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Mr. Korine is a strangely unique director that uses this film to bore
you into understanding how a generation growing up with MTV and girls
gone wild has deeply mutilated the pursuit of happiness with nihilistic
extremity however his satirical exploration leaves you uncertain
whether to laugh, cry out in horror, or stare in disbelief at its
overwhelmingly artistic beauty.
I watched this opening night and was shocked at how good of a movie it had turned out to be. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I walked in so it turned out to be a nice little treat, but to my disbelief when I got home I began reading up on it and all I could see were tweets and posts about it being the "worst movie ever made" and "absolutely disgusting soft core porn". I couldn't believe that these people watched the same film I did.
As far as performances go there isn't much here other than Franco. The four girls do a decent job, the most notable being Selena Gomez although her character wasn't in it for a lot of the highly regarded scenes. James Franco is the star of this film. His performance is dark, uncomfortable and most of all hilarious. He hits it out of the park in the movie managing to make people unsure whether to be uncomfortable or laugh. His character is narcissistic and insane, yet you like him. He brings so much humanity to a place it shouldn't be.
Aesthetically, this movie is absolutely brilliant. The cinematography is fantastic. No matter how you feel when you leave this movie there is no denying how well shot it is. The lighting is beautiful and adds this feeling of darkness you might normally find in a well made horror film. Normally I wouldn't appreciate that very much but it was so properly executed with the great editing and slo-mo sequences. No surprise from the sound department either; the sound design and music brought to us by the brilliant Clint Martinez (Drive) makes what seems like a never-ending soundtrack that compliments the visuals masterfully.
Under all that the movie still manages to hit its theme, just in a way that a lot of people will miss and I believe this is the key to enjoying the film. It's meant to be boring. The use of repetition is so excessive it leaves a mark. No matter how much fun these girls are having it feels very dull and boring. This is the point! If you think for a second what you're seeing on screen is supposed to make you feel excited than go watch Project X. You're not intended to feel how the girls feel because they don't understand. Throughout the film you should feel uncomfortable, disgusted and at times sad. This film (to the right audience) should be as much a horror film as it is a dark comedy.
Spring Breakers is a unique experience featuring lots of depth and style. This film will most likely be the most hated and underrated film to come out this year. I apologize on behalf of the general public Mr. Korine.
On a side note:
The film has been said to support rape culture. I know it can be hard to understand for some people but sometimes film - like a person - uses sarcasm. This is the case. The film shows lots of naked females having fun, very much trying to replicate spring break culture in Florida however the film isn't a mockery of spring break, it's about the marginalized kids who have been brought up on Disney princesses and MTV. The kids who grew up with role models like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. The film isn't meant to focus on girls losing their innocence but instead girls searching for something and realizing it isn't what they thought it was.
Spring Breakers is going to cause a lot of disagreement regardless. After reading this you will love or hate it all the same; what I won't stand for is people being unwilling to look past the surface and see this film for what it really is.
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I don't even know where to begin...
Harmony Korine is a true artist. That might be where to start, because everyone seems to diss this film and its director, and I'm here to disagree. He kept his style, and that's why I loved it! Most people who went to see this probably didn't know anything about him and also probably didn't care about who he was or what he had done before... The guy wrote the 1995 drama "Kids" directed by Larry Clark, which was the most controversial film of that year, dealing with hard and difficult themes to portrait on film (such as teenage, sex, drugs, street life etc...) and treating of problems people didn't want to face. But Larry Clark's documentary and realistic style made the movie look like an open critic of this generation to the world, and was therefore more accepted by critics. In 1997 Korine then directed the very strange independent film "Gummo", which didn't really have any scenario, just a presentation of a little town in Ohio and its very bizarre set of characters... But the movie was still pretty good because of its weird and sentimental atmosphere mixed with documentary-style filming. He also made other independent films, but all of them always stayed in the "weird" and "unknown" section of DVD libraries.
Here Korine has grown up and gained more experience with the years. This is by far his most accomplished work, but unfortunately by distributing this movie to a bigger audience, he encountered a lot of criticism and hate, just because more people saw and discovered his style. I am afraid that most people today just watch films to have something to watch. Movies nowadays are being more consumed and less actually watched and thought-over. The poster and the trailer for this film were a parody of these easy-selling films that the Hollywood industry makes every year, who don't have anything particularly original (and that's on ALL levels : directing, script, acting, score are all very similar to any other film made by the studio), but instead of seeing the parody of these posters with those good-looking girls, people took it seriously and thought this was just going to be another teen movie about spring break with some fancy action scenes and a seen-before plot. But no, this was something NOBODY could've see coming... or at last not general, ordinary, image-dose seeking spectator.
Now lets actually talk about the film, I kind of got lost here! First things first : the cinematography and the look of this film are amazing. Even if you didn't like it, you can't say that this wasn't beautifully shot and crafted. The camera work is probably the best I've seen in a long time, and the neon colors add a really good look, which contributes to the atmosphere the film is trying to have. Then, the acting is great. James Franco totally takes his character to another level, even thought Korine has done an amazing job with this one, as he often never disappoints when it comes to characters. The girls are good too, and I was really surprised by Selena Gomez. Now comes the score and music : noting to say, absolutely brilliant! All songs fit perfectly to the scenery of spring break, blending Skrillex with hardcore hip-hop but also getting on the sensitive and emotional side sometimes with a Britney Spears cover (seems like she actually made some good songs) an awesome atmospheric score by Cliff Martinez, as always (he did the score for Drive and Only God Forgives) and of course putting Ellie Goulding's Lights in there, just brilliant!
Now, some parts of this films aren't perfect, this isn't the best movie ever made or anything, but it is true work of art and not just a mix of drugs, sex, profanity and violence made by a crazy director in order to sell it. No, this is a very well-thought film, made by a director who actually has the balls to keep his own style no matter the audience is, and who uses sarcasm and reversed psychology in its storytelling in order to transmit its message, which (lets be honest) isn't the most common way to do things in modern American cinematographic industry...
To sum it up, this was an extremely underrated movie, mostly watched by a lot of dumb teens and young adults who thought it was just going to be another Hollywood style flick starring old Disney actresses who want to break their image, but instead of that they got a weird art-house film that didn't follow the "rules" of the filmmaking industry and therefore disappointed them because it wasn't particularly funny in the way that most films are, and it showed sex, drugs and violence in a real, strange, and (too) explicit way for them to enjoy. Hopefully there are still some real cinema lovers out there who recognize the true value of this film. To them I say keep good and interesting movies alive but watching them, and to Harmony Korine, I just want to say thank you and bravo, for having the guts to put out on screen such a wonderful nightmare!
I was a big fan of "Kids" and expected the same amount of intellectually subtle social commentary in this movie. I could not wait to get out of the theater.. If I had not paid so much for my ticket, I would have gotten up and left halfway through the movie. IT IS AWFUL! It is astonishing to me that this generation finds a movie this horribly scripted, filmed, and thought-out to be good. It is not controversial, racy, or thought- provoking. It gives no insight, message, or underlying theme. It isn't that I do not like controversial, bad-ass, or vulgar films.. I do. This film offered none of that! I love films that give insight into a generation or group of people that others do not generally interact with; but this movie did not even accurately portray these things. I want this movie to get buried forever.
I rarely write reviews it's been ages since the last one but am writing
this to vent out some frustration. To think this film currently has a
6.3 rating and generally favourable reviews elsewhere is really
strange. There is booze, sex and drugs but you need something of
substance to make even a half decent film, this doesn't even come
Acting is poor, girls are largely annoying and there is nothing happening whatsoever, it makes no sense, it just dwells on the over importance of spring break, there is no character development and it's a total waste of time, I was bored. It plods along pointlessly for an hour gets decent for 10 minutes and finishes off with a meaningless ending.
I haven't seen After Earth and yes it may be disappointing but it will never be this bad, it's a shame a film like that would get such bad reviews, I mean at least they have tried something, Spring Breakers doesn't even do that, the plot has more holes than a string vest.
If I was to think about a top 10 worst films list this would most likely be on it, it is definitely one of the worst I have seen in years I would have gave it a 1 but it does have a catchy soundtrack for the younger crowd, some scenes are well shot and James Franco does pretty well for his part which does however start becoming repetitive like everything else due to the poor script. Very overrated not everyone will agree but I'm sure some will, especially if they have seen or watch after this review.
Spring Breakers highlights the mindless popular culture that surrounds
youth of this generation. The reason for its controversy stems from the
fact that its target audience found its plot to be pointless, even
though that was the point. This film depicts the shallowness of the
modern definition of what is 'cool', like idolizing people that suck,
those that contribute nothing to society but cheap entertainment. This
sort of fascination blindly controls youth, the main reason so many did
not understand the meaning behind this movie: they are blind to its
influences. They think week long drinking binges, whoring themselves
out, and having no goals is cool, because YOLO. However, this film is
based off of these components and its audience deems the plot as
pointless. Funny. Spring Breakers is like this generation looking
itself directly in the mirror.
Overall, Spring Breakers is full of outstanding graphics, bright colors, provocative scenes, and young Disney turned Hollywood stars. It was fun yet hard to watch, depending how serious of a reality check you need (assuming you even understood that it was one)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Want to see a film about Spring Breakers turning into hard core gangsta
b*****s? Right, neither did I. And yes, the slang spelling of gangster
is totally mandatory in this situation.
If you haven't heard of Spring Breakers, I'm sure you will soon largely due to the hype it's generating because of its cast. Spring Breakers follows Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine on their spring break in sunny Florida. In order to get there, the girls rob a local restaurant and the trip that follows is a bit more outrageous than the girls expect. Yes, it contains your typical 'spring break' parties, but along with the drugs and alcohol, the girls find themselves in the company of a local arms dealer (James Franco). The path that follows isn't what the girls had planned, and may be a little too much for some of them.
Now, I wanted to like this movie. Honestly, I really did. But there were too many things I couldn't quite handle, like a strange musical moment where Franco serenades the girls with an oh too popular Britney Spears song. Yes, that did happen, and no I will not get back those 3 minutes of my life.
I will give the film credit in a lot of areas. Personally, I found Director/Writer Harmony Korine unique and the film pushes most of the cast members (Hudgens, Gomez and Benson in particular) out of their stereotypes, and in a strange way, that worked. The problem was I wasn't sold on the plot. As the girl's 'adventure' with Franco continues, I lost interest. Yeah, I could buy the coming of age bits, but the whole 'party girls turning into James Franco's hardcore gangsta b*****s' bit was too ridiculous for me. I understand that there are probably a lot of 'deep' factors in this film that a lot of critics are going to obsess over, but personally, I couldn't overlook the ridiculousness of some moments enough to appreciate that other side of the film.
Basically, if you want my advice, this movie isn't for your average film goer. If you want something you can sit and enjoy, skip this in theaters, and ignore it by the time it pops up on Netflix. And if you were curious about it because your buddy told you Vanessa Hudgens boobs are in it, you were lied to my friend. Completely lied to.
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I can't describe the elation I felt leaving Spring Breakers--truly one
of the best films to hit mainstream cinemas in a long time. It was a
breath of fresh air amidst all the cookie cutter romantic comedies,
dramas, action films, and horror movies that plague modern cinema. The
stamp of a good film is the impact factor--how long it stays with you
when it's over. Spring Breakers was a film that stayed with me long
after leaving the theater. It didn't evaporate from my mind as soon as
I hit the parking lot. This film affects you and leaves you in a mood
long after the credits appear.
Those seeking a fun "party film" will be disappointed. The TV ads, poster, and cast have probably misled some viewers into thinking this is a cross between The Hangover and Project X. Don't let the cast or the marketing fool you--this is not a "feel good" movie. It's a dark, exciting, tragic look at modern youth culture that doesn't so much as revel in the pop culture sensory overload as hold up a mirror to the audience so we can see some of ourselves in these kids. And if you're like me, you'll find this kind of self-reflection very disturbing. More than once, I was disgusted and enthralled with these characters, not knowing whether I should feel amused, angry, or sad. This is truly the best deconstruction of modern culture I've seen.
The movie starts with our main quartet of female characters struggling to find a way around the fact they don't have enough money to travel to Florida for that much-hyped, almost mythical annual rite of passage nearly every college kid in the country has to face at some point: spring break. Selena Gomez is easily the most likable member of the cast--a young girl struggling to balance her Christian faith and values in the moral wasteland that is college life. One moment we see her praying in church, and the next she's passively condoning the fact that her friends have just robbed a restaurant in order to obtain the rest of the money they need to make it to Florida. In one poignant monologue, she speaks of the monotony of life and how everyone is depressed because they wake up and see the same things every day. Her desire to go on spring break is almost spiritual in nature--a soul-searching journey in which she just wants to be someone new and be free.
The spring break party scenes are manic--loud music, hypnotic imagery, and disorienting colors all come together like some kind of dream. The fun soon ends once the girls are arrested for using narcotics at a wild party. They have two options: pay a fine, or remain in jail for another two days. Out of money and unwilling to call their parents, the girls languish in jail until a mysterious visitor posts their bail. Enter James Franco as Alien, a white gangster with gold teeth, dreadlocks, and a ton of money and guns to go along with his criminal tendencies. Franco truly breaks out in this performance, becoming someone I never could have imagined he'd be able to pull off back in his Spider-Man days. His intentions are murky and the film never misses an opportunity to make us feel uncomfortable witnessing his interactions with the girls. It's at this point that the film takes a drastic turn into even darker territory, the trip slowly proving itself to be more than a few of them bargained for. Thus begins the tragic slide into the dark nature of these characters, as they find themselves participating in and doing things bound to seduce the audience into an awe-struck state more than once.
Not that any of this is told through a conventional narrative. The whole film feels like one crazy, hypnotic dream, from its use of colors to its loud, insane score that ranges from romping party fun to atmospheric, moody pieces that underline the darker moments in the film. The narrative jumps around in time and space, pasted together through flashbacks, flash forwards, and repetitive lines that linger in the back of the viewer's mind like a broken record. The cinematography is flat out excellent and the filmmakers make perfect use of the beautiful Florida scenery amidst all the sheer depravity we witness on screen, with more than a few shots of the beautiful Florida sky and sunset to remind us of our humanity.
By the time the film reaches a delirious montage of violence set to the unlikely tune of Britney Spears' song Every time, Korine has us hook, line, and sinker feeling a sense of revulsion and pity for ourselves and the world at large. Any film that can provoke this type of uncomfortable self-contemplation deserves to be praised.
In the end, I left the theater feeling like I'd just come off an intense acid trip into the darker recesses of modern culture, emotionally exhausted and ready to get in my car and drive home in silence, reflecting on what I'd just seen.
If you're not expecting to have fun and aren't afraid to look inside yourself to that aspect of your personality that craves materialism and vapid entertainment at the expense of losing some of your humanity, go and see Spring Breakers. It's truly one of the best films of 2013 (so far) and will no doubt be a cult classic in years to come. Just don't blame me if the film haunts you long after it's over.
I have to say, that watching this movie was a total spur of the moment
decision on my part and I walked into this completely unaware of what I
was getting into. While watching it, I felt my senses were assaulted,
but there was more to it than what I was able to discern viscerally.
Therein lies the greatness of this movie. It makes you think about what
images are being thrown at you and why. The image is obviously that of
what the youth of our age are sold as 'the good life': money, drugs,
sex and partying. This is the American Dream. This movie follows 4
girls who do despicable acts, who behave with such depravity and who
are shallow to the core, that watching this can be painful at times.
But that is the whole point and people who walk out of this feeling as
though they have had their time robbed of them or are too disgusted by
what they see are missing the point. I am not an elitist movie critic
in no sense of the word either, but I know a shock movie when I see
I have to say that visually this movie is beautiful (and no, I am not referencing the nudity here, ha-ha). It is a dark, dreamy, neon- nightmare. I give credit to the movie for this because it is candy for the eyes. Production wise this movie is solid, as is the direction. You feel as if you are in a dream, with it's poignant use of slow motion, and I suppose that is the effect they were looking to achieve. In this aspect they succeeded with flying colours - literally. There's also a beautifully crafted scene during their robbery of a restaurant that features one of the girls rolling the car around the building, catching glimpses of what they were doing inside. A very good piece of cinematography.
The cast were great too. I can't really say too much for the female cast as they did all act well in their respective roles. James Franco on the other hand really stood out and delivered a superb performance in what I would say is one of his more challenging roles, because the character himself is just so unlikable and unlike anyone he has portrayed before. He definitely made this movie, and without him in it it would seem to be missing a magic ingredient. Time and again Franco proves his worth as one of the great actors of his generation. He obviously knew that this movie's worth exceeded the majority of our expectations.
It seems the point of this film is lost upon most, which is a shame, though I can understand why. On the surface this appears to be a shallow and uninspiring piece of crap theatre with no motive beyond showing us some tits and ass. It is so much more. I love movies that make me think, even if they are at the time disturbing to watch. Well, this is what we are supposed to enjoy watching, after all. This is what our media, our 'culture', our idols depict as the epitome of what constitutes the good life. We are told to live our youth to the full. Is this not what they do throughout the movie? Are you not entertained? No?
Isn't that just it though? The truth hurts. This is the truth of what our youth aspire to. Sad, ain't it. Maybe I should give this a 1 star rating. I'm sure that's what the director would want me to do.
This was a terrible movie and I cannot I believe i wasted 94 minutes of my life watching it. The acting was terrible and all you see is boobs and naked butt. There is no plot and no reason to watch it. If you want to waste time you could do it doing anything but watching this stupid movie. I thought that since this movie had a lot of well known actors like James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Vanessa Hudgens that it would have some sort of quality but I was wrong. After completing this movie I sat in silence for 10 minutes wondering that it was that I just watched. It just kept dragging and dragging for no reason. There is no way to write a summary to this movie because the movie has no substance. I cannot believe this movie even came out in theaters, it is one of those movies that should have gone straight to DVD. Looks like a horny teenage boy wrote out his fantasy and turned it into a movie.
Faith, played by Selema Gomez, and her three very close friends plan to
escape their boring college dorm lives to attend a massive Spring Break
party. In order to pay for their getaway, her three friends commit an
unthinkable act of terror. Their Spring Break vacation turns out to be
a non-stop party of drunken drug use and sexual perversion that lands
them in prison. This is when Alien, played by James Franco, bails them
out and a new type of party begins.
With a dub-step softcore porn music video opening sequence, it is uncertain if Spring Breakers is glorifying the demoralizing activities portrayed or if it is a satire. Even when the film is not flashing to what looks like stock footage of a Girls Gone Wild Spring Break special and we are with the girls, the framing seems to have been done by a sex addict. This will be one of the most uncomfortable experiences Selema Gomez's fans will ever experience. For parents, this will be an absolute nightmare. Younger male audiences, on the other hand, will think they've found their new favorite movie. When the girls are introduced to Alien the film feels like it gets a new director. The feeling of a Girls Gone Wild narrative feature film is lost and we are filled with a great sense of dread. Who is this guy who calls himself Alien? We even find ourselves afraid to find out what he has planned for these young girls he has bailed out of prison.
As we continue through the second half of the film, it becomes very clear that we are in fact watching a satire. A horrific and effective satire. This is done though exposing the character of Alien and much credit must be given to James Franco, this is him at his best. Through the course of the film we go from fearing him, to laughing at him, to feeling sorry for him. The film is worth watching just for Franco's performance. The girls do an excellent job as well. These are easily two of the most frightening female characters ever put on-screen.
Spring Breakers is written and directed by Harmony Korine, the writer of Kids and director of Gummo. If you've seen anything he has written or directed you already know what you are in for. It has the core of a Natural Born Killers story wrapped in layers of what would be if Terrence Malick directed Girls Gone Wild.
What ends up becoming an annoying distraction is the repetition of dialogue we hear over and over again, playing in a loop. It's understood we are in the girl's shoes, things are spiraling out of control and the editing helps get that across. Some of it works but in the end, we've heard the same things so many times it is as if Korine is hammering the message of his satire into our heads, almost desperate to prove it has a point. Through the story it's meaning is made clear, no reason to over-use certain Malick-like editing techniques to over-state what the story has already made obvious.
The core story is genius. The way in which the story is told is split between things that play out like a master at work and a new filmmaker still experimenting.
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