Some analytical bullshit about Spring Breakers

I’m about to get in-depth about Spring Breakers. Why am I doing this? Well…

1. I’ve been watching Nikita non-stop for a fair amount of time.
2. I’ve been out of school for 10 months. I feel like flexing my film analysis skills to see if I’m any good at this anymore.

Let’s go! Take a journey with me! I hope your eyes are ready because they’re about to be rollin’! [Spoilers, obviously. Don’t be dumb.]

All of the people I went to see the movie with were appalled by the fact that in a shoot-out scene, the two girls (the main characters, I suppose) manage to shoot everyone and walk away without a scratch. I’m with my fellow movie-goers, that shit is ridiculous.

And that’s the point. These girls are on a fantastical adventure where nothing is real. It is, as they said earlier in the movie “like a video game.” They can do anything they want with no consequences because when Spring Break is over, their normal lives resume. For them, Spring Break was an escape. They were characters. They were trying out a different lifestyle without the worry of any consequences.

In a fantasy setting, Candy and Britt can steal that Camaro after shooting and killing an entire house full of people who know their way around guns. The bullets – the violence – never touches them, just the way it never touches them in their real lives. They live in ignorant bliss and that is what they experience during the shootout.

But Alien is shot and killed. Immediately. Why? Because “Spring Break” is his life. He does not live in ignorance. It is not a fantasy world. That is how a fight like that actually goes down. Someone tries to show up to take out a bunch of people; he is clearly outnumbered – he is dead. He does not have a fighting chance.

So maybe it is a commentary on the way youths – the Millenials, I think that’s what we’re called – live their lives. They live it with a sense of entitlement, a sense of curiosity, and a sense of immortality. Which is not to say that other generations don’t experience these feelings, but it’s a little different now. We have grown up with the world literally at our fingertips. We know what exists outside of our own little worlds and we want to experience other lifestyles.

That’s the whole deal with fucked up movies and violent videogames. It’s about voyeurism. It’s about experiencing things at a safe distance. Horror movies for instance. People’s love for horror movies is fascinating. How can a person enjoy watching gorey, gratuitous violence play out in front of them? Easy – it’s a safe way to experience our basic instincts and desires. Violence is something inherent in humans that we (generally) keep hidden. We live by society’s rules and don’t go around socking people in the face or hitting them in the forehead with a hammer.

Is Spring Breakers meant to be taken as “real-life events” or as something we’re meant to believe? No. Definitely not.

(All the same, I still maintain that the movie itself was kind of boring and a bit try-hard.)

I read another fascinating theory that I’ll relay here and add my two cents:

Presumably, people went to Spring Breakers with a certain kind of movie in mind – half naked (at least) girls, debauchery, dirty jokes, violence, sex, weird dub-step music. People paid upwards of 12 dollars to see this. And if you take a step back and think about it, it’s fucked up. It’s fucked up that people look at those things and make a conscious decision to see that. They think it will be entertaining. Enjoyable.

Moreover, it’s hard to believe that the casting was random. The main girls were picked for a reason. DISNEY CHILD ACTORS. A girl who is on an ABC Family show (and toured with Miley Cyrus). Another girl who looks like she belongs on the Disney Network. And James Franco – an okay actor but someone that girls swoon over. People were itching to find out which of the Disney girls’ boobs were on screen. The marketing of this movie was all about wholesome girls shedding their prim and proper image to become bad girls partying in Florida.

Now compare that to how we’re meant to perceive Alien. He’s gross. He makes your skin crawl. You might have laughed at him a few times (this may have been based on Korine’s absurd writing or Franco’s portrayal of him), but ultimately, nothing about him was likable. He was preying on young girls. He lived a (generally) immoral life. He enjoyed things like young half naked (at least) girls, debauchery, dirty jokes, violence, sex, weird dub-step music.

UH! SUCK IT! That’s why everyone seeing the movie went to the movie. The audience members are just as sick and gross and messed up as Alien. They’re the ones that perpetuate these things in pop culture. They see the movie and comment on what a horrible and detestable character Alien was. All the while, the same things that Alien enjoyed are the same things that drew people to pay their hard-earned money to see the movie.

What else can we analyze here? Well, we can bring it back to audience participation and experiencing a fantasy world with no repercussions.

How many people do you think walked out of this movie and really thought about it. They left and said “that was weird” or “that wasn’t what I expected” or “what the fuuuuuuck?” Are we then to discern that people went in to the movie, had an unexpected and atypical experience for their typical lives or tastes, and walked away unscathed like nothing had ever happened? Much like the girls do at the end of the movie?

Of course, there are the girls in the movie that do exit Spring Break early. Faith presumably initially knows that this is not the life for her. She knows that the fantasy cannot last, that it will affect her in her real life. She has gone past the video game experience and it’s become much too real.

So how about Cotty? She undeniably allows some bad shit into her life. We know immediately that she’s the openly “bad one” – she has some pink in her hair (for real.) She goads the other girls into the first robbery. She’s all for everything. She’s up for anything. Before it all becomes too much i.e, she gets shot. And that’s where she draws the line.

When physical, bodily harm is done to her it brings her back into real life and realizes that this is not the kind of life she wants. She, too, wants to go home. She wants to return to her safe environment where harm won’t come to her. She had enough fun. She saw enough of “the world.”

Phew. All right. I’m not writing a conclusion. I wrote enough of those in college. So yeah, there, Spring Breakers with some analysis. Other people analyzed this shit too. If you’re interested, go read it. It’s easy, just use Google.

Spring Breakers (2013)

spring-breakers-banner

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.

spring-breakers-picture01So 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.