Spring Breakers

spring-breakers-poster

Spring Breaaaaaaaaak….

Spring Breaaaak fo’ever y’all!

:D

Girls Gone Wild meets Natural Born Killers in a movie that’s exploitive, entertaining, and unapologetically overstylized.

Spring Breakers is the story of four college aged girls determined to go to Forida for Spring Break. When Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez) find out that they don’t have enough money saved, however, they’re forced to do something dangerous: they rob a restaurant.

Still high on the adrenaline of their crime (among other things), the four girls head to Florida for a week of unbridled hedonism. The four of them enthusiastically embrace the decadent atmosphere and throw themselves head-first into the debauchery. Unfortunately for them, the cops bust a party that they’re at, and they’re hauled off to jail. Without money to pay the fine, the foursome is faced with serving a couple of days in a cell, when they’re suddenly bailed out by a local gangster and rapper named Alien.

Alien (James Franco) is a cornrowed, silver grilled rapper and drug dealer, who bails the girls out due to the fact that they’re all attractive young women. He’s predatory, sleazy and verbose. Alien takes them under his wing, and brings takes them around a tour of his world. It’s then that cracks begin to appear in the foursome. While some of the girls are frightened and want to get away from him and his dangerous world, others are ready to take the plunge into the risky, high stakes, gangster living that Alien represents.

The top story of “Spring Breakers”, for me, is undeniably James Franco’s Alien. Alien is a character that will inspire memes, t-shirts, and posters. He’ll be quoted and impersonated endlessly. There’s no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this is a character with a massive cult following awaiting. I had a great, great time watching him… I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face when he was onscreen. From his soon to be legendary “Look at all my shit!” scene, to his heartfelt, emotional, talentless performance of Britney Spears’ “Everytime” on a white piano by the oceanside, everything he did or said was hysterical and memorable to me. I cant wait to own the Blu and laugh along with him again.

The movie, overall, is a spastic mess, though…

Directed with an overabundance of style by Harmony Korine (“Kids”), “Spring Breakers” jumps around like a kid on a sugar high, visually. It’s intercut with flash-forwards, flash-backs, and repeat loops. Characters have voice-overs as often as they do straight lines of dialogue. Close ups of shaking, naked breasts cut away to revelers doing funnels and keg-stands, then back to more topless women in extreme close-up. Scenes are shot in day-glo neon, underwater, everything short of upside down. The style overload is supportive of the “More, More, More, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” themes the movie presents, but it can’t cover up for the lack of a substantive narrative.

Because the story of “Spring Breakers” is almost completely unintelligible. It’s obviously a generational commentary, but as a movie “plot”, it’s absolutely lacking. It’s almost impossible to understand the girls who embrace Alien’s motivations. Little help is given, as the four girls in the film aren’t really given much backstory, depth, characterization or personality. One of them’s a “Good Girl”, the other three are “Bad Girls” and that’s about as deep as it goes. And while that may suffice to serve the film’s stunted social criticisms, it doesn’t help those who expect their movies tell a tale that makes sense. They head down to Spring Break, party, wind up in jail, then the next thing you know they’re enthusiastically knee-deep in a gang war.

Still, it’s impossible for me to say I didn’t embrace the movie. Franco’s character alone was worth the price of admission, but it was also interesting to watch Korine’s gonzo, gratuitous filmmaking in action. It’s certainly a daring movie, and a fun one, too, if you can be open-minded to the explicit bacchanalia on display.

B+

Daniel Fogarty

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63 thoughts on “Spring Breakers

  1. B+ youre joking right? Really? This is far and away the biggest piece of crap put on screen so far in 2013 and should sweep the razzies this year! The only thing that kept me from walking out midway was my unmitigated shock that Franco would so throughly FUCK UP a movie like Oz, but decide to go full retard in this POS?

    I am still flabberghasted! Shit like this and A Haunted House is what is wrong with the movie making machine these days. Listen to our OtE podcast in a few days to see how bad this ranks! The only thing keeping this from being an F is Franco’s idocy in taking himself serisouly. D-

    • [Rapid fire nodding all the way through this comment] :D

      Yup. That’s Spring Breakers for you, folks.

      68% on Rotten Tomatoes though, Ric. You can hate on it, but it’s no “Haunted House” (6%). Sorry, bud. There’s style, and entertainment here to be found for a lot of people.

      Granted, those who dont’ latch on to it WILL despise it, as you do. ;)

    • Ric, I second Fog’s review on this one; he’s pretty spot-on. We may have to take this to Tyson’s 3-on-3 battle and have it out to the death over there! lol. This movie is a classic from Franco’s character alone. The one thing this film did have going for it was that it was unpredictable. It was hard to tell what was around the corner, and Alien was quite a complex character with a lot of hilarious lines. As Fog stated the movie itself wasn’t great, and was a bit of a sporadic mess, but Franco alone made it an enjoyable experience.

    • You should definitely check this movie out Mark. You have a 50/50 chance of hating it or loving it and having it crack you up.

      Either way, you need to see what Franco does here, it’s legendary. LOL

    • Mark, even if you hate the film, in which you very well may, it’s still worth a watch for James Franco alone. Definitely give it a watch. lol.

    • I do, it’s true. But it’s not just me this time, this movie has a seriously comical turn by Franco.

      You should watch this one Brik, I’d love to get your take on his character. :D I thought it was awesome. LOL

  2. Un, yeah, I think I’ll stay away. I’m a little surprised you gave it a B+ based only on your description. Franco must have really amused you a lot to get this film a B+.

    • He did, yeah, and the early partying scenes were pretty ridiculous too.

      The criticisms had to be acknowledged, I mean, the flaws here are pretty obvious. But as far as an entertaining film? I enjoyed it quite a bit, I had to say.

  3. I initially wrote this off, but it actually sounds pretty interesting. I don’t usually like Franco but I love NBK and if it’s similar I may see it. Nice review.

  4. I’m hearing such mixed reviews about this! From it’s a masterpiece to it being a complete mess and a waste of time. Franco is intriguing me though – I may well put my hand in my pocket and see this one :D

    • Yeah, well, thats why I had such a hard time reviewing it. LOL. I wrote a couple of paragraphs that would fit well on an “F” review, but I liked it as much as an A-! In the end I settled for the B+.

      Its not my fault. It’s the movie’s :D

  5. Yeah, I wasn’t too high on this flick. I found the over stylization to be completely obnoxious. I just really hate this pretentious, artsy-fartsy full of itself style of film making. This was like watching Terrence Malick on spring break. A good example of how to be stylized without going overboard on it and ruining your movie is, as you said, Natural Born Killers. If only this film could have captured more of that feel instead of dragging things down to a constant standstill, maybe we’d have something here.

    And like you mentioned, there’s very little in the way of actual substance to this movie. Honestly, this feels like a thirty minute short that was forcefully stretched to 90 minutes by just repeating and recycling the same clips over and over and over again.

    It’s a shame, because this film definitely has moments of brilliance, such as the Britney Spears montage, and the initial robbery, and James Franco is awesome. Yet, great as these things are, none of them are strong enough to make up for the rest of the crap on display. So no, I wasn’t too impressed.

    • Mmmm… For me, the flashes of brilliance really win the day. :D It’s spotty, no doubt. And the I wish Korine had focused more on the substance than the style, but at the end of the day, Franco was a force of nature in this movie. I couldnt BELIEVE that character. That alone wins it a B level grade for me, Chris!

      Plus, apparently, I’m not as adverse to “pretentious, artsy-fartsy full of itself style of film making” as you are :D ;)

    • LOL!!!! :D

      Oh god… not Satan leading them into temptation, huh? :D You’ve got quite an analytical eye, there. We should open a new Lammy category just for you! :D

      Oh god.

      SPRING BREAAAAAK Adam, SPRING BREAK FO’EVAH!

  6. I have to agree with most of this review. I didn’t really mind how it was stylized overall, but could’ve used a little less music video montage filler. Overall, I would give it an A for experience and B for execution so a B+ sounds spot on.

    You don’t really mention what you thought of the girls’ performances though. I thought Gomez was really good in her role, but Benson and Hudgens nailed it. Korine’s wife was suitable but maybe because I had no prior knowledge or her she really didn’t make an impression one way or the other.

    • You know, Jess, its really hard to pin down… without dialogue (which the movie really lacked in a lot of ways) they were just left to party and look hot, which mind you, they were exceptional at.

      I think Gomez was the only one asked to convey much emotion or even have much acting to do, and certainly, she was pretty good. I suppose Benson and Hudgens were good too, I do have to give them credit for being believable as Girls Gone Off the Deep End. LOL :D

    • Hard not to like what he did here, it was hysterical, S.

      That said, if you can tell its not your thing, I’d stay away, because trust me, this movie turns the dial all the way up with it. LOL

  7. In no way is it a good film, it’s actually pretty boring, but it still works because of what Korine talks about, how he goes about it, and what he has to say about this generation and the ones to come. A lot of food for thought here and I liked that aspect. Good review man.

    • Yeah, there’s definitely some food for thought if you dig past all the WTF.

      I can’t believe you could use the word “Boring” though Dan! You… sure about that? LOL This movie has a LOT of issues, dont get me wrong, but being boring isnt one of them buddy!

      • Yeah I would have to concur on that one. Maybe there was a sense of been-there, done-that with some of the montages throughout and as over-the-top as the emphasis on partying hard and *Spring Break show us your titties* became, I don’t think it ventured into boring territory. Cliché territory, sure.

  8. Reblogged this on digitalshortbread and commented:
    What’s up all, thought I’d spread the word of Fogs Movie Reviews here on DSB. This is a really nice review that focuses on a few different aspects than what I covered. And it’s mm-mm–good. Just like shortbread. lol. Check it out!

  9. Nice review mate. I had pretty much written this off completely from the awful trailers but I must say I’m actually now quite tempted to give it a whirl. First time I watched the trailer I didn’t even know it was James Franco and now I’m so intrigued to see him in that role.

    • Man… let me tell you, he’s the greatest, too. LOL :D Days later and I’m STILL laughing. I thought he was incredible, Chris, I really cant say enough. Check it out, although its definitely a movie that’s dividing opinions… 8O

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