Monday, July 22, 2013

Review 189: "Spring Breakers"

"Spring break foreva." 

Good Girls Gone Bad

      There seems to be a pretty good divide between the people who liked Spring Breakers and the people who hated it. Namely, movie critics seemed to really like the movie, or at least the ones I follow do. And teenage audiences seem to think it a terrible movie. So, the movie starring former Disney Channel stars and James Franco about teenagers on spring break and having a wild time set to dubstep isn't connecting with teenagers, especially teenage girls? Well, if that isn't reason enough to see this movie, I don't know what is! Directed and written by Harmony Korine (Trash Humpers), the film follows four friends, the good girl Faith (Selena Gomez) and her three bad girl friends Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) who find themselves swept into the gangster life by "up-and-coming" rapper Alien (James Franco), who is currently fighting with former friend Archie (Gucci Mane). Let the partying begin.

I remember the first time I was arrested while
wearing a bikini.
Grilled Sleaze

      Spring Breakers on the surface looks like a sleazy movie because, well, it kinda is. You can't deny that for the first half-hour, which follows the girls wearing nothing but bikinis as they party, do drugs, drink and show off slow-motion video of even more naked spring breakers is a little bit creepy. However, this seems to be what most teenagers were expecting when they saw this movie, which is why the fact that the movie so suddenly turns in a different is so unexpected... and refreshing. As the girls descend deeper and deeper into the dark side of spring break, the movie just got better and better. Spring Breakers is a rare film that looks at our reality show, celebrity starstruck teenagers and the possible consequences of what the glamorization of the rap lifestyle and the want to be a gangster could be. But, it's not judging. The drug use and nudity and dubstep is all just stated, not saying it's bad, just showing what could happen. The movie doesn't make out the characters to be bad people, more sad people. Franco gives one of his better performances as Alien, who on the surface seems like the classic person you'd see getting a visit from Chris Hansen, until you realize that he truly loves this lifestyle and has bought into it just as much as the girls. He really believes he's untouchable.

The Dark Side

      Which makes for some interesting interactions with the girls. Now, granted, the girls are the weakest link in the film. Gomez is good, acting as essentially the audience, realizing pretty quickly that drugs and guns are not playthings. However, she hightails it out of the movie pretty quick like a normal person would, leaving the audience without it's guide as they are left with the morally questionable other three girls. As for them, none of them really make an impression, except for Hudgens who wildly sheds her good girl side. The fun of Spring Breakers is seeing how far it will go to top itself, leading to a fairly surprising final ten minutes and an ending sure to leave teenagers dissatisfied. Director Korine does a good job here, making the film visually interesting, though he does appear to have been inspired by Nicolas Winding Refn and Drive. Still, that's hardly a problem when you never really want to look away from the screen. The film almost dares you to keep watching and it makes for a great time. 

Heh heh heh.
The Verdict

      Whether or not you are going to like Spring Breakers largely relies on what you expect to see going into it. If you are expecting a fun, glamorous, sexy showcases of the fun of spring break in a teen comedy kinda way, you will not enjoy this movie. If you going in expecting what it is, a fun, intense look at the dark side of spring break and teenage culture that keeps topping itself in shear "watch this" attitude is the style of a pseudo-documentary, then you may really enjoy this movie. Some of the acting might be spotty, but mark my words, Spring Breakers is a movie you won't soon forget. Spring Breakers gets 6 stars out of 6. 


  1. Good review Alex. It actually has a point to all of it's insanity and that's what I liked the most. Let's hope Harmony Korine continues to make movies like this.

    1. I agree. Though, judging from the people I know, they seem to have lost the point. Twitter was not happy with this movie.