The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Spring Breakers | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Spring Breakers

A quartet of girls go wild on the titular holiday.

Directed by: Harmony Korine
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, James Franco, Rachel Korine

Four college friends, Faith (Gomez), Candy (Hudgens), Brit (Benson) and Cotty (Korine), desperately want to get out of their dull town to enjoy the bacchanalia of spring break in Florida. To raise the cash, the girls, Faith excluded, hold up a fast food joint with toy pistols and hammers. Off they head to Florida where they "find themselves" through days of wild partying. When the cops bust up one such gathering, the girls find themselves jailed with no money to bail themselves out. Seeing an opportunity, local hood Alien (Franco) posts their bail and introduces the girls to his glamorous, but dangerous, lifestyle.
Offering Middle America a look at its daughter's Facebook page, controversial director Korine's latest is a day-glo hued pastiche of parental nightmares. Like a Dead Kennedys song, there's something to offend conservatives and liberals in equal measures but few won't find their feet tapping along to its primal rhythm. When Godard said that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, he didn't mention that said girl required clothing. In this post-exploitation world, the idea that seeing hot young girls kicking ass in bikinis might appeal to a large portion of the cinema-going public is hidden away in the background like a teenage girls abortion. With this attitude, before a single frame of 'Spring Breakers' had been screened, many critics had already decided that Korine was either making a condemnation of the lifestyle choices of America's youth or a celebration of it. The truth is he's really doing both at once.
The critical reaction to 'Spring Breakers' tells you more about the current state of society than the film ever could. Audiences cheer every week as the latest male action star guns down countless goons but when it's a teenage girl pulling the trigger it provokes outrage. In 2013 there still exists a double standard whereby women are expected to conform to some notion of being "lady-like". Where is the outrage at the obnoxious behavior on display in "lad-comedies" like 'The Hangover'? What's really bizarre is that some critics find the bare breasts on display more offensive than the violence. God forbid they should ever visit a French beach or a Danish city park.
Korine seems to make the point that America's teens have two horrific role models: the "gangsta" types like Alien or Jesus freaks like the one we see instructing Faith at the movie's start. While both are a menace, the latter is the more dangerous as kids eventually grow out of their obsession with the former. Alien employs the same sort of coercive tactics as the preacher but Faith finds him creepy and immediately wants to leave. It's telling that she's been happy to indulge in all manner of wild partying but as soon as a few black guys show up she wants out. It's a brilliant condemnation of the "wigger" lifestyle of cultural appropriation which currently dogs the youth of, not just America, but the world. Middle class white people love to indulge in "ghetto" culture but prefer if they can do it without having to actually interact with black people. It's the reason for the success of the Rolling Stones and Eminem, and it's why we get patronizing films like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'.
"Spring Break is when the scum arrive", Franco remarks. The scum he refers to are those who like to holiday in Cambodia. Those who party hard for two weeks before entering the cloistered convent of middle-class mediocrity. The real beasts of the southern wild.