The movie gods act in mysterious ways. Sometimes, the sun, moon and stars align just right, and everything works in ways no one could have predicted. Then there are the $100 million behemoths that slam into the screen like a soggy, undercooked pancake.
See more of Rick’s reviews at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
In the case of “Spring Breakers” (2013), Haromony Korine has made nary a false move. Every filmmaking decision, no matter how preposterous it may have looked on the storyboard, has turned out deliriously right on target.
For starters, he cast a couple of Disney girls against type. He hired cinematographer Benoît Debie, who lensed Gaspar Noé’s first English language film, “Enter the Void” (2009). Skrillex and Cliff Martinez’s original soundtrack give a menacing edge from the first frame, as “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” blares away during an out-of-control pool-party scene.
Then there’s James Franco, all tattoos, cornrows and grilled teeth, as Alien, a local drug dealer who worships Tony Montana from “Scarface” (1983). Finally, the decision to film in Tampa Bay during last year’s spring break injects a level of realism that never could have been achieved with extras brought in out of context.
See trailer for “Spring Breakers” HERE.
After the Skrillex overture, we are introduced to our four female anti-heroines: party-ready Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Brit (Ashley Benson); the somewhat more cautious Cotty (Rachel Korine, Harmony’s wife in real life), and Faith (Selena Gomez), who regularly attends church services and is the least inclined to breach boundaries that soon will dissolve for the others.
All the girls share a longing for freedom. Or is it escape – and do they know the difference? Either way, they don’t have enough coin between them to finance the Florida fling.
So they do what every group of bored, white middle-class kids would do under the circumstances. After all, they’ve probably seen “Menace II Society” (1993) more than once. So they steal a car, discreetly veil themselves with ski masks and de rigueur firearms – actually, scary looking squirt guns; authentic weapons weren’t available – and wield mallets to utterly smashing effect. Viola: “What’s the word? St. Petersburg!”
Things get wild and rowdy in a hurry. The girls land in jail, but just when it looks like the fun is over, some guy who calls himself Alien (James Franco) shows up looking like a declawed version of Gary Oldman’s Drexl Spivey in “True Romance” (1993). He’s got a cool ride, a seemingly unlimited stash of booze, coke and weed, plus enough guns ‘n ammo to arm a SEAL Team Six mission to Hell – all financed by piles and piles of Benjamins.
Alien succinctly updates the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” tagline of ‘60s youth culture when he asserts: “Bikinis and booties“ – not to mention bong hits, lines of white powder and EDM – “that’s what it’s all about.”
Franco modeled his character after Dangeruss, a local white rapper who rhapsodizes about his fork on a video that has less to do with Julia Child than the joy of cooking crack for fun and profit. Dangeruss may not be a Britney Spears fan, but Alien thinks she’s the greatest singer ever. There’s a nice scene where he plays a piano outside by his pool, serenading the girls with Britney’s “Everytime.” The then-22 year-old Spears has said the song’s video was inspired by “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995).
Read about Britney Spears’ debt to Tura Satana in “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (1965) HERE.
It’s nice to see Korine, a true original, rebound after his disappointing “Lotus Community Workshop” segment from the “The Fourth Dimension” (2012). But that’s OK; it’s better to see an artist experiment and fail than to spend an entire career churning out work that’s safe and serviceable, but unremarkable.
“Girls Gone Styled” – will fashion line impact hipster cred?
Costume designer Heidi Bivens and Todd James (a.k.a. REAS) have created a Spring-Breaker wear and accessory line for Opening Ceremony, which debuts in stores today. Whether My Little Pony pink ski-masks will be available is uncertain. See GIRLS GONE STYLED in Women’s Wear Daily for more details.
“Sprang breaaak forever, beotches!” Indeed.
See playdates and locations for “Spring Breakers ” HERE.
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