Wednesday, April 10, 2013
REVIEW: Spring Breakers
James Franco, Selena Gomez
March 15, 2013 (NY/LA)
March 22, 2013 (WIDE)
1 hour 34 minutes
As soon as the Skrillex song 'Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites' starts booming through the theater speakers as a montage of partying and nudity flood the movie screen, the audience is taken on a ride that they're half expecting to be on. Most of the people who go to see this will expect a full on party movie ala 'Project X'. However what they're getting is a messed up combination of 'Project X,' 'Scarface,' and dub-step music that somehow works if one's in the right mindset. 'Spring Breakers,' from notorious weirdo director Harmony Korine, takes its audience into a crazy world of sex, drugs, violence, and partying that is a satire of a typical party movie. For that alone, many audience members will reject this movie completely and call it a waste of time. For those who know exactly what they're getting into, aka somebody who knows and understands Korine's bizarre ways of filmmaking, then they will probably enjoy it. 'Spring Breakers' is a transfixing, surreal, and crazy way of looking at a spring break gone wrong. But damn, it's such a fun movie at the same time.
After the montage of T&A, the movie opens with our four lead characters. Faith is the more naive one of the group, while the other three, Candy, Cotty, and Brit, are the more free-sprits of the foursome. Spring Break is rolling around for the girls, but their travel funds won't suffice for them and they need to find more money to fund Spring Break, and fast. So the girls do what they think is the only logical thing to do to get a lot of cash fast: rob a local fast food joint. From there, the girls head to Florida to have an unforgettable weekend filled with sex, drugs, and partying nonstop. Unfortunately the group gets arrested and it seems that their vacation will end with them in a jail cell for a few days. Low and behold, a savior in the form of a drug dealing rapper named "Alien" bails them out, and from there drags the girls into a world of money, drugs, and violence. This is definitely one Spring Break they will never forget.
By far the best thing of this insane trip is James Franco's devilishly awesome performance as Alien. Franco loses himself in this character and captivates the screen from the moment he's first introduced to the audience. Almost every line he spews out is ridiculous and hilarious at the same time. There is a scene where he's introducing two of the girls to his room filled with guns, money, and other random objects while saying the phrase "Look at ma s**t!" This scene is both funny and interesting because of how into his character Franco is in this movie. Even if it seems that this character is a sinister human being, truth be told that he really isn't. In fact, the only scene that makes him seem despicable is a scene where he's talking to Selena Gomez's character when she wants to go home. Other than that he is a gentlemen of sorts to these three girls, though that's hidden under his grills, braids, and crazy persona that should be worthy of an Academy Award nomination. Speaking of the four girls, they were all really good too.
Of the four girls, Selena Gomez has the smallest presence of the leads in the film overall, yet delivered the best performance of the four girls. Gomez plays the good girl of the group, a church going girl appropriately named Faith. Compared to the other girls, she's the tamest of them all. The worst thing she does in the movie other than wear a bikini most of the time is smoke a bong with the girls. That's really it. However that doesn't take away from the character at all, because I liked her character as a whole. She especially gives some of her best work yet when conversing with Franco's Alien about wanting to go home. Indeed a very powerful scene thanks to her performance. The other three girls were also good, but mainly for the fact that some of their actions were kind of unpredictable.
These girls have sex, snort cocaine, drop f-bombs like there's no tomorrow, and even bare their chests at some points. While doing these things though, the girls actually are able to make us believe that they are a couple of college girls looking for a fun week of recklessness. They might not look like white trash per say, (quite the opposite actually) but they do capture the emotion and craziness that a spring breaker would have on their break. I give props to the Disney stars for taking on such an ambitious project, and hopefully their serious adult movie careers (not porn for the record) is only at its beginning.
Really the only thing to really complain about with this movie is the odd editing techniques used throughout the film. There are situations where lines of dialogue and even scenes are repeated for reasons that I don't exactly recall. There's one instance where the lines "You're scared, aren't you?" and "Big old scaredy pants" are repeated countless times throughout one scene to try to build up to a big climatic gun battle. Not only was this annoying, but it was also excessively repetitive, just like how there are gun barrel clicking sounds going off after almost each scene transition. Artistically speaking I guess it's unique and original, but the magic about it is lost when it's being constantly repeated over and over again up to the verge of giving you a headache. Other than that, everything else was great.
Harmony Korine has a reputation of being a very strange director and writer. Having seen the trailers for his previous movies such as 'Gummo,' 'Kids,' and 'Trash Humpers,' I could tell that this was going to be a very different movie than just the typical party flick. Sure enough, it was. Almost as edgy as one would expect, but a lot more drama and crime than one would expect from the trailers. If one goes in to this movie with the right mindset, then they will probably be entertained as I was. However if one's going in expecting the next 'Project X,' then they will probably say this is one of the worst movies they've ever seen. It's not surprising, as this movie isn't for everyone. For me, it was a great film.
The acting was stellar, especially James Franco's hilarious performance as Alien. The soundtrack from Skrillex and Cliff Martinez is catchy and really fun to listen to. The direction and writing from Harmony Korine is unusual, but really entertaining. It might be edited strangely, but it does make for something unforgettable. 'Spring Breakers' is a transfixing and hypnotic experience that people will either dig or not dig. I, for one, really dug it, and can't wait to see this one again soon. By the way, whether one hates or likes the movie, it's hard to doubt that people won't be getting the Brittany Spears song 'Everytime' out of their heads anytime soon.
PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:
Now You See Me
Pain & Gain
The Hangover Part III
The Bling Ring