There is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful...moreThere is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful and unbearably ugly simultaneously. "Gummo" is currently my overall favorite film for a nearly infinite number of reasons. One of these reasons is that every scene has the potential to be picked apart and/or pieced together literally and symbolically. Another reason is that the film succeeds radiantly at inventing and presenting a world that is both 100% realistic and entirely dreamlike. I had originally purchased this book mainly to read the original screenplay for "Gummo." I have found that the other two screenplays, "Jokes" and "julien donkey-boy" are nearly just as riveting. The transcript of "julien donkey-boy" that concludes the collection does not serve much justice to the film. (It is widely believed that the transcript was not even written by Korine.) Otherwise, this is a marvelous treasure for any fan or enemy of Korine's films. I do recommend watching the actual movies beforehand (sans "Jokes," which was never completed), but this is a must-read collection that helps to explore Harmony Korine's works further for all of his fans.(less)
Everybody knows that J.D. Salinger has banned anyone from adapting "The Catcher in the Rye" into a movie. Nigel Tomm has ignored this proclamation tho...moreEverybody knows that J.D. Salinger has banned anyone from adapting "The Catcher in the Rye" into a movie. Nigel Tomm has ignored this proclamation though. His film adaptation of the novel is tagged with the brief description, "This is 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen. Nothing less and nothing more." After learning about similar film adaptations, I discovered that this Nigel Tomm is an author as well as a filmmaker. Having enough interest, I purchased this book, pursuing it to be the best starter collection to his literature. Luckily, I made the right decision after all.
First is "Shakespeare's Sonnets Remixed," a vast series of free-verse poems that presents an e.e. cummings approach to the otherwise trite and boring sonnets from the trite and boring William Shakespeare. Oftentimes these remixed sonnets will require a few repeated readings in order for the most clear of possible meanings to shine. I believe that they work for that reason though. Poetry ought to be a free yet complex expression of ideology or emotion, and its readers should not always need to dissect prosody if they want to find the most meaning. The introduction to this book (with the longest title ever) presents that Nigel Tomm is truly a legit poet. Apparently, he did not want these sonnets to be published and sold at first. I can't imagine what his reasoning had been, since "Shakespeare's Sonnets Remixed" is an absolute literary treasure.
Next is "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed," a much more inventive and challenging prose selection. This is not traditional prose or drama at all. It is more accurately a puzzle of fragmented thoughts that string together in order to form loose yet comprehensible images and ideas. There is no precise grammar nor punctuation, but otherwise the novel would not work to its full potential. As someone who has read the original Shakespearean "Hamlet," I was delighted by certain grainy scenes such as Hamlet placing an electronic head onto a table. Also, the death of Polonius will never be written more vividly than how it is written in "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed."
The third selected work is "Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Remixed," which I personally believe is the highlight of the collection. This novel tests the reader instantly with a period after every one to five words. For those of you like me who need to place a mental pause with each period, the flow will seem a bit too abrupt at first. Further into the novel, the pace should quicken though. Unlike "Shakespeare's Hamlet Remixed," this selection actually has a less figurative plot. It is not solely philosophical, though it does maintain an avantgarde/absurdist style. "Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Remixed" paints the story of a play within a play within a play. The outside narrator is an inside character, and the reader is involved into the actual plot as well. Each character has an ability to transcend and distort reality, forcing him or her to be an actor at one moment and a role at the next. (clown may be one of my favorite characters from any book I've ever read.) Everything that happens is supposed to be a symbol of love somehow, which may be a satirical insult to how flowery Shakespeare was. I would believe it.
Overall, "Selected Works of Nigel Tomm..." is absolutely fantastic and unique. His works are not for everyone, of course. I love Nigel Tomm because whatever he does is deemed as either "brilliant" or "retarded," and there can be no other adjectives to use. I myself am choosing the former.(less)
"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is...more"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is something majestically and inarguably captivating about this first novel from the so-called "enfant terrible" of dramatic independent film. Its synopsis states clearly that no plot, linear narrative, character development, or scene setting exists. Everything is somehow connected though, as each and every page investigates and/or muses upon the fractured leftovers of everywhere and everyone on this planet. Korine perfectly presents "a novel setting about the bastard wisher" with a pure, refined combination of pulchritude and putridity. Throughout his entire career, Harmony Korine has managed to turn the beautiful and the ugly into each other simultaneously, thus, allowing those who willingly acknowledge his work to possibly find some sort of new meaning within life. I personally believe that pages 6 and 175 serve as bookends that connect and complete all that lies between them. T.S. Eliot's words accidentally anthropologically endorse Korine both as a novelist and as a person. The paragraph of text that ends the book serves a very similar purpose. Most people have deemed "A Crackup at the Race Riots" as a literary companion piece to "Gummo," but moreover, this novel is actually a companion piece to everything that Harmony Korine has created (or destroyed).
My only possible complaint would be that the book may end up being read with lightning-speed by any diehard fan of the author. Otherwise, "A Crackup at the Race Riots" is an essential collection for those who either appreciate or despise how Korine has developed an ultimate portrait of omnipresence.(less)
To present a film that is 72 minutes and 5 seconds of pure green screen...To release a CD-R album that is nine realizations of John Cage's 4'33"...Obe...moreTo present a film that is 72 minutes and 5 seconds of pure green screen...To release a CD-R album that is nine realizations of John Cage's 4'33"...Obession is a key component to being a true artist. (Most people know that Stanley Kubrick had hand-typed each and every page of the script prop for his adaptation of "The Shining.") Such obsession requires an elimination of the fear that whatever result(s) will not be widely and warmly accepted. Nigel Tomm has shown none of this fear throughout his entire career as an absurdist, and "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." is a true, shining example of his bravery as a writer.
All 23 volumes of "The Blah Story" had drawn much infamity and attention to Nigel Tomm long before he had become a filmmaker. The intention of the novel was complete, unadulterated personalization for the reader. Few other novelists have ever been able to establish such a personal connection to their audiences. Nigel Tomm now furthers this idea with a recent quintet of long-titled books, all of which sport a similar phallic cover. "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." seems to possess an extremely strong potential to expand beyond merely being a companion piece to Tomm's blah volumes though. Within this novel's 226 pages could be an underlying theme of nonchalant music and/or free spirits. Who knows though? Nigel Tomm himself is an enigma; he is occupied with an avantgarde metaverse that no other writer has ever reached.
The obsession of an artist also commands acknowledgement of some sort. Reading the entirety of this book is equally obsessive, especially since a cycle of paragraphs eventually repeats itself until the end. I didn't mind the experience though. In fact, I embraced it. Such an obsessively bizarre novel deserves respect. A friend of mine had told me to write this review using the book's style of "ooh la la" and "taram pam pam" insertions. Doing so would suggest that anyone could write "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." though. Only someone as bold as Nigel Tomm could offer such a literary trek.(less)
How could words possibly describe or critique a wordless novel? Dubiously, I would like to present a nearly unexplainable motif: Nigel Tomm's "The Mos...moreHow could words possibly describe or critique a wordless novel? Dubiously, I would like to present a nearly unexplainable motif: Nigel Tomm's "The Most Popular Fiction..." is somehow similar to Harmony Korine's "A Crackup at the Race Riots." Perhaps I've naturally established this comparison because of the two novels' lack (or refusal) of linear organization. Both contain the appearance of an anonymous scrapbook found upon the side of a freeway. The central difference would be that Tomm's abandoned scrapbook expresses supposed illiteracy--somebody with similar ideas and no ability to write with language or words. "The Most Popular Fiction..." should not be demeaned of literary value though. Those who know of Nigel Tomm know of what a true wordsmith he certainly is. I've rated this novel with four stars rather than five because I feel that words fully attribute to the talent of Nigel Tomm. Nonetheless, this book, product, novel, gift, and item still ought to satisfy anyone with enough curiosity, patience, or admiration.(less)