Kuso Image


By Bill Arceneaux | September 1, 2017

Perhaps inspired by a divine hand covered in smelly chocolate covered pretzel smears, perhaps encouraged by the work of studio PFFR (behind Adult Swim shows “Delocated” and “Xavier: Renegade Angel”), music producer Flying Lotus has entered the world of filmmaking with his absolutely unendearing and terribly disgusting Shudder exclusive Kuso. It’s a near plotless but thematically connected series of streaming consciousness like skits involving, in one way or another, post L.A. earthquake survivors, living in a society where all have face pustules and live like / in trash. I dare suggest that it’s the worst movie of 2017 that I’ve seen thus far but, of course, I haven’t seen The Emoji Movie or Detroit yet. At the very least it is a wildly gross bore, and at the very most it is an amateurish abomination of nothing good.

“The human body is no temple here – It is a means to an end.”

This is no Pink Flamingos. Hell, Divine wouldn’t waste a single tastebud on this dog turd. I’m all for transgressive and symbolic / imagery heavy cinema, but Kuso is, unfortunately, the equivalent of a monkey s**t fight at a zoo. SO much is happening that it equals and amounts to NOTHING happening. It’s busy but empty. Sequences exist either to shock, suggest or do both, but fall flat and fail for technical and contextual reasons. It’s a mambo taking place inside of Flying Lotus’ inner most fears and interests, his deepest desires, humors and tumors, with the only framing devices being a loose tissue of setting and a tv clicking transition. Everything else is the result of some wacky self psychoanalysis, that amounts to who cares. It’s brave, I suppose …

It’s not easy developing something truly strange, and it’s even harder to truly mess up that oddity. A combination of darkly lit sequences, white noise and scene after scene of bland grotesqueness lost my interest entirely, switching from shock to sigh, and never even reaching awe in the first place. I’ve often thought about Adult Swim type movies such as The Greasy Strangler with its linguistic dissonance and Swiss Army Man with its bizarrely touching premise, and how a new crop of filmmakers have used that programming block as an almost rallying cry for their art. It would appear Flying Lotus took the most abstract moments that he liked, filtered them through his own experiences, took some drugs (I can’t confirm) and “made” a “movie”.

“And it means nothing but preposterous titillation, eerie stimulation…”

Yes, I may have really disliked how up its own – and George Clinton’s – a*s Kuso is, but I’m willing to give consideration to some of the small moments that flickered of brilliance. There’s a “Beavis & Butthead” MTV generation attitude towards decency and attention spans going on that I wish had been utilized and explored better by someone not susceptible to the whimsy of such behavior. Individual performances, like the woman living with two trans dimensional beings, were decent and begrudgingly funny in their own right, despite and in spite of the scenarios involved.

George Clinton craps out a slug that another man sucks from. Someone makes love to a talking neck cyst. And it means nothing but preposterous titillation, eerie stimulation and one note gasp inducing tactics. Kuso commits a violation far worse than gross toilet level existence; it’s straight boring. A moebius strip of distasteful sickness. A film suffering from an incurable but shareable STD, stuck on shuffle. The human body is no temple here – It is a means to an end. And that end, for Flying Lotus, is your eyes bleeding out the back of your skull, turning into excrement for an alien child to play with while listening to pop hip hop. What does it mean? Pfft. It was pulled out of an a*s, sir.

Kuso (2017): Director: Flying Lotus / Writers: David Firth, Zachary Fox, Flying Lotus / Starring: Tim Heidecker, Hannibal Buress, George Clinton

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