I Saw A Film Today… Spring Breakers

springbreakersI’ve never really understood the appeal of spring break for college students. This goes for parties as well. Mainly because the main participants of these events are brainless bimbos and beefy Tapout-wearing douchebags who overuse words such as “like”, “so awesome”, and “dude”. The whole point is to consume copious amounts of cannabis and alcohol, so much so that inhibitions are lost and regrets are made. I guess I just don’t see the point of it all. The common answer I get from people is “self discovery”. But I don’t really know what you discover about yourself hung over in a sticky Florida motel room surrounded by used condoms…

In a dreary and dull college campus in Kentucky, students are lusting for classes to end so they can board buses bound for the beaches of Florida for spring break. Except for four friends. These friends are portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine. Don’t worry with character names. I honestly only remember Selena Gomez’s name, which was Faith. The rest, you just know as “the one with red-dyed hair”, “that one”, and “that other one”. This type of ambiguity is pretty heavy throughout the film.

The ladies, not ones to be stuck in dreary conditions, decide to rob a chicken shack with water guns and a hammer and end up having enough cash for the trip. Once there, the ladies participate in the debauchery expected from the yearly tradition. This ultimately lands the girls in jail but are saved from two horrifying days in jail by Alien (James Franco), a rapper/pusher/stereotype who post their bail.

Faith goes home while the other three decide to stay with Alien in his “starship” mansion and rob other spring breakers of their cash. But the neon yellows and blues of paradise soon turn to crimson when a rival dealer gets tired of Alien’s disrespect.

Spring Breakers is certainly a film to be seen, but that doesn’t make it a good film. In the end, I walked out of the theater feeling annoyed and disappointed. There is no story really, only montages of violence, bare breast, and the hedonistic practices surrounding the week-long ritual. The entirety of this film is more like a lucid dream, possibly nightmarish, sequence of events. Is this the message from Harmony Korine? Is it a scathing social commentary of today’s youth or merely a representation of carnal desire? Or is there even a message? You get so lost in this world that Korine has exploited that you kind of forget you’re watching a film really.

It should be noted before going on that this is my first Harmony Korine, um… well, experience seems an appropriate word. And this film is indeed an experience. One that I’ve read Korine never got to partake in himself as a youth. I’m sure it would also be quite an experience for a young, straight boy just discovering what sex is as well. I began to wonder if the editing duties were actually handed over to one. There is plenty of nudity and violence in slow motion to be the wet dream of any American male.

James Franco is the performance that stands out here. His Alien is an underground rapper who thinks he is bigger than he really is. His pimped out 90’s Camero is confirmation of this. He is a character you’ve seen before, know exist, but you’ve never seen it quite like this. Only someone quite as dynamic as Franco could pull it off. But if I had heard his say “spang brayyyack” once more I may have walked out. The girls are satisfactory as well, I guess. They’re the type you see on Facebook and just shake your head at their stupidity, and to that extent these actresses perform to a tee.

Spring Breakers is a film you go see, not for story but for an experience mainly for a true film fan. I’m certain that it will have a cult following in the years to come, but if this were my only viewing of it, I’d be fine with that. It’s about a culture of people, The American frat partier, that I will never understand.

Verdict: See it!

*Rated R for strong sexual content, language, drug use, and violence throughout. 93 minutes. Directed by Harmony Korine (Gummo).

*Poster by unknown.

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