Spring Breakers: Dorothy, We’re Not on Disney Anymore (Review)

Four girls want to go celebrate spring break, but are short on cash. Instead of getting jobs or asking any of their other friends for help, they decide to steal the money by robbing a small restaurant at gunpoint. With cash in hand, the young ladies make it to their destination. However, the good times can’t last forever and they get arrested. Lucky for them, a man named Alien(James Franco) has bailed them out, but his intentions may lead them on a much darker path then they had intended in this new movie from director Harmony Korine (“Gummo” “Kids“).

Spring Breakers” is going to anger a lot of people. Especially those who are wishing for a campy crime feature with hot girls in bikinis packing guns. If you go into this thinking that it will be like “Project X” or other movie that celebrates debauchery, you will be disappointed. This is not the exploitation movie a la Disney Channel many thought it would be. This is an art house film and I almost laugh calling it that. It’s really difficult to say that this picture has a clear message or any real substance when we are being bombarded with images of girls shaking their asses and rubbing their breasts together. As much as I liked seeing naked girls on-screen, there came a point when the whole thing became kind of dull and meaningless.

I believe that was the intention Mr. Korine had with this movie. We are constantly sold these images of wild debauchery and sex all throughout the media whenever we think of spring break. We got “Girls Gone Wild” and reality shows featuring attractive men and women at the beach. It almost feels like it’s being orchestrated and conducted at times. In a way it’s become a kind of controlled rebellion and this movie mocks that idea. In one scene, some girl is talking to her Grandma about how amazing the place is and how they are now ready to face the future because they have a better understanding of who they are. This audio is then played over images of kids snorting coke, drinking heavily,and not having any sort of moral judgement or reasoning on their parts.

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If the movie was just an expose on spring break and the whole controlled chaos theory I envisioned, then this would have been much more enjoyable than it was.  Unfortunately, none of the characters or story had any real motivation to keep me interested in either one. The only character that had any real back story was Faith(Selena Gomez) who is a devout christian and even attends religious meetings.  She becomes seduced by the world of crime at first but comes to her senses halfway through the feature. I thought the story would focus more on her and her attempts to help save her friends, but her character is removed right after her big revelation while the rest of the girl get in deeper with Alien and his crimes.

I thought there would have been a better understanding of why they like this sort of world so much, but it never does.  At least Alien, as flawed as he is, offers us an explanation of why does what he does.  The movie wants to turn these characters into cinematic bad asses, and the images of these  girls in hot pink ski masks and bikinis carrying big guns is a cool visual, but it never makes much sense in the context of the story. I really had to suspend my disbelief in the last fifteen minutes.   If the movie didn’t have the cool cinematography by Benoit Debie (“Enter The Void“, “The Runaways“) or score by Cliff Martinez (“Drive“, “Contagion“) featuring Skrillex it would have been a much more horrible experience for me.

I really enjoyed Mr. Kornie’s script for “Kids“(Which was directed by Larry Clark) and I can’t help but think that if another director adapted this one it might have been different.  Would the outcome be any better?  Probably not.   I don’t blame anyone for hating this movie, and I’m surprised I found elements of it that I actually liked. In no way is this a good movie, but I admire the effort.  If you are a fan of this director’s other works, I recommend seeing it because it’s the only one of his movies that has this wide of a release.  At the theatre I was at,both “SpringBreakers”  and “Oz: The Great and Powerful” were put right next to each other.  Both feature James Franco in two very completely different roles, and if you are a student of acting it would be an interesting assignment to see actors portray different roles.

4.5 out of 10.

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Written By The Vern

Yes Hello people. It is I The Vern. Lover of movies, women, and whiskey, but not in that particular order. Besides writing for this site. I help co host The As You Watch podcast and help contribute to the world of films wherever I can.

the author

Yes Hello people. It is I The Vern. Lover of movies, women, and whiskey, but not in that particular order. Besides writing for this site. I help co host The As You Watch podcast and help contribute to the world of films wherever I can.

  • http://filmhipster@hotmail.com filmhipster

    I’ll see it for Cliff Martinez’s score alone and maybe for a few other reasons. ;)

    One of which isn’t Franco.

  • http://www.cinekatz.com Shane

    Yeah, I just think Harmony Korine is a strange dude with some far out ideas, and people let him make movies. There’s an old clip of him on Letterman in 1997 talking about what seems like an early version of this film. It’s far out there. Pretty funny though.

  • http://www.videovangaurd.com TheVern

    Thank you so much for the comment. I have to admire the actresses(not just because they wear skimpy outfits) but because they wanted to appear in something as unconventional as this.

  • http://www,videovortex.wordpress.com TheVern

    I will have to look out for that video. Thanks for the comment

  • http://lindsay@frenchtoastsunday.com Lindsay

    SPRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNGGG BREAAAAAAAKKK

  • http://www.videovortex.wordpress.com The Vern

    ha ha ha. I can’t belive I just noticed that comment now. Thanks Lindsay for stopping by

  • http://danielprinn@msn.com Daniel Prinn

    I liked it. I’d want to watch it again… Really strange, but I don’t think I’d ever forget it! It makes me want to check out other Kormine efforts. Good social commentary type-of movie.

  • http://thevern@videovangaurd.com The Vern

    Thanks for stopping by Daniel. Yeah Mr. Korine is a one of a kind filmmaker and that’s what sets him apart from others. I don’t really like his movies but he does have an original vision that I really respect.

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