Just when you thought James Franco was irredeemable, here comes Spring Breakers blowin’ minds!
Just after I had written off James Franco as a terrible actor who makes terrible movie choices he goes and BLOWS MY MIND in Spring Breakers. And, man, so many things about Spring Beakers blew my mind! I…I think I loved it? Which is kind of crazy when you consider the poster art. But, and I’m as surprised as you are, this is the best movie I’ve seen so far in 2013.1
It’s SPRING BREAK (WOOO!!!!) in St. Petersburg, Florida, and there are thousands of barely-legal and definitely-not-legal teenagers doing what teenagers do best on spring break: getting drunk and taking off their clothes. The scene on one of St. Pete’s beaches is a massively chaotic, nearly nude orgy of “dancing” and alcohol. There’s beer bongs, regular-type bongs, liquor bottles, drinking games, bikinis, bikinis missing mission critical pieces, and it’s all shot in slow motion for various boob-physics reasons. Plus! The whole thing is set to a punishing (but awesome) Skrillex soundtrack–it’s the absolute perfect visual distillation of dubstep.
Meanwhile, in some Kentucky-esque place, four friends (Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine)2 are willing to do anything to get out of their small town and down to Florida for its magical Spring Breaks to, you know, find themselves. The foursome ends up embroiled in a sweaty, drug-and-alcohol-filled affair and fall into the lap of Alien (James Franco), a self described Original Gangster. From there, shit be crazy.
Most of that craziness flows straight from the silver, grill-encrusted mouth of James Franco. His performance as Alien3–the terribly tattooed and cornrowed rapper/drug dealer–is bizarre, brilliant, hilarious, and definitely straight out of Florida. It’s such a contrast to his bland and forgettable work in Oz the Great and Powerful that I’m not sure what to think–other than I’d watch SB again just to experience more of it.
SB exudes style–it’s just a style that may revolve around awkward teenage crotch shots, dubstep, and guns. It’s colorful, full of life (and death), and everything about it absolutely screams Florida. There are a ton of super weird scenes that, somehow, feel right at home amongst the saggy pants, neon bathing suits, and surfside sunsets. Director Harmony Korine does a great job of making it all, miraculously, fit.
Spring Breakers reminded me a lot of Kids, “The NC-17 Movie” from my teenage years, which makes a lot of sense considering Korine wrote that film when he was 19. However, SB lacks the moral backdrop (AIDS) that Kids had, and that’s the problem a lot of people are going to have with this film. Is it just an excuse to watch a lot of young girls bounce around with little to no clothes on? Or is it saying something about youth, violence, and hedonism?
Korine doesn’t really care what you think and isn’t interested in giving you clues either way, so you’re going to have to decide on your own.
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Why you should see this movie
You want, with all your heart, to see James Franco redeemed. You’re looking for a film that makes interesting, unexpected choices and leaves you with something to think about. You are a big ol’ creepster and are stoked for a 45-minute flesh buffet.
Why you should stay home
You have absolutely no interest in a 45-minute flesh buffet.
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- Not including Beasts of the Southern Wild, because, seriously. ↩
- It doesn’t really matter who’s who, they’re all basically interchangeable. Gomez’s character has the teenciest bit of backstory, and she has brown hair instead of blonde. ↩
- A character based on this real-life dude named Dangeruss. Here he is rapping about his fork (NSFW)–which may be a euphemism for something, but I honestly have no idea. ↩