Harmony Korine is one of the most unique and independent American film talents of the last quarter century. After writing the crude and revealing street tale of coming of age Children, In 1995, Korine made his directorial debut two years later with Gummo, a strange independent mockumentary that, like his entire career, defies description.

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For the past two and a half decades, Korine has continued to make small, bizarre, commercially unviable films that focus on characters forgotten or despised by society. Most recently, Korine inspired the documentary SXSW Child candidate, which chronicles the unexpected candidacy of avant-garde musician Hayden Pedigo for mayor of Amarillo, Texas.

9 Trash Humpers (2009) 5.1

In his fourth feature film, Garbage humpers, Korine explores the sordid lives of a subset of Nashville geriatric residents who spend time staring out of neighbors’ windows without a shred of guilt or remorse.

The horror-comedy quasi-documentary was filmed and edited entirely on VHS, and focused on elderly peepers who have been shunned by the mainstream in Tennessee.

8 Spring Break (2012) 5.3

Brit, Alien, Cotty and Candy in Spring Breakers

In her most commercially successful film to date, Korine explores the underbelly of the American Spring Break subculture as seen through the eyes of four disillusioned college girls.

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Bent on attending spring break in Florida, Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) team up with a lewd drug dealer named Alien (James Franco) to steal a diner to pay for your vacation. Through a haze fueled by drugs and alcohol, the women learn harsh lessons that shatter dreams.

7 The Beach Tramp (2019) 5.5

Moondog and Lingerie on Boat at The Beach Bum

Korine followed Spring breakers with The beach bum, a lazy and leisurely tale of a free-spirited poet who calls himself Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) and lives a carefree lifestyle in Miami Beach.

When Moondog isn’t drunk or high, he’s trying to write the next great American novel. However, his interactions with the colorful Flicker (Zac Efron), Lingerie (Snoop Dog), and Captain Wack (Martin Lawrence) make it difficult for Moondog to buckle up and focus.

6 Ken Park (2002) 5.9

Claude smokes marijuana in Ken Park

Seven years after writing Children For director Larry Clark, the two collaborated on the indie skate film, ken park.

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Written by Harmony Korine and Larry Clark, the film focuses on the family camaraderie of a group of California skaters who come from a troubled family life. At its core, however, the film is a strange erotic tale that explores the sordid side of the skaters’ secret sexual encounters.

5 The Fourth Dimension (2012) 6.1

Val Kilmer rides a bike in The Fourth Dimension

The Fourth Dimension is a three-part anthology film in which Korine is joined by Russian director Alexey Fedorchenko and Polish director Jan Kwiecinski. Starring Val Kilmer, Korine’s segment is titled “The Lotus Community Workshop.”

Korine’s vignette follows a motivational speaker (Kilmer) who attends a local bowling alley in Nashville, Tennessee. Kilmer gives a nonsensical speech to a gathering of intrigued citizens that underscores the futility of motivational speakers.

4 Lonely Lord (2007) 6.5

Diego Luna as Michael Jackson in Mister Lonely

The charming offbeat comedy lonely Mister it is the third feature film that Korine has directed in her career. The story follows a modest young man (Diego Luna) who makes his living in Paris as a Michael Jackson impersonator.

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When Jackson meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton), she invites him to a strange party in Scotland and introduces him to her husband, Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant), and their daughter, Shirley Temple (Esme Creed-Miles). Along with Madonna, James Dean, Sammy Davis Jr., Abraham Lincoln and other famous likenesses, the group tries to open an experimental theater to present themselves to the public.

3 Gummo (1997) 6.7

Tummler and Solomon ride bikes at Gummo

Korine made his directorial debut with Gummo, an avant-garde coming-of-age tale about a community of impoverished and aimless Ohioans trying to navigate their existence aimlessly.

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Years after a tornado struck their small town, unruly teenagers Solomon (Jacob Reynolds) and Tummler (Nick Sutton) attempt to find meaning in their lives through a series of degraded criminal activities and disruptive behavior.

two Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) 6.8

Juilen on the street with friends at Julien Donkey-Boy

In one of the most challenging movies to watch for any audience, Julien Donkey-Boy is an excruciating look into the life of Julien (Ewen Bremmer), a man with untreated schizophrenia who comes from an abusive home.

With a terrifying father (Werner Herzog) who listens to music while wearing a gas mask, a negligent grandmother who prefers to care for her pet dog, an inferred inappropriate relationship with her sister, and a dead mother with whom she has phone conversations. Julien’s life is unlike any other seen on film or television since then.

1 Children (1995) 7.1

Telly and Casper walk the streets in Kids

The first writing credit of Korine’s career came through the 1995 film. Children, a spirited analysis of the sexual exploits of several teenage drug users lost in New York.

Set over the course of a day, the film follows the daily routine of Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), a sassy teenager determined to sleep with as many girls as possible. Telly’s mission is compromised when she learns that one of her former lovers has contracted HIV. Unafraid, Telly continues with her plan, despite the consequences.

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