Spring Breakers (2012)

springbreakers_2012_poster
Spring Breakers (2012)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Harmony Korine
  • Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson

Storyline:

Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

2 reviews

  • OK picture this: Four college kids (Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Rachel Korine) are bored with their existence. It’s Spring Break and everyone at their school has already left. With little money in their pockets and in a drug fueled haze, they decide to rob a fast food restaurant to bankroll a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida for Spring Break madness. While living it up, these girls are befriended by a gangster/rapper named Alien (James Franco) who draws them back into a life of crime with more mischief and mayhem. That’s the basic idea behind Spring Breakers, a mindless farce that’s kind of a cross between the films Point Break (1991) and True Romance (1993). However, it’s the rude stepchild of both of them. A sort of poor man’s hangover version if you will.

    First off, Spring Breakers is a monumental case of an exercise that is all style and no substance. Possessing a couple of well done sequences and an Oscar worthy performance, it painstakingly thinks that it’s a better movie than it really is. You also get the feeling that the cast felt the same way, like they were making a uncompromising college film classic. With a slew of former teen actresses who are all now in their twenties, this vehicle was probably chosen as the type of work that would shed their wholesome good girl image. However, the idea of these girls playing characters who infiltrate a fast food restaurant and put guns in people’s faces is ridiculous and sad. What’s even more sad is how disorienting this mid-March release is. There is never enough time to take in anything on screen especially the tone at which actors are gauging. Director Harmony Korine is obsessed with cutting from one thing to the next, and I know it’s a Spring Break theme movie, but he has an annoying habit of constantly panning from an important plot point to a bunch of half naked woman doing alcohol shots.

    That’s why you have to hand it to actor James Franco for literally saving “Breakers” from being a total disaster. He shows up halfway in the movie and to his credit, he makes the other cast members look better despite their limited acting range. Alas, everything in “Breakers” kind of slows down to tell a more coherent story the minute he’s on screen. It’s a shame he wasn’t inserted in the proceedings earlier because his performance is downright Oscar worthy.

    With the exception of Franco being the only true bright spot, there is one more flaw in this film that sticks out like a sore thumb. A lot of the script is tainted with dangling loose ends. You get the feeling that the actors didn’t have much to say toward the end of the dialogue. The solution: Yell out the words SPPRRIINNGG BREEAAK! or SPRRIINNGG BRREEAAK FOR EVVEERR! Utter nonsense. That’s why I can’t possibly recommend this movie. It continues the trend in today’s dreck where there is sort of this lousy MTV style of not letting a shot just pan out. You know, keeping a scene in frame for longer than a couple of seconds. Therefore, in truth, we need an immediate “break” from films like this.

    Check out other reviews on my blog: http://www.viewsonfilm.com

  • “I’m starting to think this is the most spiritual place I’ve ever been”

    When Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson and Cotty (Rachel Korine) come up short in their spring break savings fund, the girls (minus Faith) rob a local restaurant to secure their tickets to the ultimate college retreat—spring break in Florida. Crammed with alcohol, drugs, excessive nudity, guns of all shapes and sizes and gang violence, this isn’t your typical spring break, nor is this a typical movie for Disney starlets Gomez and Hudgens. Welcome to the dark side, ladies.

    For those of you looking for a deeper meaning behind the neon-dazed art-house creation of Spring Breakers, there may not be one. And that’s the point. With casting choices including Disney darlings Selena Gomez/Vanessa Hudgens and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” Ashley Benson, the film’s cultural casting statement certainly raises eyebrows and elicits confusion with it’s R-rating (Rachel Korine, the fourth spring breaker in the gang of four, is actually director Harmony Korine’s wife).

    Spring Breakers is a college spring break trip gone unrealistically awry. After everyone in the dorm leaves for spring break, Faith, Candy, Brit and Cotty devise a plan to get them out of their mundane circumstances. The plan? Steal a car, rob a local diner, burn the car, go to spring break. After their successful robbery, where they managed to not get caught, the girls take a bus to Florida where they party, ride around on scooters and revel in the debauchery that occurs down south every spring break. Sort of.

    To understand the logic behind Spring Breakers, you need understand it’s writer/director–Harmony Korine. Rarely using a linear narrative while incorporating scenes filled with symbolism and metaphorical meaning, some of Korine’s earlier work include underground oddities like Gummo (chronicling poverty-stricken, white trash residents of Xenia, Ohio following a tornado in the 1970s) and Trash Humpers (the story behind a group of sociopathic elderly people in Nashville, TN), Spring Breakers is his most mainstream work.

    Bringing the sensation of spring break as close to reality as possible (the film was shot on location during spring break using actual college students). Korine explains that the film consists of a generation raised on YouTube; the plot “plays like a Grand Theft Auto game, with about as much logic.” The film certainly pays homage to a “post-articulate culture” that feeds on video games, computers and ever-expanding technology, and incorporates characters that are morphed on screen like Call of Duty in bikinis on a neon pop-art canvas.

    Korine also incorporates a haunting score collaboration between Cliff Martinez (Drive) and Skrillex who helped create a “magical realm” and “physical bombardment” as a musical backdrop. The film also includes the 1998 Britney Spears ballad “Everytime”, which Korine uses twice and juxtaposes with unnerving scenes of violence and grim piano rendition by Alien (James Franco). Why Britney?

    The film also features one of the best performances by James Franco to date. Franco plays Alien, the born-to-be-bad gangsta rapper who bails the four spring breakers out of jail and takes them under his self-made wing. Alien represents the anti-American Dream with his self-made millions earned through selling a mass amount of drugs. With a laughable, yet unbelievably unscripted monologue where Alien shows the girls all his illegal possessions, Franco’s embodiment of his character is unlike any character he’s ever portrayed on screen. Did I mention he carries the most unsettling/uncomfortable scenes of the movie? Franco successfully creeped me out.

    Although his real-life inspiration (who is also featured in the film) is Florida street rapper Dangeruss, his appearance, dialect and mannerisms are transparently inspired by Houston rapper Riff Raff. Even Dangeruss admit to Complex that the similarities were there, “See, the way James’ appearance is in the movie, you can’t really dispute that that’s kind of Riff Raff’s style. He got the braids, I got big dumb dreads. Dreads is a lion in the jungle type shit. He had braids, which is like a deer.”

    On the exterior Spring Breakers looks like another teen movie exploiting youthful debauchery and glamorizing violence. If you don’t read between the lines, it may come off as simple as that. “Boring”, “Pointless” and “The worst movie ever” are among the common reactions to this film by movie-watchers unaware that Harmony Korine is taking 21st century culture and throwing it in thier face.

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