So I just saw Spring Breakers and am attempting to sort out my thoughts on this one. On one hand, I got it and can see where it has…merits. On the other hand, what the fuck.
Let me get the two parts I actually enjoyed out of the way: it was pretty okay to look at. Not perfect, but there were some nice looking scenes with some inspired lighting, some interesting angles, and some cool single shot scenes. Not consistent enough for me to full on commend it. And the score by Cliff Martinez? Quality, as always. Moving on.
Four girls from some college in the south (I think) are really depressed that they don’t have enough money to go on Spring Break. So three of them decide, “Let’s steal a car, grab a hammer and some water guns and rob a restaurant,” and boy, do they! It’s a rousing success. The three girls – who will undoubtedly be indistinguishable to those who aren’t pop culture junkies like myself – share their inspired plan with their friend, Faith. Faith is a somewhat devout Christian? Faith is Selena Gomez.
So they go on SPRING BREAK BITCHES!!! And it all starts out as fun and games. They’re drinking, sporting super cute bikinis 24/7, wearing neon trucker hats, hanging out in parking lots. And then they get arrested. Luckily, James Franco – a rapper who sports corn rows, a whole lot of metal in his mouth, some unforgivable tattoos, and a shameful Hawaiian shirt – shows up to the court room (where the girls are STILL only wearing bikinis. Really? What judge allows that in the court room!) and takes pity on them (re: thinks they’re some fine-ass bitches) and bails them out.
Suddenly, the four girls who just wanted to have a little fun on Spring Break are hanging out with a rapper/drug lord/thug. Selena Gomez is not into it. She says over and over that she wants to go home and her three “friends” are shitty to her. They basically say, “Uh…we’re kind of, like, having fun so…why don’t you just go ahead and get on the bus and we’ll see you, like, soonish. ‘Kay?” So she sadly gets on the bus. Leaving behind three blonde girls and scary James Franco.
The underlying idea about this movie? Not bad. It was a good idea and it was executed horribly. The movie was riddled with motifs and metaphors and symbolism and all of that shit to the point of exasperation. The whole point of the movie was a “satirical” look at youth and their view of freedom, of letting loose. Some critics are calling the movie “poignant” or some sort of deep look at what some might call a “lost generation” – which quite frankly I think is a bullshit title to give to any generation. In what era have any teenagers or twenty somethings really felt like they knew where their lives were headed? Who they really were? Moving on.
It’s a week or two of doing things you wouldn’t typically do every day. So the girls hanging out with scary James Franco? An exaggeration, a hyperbolic statement. The girls were playing, acting, just like they said they had to do before robbing the restaurant. They did some messed up shit and bounced. They were just “on spring break”, but as James Franco says over and over “Spring breeeak. Spring breeeak foreeeevaaaa,” what is playing to some people is real for other people. The girls could have made “spring break” their lives forever but they opted not to, all after experiencing varying levels of trouble-making behavior. They had their fun, their small bout of rebelliousness, a taste of crime and that was enough.
But it doesn’t really land. Nothing happens. No one gets in trouble, there are no real repercussions. So was Korine just saying “Hey. Kids do some crazy shit, am I right?” Or was there an actual point about kids doing crazy shit? It’s an empty movie. I was simultaneously bored and fascinated. How can a movie with so much going on be so…meh?
And the movie’s portrayal of women? There’s a scene of the one of the girls, seemingly the only female in a room full of males, clad only in a bikini. She’s drinking alcohol and also getting poured/sprayed all over her. She’s lifting her top up and then writhing on the ground. A whole crew of dudes are circling her – like fucking predators – while one of them tells her to “take it like a stripper.” I can’t even start with that bullshit right now. On one hand, a painfully accurate and uncomfortable depiction of things that actually happen, especially in a setting like spring break. On the other hand, how you gonna put that shit on screen like it’s okay?!
Spring Breakers is the kind of movie you want to deliver. You want to be pleasantly surprised by it’s depth. You want to leave thinking “Wow. I feel like that was a movie experience I could really spend some time talking about at length.” Instead, it’s a huge letdown. When the movie cut to the credits, I let out a monstrous sigh. Because it was obvious and ultimately, predictable. For all of it’s flashiness and loud music and insane amount of gratuitous nudity, I was just bored.
** stars (a star for visuals/score and one star for a good idea)
P.S. I know this wasn’t a particularly comical review. In all honesty, it’s one of those movies just begging to be analyzed, I just thought it was too shitty and obvious to fully do so.
P.P.S. I’ve been reading some people’s analyses of the movie and I will say that if what some are saying about the movie is what the filmmaker truly set out to do, then it was a well-executed scheme. All the same, I still thought that it was a boring movie. As a…work of art, shall we say, it was better.