"Most kids are not like those in Kids, and never will be, I hope."
May 2, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Legends Never Die Two decades after a low-budget film turned Washington Square skaters into international celebrities, the kids from "Kids" struggle with lost lives, distant friendships, and the fine art of growing up. Caroline Rothstein writes about the cast of the Harmony Korine / Larry Clark film twenty years on for narrative.ly.
posted by mwhybark (19 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Two decades? Huh
posted by criticalbill at 9:38 AM on May 2, 2013

But that's impossible because that would mean I'm old. Oh...
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:44 AM on May 2, 2013 [11 favorites]

Hey wow! Caroline is a friend. Cool to see her show up here.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:53 AM on May 2, 2013

An important film and a great document of pre-gentrified Manhattan. My home! Those days are so far gone, it's sad. Still, not the best movie ever made.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:58 AM on May 2, 2013

I feel like I've mentioned this in another MetaFilter post about Kids somewhere but the lines "I have no legs. I have no legs." and "I been tinkin' 'bout you all day..." still get stuck in my head far too often.

I have a semi-frequent debate with a friend about Kids vs. Happiness, which one is more disturbing, are either of them art, which one of us is more terrible for having seen Kids or Happiness more than once. Anyhow, I have a soft spot for Kids, I always will. Thanks for this.
posted by togdon at 10:02 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kids came from the minds of Korine, a skate kid from Tennessee whose grandmother lived in Queens and hung out with Harold and his friends

If you freeze frame at just the right moment of the gang beating scene, you'll see Harmony Korine's badass grandma wielding a skateboard.
posted by mannequito at 10:17 AM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

An important film and a great document of pre-gentrified Manhattan.

"Pre-gentrified"? 1995? I guess there's an argument to be made about the scale and rate of transformation in Manhattan since the late 90's, but people were talking about how radically Manhattan had been transformed and "gentrified" even in the mid-90s, and in fact that lament of a transforming Manhattan goes back even further than that.

There's a good, and rather skeptical, piece by Benjamin Schwarz about Manhattan's gentrification in the Atlantic from a few years back. It makes a pretty good case, I think, that there is often a kind of necessary blindness and even hypocrisy involved in a lot of these laments over "gentrification." That is, that what people are really nostalgic for is no so much "pre-gentrification" as "early gentrification"; they cherish a memory of a kind of neighborhood that only existed because the forces of gentrification were at work transforming it into something very different.
posted by yoink at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

I have a list of great movies I never want to see again. Kids is on it, so is Requiem for a Dream, and Shortcuts. I love these kinds of films, but believe you only have so much room in your head for these kinds of things.

Big hit man!
posted by cjorgensen at 10:40 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think "I have no legs... I have no legs" ALL THE TIME!
posted by jcruelty at 10:43 AM on May 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

'Kids' was produced by Miramax Films, which was owned by Disney at the time. It boggles my mind that 'Kids' is a Disney film.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:59 AM on May 2, 2013

I was a suburban skater kid on the West Coast when this came out. Everyone back then was obsessed with the idea of hard core street skating, East Coast style - Philly, New York, etc. We all listened to Wu-Tang and Def Squad and said "yo" a lot. Looking back it's kinda ridiculous but it was fun. Then Jamie Thomas's Toy Machine part came out, which had some Love Park and other East Coast footage, and things changed a bit in skateboarding. Pants slowly became tighter, wheels became bigger, decks became wider, everyone wanted to skate big and fast. That's a slice of the evolution of skateboarding for me, 1990s to early 2000s.
posted by ChuckRamone at 11:04 AM on May 2, 2013

Kids these days.
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Kids came out when I was 13 and just starting to skate. That and the resulting Zoo York phenomenon was hugely influential to us Midwestern skater kids. It was a totally different kind of skating than we were used to seeing. Bones Brigade and Toy Machine stuff was all well and good, but Zoo York stuff was so defiant, and skated cities in such unusual ways. Zoo York was like the anti-skate park. Like, we can skate literally anything.

And Harold Hunter was a real talent, and definitely the best skater in Kids. He had a very fluid style, which reminded me of Mark Gonzalez. This is my favorite part of Harold's, off the fantastic Zoo York video "Mixtape 1" (with a great freestyle by Method Man and Ghostface.)
posted by joechip at 12:45 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't even BOTHER with the "I have no legs" bit if you're not going to jostle the change cup for two beats in between.
posted by dr_dank at 1:12 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I vaguely knew one of the kids from Kids. I didn't skate and wasn't really cool enough to go to clubs, what was that thing everyone went to NASA? But the 40s and weed was pretty spot on.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:31 PM on May 2, 2013

That was a really interesting essay (of a film I love - why isn't it out on BluRay yet?), thanks for posting this. I had no idea Harmony Korine was only 19 at the time, that's amazing. Maybe I will forgive him Gummo.
posted by Auden at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2013

I just had a confusing coversation with my wife about this article in which she conflated Kids with Streetwise. It's understandable because I strongly prefer Streetwise over Kids as a film (although I dig both Kids and Gummo plenty).
posted by mwhybark at 9:20 PM on May 2, 2013

I need to assemble like a few scenes from that movie into a Kids mixtape to put myself back in that mindset of being a teenager in the city in the 1990s without bumming me out.

The movie, as I remember, was obviously sensationalistic and over-the-top but it never rang untrue to me, it was just like they compiled all the very real high highs and low lows of a few weeks or a few months, cut out all the monotony and self-involved feelings and loneliness and condensed it into a couple days. But when I first watched it on VHS at 20, I remembered all that swagger I had, that feeling of invincibility, all that misplaced raging against the wrong authorities, and the way a big city opens itself up to you as you explore it unsupervised for the first time.
posted by elr at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2013

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