From the July 18, 1995 Chicago Reader. A perfect illustration of how cheerfully enslaved the New York Times was to Harvey Weinstein’s cultural power and hype. — J.R.
From noted still photographer-turned-director Larry Clark and young screenwriter Harmony Korine, both making their screen debuts, a slightly better than average youth exploitation film (and grim cautionary fable about both AIDS and macho teenage cruelty) that hysterical American puritanism contrived to convert into big news. (The New York Times‘ Janet Maslin called this a wake-up call to the world — meaning, I suppose, that rice paddy workers everywhere, or at least those with phones, should shell out for tickets and stop evading the problems of white Manhattan teenagers.) But if the news is so big, why does it sound like such tired and familiar stuff? And reviewers such as Manohla Dargis who claimed that this depressing movie takes no moral position about what it’s depicting must have been experiencing some form of self-induced shock, because taking moral positions is just about all it does. The photography is striking and the acting and dialogue seem reasonably authentic, if one factors in all the sensationalism, but let’s get real — this was at best the 15th most interesting movie I saw at the 1995 Cannes festival. If you’re determined to succumb to the bait, I hope you have more fun than I did. With Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, and Chloe Sevigny. (JR)