Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Breakers (2013)

**This review contains spoilers**

As spring break approaches, four teenage friends prepare to take a break from the college life with a trip to Florida. Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), Faith (Selena Gomez), and Brit (Ashley Benson) have plans to wreak havoc in Florida, but things change, when Faith doesn’t have enough money to help cover the expenses. Candy, Brit, and Cotty decide to rob a restaurant, but Faith is a good, churchgoing person, so she doesn’t help with the robbery.

After picking up the cash, Candy, Brit, Cotty, and Faith finally make it to Florida. But after the cops raid a party filled with marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, the friends are arrested and sent to jail. Two trusted twin associates give their boss the green light, so a local rapper named Alien (James Franco) posts the bail to free the girls. Alien (or “Al”) invites the girls into his world of crime, but Faith can’t adjust to the “gangster” lifestyle. And things become more complicated, when Al engages in a deadly feud with his former mentor turned rival, Archie (Gucci Mane).

Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco deliver the best performances here. Franco was just hilarious as Al, and you could tell he had a lot of fun with the character. Hudgens is the best gleeful and cocky bad girl (“get on yo’ muthafuckin knees!”) in the bunch, and Benson would be a good number two choice. Gomez was the ideal choice for the sweet and innocent teen, who wanted to do the right thing, and she really nailed the Faith character. I was tempted to put Gomez over Franco and Hudgens, but Gomez kind of disappears after Faith makes the decision to go back home. Gucci Mane is……well Gucci Mane. Just listen to his shitty music, and BAM! That’s his “character” in Spring Breakers.

And Jeff Jarrett has a cameo in this film. He plays the overzealous priest at Faith’s church, and it was an incredible mark out moment for me. Then again, I was probably the only person in the entire theater (not an exaggeration), who could identify Jarrett. I was in a theater with a lot of teenagers, so yeah.

If you’re not familiar (truth be told, I didn’t even know, who the guy was until someone else brought me up to speed about a month ago) with Harmony Korine’s work, and are easily offended , then you should stay away from Spring Breakers. I haven’t seen all of his films yet, but I’ve seen enough to know that Korine doesn’t sugar-coat, or hold anything back. You’ll see a lot, and I do mean A LOT of nudity in this film, sporadic sex scenes, drug use (smoking weed, snorting cocaine, etc.), and Korine spares no expense for explicit and vulgar dialogue.

Korine gives you an uncensored look at the chaotic and hardcore world of partying during spring break, and at the same time, Korine blends in his own form of raw social commentary. Candy, Cotty, and Brit represent the pack of today’s teens, who are influenced by the hip-hop culture. They want to be “hard” and rebellious, and break away from their mundane suburban lifestyles. But as the story develops, Faith and Cotty realize their mistakes. Faith and Cotty bit off more than they could chew so to speak, and they hopped on the first bus home, so they could go back to school.

And one question continued to pop in my mind throughout the movie: HOW IN THE FUCK DID THEY MANAGE AN R RATING FOR THIS???? Personally, I’ve seen worse, but Spring Breakers borders on NC-17 territory most of the time, and I’m pretty sure they’ll release the DVD/Blu-Ray as unrated or something along the lines of an “extreme edition.”

Spring Breakers is another of those “hate it or love it” films. I honestly can’t imagine too many people having a middle ground with this film, but I loved Spring Breakers. Plenty of laughs, bloody violence, and Korine’s hypnotic style behind the camera is simply mesmerizing (especially during the big shootout at the end). The rock solid cast pulls everything together, and Spring Breakers features my third favorite James Franco performance (#1 127 Hours, #2 Spider-Man 2).   

Final Rating: 8/10

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