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Kids (1995)

January 21, 2010

1/10 Failed D.A.R.E. Graduates

Yeah, it’s controversial, but it’s also a piece of crap.

Kids is about a bunch of underage kids in New York City whose day-to-day routines are made up of smoking weed like chimneys, drinking enough malt liquor to make N.W.A. look straight edge, and having more unprotected sex than Ron Jeremy’s clone army.

Apparently my High School years were pretty freakin’ timid.

Didn’t really know what to think of this one the first time I saw it back in my teen years, but due to a recent refresher viewing at the suggestion of my good buddy Fred, I’m kinda surprised at how clear my hatred for it has become. Funny how much things change over the course of eight years.

Here’s the deal, the movie primarily follows two kids named Casper and Telly. Within five minutes of meeting these little a-holes, you realize that there is not a single redeeming quality about them. It’s not so much that the stuff they’re doing is unrealistic, because I’m sure there are a good deal of kids out there who can very easily relate to Casper and Telly, it’s just that they made me want to punch them in the face from beginning to end. These are the kids that get chewed out by drill instructors and sent off to boot camp on Maury because all they care about is raising hell and ruining lives. These are not the people I want to spend ninety seconds with let alone ninety minutes, these are the kids who deserve to get their ass beat like clockwork, but that’s unfortunately who we’re dealing with.

Don’t have much to say about Casper because he’s pretty much playing second fiddle – even though he is a totally despicable individual in his own right – but Telly…where do I even start? Telly is easily the most absurd thing about this movie for a number of reasons. He’s played by newcomer Leo Fitzpatrick, and I don’t know what he’s like nowadays, but he was one awful child actor. Laughably bad. It’s hard not to roll your eyes at anything he says or does because Telly doesn’t look the part either. He talks like an idiot, he’s skinny as a rail, I bet he had as much game in real life as the Anime Club did at his actual High School, and my good buddy Fred pointed out that he also bears a striking resemblance to McLovin.

Telly’s a stud? My ass he is.

Casper, for all his awful character flaws, at least looks and acts the part. Telly’s just a joke. But honestly, are there really kids out there who really talk all day every day about how many girls they violated and how they went about doing it? Huge chunks of this movie are completely devoid of plot and simply revolve around watching kids get high and rant about all their sexual escapades for lengths at a time. Is that really always the topic of conversation and are there actually other kids who want to hang out with these kids?

Give me break, man. Fuck those kids.

The only thing this movie has going for it is Chloe Sevigny as Jenny – one of the many girls that Telly screwed over. I’ve been on a major Big Love kick as of late and it’s cool to see how she got her start as the only member of this cast I actually believed. It also features Rosario Dawson in her first role, which is cool, I guess.

It’s also got a pretty decent soundtrack, but whatever, I refuse to give this movie a 2.

Look, I get what Kids was going for, I get that it’s a wake-up call, but this wasn’t the way to go about it. I couldn’t help but think about how much better this movie would have been if it were a documentary with real kids talking about the real drugs they’re doing and the real sex they’re having. Now that would rattle some feathers and make it less of a spectacle than it ended up being. Shock value only works for so long and when it becomes a movie’s cornerstone, it’s bound to crumble.

Telly. What a ridiculous casting choice.

45 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 10:25 am

    WAY, someone else thinks this film’s totally overrated. Trying to be too cool for school. I think that’s the most enraged review I’ve seen on this site. Keep up the venom!!!

    • January 21, 2010 10:52 am

      Haha, yeah, this one got me furious, man. Awful movie.

  2. January 21, 2010 5:30 pm

    Thank God someone else hated the Telly character as much as me.

    • April 12, 2013 2:24 pm

      Haha. I think we’re in the majority on this one, man.

      And apologies for the three-year delay on this response. Just realized this review had a bunch of unanswered comments. Gotta earn back my admin card, yo!

  3. January 21, 2010 6:37 pm

    WOW!! The funny thing is that I was going to watch this movie soon, but now I guess it’s time to take it off the queue. Thanks Man, your a life-saver!

    • April 12, 2013 2:25 pm

      Haha. Did you ever end up giving it a go?

      And apologies for the three-year delay on this response. Just doing some spring cleaning and found all these unanswered comments. Good job, Aiden. Good job.

  4. Nahuel permalink
    January 21, 2010 7:31 pm

    aiden what are you saying?!

    the fact that you want to punch these kids in the face means that they acted their part, and a little too good if you are getting that mad at them.

    you are willing to give spiderman 2 a 9/10 but you give this a 1/10??

    i will admit that this movie is not the greatest, and there are parts that could have been left out.. but the movie is about kids with no life, and how they fuck up other peoples lives.

    i am not one of the people who will say this is the best movie ever and it deserves a 10.. but a 1?? really?

    • January 21, 2010 9:27 pm

      haha, and so my flawless track record is ruined.

      sorry, man. the whole thing was just too much, it beats you over the head with how messed up these kids are. you’re right about it being about kids with no life who fuck up other people’s lives, but I just have no desire to watch that. they eventually get their comeuppance, but nonetheless, it gets to a point where I was just shaking my head thinking, “Okay, we get it already.”

      i don’t know, man. felt like this story could have been told much better instead of just exploiting the idea for everything it’s worth.

      and it doesn’t have Doc Ock in it either. what’s that about?

  5. Audrey permalink
    January 21, 2010 9:28 pm

    I really believe that if a movie is meant to shed light on and expose a social problem, it should also shed light on a possible solution to the problem, at least in some way; otherwise, viewers are left feeling frustrated, hopeless, and, in the case of “Kids,” utterly disgusted. I get what “Kids” is trying to expose, but it left a disgusting taste in my mouth because it implied that there was no hope for its characters. I felt like it leaned far too heavily on shocking its viewers (which, believe me, it achieved) than actually telling an entire story, and I cannot be satisfied with a movie like that. a 1 was generous, at best. Love, Fred.

    • January 22, 2010 11:59 am

      Well said, Fred. Glad we’re on the same page here. Love, Aiden.

  6. rsought permalink
    January 21, 2010 9:32 pm

    After a friend recommended this flick to me as a “must see” and “if you like Requiem for a Dream, you’ll love it”. I saw it, I threw up a little in my mouth, I went to bed and I never felt right again. I just remember seeing it playing in the background of a Hype Williams movie, Belly, and thinking that the kid dressed up with rabbit ears looked intriguing. meh

    • January 21, 2010 11:43 pm

      I’d take Requiem over this mess any day, even though that is the most depressing movie ever made.

  7. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    January 22, 2010 4:17 pm

    That scene in “Kids” with Chloe Sevigny where she’s passed out, drunk and high, and gets raped? Yeah, that gave me nightmares for weeks. Seriously. It still haunts me, so much so that I barely remember the rest of the movie.

  8. June 30, 2010 6:49 pm

    This movie obviously had a profound effect on you, and to give it a 1 is absurd. Kids in one of the best hip-hop youth culture movie EVER CREATED. It’s raw and gritty because it shows HOW KIDS REALLY ACT. I don’t know where you grew up, suburbs, gated communities but if you grew up in NYC, LA, Chicago, especially in the 90’s, and was down with Hip-Hop/ Street Culture, This is a honest reflection of KIDS LIVES. When I was 16 all my friends where sexually active, doing drugs more than marijuana (cocaine etc.), where selling drugs, and many had pistols. I know that’s not ordinary, but it was OUR REALITY. The plot is not inconsistent, comes together full circle, and has a REAL ending (no sugar coated bullshit). Do some parts of the movie feel forced? Yes. Is some of the acting lacking at times? Yes. But nobody makes ill movies like this anymore, instead we get Tyler Perry Comedies, and we need more REAL Hip-Hop youth culture movies. Respect for having an opinion and posting your review. Peace.

    • June 30, 2010 9:11 pm

      lol, right back at ya’. i feel like i get into this debate often and it’s definitely one of the harder ones for me to come around on and vice-versa. all the same, not gonna knock you for liking it, this is the kind of movie that warrants a reaction. thanks for visiting, man.

    • Ocky J permalink
      September 1, 2011 1:02 am

      I am not sure what sort of “hip hop” culture you are referring to. What? Because they used a lot of slang and dropped the n-word alot? Give me a break. Maybe you should figure out what hip hop culture is. I guarantee you it is not a bunch of parent-less losers who skateboard and have random sex with the youngest girls they can find. I agree with the original reviewer in that “Kids” tries TOO hard and is not realistic. The movie aimed to scare parents. All parents. So it had to represent all types of kids in a weird adult-free world–kids of all races and SES levels (the first “virgin” lived in an upscale neighborhood) who have NO guidance at all. I also agree that the most ridiculous part of the movie was Telly. Who in their right mind thinks this kid could be a Cassanova? The point of the movie is lost in the absurdities.

      • September 2, 2011 9:17 am

        Amen, brotha’. Telly was the fucking worst. Glad we’re on the same page here, do not get where all the praise comes from.

  9. JOE ERICKSON permalink
    March 10, 2011 2:07 pm


  10. Mikey permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:07 pm

    Dude this movie was made in 1995 and you wrote this in 2010.

    I watched it when I was 15 and I’m 28 now. I thought the movie was good probably cause I was able to relate to it.

    • March 23, 2012 11:37 am

      Yes it was and yes I did. Neat, huh?

      Wish I could have liked it more than I did, but alas…

  11. campbell permalink
    December 25, 2011 5:15 pm

    you are all faggots; anyone who didn’t/ doesn’t like it, that is. The movie could not be any more “real” than it is, i bet the dude who wrote this review is upset he was in the high school anime club at his school, and that’s how he knows how little game it’s members have.

    • January 2, 2012 3:13 pm

      Oh, boy. Something tells me getting into this one’s gonna be a losing battle. So on that note, thanks for stopping by and love you too!

  12. Austin S permalink
    January 4, 2012 7:59 pm

    Alritee, so… Im 16 and the movie was a breakthrough for me. I noticed alot of similarities in the life of those kids as me and my friends, not sayyin we are all a bunch of douchebags, but the shit we say yo, the things we do, i felt complete watching this movie, did it have some vulgar content…yes but it really shows the real side of kids nowadays back in the time. The writer of this movie was indeed a bit ahead of his time but he does deserve some credit 🙂 im from tucson AZ, and recently moved to Chicago IL, and i feel like that movie was the reflection to modern day youth society. Id give it a 6 at least. -“Im Casper the dopest ghost around” Peace Out Scout 🙂

    • February 6, 2012 10:55 am

      Haha. Well I’m glad you liked it more than I did and glad you didn’t rip me a new one like most do when they disagree with my Kids review. The strength of Kids is that it is realistic, probably more so than a whole lot of people would like to admit, I just fucking hated Casper, thought that his character was totally unrealistic, and didn’t see what the point of the freaking movie was in the long run outside of “Wrap it up, kiddies!” Ugh, anyway, already wrote a review, can’t keep getting caught up like this, but like I said, glad you liked it, man. Different strokes for different folks.

      And thanks for stopping by!

  13. Jeff M permalink
    March 6, 2012 4:02 pm

    Well, I literally just finished watching this movie. I read your review before I did, and I think it might have spoiled the movie for me. Not in a bad way, though, don’t get me wrong- Telly was probably the most one-dimensional character I’ve seen in any movie in at least a year. His existence revolves around sex, and pot. He’s not convincing. Casper played a generic asshole, again, a very one-dimensional character, but at least I believed he could be potentially likeable (albeit with some work). Unfortunately, I do know a few people who act almost identically to Telly, but, I stay away from them, much as I will undoubtedly stay away from this cinematic abomination. Thank you for TRYING to warn me. 😛
    Peace and love.

    • March 23, 2012 11:39 am

      Yeah, I think we can all agree that Telly is the scum of the Earth and one of the worst movie characters of all-time. Very sorry to hear that you know of people like him who exist. Peace and love right back to ya’, brother.

  14. Reuben permalink
    April 24, 2012 7:50 am

    Well, not sure how I stumbled across this debate hah but I’m glad I did so I can a) say that I totally understand your opinion and how you have drawn your conclusions on this film and b) disagree with you wholeheartedly. I saw this film a few years after it’s release, would of been ’99-2000, by which time I was 21 and in college. The film’s authenticity brought a surge of nostalgia and memories; some welcome, most less so. I can say with 100% honesty, from my perspective (I grew up in Jersey but spent a good chunk of my teens during that era skating in NYC) that what is depicted in this film is an EXACT representation of how it was, no bullshit. Some of those conversations I could swear were taken verbatim from actual shit-talking I heard back then…so realistic. The main reason the characters are so one-dimensional are because in reality kids that age do lack character, especially when they’ve dropped out of school, don’t work and hence have no driving motivation for existence besides getting high and fucking. These aren’t rich kids who’ve been travelling young or had their parents take them to the museum of modern art as kids. If the characters were deeper or more profound and complex I’d never believe they were 15/16 yr olds in the dire inner urban situation. Fact is, most kids that age with limited resources just spend their time waxing lyrical about what they do- fucking and drug taking. The acting skill was limited, but how often do you see a real 16 yo doing a Brando-style monologue. I actually dug that because it made me sense how everyone in reality IS in effect acting for the other people in the room at that age- all that shit-talking, braggadaccio, trying to insult each other etc…it’s all an act in real life aswell, and never a very good one at that. 16 yr olds are still finding their feet and often seem awkward and forced, I still notice it today overhearing kids’ conversations on the subway etc. So in that way, the bad acting actually added authenticity to it also. I think the movie throws up some solutions to the obvious problems aswell, more parent involvement in their kids’ lives could help this kind of thing. But again, in reality, some of the kids will just act out like this regardless, sadly. I also found it interesting when Telly and Casper are talking so offensively on the train and no one bats an eyelid- it’s like in a big, busy city like that everyone is so disconnected and de-sensitized and people stop giving a fuck, creating an attitude of “I’m no.1, forget anything external to me and me alone”. The huge drawback of this movie is yes, it will only appeal to a really niche group of people and most others will look at it disgusted or simply in disbelief. Kids who grew up in the 90’s in large urban centres in the US with no money, broken homes and raging libidos should understand and draw knowledge from this. No one else could really understand it to the full or feel sympathy toward the abhorrent (realistic) characters. All I can say is that it is a very important film for a number of reasons whether you love it or hate it.

    • April 24, 2012 11:54 am

      Well said, man. It never ceases to amaze me how much feedback I get on this review. Totally get where you’re coming from, and like you said, it’s just one of those movies that’s going to affect different people in different ways. The reason I didn’t like it doesn’t have to do with these kids being unrealistic or anything (because I’m sure there’s more truth to these kids than I’d ever care see firsthand), it just left me with this feeling of “What’s the point?” And maybe there isn’t one, maybe that is the point, but whatever I was supposed to come away with from watching this movie was ultimately lost on me. Still, there’s always something redeeming about a movie that gets people talking.

      Thanks for the comment and glad you liked it more than I did!

  15. Meli permalink
    February 17, 2013 11:10 pm

    Well, well… I totally agree with you. Telly is fucking annoying, I just can’t stand him. Anyway… the movie is realistic but I think it would have been rewarding if anyone help Jenny out and comforted her. Kind of a solution to all that shit. In my opinion the movie is not that bad, it deserves a 4/10 and i’m being kind. I neither like it nor dislike it but I won’t watch it again, that’s for sure.

    • February 19, 2013 5:00 pm

      Haha! Very nice to hear, it’s not often folks agree with me on this one. Seeing this twice was more than enough for a single lifetime, IMHO. Fuck Telly, man.

  16. tom permalink
    February 25, 2013 1:08 am

    I think your review suks and this movie is tha shit telly did not fit tha character i agree but you dnt evr disrespect j pierce rip rip harold hunter

    • February 25, 2013 8:43 am

      Well that’s not very nice, but hey, at least we’ll always have Telly, right? Not really sure what that last bit about J. Pierce was about (Google was no help in telling me who that is), and sorry to hear about Harold Hunter, that was news to me. Glad you liked the movie so much more than I did.

  17. Ronald permalink
    March 3, 2013 10:10 pm

    Telly was supposed to be a jerk and skinny as hell, he loved sex and had.. HIV! You dont see any muscular AIDS victims out there! Dumbass. That movie is deff in my top 5 favorites.

    • March 4, 2013 7:52 am

      Hmmm. Well, Telly’s physique really isn’t a reason for why he’s so awful, but good point I guess? Glad you like it so much more than I do, and thanks for stopping by!

  18. Kevin permalink
    March 25, 2013 7:27 am

    Man, you’re stupid. This is literally the best film I’ve ever seen. It’s not meant to be great and follow a mainstream storyline that’s more predictable than a Kid with chocolate. It’s visual artwork, delivering real problems in an artistic way. Harmony Korine knew there’d be imbeciles like you who don’t get this film, he didn’t care anyways. Korine has made some of the best visual masterpieces of all time like Gummo(the film with the kid with the bunny ears in it that some guy mentioned), Julien Donkey Boy and Kids. All three of these films are amazing, but you retards won’t understand how complexly simple and beautiful they are. You people anger me.

    • March 25, 2013 8:37 am

      Haha. Well I’m glad you liked it so much more than I did, a thousand apologies for not sharing your enthusiasm on this one. But cut me some slack here, because the points you bring up aren’t the reasons I disliked it. I’m all for movies that don’t have traditional/predictable storylines, and I know Korine wasn’t out to make a movie about kids giving each other HIV either. Nonetheless, I just have a hard time getting through everything that’s so abrasive about this movie on so many fronts to fully appreciate what he’s trying to say with it. And come on, would you really consider it a visual masterpiece? Honestly?

      Anyhow, that’s perfectly fine if you do, and again, glad you’re such a fan of what Korine’s been putting out there. Actually going to see Spring Breakers tonight and should have a review up this week. Here’s to hoping we’ll find some common ground with that one.

      After all, man, they’re just movies. No need to start throwing around the “r”-word just because someone’s got a different opinion, you know?

      Thanks for the comment all the same!

  19. Sabrina permalink
    March 29, 2013 6:30 pm

    I think the point of this film is to show what a lack of parenting does to a kid. This film shows a regular 24-hour day for these kids and only once is a parent seen. These kids are 11-16 years old and yet their parents are totally absent. Telly’s mom lets him come and go whenever he wants. There is an apartment where 10 or more young guys live together without any parental supervision.Jenny calls her house on a pay phone asking where her mom is. There is also a little girl, who looks about 5 years old, holding her doll outside of an apartment complex without ANY supervision. At the end, there’s a house party where there are also no parents to be found. A lot of the events that took place in this movie could have been prevented if the parents played a bigger part in their kids’ lives.

    I can relate a lot to this movie because when I was growing up my mom would let me go out whenever I wanted. At 14 I was sexually active, doing drugs, and knew a lot of guys who were like Casper. It all changed when I was 17 and moved in with my dad, who is a very strict. My life stopped being like the one seen in Kids because my dad enforced strict rules and wouldn’t let me go out like I used to. If it weren’t for my dad, I would have never of gotten my life together and I would of kept spiraling out of control down a dark path as seen in Kids.

    • April 12, 2013 2:31 pm

      That’s a very astute observation, one I haven’t heard before and makes a whole bunch of sense. And thanks for sharing that about your own adolescence, I can only imagine that this one really hit home in certain regards.

      Man, the conversations that this review has sparked will never cease to amaze me and make me think about Kids differently. Such a subjective experience across the board. On that note, thanks again for the comment. Still can’t say I like Kids and don’t know if that’ll ever change, but really appreciate hearing such open-minded and personal takes on it like yours. That’s what it’s all about, yo.

  20. Ben permalink
    March 31, 2013 1:13 am

    So I just saw the movie for the first time (I guess I am a little late) but I really did love it. I loved it so much it brought me to this page to check out what others thought of it. Although I disagree with your review I understand and respect your thoughts as art or film in this case is so subjective. I am not from the inner city like some previous people who commented but this movie was still so real to me. I am in college now and even when I was in high school the way these kids acted seemed so authentic and the movie itself was just flat out real and gritty. All you people hating on Telly, once again everyone has their opinions, but I think you are being too superficial because he is not great looking and skinny and talks funny but I bought his character. The way he talked when just with his boys, the way he talked to girls is all too REAL. I loved how the first scene and practically the last when he is about to have sex with Darcy are practically the exact same lines are said to get laid because unfortunately that is how it really is. Guys say whatever they need to to get laid and it always is in response to the concerns the girls have about caring and feelings. As messed up as that sounds that happens with kids and adults. So for you Telly haters, I feel he owned his part, at the duo of him and Casper, although their actions are despicable, their connection was felt. They were boys, loyal and in the same boat of the bump and grind just trying to get their fix of drugs or sex but I almost admired that friendship during the movie as crazy as that sounds. As far as the “whats the point” the reviewer says, well I think it was simply an eye opener. An eye opener for parents who have no idea what kids do out of their supervision whether they believe the film to be accurate, to kids who’ve seen that side recently and as someone said the nostalgia of the film bringing back to our dumb youthful days and maybe us being fortunate to get past it. I read a really good analysis of the end where they pan through NYC’s bums. The person said the movie reflects selfishness and everyone in their own worlds, but that scenes shows the surroundings these kids are in with the same world full of selfish and occupied adults. With everyone absorbed in their own worlds who is to bring up the kids.

    • April 12, 2013 2:40 pm

      First off, glad you dug it as much as you did, you’re definitely not alone on that one. Secondly, thanks for agreeing to disagree, that’s proven to be a rare stance at times with this one. So good on ya’.

      As for Telly, it’s not that I don’t think there are kids like him out there (always have been, always will be), I just feel like that kid really forced that performance. And since Telly’s a true shithead to begin with, that doesn’t make the performance any easier to overlook. Like you said, totally respect anyone’s opinion on the matter, but whenever I think of Telly (which ain’t too often), the first thing that always comes to mind is “Fuck that kid.” Then again, maybe that’s the whole point.

      The more Harmony Korine movies I’ve seen, the more comments I’ve read about this and the more time I’ve had to think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that it isn’t a pointless movie. Like you said, it’s an eye-opener at the very least. Still, I don’t think it’s an eye-opener I’ll ever be able to get behind. God, what a freaking head-trip this thing has been…

      Anyhow, thanks for commenting and check out Spring Breakers if you haven’t already. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  21. james permalink
    April 22, 2013 4:26 pm

    Sir,well i would really go with your opinion on this movie. But the thing which intrigues me most is your way to deal with the hate..You are truly something else ..keep the love flowing…

    • April 23, 2013 9:28 am

      Hahaha. Thanks, man. Appreciate it. People get pretty heated about this movie, huh?

  22. May 22, 2014 7:15 pm

    LMAO you pussies. Kids wasnt that bad. It was a rather decent movie. Disturbing yes, but it has a message BLABLABLA


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