“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you. But if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.”
Odd I should encounter this quote the same day I watched Gummo. Riveted and disturbed by the film, I identified many vignettes from my own life. I suspect this was the director’s point. I’ve sat in living rooms piled high with unwashed, unwanted clothing. I’ve witnessed troubled youths tormenting animals. I’ve even eaten spaghetti in the bathtub.
I believe most of us could point to multiple scenes (even the disturbing ones), and say “I remember that from my youth.” What crawled under my skin, however, was the director’s skill in making the film so credible. Even the absurd elements fit together smoothly, enhancing the realism of the piece.
So, hey, I liked the movie so I spent some time surfing the net for reviews. I was surprised by the hatred and disgust people had for Gummo. Then while reading a history book later in the evening, I came across the quote above and thought, “Ah-ha!”
Scrutinizing the mundane and pathetic in our lives yields an acknowledgement of the nihilism of our existence. We question God, Humanity and Purpose; a quite unsettling proposition for most. But of course, not for me, the agnostic, who refuses to make any idealistic commitments whatsoever. Does this mean that Gummo only made me think I was thinking?