The return of Kids

The good people over at caught up with some of the surviving cast members of the 1995 film Kids. Written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark, Kids was a raw glimpse at life inside New York's early 90s skater and club scene. I remember the film for being both terrifying and making me feel like I was one of the most boring people in the world. The stars of the film were all real kids from that scene, and many of the storylines were also legit.

The kids say the film was accurate, except for the most fantastical stuff. There’s no denying they weren’t sober during filming. Even the scene with Javier Nunez, at fourteen, by far the youngest of the skate crew, and three other little kids mashed on a couch smoking a joint and pontificating about god and life—that too was real. The virgin hunter, the AIDS plotline, and the rape scene at the end were fictional.

Kids was responsible for launching the careers of both Chloë Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.

Korine, nineteen at the time, and Clark, then over fifty, wrangled the troops from the skate clique, supplementing them with more non-actors from Washington Square Park and the club scene, and across downtown—including Chloë Sevigny, from tony Darien, Connecticut, who had been hanging out with the crew in Washington Square Park for years. They plucked a then fifteen-year-old Rosario Dawson from her stoop in the East Village. Vibe magazine was shooting a commercial on her block, and her father told her to go downstairs to get discovered. Korine heard her laughing loudly at a strange man who looked like Jesus, walked over and told her, “You’re exactly what I wrote.”

 Others didn't fare so well. RIP Casper and Harold.

Read the whole story here.


  1. Never saw the film – but I did have the sound track and thought is was quite good.

  2. “Kids” was probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen. In the late 80s and 90s, I was used to local news programs continuosly harping on evil children running amock, especially minority children, with an implicit message that children should be under complete lockdown at all times.

    The movie took all of this reactionary nonsense to an extreme. “The virgin hunter, the AIDS plotline, and the rape scene at the end were fictional”, and were also about half the content of the movie, the other half being mostly child porn, and more than a little racism.

    1. I believe the implication was that one of the people the “virgin surgeon” had sex with was not actually a virgin (or maybe had contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion or needle use), and that he really should have been using condoms.

      1. Not an implication at all. The “virgin surgeon” insisted he only had sex with underage virgins. There was no mention of other possible methods of transmission, or of prevention methods.

        As I recall, I was watching the movie with some friends who were active in AIDS prevention education, and all were aghast. At the time, I was mostly upset by the demonization of children.

    2.  >The implication, never contradicted in the movie, was that somehow AIDS was spontaneously generated by sex.

      That’s the wrongest conclusion anybody has ever jumped to. The message I got was that Telly was an idiot and a liar; if you believed what he was saying you were as naive as the girls he was seducing.

  3. What else I remember being fictional was the idea that anyone who wasn’t a tourist or NYU freshman would buy the ditchweed they sold in Washington Square Park then, and that some 15 year old skater could get away with clocking a dealer with his board there. 

    The “look what awful things the teenagers are up to now!” exploitation genre has a long history dating back at least to Reefer Madness. At least Reefer Madness is funny.

  4. Thanks for posting this. Despite having known about the film for years (and having watched it without noticing any family resemblance), I only recently discovered that Justin was a close relative of mine, and anything I can learn about him now is a gift.

  5. I don’t recognise many of the comments about the movie. I thought it was just a good raw movie about kids who lived in the city. I didn’t recognise them as signs of social failures, parental failures, etc. Kids as young as 14 routinely drink beer, smoke dope, form a tribe around a passion, whether it’s skateboarding or prog rock, and most importantly, spend all their time trying to have sex. The less they have, the more they talk about it. These kids seemed like a NYC version of generic teenagers, and demographics alone would suggest they would be slightly more extreme versions.

    1.  A group of friends skating, drinking 40s, smoking weed, and always trying to have sex, this was pretty much what a young period of my life was like for me. “Kids” was a bit grittier, but I knew other kids who were doing harder drugs and getting into bigger trouble.

  6. It blew me away when I saw it age 17, but I dunno, I’m more jaded now.  I suspect some unknown parental rage would rise up in me.

  7. That movie landed smack in the timeline of my life when i’m fresh in high school, and a skater. Of course I saw it!

    And I still think it sucked. 

    The narrative article, though, was amazing.

  8. Awesome movie. 

    ps: check out Harold Hunter’s part (circa 98) in the first Zoo York video here ->

    He was good.. RIP harold

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