Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers ★★★★

"Look at all 'ma shit!"
Alien

A few months ago I saw the poster for this film, and I immediately wrote it off as shit. I just knew there was no way it could possibly be decent much less any good. I was done with it after that. I didn't pay any attention to it, I ignored it feeling it was just another Project X or some other shit like that. Then reviews started coming in here on Letterboxd and a funny thing happened. They were good reviews, people were liking it, and some were even loving it. I couldn't make sense of it. I didn't understand how it could possibly be good or why people were liking it. I read the reviews some with quotes from the movie and I still didn't get it. I finally rationalized that ok maybe it's a spoof, maybe it's an exaggerated version of the spring break culture and people think it's funny. A friend of mine called me up immediately after watching it and said he didn't get it. He had no idea why it had so many good reviews. He hated it and called it trash. I tried to explain to him that he was probably watching it wrong, and he was probably taking it too seriously. I said it's gotta be a spoof making fun of spring break. Well he tried to look at it that way, still hated it, and as it turns out after watching it I was completely wrong.

Spring Breakers to me is more about irony than anything else. You see Harmony Korine puts these characters in front of us that to a lot of people will seem ridiculous and over the top. The irony is that as ridiculous, and over the top as they may be they're completely believable. Depending on where you live in the world you may find that hard to believe, but trust me when I say there are people like this among us. Even James Franço's wanna be white gangsta ass is completely based in reality.

The beauty of this film for me is how it's so much more than it appears to be. It starts out just as you might expect after taking one look at the poster. It's MTV's spring break all over again or a "girls gone wild video". It's young college kids getting drunk, high, and everything in between. I wasn't impressed at all. There's a scene in that first act though that kinda felt out of place. It's darker moment involving the young girls we're introduced to, and it basically sets up the abrupt shift in tone that takes this film from party girls shit to darkly funny excellence.

The cast is part of the illusion as well. It wasn't just the poster that turned me off initially. I saw Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez and damn near lost my lunch. The cast is awful on paper and includes James Franco which made no sense to me until I saw it. This may make no sense to a lot of people, but I recently re-watched The Prestige and I think the three acts of a magic trick can be applied to this film. "The pledge" would be Korine showing us the young girls and there spring break activities. We aren't impressed, we've seen it before, maybe we're even angry at what we're seeing. "The turn" James Franço's arrival and the shift in tone that grabs our attention again. "The Prestige" Korine dazzles us with a third act that's dark, funny, and something we haven't seen before. All with the most improbable cast ever pulling it off.

Now I gotta give James Franco his own paragraph. He's a revelation here and probably deserves an Oscar nod. He plays Alien a character who is a wannabe in every sense of the word. He looks ridiculous, talks ridiculous, he just is ridiculous, but it's hilarious because of the irony I mentioned earlier in the review. As ridiculous as he is it's completely believable because there are people just like him walking around everyday. He had me cracking up pretty much everytime he spoke with some of the most quotable lines in recent memory. If you've read fellow Letterboxd member grooveman's review he quoted a whole monolog from him that's some of the funniest shit I've ever heard. Quoting it doesn't really do it justice though. You gotta here Franco deliver it. I damn near shit my pants laughing so hard. I'll probably be saying things like "Look at my shit" and "I got SHORTS every fucking color" for the rest of my life.

So in conclusion I fucking loved it. It started out at about 2 stars, but quickly escalated to 4 stars thanks to the turn, James Franco, and the most brilliant use of a Britney Spears song ever. It's a must see you just gotta know how to watch it : ) "spring break for ever y'all"

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