After enjoying Julien Donkey-Boy so much, I decided that I should actually see Gummo. Which actually is pretty unpleasant, in some of the ways I was worried about beforehand. What's interesting is that, by all accounts, Julein Donkey-Boy was made in a much darker place, in a way that's almost brushed over in that ANP Quarterly interview: More paranoia, "my brain had pretty much melted." Gummo, by contrast, was made as this successful enfant terrible figure, flush off the success of Kids. If Gummo is not exploitative, (which it kind of is) it's kind of reveling in people's bad behavior, from sort of an outsider's perspective. Julien Donkey-Boy seems much more collapsed, and also much more invested in things like transcendence. It's sort of surprising, given Korine's reputation, and the stronger film for it.
Gummo has this moment of joke-as-metonymy, which I will attempt to paraphrase: "I knew a guy who was dyslexic, but he was also crosseyed, so everything came out right." Which seems to be the perspective it wants you to take on various kinds of troublesome behavior.
The issue is exactly to the degree to which Korine's eyes are crossed when it comes to the behavior in Gummo. Rich kids idolizing bad behavior on behalf of the poor and mentally ill.
In positive news: My friend Bryan Fordney's new video has been uploaded to the internet. I'm waiting for it to load now. Also, the Paper Rad Problem Solvers videos are now on Youtube, and are really great, as previously discussed. Speaking of things previously discussed, Dash Shaw's Bodyworld webcomic just keeps getting better, but I should link to the beginning of it, and just assume people will read all of it if they're interested. He also did a short story a couple of years ago that I thought was great. I should look into his over-700-page graphic novel that just came out.