a big star?
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:17 PM on July 29, 2010


"I have no legs. I have no legs." still runs through my mind whenever I see someone that has no legs.

Chloë Sevigny is alive and well as a fashion icon and star of Big Love.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 7:20 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


My life ran parallel to the lives depicted in the movie kids and it hit a little too close to home. I even skated with Harold Hunter a few times. I've only ever seen the movie once and I've never been able to bring myself to watch it again.

As a statement about a period of time in this country and it's youth Kids stands out as one the strongest I've ever seen.
posted by photoslob at 7:23 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


One of the most disturbing things I remember about the movie is that Casper comes across as one of the most sympathetic of the male characters. He's subtly bullied by Telly into being his wingman/servent, he's the hapless virgin, etc. In reality we watch him rob numerous people, beat a random dude, and rape a passed-out girl.

I too have known people like in the movie, but the movie is still a turned-to-eleven exploitation film, for my money. Bully is better, though definitely no less exploitative (part of the directorial vision seemed to be having everyone be naked at every given opportunity even if there was no motivation for it) because it was about how this group of kids committed a real-life murder that none of them would have performed on their own.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:24 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Found this NYTimes article about Pierce's suicide in Las Vegas, 2000. Doesn't really say much about why he did it though. And a video tribute on YT.
posted by mannequito at 7:25 PM on July 29, 2010


it was rated NC-17
posted by k8t at 7:31 PM on July 29, 2010


lolz. Me and most of my friends were extras in Kids. Man, did they get us high.
posted by elizardbits at 7:32 PM on July 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


I haven't seen Kids, but based on this thread it seems a lot like the suburban milieu portrayed in The River's Edge. For me that is one scary movie because it reminds me an awful lot of the proper, affluent suburban neighbourhood where I grew up. An absence of adults, and the cruelty of children.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:37 PM on July 29, 2010


ahh, NC-17 in the US
In Ontario it was 'AA', which means under-14 had to be accompanied by an adult. I would have been 14 or 15 when I went to see it in Toronto.
Makes sense now.
posted by mannequito at 7:37 PM on July 29, 2010


That movie came out when I was 21 or so, and my reaction to it was really similar to mathowie's. I knew a lot of kids like that, in the smallish college town where I lived, and it freaked me out. On the other hand, as a young woman, my take on that last scene was a lot more clear-eyed.

I'm not sure if I'd be willing to watch it again, although I remember really thinking it was good, but I was the right age to witness it when it came out. I saw Thirteen and could barely get through it, the wound had been healed for too long and I wasn't interested in reopening it.
posted by padraigin at 7:38 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although it still doesn't make sense that it was rated AA. Canadian censors are pretty lenient for sex scenes but I'm surprised the drug use and violence in that one beating scene didn't at least earn it an R-rating.
posted by mannequito at 7:39 PM on July 29, 2010


For me that is one scary movie because it reminds me an awful lot of the proper, affluent suburban neighbourhood where I grew up.

The kids in Kids were poor, or at least, I doubt if the movie was made now they'd actually be living in Manhattan. If anything Kids is sort of a workingman's Less Than Zero.
posted by geoff. at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the most disturbing things I remember about the movie is that Casper comes across as one of the most sympathetic of the male characters. He's subtly bullied by Telly into being his wingman/servent, he's the hapless virgin, etc. In reality we watch him rob numerous people, beat a random dude, and rape a passed-out girl.

Interesting, I always assumed that Casper was the guy with HIV, that the Chloe Sevigny character thought it was Telly because he's the only guy she remembered having sex with. But who's to say she hadn't passed out on some other occasion and Casper (or maybe some other guy) raped her then. All the more troubling.
posted by philip-random at 7:42 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me and most of my friends were extras in Kids. Man, did they get us high.

This needs to be elaborated upon.
posted by geoff. at 7:43 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen Kids in forever but I always think of this movie as The Basketball Diaries without the poetry. Like this is what Jim Carroll and his friends looked like to the world until someone took notice of his art. I might have to get both of them from netflix and see if that holds up.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:44 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I also remember seeing this in theatres when I was about the same age as the kids in the movie (which confuses me, because it must have had an R-rating, but I definitely went on my own..)

It was initially released in the US with an NC-17 rating. Later it was released as an NR (not rated).

I saw the film via Netflix maybe ten years ago. I found it disturbing all the way though. I've never hated characters so much. The Telly character enraged me. Characters in a film hadn't done that to me before or since.
posted by birdherder at 7:48 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


ghharr: “I think a couple of the other guys died. Chloë Sevigny gave Vincent Gallo a blowjob in The Brown Bunny.”

Yeah, poor Chloë sure has hit rock bottom, eh? What a sad waste of a life.
posted by koeselitz at 7:52 PM on July 29, 2010


I've never seen this, and have never particularly wanted to, but the soundtrack is excellent.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:52 PM on July 29, 2010


Me and my friends were like a couple steps down from the characters in kids. I was a straight edge, so i didn't worry about the drugs, but 16-18 was a lot of petty vandalism, shoplifting and skating. We had one person who was the for runner in the illegal activities department. Most of us aged out of acting that way. Last I heard he was in and out of jail.

I always thought that if we were in a big concrete jungle we would have been those kids, but i was never quite sure.
posted by djduckie at 7:55 PM on July 29, 2010


Was Kids really that shocking? I saw it a bit late, in 2002 or 2003 (when I was about 22), and it just seemed rather realistic.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:58 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I grew up in what might as well have been a John Hughes movie. When I first saw the Kids trailer, I thought, man, why couldn't Irvine been one tenth as cool? Then I saw the movie and thought ... Ya' know, Irvine ain't that bad...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:00 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just discussing Kids with a co-worker yesterday. We were trying to determine how many times you could see it and not be labeled a psycho. I think we settled on three viewings, spaced out over a lifetime (my wife just said "no, once"). The topic came up because of Happiness which I still feel bad for not walking out of.

Kids is one of those movies that seems like it should be required viewing in high school health class along with Requiem for a Dream to convince kids to wear condoms and avoid drugs. It'd probably backfire though and you'd end up with a whole generation of smacked out HIV+ kids.

Also, "I been tinkin' 'bout you all day..." still gets a chuckle in our house.
posted by togdon at 8:08 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


We were trying to determine how many times you could see it and not be labeled a psycho. I think we settled on three viewings

awww, crap.
posted by mannequito at 8:11 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I have no legs. I have no legs." still runs through my mind whenever I see someone that has no legs.

Me too. For all the exploitation and deliberately confrontational aspects of the film, there's a lot of stuff that's actually sort of unintentionally funny. After seeing it the second time in college, we used to quote it all the time, kind of the way people would just randomly quote lines from Napoleon Dynamite after that came out, only instead of "Vote for Pedro" or "Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!" it was "I have no legs!" or "I wanna buy you dinner baby, I wanna buy you food, I wanna buy you corndogs and shit!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:20 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I saw it as a teenager, or maybe just after turning 20, and I really liked it. It was an exploitation film, sure, but at the same time it had a lot of resonances with the lives of my friends and myself, in different ways. I'd probably put it on my list of 20 or so favorite films -- it's strong, and in your face, and very well done. I never saw it as shocking, but then maybe I was closer to the kinds of miscreants portrayed so found it easy to shrug off.
posted by Forktine at 8:21 PM on July 29, 2010


P.o.B.: “I was round about the the actors ages when this came out and I can tell you without a doubt that these kids did and still do exist.”

I was, too – I was sixteen when it came out – and I still can't stand Kids, although I don't deny that it's powerful. The mistake I think people always make about Kids is believing that it's "realistic." What people don't seem to acknowledge is that a movie can accurately present the factual circumstances that people live in without doing justice to their characters.

The radical emptiness of Kids is really its most powerful and moving aspect; it's powerful and moving in particular because all of us have felt that radical emptiness. We felt it growing up, encountering all these people who not only relieved us of our naivete but violated it, displaying a kind of cruelty and bitter nihilism that shocked and amazed and disturbed our young minds. Most of us recovered from this experience, and we grew up to be adults capable of seeing past it; but we haven't forgotten the raw and brutal force of that recognition – the moment when we first heard another kid our age talk violently and braggingly about sex, about actually violating another human being, in a way we were disturbed by but didn't even have the words for yet; the moment when we first saw bare, naked cruelty, in the way we were treated or the way someone else was treated, often because the bully (again, someone our age) was simply feeling and even enjoying the power that cruelty gives; the moment when we first saw people lose control of themselves, and we wanted so badly to be able to do it too. Kids evokes all that stuff in us, and it recalls in a deeply compelling way that feeling when our young minds first confronted bare reality.

And that's why, when adults at the time Kids came out were adamantly insistent that it wasn't real, that it wasn't really representative of what kids actually go through – all of us saw right through this ridiculous claim. Because we knew it was real; we'd seen the blatant and sometimes shocking cruelty kids are capable of, we'd seen the complete lack of regard for any silly adult 'rules' they could pull off – and we'd been on the receiving end. And those adults really were lying to themselves – of course they didn't want to believe it was real; when they watched Kids, that was their kids they were seeing on the screen.

There is a sense in which Kids is unrealistic, though – or maybe just incomplete. Because children really are capable of all the things they do in that movie, and children really do, in fact, do those things often enough. But Kids failed to capture, I think, the heart of what those actions do to children, and what the inner experience was really like. Looking back, some of my childhood (even though I grew up in a small town, not New York) felt very much like that movie; but talking to the kids around me, all of them, without exception, felt the same way. All of them felt like they were surrounded by heartless bastards and cruel little monsters willing to do almost anything. All of them felt as utterly alone as me. And that includes the ones I'd always thought were the heartless, cruel kids. There's something more going on in the minds of kids, but it takes years for that to come out.

That, and I think the movie could stand to be slightly rosier; I don't think life is so terrible as it's depicted there. What's interesting to me is that I know plenty of people who grew up like that (well, without contracting AIDS, but still) who are perfectly happy today, and who are even shocked that they ever did such things. Kids are more resilient than they seem, and they're more capable of moving on from scary or terrible things than people give them credit for.

Finally, what I really hated about Kids was the adults who loved it when it came out. Because they loved it for all the wrong reasons; they loved it for the same reason people usually love Fight Club. They loved it because it was fucked up, and because they were cynical enough to enjoy the fact that it exposed bourgois lies about the innocence of children to be false. Those of us who were really affected by it, those of us who found it really powerful, didn't feel that way because we liked the sensation of being shocked; it was because that shock was actually familiar to us. And so I generally dislike Kids mostly because, intentionally or not, it's become part of the canon of torture porn, along with a whole lot of other things that are beloved (largely, I find, by young men of college age) purely because they are "fucked up."
posted by koeselitz at 8:29 PM on July 29, 2010 [46 favorites]


I enjoyed Wassup Rockers. Something about it...so slowly moving...so normal...so close to trouble...
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:32 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The party they went to in the movie was a real party -- NASA (you can see Chloe Sevigny briefly in line outside in this 1993 video).

A few years after Kids came out, I partied with a some of the kids who had been in that whole party scene in New York -- not just NASA, but Limelight (made famous by Party Monster) and Twilo, and I can assure you that 'Kids' was no exaggeration. They were really like that, and they were really that young. I met most of them when they were in their 20s and some of them had been partying like that since they were 14 or 15 -- and I met a few people who were completely morally at sea.

I don't think it's representative of the way "New York" was in that time frame, but it's definitely the way a particular sub-culture in New York was.

At the same time, I think there was a less sketchy element to that scene that the movie downplayed a lot for whatever reason. A lot of these people had fucked up families and that whole scene was the only family they had and they tried their best to take care of each other in their own fucked up way.
posted by empath at 8:40 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


togdon: “Kids is one of those movies that seems like it should be required viewing in high school health class along with Requiem for a Dream to convince kids to wear condoms and avoid drugs. It'd probably backfire though and you'd end up with a whole generation of smacked out HIV+ kids.”

I think you're right – it'd backfire. Mostly because Requiem For A Dream is another that tends to wallow in the horror a bit much; I don't think it's actually worth it at the end.

I've always felt, though, that if they want a movie to show to kids to terrify them into safe sex, what they should probably show is Eraserhead.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM on July 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


empath: “At the same time, I think there was a less sketchy element to that scene that the movie downplayed a lot for whatever reason. A lot of these people had fucked up families and that whole scene was the only family they had and they tried their best to take care of each other in their own fucked up way.”

See, that's what I was trying to say – but much more elegant, and vastly more insightful. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 8:43 PM on July 29, 2010


Heh. Saw this in my late teens. I remember thinking the characters were both cooler and more despicable than we even had the opportunity to be, in depraved-yet-forgotten-about St. Louis.

Did I know kids like the ones in the movie? Shit yet. Some of them are dead. The rest? Who knows.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:48 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's been a long time since I've watched Kids, but I don't recall any scary scene in it. Same thing for Requiem for a Dream. Quiconque meurt, meurt à douleur is the only rightfully scary drug movie I know.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:48 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


(warning: Quiconque meurt.. is very, very disturbing)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:49 PM on July 29, 2010


Even in the suburbs, when I was 14-15 I hung around with neighborhood kids that did shit like huff paint, sell drugs, vandalize property and did some absolutely horrendous shit to other kids and animals. Some of them grew up to be relatively well-adjusted adults, even. Childhood is fucked up all around -- and it can get especially fucked up as kids are growing into adolescence and sex gets added into the mix.
posted by empath at 8:50 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't recall any scary scene in it.

Passing out and getting raped by someone with AIDS isn't scary?
posted by empath at 8:51 PM on July 29, 2010


Yes, but it takes some time to sink in. It's not visceral like this.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:54 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what was mostly "revolutionary" about Kids is that it made the pseudo-doc style cool again for a new generation. I still love the way they shot it, and I like Larry Clark's films since then because, for all their fake grittiness, they still have a laid-back, stoned, real-time feel to them (particularly, again, Wassup Rockers, which should be required viewing).

Also the Lou Barlow/Daniel Johnston soundtrack is still one of my favorites to this day.
posted by fungible at 8:56 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched this with a 40 year old guy. I was 25 then. His comment, "When I was a kid I went to movies and watched adults have sex. Now that I am an adult I go to movies and watch kids have sex." And no, he didn't mean it in a pedo way. Just that you don't see many people older than 30 in any kind of sex scene.

I will never watch Kids again. Weird I just made this comment the other day.

Kids, Requiem For a Dream, and Irreversible are my trifecta of misery. Throw in In the Company of Men and The Shape of Things and you have my pitch for a misanthropy film festival.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:10 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Did I know kids like the ones in the movie? Shit yet. Some of them are dead. The rest? Who knows."

They're probably cops now.
posted by Eideteker at 9:12 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


KIDS, for me, brought to light the concept of being "desensitized." When I first saw it, in high school, it made me pretty ill, but there was still something cool and liberating about how they all ran around doing crazy shit. The older I've gotten, and the more times I've seen it, I've (somewhat) gotten over the gruesome parts, and enjoy the wild parts.
posted by cusack at 9:16 PM on July 29, 2010


"And so I generally dislike Kids mostly because, intentionally or not, it's become part of the canon of torture porn, along with a whole lot of other things that are beloved (largely, I find, by young men of college age) purely because they are "fucked up." "

This. THIS. I don't think it was Larry Clark's & Harmony Korine's intention, but I've always felt that it was sure as shit Miramax's intention in their marketing of the movie, which I think is why so many people feel uncomfortable about watching Kids again. Miramax ratcheted up the "fucked up" parts in their promotional campaign so high that the movie went from being a smart subversion of the "teen exploitation movie" trope into borderline urban horror. LOOK AT THE LITTLE MONSTERS! THEY'RE YOUR FUTURE! MWU-HA-HA-HA!

Fuck Harvey Weinstein.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:42 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Passing out and getting raped by someone with AIDS isn't scary?

In real life, that would be scary. The scene in the film? Not so scary.
posted by Forktine at 9:44 PM on July 29, 2010


If you haven't, you should also watch Bully. Not about NYC, but an equally disturbing film about kids. Difficult to watch, but well made. Perhaps one of the most painfully realistic murder scenes I've ever seen.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 9:45 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


And Wassup Rockers made me smile all the way through. Great film.
posted by Forktine at 9:46 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this in the theater, alone, when it came out. I was 18, and I distinctly remember that my ONLY impression from it was "Larry Clark is a pedophile", and I decided to make an effort never to see any of his other movies. Discussing it later with my Intro to Film teacher, he told me that Larry Clark "got his start" taking naked pictures of a then-underage Ricky Schroeder and calling it art. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly made sense to me.
posted by luvcraft at 9:49 PM on July 29, 2010


luvcraft: "I saw this in the theater, alone, when it came out. I was 18, and I distinctly remember that my ONLY impression from it was "Larry Clark is a pedophile", and I decided to make an effort never to see any of his other movies. Discussing it later with my Intro to Film teacher, he told me that Larry Clark "got his start" taking naked pictures of a then-underage Ricky Schroeder and calling it art. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly made sense to me."

Richard Roeper quoted on Wikipedia entry on Wassup Rockers: "When a colleague told me I was about to see a new film from Larry Clark, the director of Bully and Kids, I said, 'I wonder how many scenes will pass before we get shirtless teenage boys?' That's one of Clark's rather disturbing obsessions."
posted by griphus at 9:53 PM on July 29, 2010


cjorgensen: “... In the Company of Men... ”

Gah, what a limitlessly stupid movie In The Company Of Men was. Just really, really stupid – the equivalent of every snooty young kid who ever thought it was cute and subversive to use "bitch," "pussy" or "fag" as insults with some halfhearted excuse about "reclaiming the words" or "expressing authenticity" or some such nonsense. I'm only glad that the director, Neil LaBute, went on to produce cinema of a much higher caliber.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on July 29, 2010


I took a date to see Kids; it put a damper on the evening.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:00 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


when I was 14-15 I hung around with neighborhood kids that did shit like huff paint, sell drugs, vandalize property and did some absolutely horrendous shit to other kids...

Yeah, I hear ya. Hell, I dated girls who did that stuff more than the guys did.

...and animals.

Huh. I guess the trainwrecks I grew up with drew the line in a different place. We liked animals.

They're probably cops now.

Funny, but in my case one of the worst ones is (or was, it's been a while.)
posted by davejay at 10:07 PM on July 29, 2010


I was 25 when I first saw Kids. A friend of mine was dating a bunch of girls who were part of that scene (Twilo, Robots, limelight, raves), so he ran with that crowd for a while. Empath's comment about these kids having screwed up family lives (actually screwed up lives in general) rings so true - a bunch of them (aged 16-early 20s) lived together in a rented house in Queens, and a lot of them were already living without any older adults in their lives since their early teens (or the adults in their lives were even more screwed up), so there was some really faulty decision making going on. Yet, they somehow managed to work together enough to make the rent for a year and half or so (selling drugs at parties, dominatrix work, etc), and there definitely was a twisted sense of family that I as an outsider felt. They were totally dysfunctional, but they somehow managed to not end up in jail or homeless. My friend pretty much disappeared into this crowd - I wouldn't see him again for some years. I remember thinking at the time what would become of most of these folks.

I reconnected with my friend about six years later - and slowly I found out what happened to most of them (I'd bump into them at parties or barbecues, or I'd run into someone who'd tell me). One killed herself. Another is so burned out that she's probably never going to move out of her mother's apartment. One guy moved to Florida. A heroin addict got clean, got married (later divorced), and had a daughter (and while she's still got various issues, she is more or less a functional member of society). And another girl got married, moved to the suburbs, and is a teacher now. My friend has been gainfully employed for years now and is moving in with a wonderful woman who I hope will be his wife someday. I'm glad I didn't live like those guys did (not that I could've anyway - my partying never got beyond the conventional quartet of alcohol, weed, ecstasy, and prescription narcotics) - but I have to totally give the ones that made it props for walking a much longer and harder path to a normal life than I did. And when I think about it, not only have they walked a harder road, they've walked further than I have. I'm almost 40, and I don't desire much more out of life than riding my bike, drinking cheap beer, smoking a little ganj, and playing softball.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 10:10 PM on July 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


I thought Kids was pretty boring. I certainly knew kids that did all the things that the characters in the film did (with the exception of get AIDS) but at least they had some redeeming features and were tolerably interesting human beings. The kids in the film were dullards.
posted by fshgrl at 10:30 PM on July 29, 2010


I saw this film only once, and I think that was probably enough. It made me want to go home and wash myself, then hide under the covers for the rest of the day.
posted by Gilbert at 10:47 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will never understand why Kids is sold as a DVD, or who will buy it. I'll see it at Target and wonder, "really? Is there someone who wants to see this movie more than once?"
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:13 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


From Roger Ebert's Review (he recommends it):


"Kids" is the kind of movie that needs to be talked about afterward. It doesn't tell us what it means. Sure, it has a "message," involving safe sex. But safe sex is not going to civilize these kids, make them into curious, capable citizens. What you realize, thinking about Telly, is that life has given him nothing that interests him, except for sex, drugs and skateboards. His life is a kind of hell, briefly interrupted by orgasms.

Most kids are not like those in "Kids," and never will be, I hope. But some are, and they represent a failure of home, school, church and society. They could have been raised in a zoo, educated only to the base instincts. You watch this movie, and you realize why everybody needs whatever mixture of art, education, religion, philosophy, politics and poetry that works for them: Because without something to open our windows to the higher possibilities of life, we might all be Tellys, and more amputated than the half-man on his skateboard.

posted by mreleganza at 11:25 PM on July 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


(also, I was under the impression, which I stand by, that Jennie really did only have sex with Telly, and Casper was unwittingly getting his comeuppance by exposing himself to AIDS by raping her).
posted by mreleganza at 11:28 PM on July 29, 2010


My thirteenth year brought me exposure to kids, pulp fiction, falling down, basketball diaries, full metal jacket, clockwork orange, happiness, welcome to the dollhouse, lost highway, brazil, blade runner, nakd lunch, twelve monkeys, and the long kiss goodnight. I turned out fine.
posted by beardlace at 12:37 AM on July 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I await the Kids remake with fixed gear bikes. They're the new skateboard, y'know.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:02 AM on July 30, 2010


"Another thing the movie shocked into me was the final scene where the guy has sex with the girl on the couch while she's asleep. I remember watching it and thinking that it was messed up (doubly so because she's recently HIV positive, but whatever)."

I was going to say THANKS FOR THE SPOILERS (hey, I couldn't help being 12 and living somewhere without a good cinema in 1994) but I have a pretty good idea what happened thanks to Toykids. They all die from BrAIDS, right?
posted by mippy at 1:46 AM on July 30, 2010


This needs to be elaborated upon.

Filming for all the club scenes was done over about ~18h at the now-defunct Tunnel, which had no a/c on the dancefloor. It got really hot and tedious and by the 4th-5th takes, there were production assistants quietly going around and offering people Es. (No one searched us before we came in, so pretty much everyone had their own stuff on them as well. At least half the haze on the dancefloor was from weed and not the smoke machines.)

I remember one scene really clearly, where Jennie is walking through the bathroom looking for her friends, and there are 3-4 kids making out in the corner. Clark made them do it again and again and again and again until one of the girls started hyperventilating. They got a bunch more Es, waited half an hour, and then shot the whole scene in one take.


We got $20 and some pizza. It was a long fucking day. I think we probably went to the Limelight afterwards, but I don't really remember.
posted by elizardbits at 3:48 AM on July 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Proof that 80s New York was Hella Real

I'm not sure what Kids has to do with the 80s, given that it came out in 1995.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:19 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


When this came out in Boston, it went out unrated. Audience members under 18 could see the film if they were accompanied by a parent or guardian. My younger brother begged and pleaded with my mom to see it, and she finally relented. She also took her then-boyfriend on one of their first dates.

Since my younger brother was 15 and was attending movies on his own, my mother should have questioned why he begged her to attend with him. She apparently had also missed the huge controversy over the film in general, and over its opening in Boston in particular, in spite of the fact that both were on the front page of the Boston Globe for at least a week.

Imagine my mother's shock after she had seen the film. A conservative Christian type, she was shocked by the sexual content and frothing at the mouth over how my younger brother had convinced her to see it with him. I asked her why she took Casey to see it.

"He told me it was a skateboarding movie," she said.

Her boyfriend looked up. "I think I saw a skateboard or two in there," he replied.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:31 AM on July 30, 2010 [4 favorites]



[derail]

Also, can we stop it already with the praise for Neil Big Bootay? Duder is excellent at creating straw men, and hates women like it's going out of style, but those are really his only notable traits. His films look like infomercials directed by naked mole rats.

[/derail]

posted by pxe2000 at 4:34 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kids was one the great movies of my youth. I had just moved to a big city and was working in shop selling skateboards and gear, skating, partying and all that good stuff. When the UK premier rolled around we were sent flyers and posters to give to our customers and friends and tickets to the first screening. The local press got wind of the controversy surrounding the film after some kids mum complained we were encouraging children to see the film and we had parents protesting and photographers camped outside our shop on the day of the showing. It was great. After locking up, a gang of us went to see the film and had a blast, cheering as the guy got beat down in Washington Square and hooting as Telly did his thing. The girl I took as my date did NOT approve and went home as soon as the film ended. I didn't care. Back then we were Kids.
posted by R.Stornoway at 5:27 AM on July 30, 2010


Stuffing is all I got.

also, I was under the impression, which I stand by, that Jennie really did only have sex with Telly, and Casper was unwittingly getting his comeuppance by exposing himself to AIDS by raping her.

Yes, that is what I took away from it.
posted by asok at 5:30 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The party they went to in the movie was a real party -- NASA (you can see Chloe Sevigny briefly in line outside in this 1993 video).

Holy crap, those are my old roommates. They look like itty bitty babies.
posted by elizardbits at 5:56 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Ebert: What you realize, thinking about Telly, is that life has given him nothing that interests him, except for sex, drugs and skateboards....You watch this movie, and you realize why everybody needs whatever mixture of art, education, religion, philosophy, politics and poetry that works for them...

Except that mostly, those head trips won't do anything for Telly. From the sound of it. He has never been on a heart trip with guides - and without the heart part, they're just abstractions. That's the 'nothing' he's been given. Sure, Abby said 'Love isn't all you need'. Ain't living without it.
posted by Twang at 5:59 AM on July 30, 2010


i saw that movie when i just 16. we knew the theatre manager so it was no problem getting in.

although we were in a small town, we have lots of big cities nearby. my best friend and i at the time (both girls) hung out with the skater boys who were a year or two younger than us. raves are started to be on the periphery of our existence as an underage nightclub had opened up downtown.

there weren't many people in the movie theatre. and my friend and i sat in the back.

i remember how not just shocked but saddened we were at the final scene, we may have cried a little. we knew how easily it could be one of the idiot boys we hung out doing that, or how easily it could have been one of us, passed out drunk and high on a couch having one of the idiot boys do it to us.

some people walked by us on their way out as the movie ended and said something about how that movie was totally fake and not real at all. my friend and i just sort of chuckled.

i've often thought about that final scene. i've never seen the movie again and feel no need to. dont want to see Requiem again either.

i dont remember if the characters in Kids were "dullards" as someone upthread called them. but i do remember identifying with the emptiness of their emotional lives. that movie hit way too close to home, and over the next few years, i met way too many people who could have been in that movie, desperate empty souls. i was one of them for a time and i'm damn lucky i'm not dead. i'm surprised we're not all dead or in jail.

fucked up family lives? yeah, we had that. my friend and i got good grades so our parents let us do what we wanted. of course, if we had gotten bad grades, they probably wouldn't have cared either. i've just kinda always told myself that that's why they didn't set up rules for me, because they thought i was smart. never really thought it much until right now.

i've often wished i would have stricter parents. not personally identifying with Kids would be just fine by me.
posted by sio42 at 6:21 AM on July 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


yes i know raves and underage clubs aren't the same thing, but due to the proximity of the larger cities near by, people were bringing shit in and the club quickly went from high school dance type place to rave type place, complete with djs etc. it was good for awhile.
posted by sio42 at 6:23 AM on July 30, 2010


I was in high school when the film came out. One of my friends used to roll around on a skateboard singing, "I have no legs, I have no legs," because he thought that was hilarious. I can't say I knew anyone so completely fucked up as the children in the movie, which might have made the whole thing all the more horrific. I think what's scary about the film is how seemingly amoral most/all the characters in the movie are. And yeah, that last rape scene is the worse. The whole movie is just one long train wreck.

I own the DVD. I have no idea why. I think i've watch the movie twice. (I also own the DVD for Requiem for a Dream, and have seen it more times than anyone really should. I think Kids is a worse film.)
posted by chunking express at 6:43 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"my partying never got beyond the conventional quartet of alcohol, weed, ecstasy, and prescription narcotics"

I really hope you are joking about the conventional part.
posted by Tarumba at 6:49 AM on July 30, 2010


I really hope you are joking about the conventional part.

That's pretty conventional, imo. Guess it depends where you're from :)
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on July 30, 2010




Kids ... meh. I saw it on video shortly after it came out (I was born in 1981, so I would have been maybe 15 or 16), I instantly thought of the rape scene as "rape,"* and I thought it was a pretty poorly done movie that got a lot of overhype for being made by a very young person and being explicit about kids having sex.

* Even as a sheltered white male! Actually, wait a minute, what does being "white" has to do with this? Do Asians and blacks and Hispanics have a more enlightened understanding of rape?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:03 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was 18 when this came out. Not sure of the exact timeline but it would've been right before or right after the winter I spent homeless. A local lawyer came down to where all the kids hung out and bought us all tickets to the movie, saying we needed to see it. Dunno about "needed to" but I think we all saw some of ourselves, and people we knew, up on that screen. A little later I met someone (hi Weasel wherever you are) who said they'd based a lot of the script on her circle of friends.

Haven't seen it since. My memories are the same flavor, but funnier and less rapey.
posted by jtron at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even as a sheltered white male! Actually, wait a minute, what does being "white" has to do with this? Do Asians and blacks and Hispanics have a more enlightened understanding of rape?

I'm a Tamil dude, and I also thought the rape was definitely rape. So, in answer to your question: yes.

posted by chunking express at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was a pretty ordinary film.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:26 AM on July 30, 2010


Kids. Stupid Kids. You messed up my life as a teenager.

I grew up in a conservative southern town with not all that much to do if you didn't have money besides go to the library. When Kids came out I think most of the adults must have read about it in the paper (I doubt many of them would watch an R-rated movie about teenagers), took it as the ground truth, and promptly freaked the eff out.

Suddenly, you couldn't go to a girlfriend's house if her parents weren't home. Or you got a million questions if you came home from the bowling alley smelling like smoke, (The alley permitted smoking and most adults took advantage) Some of my school acquaintances were questioned about their drug habits and a few were tested.

It was like the limited list of things that gave us a little freedom was suddenly cut in half. The funny thing was the venn diagram of overreacting parents and kids with real problems barely overlapped. We mostly read magazines, watched movies, and deep conditioned our hair during sleepovers. But as a result I started doing things that I hadn't done previously. I lied. I snuck around. I staged cell phone capers to hide the fact that we attended parties with boys.

Really, Kids was just one link the chain of parental paranoia. (Thanks, local news!) We'd already been scolded for hanging out at the mall alone. ("You'll get raped as part of a gang initiation!") But, man, it didn't help.

Although as a happy ending I moved a thousand miles away.
posted by Alison at 7:31 AM on July 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


I watched Kids for the first time when I was 19. It certainly resonated with me although I was far removed from the scenes they were depicting.

I thought the storytelling was excellent. To me it was simply a glimpse of 24 hours or so into the lives of a group of ‘friends’ set in the city (at the time I didn’t even make the connection that it was New York city, just some downtown metropolis).

I couldn’t relate fully to the scenes but it was an interesting piece of film that seemed more gritty then what I had been previously exposed to.

The scene I will always remember (besides the aforementioned ‘I have no legs’) was the aftermath of the house party near the end of the film just before the rape scene. Casper wakes up to a crowed house of passed out kids and familiarizes himself with his surroundings looking for any left over booze to consume…even if it was that last little back-washed mouthful in those 40oz beer bottles, he would drink it down. I remember thinking how disgustingly dreadful that must have been and how Casper seemed completely undisturbed by the act.
posted by VanishingPoint at 8:10 AM on July 30, 2010


Yeah, poor Chloë sure has hit rock bottom, eh? What a sad waste of a life.

You're being sarcastic, right? She's been on a hit HBO show for years and is (for some unfathomable reason) a renowned fashion icon. The whole Brown Bunny thing is pretty seamy, but it only caused a smallish bump on her career path.
posted by zarah at 8:11 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never seen Kids, and I'd never heard of the "I have no legs" scene, but now I realize that I saw that dude myself in the NYC subway one time back in the mid-90s. Jesus.
posted by chinston at 8:21 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know, maybe because I'm older (41) I've always thought of Kids as an updated version of Over the Edge.
posted by Sailormom at 9:20 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't need to see Kids again. Once was enough. Same with Gummo.

However, my husband and I frequently tell each other "I want to buy you corndogs." That was one of the most ridiculous lines ever.
posted by fyrebelley at 9:25 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this in the theater, alone, when it came out. I was 18, and I distinctly remember that my ONLY impression from it was "Larry Clark is a pedophile", and I decided to make an effort never to see any of his other movies.

I would argue that Larry Clark is not a pedophile but that he does have a perhaps unhealthy interest in post-pubertal underage teens. There is a difference.

That said, if you write him off because of this, you miss out on some rather brilliant filmmaking. Here I'm thinking of of Bully and Another Day in Paradise in particular, both of which are decidedly not afraid to focus on the sexuality of their young characters ... but (and it's a big but), there's also some deeply heartfelt empathy toward these young characters. I mean, I defy anyone to sit through the last ten or fifteen minutes of Bully and not be deeply moved. And, as for Another Day In Paradise, it's pretty much a fictionalization of a chapter from Larry Clark's fucked up youth (the artist as a young drug-criminal) that happens to feature top notch performances from the likes of
posted by philip-random at 9:31 AM on July 30, 2010


... ooops ... posted too soon.

Another Day In Paradise, starring James Woods, Melanie Griffith (playing to type as a homicidal junkie), very young Vincent Kartheiser ...

And then there's Mr. Clark's Teenage Caveman without which no list of completely f***ing weird and upsetting b-movies of the past ten years is complete.

Teens encounter people, who, after being used as guinea pigs for the experimental testing of a virus can live forever in a post apocalyptic world.
posted by philip-random at 9:35 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


maybe because I'm older (41) I've always thought of Kids as an updated version of Over the Edge.

I never saw Kids b/c when it came out I was 25, thought it looked stupid, and had long since been blown away by a 1981 film about Brazilian street kids--Pixote (more here)--that I had seen while still a teenager, and which I'm quite sure makes Kids look tame by comparison.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:42 AM on July 30, 2010


zarah: “You're being sarcastic, right? She's been on a hit HBO show for years and is (for some unfathomable reason) a renowned fashion icon. The whole Brown Bunny thing is pretty seamy, but it only caused a smallish bump on her career path.”

Yeah, I should clarify: I was being sarcastic. I thought it was a little silly that somebody up above summarized the "where are they now?" question by saying 'a few of them are probably dead, and Chloe gave Vincent Gallo a blowjob.' That's probably the most ridiculous summary of her career I could think of.

What's more, I don't know how much the Brown Bunny thing was 'seamy;' I still have some mixed feelings about that. Never saw the movie, and I agree that Vincent Gallo is seamy, but it was total bullshit that Chloe Sevigny got torn apart for a situation where she was basically working at her art. I remember at one of the press conferences at Cannes the press interrogated her until she broke down in tears. Typical blame-and-shame shit. I don't excuse any of Vincent Gallo's actions, but she clearly approached the situation in a professional way.

But I get the feeling you agree with me on that point. And thankfully it was just a smallish bump in her career, as she's generally quite brilliant.
posted by koeselitz at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh god. Pixote. I watched about 10 or 15 minutes before turning off the video. Maybe it gets better?

To me, Kids and Pixote are like "Faces of Death" for the indie movie crowd. Maybe there's some kind of worthwhile aspect to watching either (or at least the 15 minutes of Pixote that I saw) but I feel like I already have seen too much soulless ugliness (of a much less violent sort) in my life.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2010


I really hope you are joking about the conventional part.

I assure you that if data about the substance abuse habits of Americans (or just New Yorkers) at the time were somehow plotted on a graph, the data point/dot/special snowflake that represents me would be somewhere in middle.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really hope you are joking about the conventional part.

I assure you that if data about the substance abuse habits of Americans (or just New Yorkers) at the time were somehow plotted on a graph, the data point/dot/special snowflake that represents me would be somewhere in middle.


I honestly don't know. and that you could assure me, doesn't really confirm anything. It'd be interesting if you had actual info.

Also, it's interesting how the situation can change from one country to another. In a quite big city in South America, I remember it being only a couple of "troubled" teenagers among our acquaintances that would have those habits, and I was born in 1984. Pot was commonplace, a couple of daring ones would do coke, but only a few would do x, or prescription drugs. They were considered pretty hardcore and did not end up well. I Kids as if it was a very exagerated, somewhat attention seeking story. More or less like the movie "13". I never thought kids were actually living those lives. It's pretty depressing.
posted by Tarumba at 11:07 AM on July 30, 2010


*watched Kids
posted by Tarumba at 11:08 AM on July 30, 2010


I really hope you are joking about the conventional part.

Pretty conventional for my high school set, too. I was the sole weirdo straightedge person. (Not Straightedge. Just straightedge.)
posted by small_ruminant at 11:11 AM on July 30, 2010


I was out of high school and in university when Kids came out. I didn't then and still don't understand what was so unsettling about it. It seemed totally realistic to me. I knew lots of kids who did things like this. My friends and I thought it was kind of banal - didn't everyone know Kids do these things? When people were talking about it at university, it was just, "Wow, why is anyone so shocked by this?" There wasn't anything in that movie that I hadn't seen or heard of happening in my small town.

So can someone explain it to me? I don't get it.
posted by acoutu at 12:25 PM on July 30, 2010


acoutu: “ I didn't then and still don't understand what was so unsettling about it... So can someone explain it to me? I don't get it.”

A thirteen-year-old girl is unwittingly given AIDS, and a fifteen-year-old boy rapes a sixteen-year-old girl who already has AIDS. That's unsettling because... well, it's just...

Oh, forget it. For fuck's sake. Somebody bring out that "More Jaded Than You" trophy – acoutu here just won it.
posted by koeselitz at 12:38 PM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, I can see feeling like the movie was realistic – sure, yeah – but if you didn't find it even a little bit unsettling, if you found it completely banal, you're either a robot pretending to be a human or a human pretending to be a robot. I suspect the latter.
posted by koeselitz at 12:40 PM on July 30, 2010


I never saw Kids b/c when it came out I was 25, thought it looked stupid, and had long since been blown away by a 1981 film about Brazilian street kids--Pixote (more here)--that I had seen while still a teenager, and which I'm quite sure makes Kids look tame by comparison.

They definitely have a lot in common, but they are very different. Kids is very nihilistic, youth adrift and disconnected in the first-world. Pixote is more about youth actively under threat by adults and "the system" in a much rougher and poorer place. They are both graphic, but in very different ways.

In other words, seeing one isn't the same as seeing the other -- both are fantastic works by amazing filmmakers, and both deserve to be seen.
posted by Forktine at 1:27 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't have to answer this but, how old are you acoutu? While I found the film sorta-kinda unsettling when I saw it at 13, I doubt I could watch it again at 25 because the older I got, the more life experience I got (especially w/r/t sexuality,) the more disturbing my memories of the film became.
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hung out with Harold a couple of times. He was pretty close to the same guy as in the movie. I had heard he died of an overdose a couple of years ago, that sucks.
posted by LouieLoco at 2:03 PM on July 30, 2010


Kids was fiction (though not outrageously fictionalized, as many have stated above.)

Streetwise (1984 documentary, homeless kids in Seattle) was about 1000% more disturbing to me because it was not.
posted by jfuller at 2:13 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Passing out and getting raped by someone with AIDS isn't scary?

The rapist didn't have AIDS (that the viewer knew about), it was the girl being raped who had it.



I was shown this film as a college frosh in a "politics of generation x" polisci class.

It is a shocking movie...realistic?...somewhat.

I remember thinking " yeah...I know people who engage in that kind of lifestyle...but contrary to the movie they end up dying through violent or drug-related incidents, or they do the in and out of jail thing."

So yeah...I just thought it was some artsy dude trying to be "real"...but in fact, he was glamorizing it for hordes of suburban white teens who have nothing better to do than hang out at dennys all night.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:29 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


acoutu, I guess I have to join you in jaded robot corner. I didn't find Kids unsettling. It said nothing to me about my life, and I resented the media hype that suggested it did. I did think it was funny: I wanna buy you food. I wanna buy you corndogs.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2010


Yeah, I should clarify: I was being sarcastic. I thought it was a little silly that somebody up above summarized the "where are they now?" question by saying 'a few of them are probably dead, and Chloe gave Vincent Gallo a blowjob.' .....What's more, I don't know how much the Brown Bunny thing was 'seamy;' I still have some mixed feelings about that.

Whoa, I missed that comment the first time around. Wow. I too have mixed feelings about it, and agree it was utter BS the way she was treated by the media afterward.
posted by zarah at 4:17 PM on July 30, 2010


koeselitz, isn't it possible to not find a movie "unsettling" while also realize that it would be very, very bad for the plot points from the movie to happen in real life? "Unsettling" is a very subjective quality that depends on whether you find the acting and writing good enough to be able to suspend disbelief, and so on. Some people clearly find Kids unsettling, but maybe other people find it eye-rolling and boring in its attempts to be shocking or socially relevant or whatever. I don't think anyone here is trying to say that a teenage boy having sex with (raping) a teenage girl who just got AIDS while she's sleeping is not, indeed, a very bad thing. Maybe you found this unsettling, but acoutu found it boring and obvious, and my reaction was somewhere in the middle. None of us is right or wrong to have our reaction.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:42 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let me clarify. I do not find rape or drug use or child neglect or HIV infection to be boring or banal. I found the revelation in the movie -- and all the hype saying that this movie was so shocking -- to be banal. Now, in terms of it being a twist in the plot or whatever, it wasn't boring.

BUT, if the idea was "OMG, this stuff is happening", then it was banal, overhyped and, like, 'c'mon people. Like, this stuff happens. It happened where I grew up. I know many girls who have been sexually assaulted in their sleep by their friends.

Teens get HIV and STDs. Today, in Canada, white girls are even more likely to have HIV than they were 15 years ago. 300 girls under 15 in Canada get diagnosed with HIV or AIDS every year now. http://www.avert.org/canada-aids.htm

I grew up in a small town where people got the crap beaten out of them. I witnessed many, many assaults. I witnessed sexual violence. I know girls and women who were repeatedly assaulted in their sleep. I have friends who got STDs or who had to be tested for STDs, including HIV, because of assault. I know girls who were preyed on by older teens. I also saw kids who were allowed to wander the streets, kids who could stay out till late at night and whose parents didn't care. I saw kids who would sit in the car or outside the gaming hall where I worked while their parents were inside - but there were other kids who were God knows where. I worked in a fast food restaurant where I had to mop up blood and kick sex trade workers and their tricks out of the bathroom. This happened where I lived.

In 1990 or so, my school was the second in Canada to bring in condom machines, because they recognized the risk of HIV infection in rural and small town Canada. By the time this movie came out, I was working in the counselling department of a university in a small town. I'd gone to a major conference on youth sexuality. But my friends hadn't done all that. And they still thought the movie was not shocking. The idea that this stuff happens and is shocking was, to us, the suggestion that people had their heads in the sand. Because we saw it happening all around us.

But does that mean I do not think that this is a real and awful social problem? No. Does it mean I would not react with horror were this to happen to someone I know? No. Does it mean I am jaded? No. I have been very involved in community and social programs for years and I lobby the government for a variety of causes. I get very upset when I hear about these things happenin and I care so much that lobbying for causes is very much part of the fabric of who I am. But the relevation in a mainstream movie that these things happen to kids? WTH were people thinking? Did they pay no attention to the world around them? No attention to the kids on the street as they walked to work? No attention to the media? Like, seriously, people didn't know that girls get raped in their sleep by their friends?

That is where I just didn't get it. I don't understand how this movie was "news", in that regard. I do thinking these are SHOCKING and HORRIBLE social problems and I definitely think more people need to have their rape scripts re-written, so that they realize that the opening and close of this movie were both about rape and sexual assault.
posted by acoutu at 5:20 PM on July 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


(That is, I felt for the characters and I would feel for anyone who has this happen to them. But as a social commentary? Banal.)
posted by acoutu at 5:33 PM on July 30, 2010


Also, can we stop it already with the praise for Neil Big Bootay? Duder is excellent at creating straw men, and hates women like it's going out of style, but those are really his only notable traits.

Are you talking about Neil LaBute? On what evidence do you say he hates women? He has created numerous misogynistic characters but they have never been portrayed as worthy of sympathy. I think your claim is so far off the mark that it's laughable. Have you seen Your Friends and Neighbors? Have you read his stories or plays? The man consistently creates some of the most flawed male characters of any writer working today.

I'll agree that the films he's directed but didn't write or that were remakes are not very good but if you're saying that anyone who creates films or stories with misogynists in them are themselves misogynists ... ? How else do you expect fiction storytellers to discuss misogyny?
posted by dobbs at 7:02 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


One can write misogynistic characters -- or even assume the perspective of a woman-hatey character -- and not be a misogynist. OTOH, when all your male characters are consistently three-dimensional and your female characters are either shrill harpies or (more frequently) blow-up dolls, and you rig your stories so that your misogynistic male characters always come out on top, that's another story. Or when you have a film in which Nic Cage goes around punching women in the face and referring to them as "bitches" whilst wearing a bear suit.

Also? We're talking about someone who cannot frame a shot or place a camera to save his life. Big Bootay makes Kevin Smith (who wouldn't know where to place the camera if there was a map and a giant "PLACE CAMERA HERE" sign at the appropriate place in the location) look like David-fucking-Lean. Also, shall we discuss the innumerable boom shots in The Shape of Things that are visible in the DVD transfer.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:24 PM on July 30, 2010


You know what I just realized is totally ironic about this post? I'm pretty sure nobody from New York, particularly in the 80s and 90s, would ever have said something is "hella real." As I recall, that was in its genesis a purely Californian phrase which only slowly grew and spread around the continent. New York people - do you remember hearing that phrase growing up? "Hella"? (I grew up in small-town Colorado, so I won't be much help.)
posted by koeselitz at 8:30 PM on July 30, 2010


rig your stories so that your misogynistic male characters always come out on top,

I haven't seen In the Company of Men in years (since it was released) but don't recall either one of the men "coming out on top". I thought Matt Malloy was put through the thresher due to his guilt. The same is certainly true of *any* of the male characters in Your Friends and Neighbors--the men are nowhere near on top. I don't recall the Shape of Things well enough to comment with any certainty.

Also, shall we discuss the innumerable boom shots in The Shape of Things that are visible in the DVD transfer.

Not unless you're privy to the transfer process for that particular title. I saw the film in the theatre and don't remember any boom shots. Further, since you brought up David Lean, do you blame him for the initial transfer of Lawrence of Arabia to video? It was ridiculous. Or how about Peckinpah--is he responsible for The Wild Bunch being available in Pan and Scan for 20 years? If you think LaBute, a director with zero power, is overseeing his dvd transfers and that 1) he didn't see the shots (if they're there--I doubt all transfers world-wide are the same) and 2) didn't then crop them out, then you're letting your hatred of him sour your understanding of this process of dvd manufacturing.

He's a storyteller first and foremost (a playwright) and that's what I was defending. I have no opinion of him either way as a director.

I've seen all the films he wrote and directed (that weren't remakes) and would never call him a misogynist.
posted by dobbs at 8:22 AM on July 31, 2010


I don't see why everyone is basing their judgment on whether this film reflects reality or not. I write things that take place in my home town, concerning characters of my age, & no, they don't have anything to do w/ my actual life. Does Kids reflect NYC in the 90s? I don't know, & I don't find it relevant to my enjoyment of the movie. I like Korine as a writer & Clark as a director/unlovable pervert.
posted by broken wheelchair at 1:21 PM on July 31, 2010


I just watched the film again with my wife. She had never seen it. God damn they squeeze a lot of rape and drug use into an hour and a half long movie. It's a good film, I think. Though yeah, watching it as an adult, it seems even more skeezy. I mean, all those actors have to be actual-ass teens. It seems overly explicit.
posted by chunking express at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2010


Casper wakes up to a crowed house of passed out kids and familiarizes himself with his surroundings looking for any left over booze to consume…even if it was that last little back-washed mouthful in those 40oz beer bottles, he would drink it down.

That sums up most mornings for me between 19 and when I finally got a decent job a few months ago.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


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