Screw spring break. I’m staying home.
A group of college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) have the bad idea of robbing a fast-food joint in order to finance their spring break getaway. As you could expect, things go awry until a strange dude named Alien (James Franco) arrives to bail them out. In exchange for his help, he convinces the girls to kill his nemesis Archie (Gucci Mane).
Harmony Korine is the type of dude who’s movies I just don’t care for. I’ve seen Gummo, I’ve seen Trash Humpers, and worst of all, I’ve seen Kids, and none of them did anything for me whatsoever other than make me want to throw up and slap this kid in the face. But all my problems with him aside, I was still interested in seeing him take on a sort of “mainstream movie” that’s advertised as if it was made straight for the MTV-crowd that loves boobs, booze, drugs, sex, nudity, and a whole lot of partying. However, that same demographic it’s being shipped towards, are the ones being made fun of here.
Korine starts this movie off like you’d expect from any typical movie where there is a bunch of partying going on. Gratuitous nudity, drugs, sex, violence, and drinking, all to the sweet and soulful tunes of Skrillex playing in the background, but then it changes and you realize something is up with this movie. You can’t really tell right from the beginning what this movie is all about, but once you get to thinking of it; the movie is actually poking-fun at the crowd that this flick is being aimed towards. For instance, after this opening-sequence, the rest of the movie basically consists of these girls doing all of the wild acts of debauchery that you’d expect them to do, but here’s where it takes a closer-glimpse: why are they doing all of this?
We all get that these girls want to have a good time but is it actually legitimate or is it all a put-on so they can be apart of the crowd and hopefully get some cutie patooties by the end of the night? From this stance, I’m going with the latter option. Korine takes a comment on how certain programs like VH1, MTV, and YouTube have all made our world and idea of spring break to be nothing other than a wild time, with wild people, and wild things that will never, ever happen again. However, nowadays, it’s done in a more slight way that’s not as genuine as it once was, and is definitely a lot more shallow then ever before. People aren’t just going to spring break in order to let loose and have a grand time, they’re also doing it because what else better is there to do?
Now, I’m not saying that in the 21st Century, people can’t have fun if they’re drinking and acting crazy like they would on spring break. Not at all, but what it is that I am saying is that the times have changed and our society has definitely dropped a hell of a lot as of late where crazy shite like this, is apparently accepted and shown as a good time. Trust me, I’m not the biggest square in the world, sometimes I like to get a little crazy by drinking, getting wild, getting dirty, and getting nasty, but it’s all because I want to, not because of the others. What Korine is trying to say is that the world and society that we base ourselves around, is all based on the countless amounts of sex, drugs, and alcohol we can consume without dying, rather than how much fun we can have. If I lost you already, don’t worry; you’re most likely not the only one.
For this message alone, I have to give Korine a crap-ton of credit for going out of his way and making a stand about our society and the young people growing-up in it. What he’s saying now, like he did back in 1995, is that we, as a society and as a unit, are practically screwed. And who’s to blame? You? Me? Mom? Dad? Mom-Mom? Pop-Pop? The pets? MTV? VH1? Who knows! But what I do know is that it’s very sad to see a movie like this made and have me thinking the way that I do now.
But if you get past this message, you start to realize that there really isn’t much else going on here below the surface. If you like a bunch of T & A, then you sure as hell are going to be pleased, but if you’re expecting a fun and wild ride with a bunch of girls dancing, drinking, and being young: then you’re gonna be pissed. Heck, I was even a bit pissed-off, but I don’t count. Like with most of his movies, Korine doesn’t really like to follow any type of conventional-story so instead of showing us point-A to point-B in an understandable way, he jumbles things around and have us make up our own minds on what happens and what doesn’t. Sometimes it work, and sometimes, it totally misses the mark.
I don’t want to call this movie “boring” per se, because I was always interested and I always glued to the screen, but there just wasn’t much holding the fort down. After the 20 minute mark, I had it about up to here with these girls, the way they talked, the way they acted, and yes, even the way they dressed. I highly doubt it that they would go all throughout their days wearing nothing but a bunch of bikini’s and if that is the case in a world like this, then sign me right up! But still, for a movie like this, it didn’t seem reasonable and just seemed like another way for Korine to show us how much of a boner he has behind the screen. It’s a beautiful movie with visuals that pop-out like crazy, but the story lost me many, many times throughout and really took this flick down from being a very important movie that needed to be made and seen. Instead, without all of the fun, it’s just a message movie with a lot of titties. Good for some, not good for others.
The point in where my interest for this movie came flying right back was when Mr. James Franco showed up on-screen as the local rapper, drug dealer, gangsta, wanka, grilled-up mofo known as Alien. Almost everybody who saw Oz the Great and Powerful last week, almost had the same consensus on Franco and his performance saying it was dull, plain, and boring. For me, I liked his performance in that movie, but in this one, I absolutely loved it and I think those people who disagreed with me then, will agree now. As soon as this guy starts talking and being himself, you know the movie is going to turn-around and he’s going to give you all that he can as an actor, as a funny-man, and overall, as an entertainer. Franco lights up the screen with every scene he’s in where he plays up his wannabe-act as a gangsta that has a lot of money, has a lot of drugs, has a lot of guns, and has a lot of women, and this is where Franco works so perfectly. He’s absolutely hilarious and you can tell that a lot of the scenes he has, he’s just improving his ass off, because the people around him can’t seem to hold their laughter or joy in as much as they should. But still, it provides a bunch of hilarity and laughter for everybody who sees, but it isn’t all about fun and games with the dude.
There’s a couple of scenes where we actually see Alien show some vulnerability and even break character. He doesn’t really seem like a terrible guy to begin with, but just a hood rat that you wouldn’t want hanging around with you at all, unless you wanted all of your change taken. But still, that loveable side of Franco that we usually see, makes this character work wonders and makes it more than just him, goofin’ off and jerkin’ off (that’s Korine’s job), he’s actually got a show to do and does a fine job at that. Sweet job, James. Fuck all of them nay-sayers.
As for the girls, they are all fine with what they’re given even if that isn’t saying much. Vanessa Hudgens seems like she really effin’ wants people to forget that she used to be in all of those High School Musical movies, and it just may work if she keeps this pace up. The other two, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, are just there for props and do what they can, but that isn’t saying much. The only weak-link here in the cast seemed to be Selena Gomez who seemed like she was on a entirely different planet from the rest of these gals. I get that since she was the church gal that never left mommy and never left home, that she was going to be a bit of a prude, but seriously, come on! Grow up, drink a beer, bone a guy, take some clothes off, and have some fun! You’re only young once. Trust me, I know.
Consensus: Spring Breakers is the type of movie that gets better once you start to think about it. The messages and ideas about society and how far we are going down the gutter, are as interesting as I think Korine has ever said in the past, but the fact that there is no type of story really backing it all up, seemed to be a major fault on his part.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Would have been better, had it been based on the Nintendo games.
Ward, a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother, a college drop-out named Jack (Zac Efron) investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row, named Hillary (John Cusack). However, the only reason they are doing so is because the gal that wants Hillary out, a sexxed-up, piece of work named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), just so happens to be the apple of Jack’s eyes.
I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy shit about this film and to be honest: it’s all deserved. Everybody knows Lee Daniels because he pulled-off Precious about 4 years ago and it showed him as the type of director that can get a story, no matter how gritty or despicable, and be able to make it in the least-bit inspirational for people. However, it wasn’t his first rodeo, as that honor (and I guess, dishonor) goes to a little, fucked-up movie called Shadowboxer. If you’ve never heard of it, please, don’t go watch it because it’s just an insane piece of work to watch and it will have you question whether or not you’ve just watched two films, from the same director. And if you have heard or have actually seen it, then buckle up, because that exactly the same type of crazy shit you’re going to get here.
As much as Daniels’ debut may have blew huge gonads, this flick is actually more controlled than that one and that’s probably because it’s just wild, without making any excuses for being so. There’s definitely that type of grungy, exploitative look and feel to the movie that has you feel as if you are in the dirty South, around the 60′s when racial-issues were up to the forefront and everybody was just sweating their asses off. If anything Daniels does do right in this flick, it’s at least nail the look and feel of the period that he has it placed-in, but everything else, well, it is sort of all-over-the-place.
Being “all-over-the-place” isn’t really all that much of bad thing if you can do it, and get away with it. The problem isn’t that Daniels can’t do it, because he sure as hell makes sure that everybody knows he can in every, damn second of this movie, but it’s more that he can’t get away with it. He can show two people making each other cum without ever touching one another and just simulating dirty things to one another, but it sticks out like a sore-thumb to everything else, and he can’t get away with it; he can show a girl peeing on a guy because he got stung by a bunch of jelly-fish, but it’s just odd and seems like it was only done for shock-factor, and he also can’t get away with it; and lastly, he can try and bring some issues up about the whole Civil Rights-movement, but when you compare it to the last sequences I just mentioned, it seems uneven, and once again, he can’t get away with it. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodóvar (who apparently wanted to take this material at one time), or even Robert Rodriguez for that matter, could take this material, do whatever the hell they wanted to with it, and at least make all of the crazy shit and melodramatic stuff gel well enough together, that you almost don’t notice it, but Daniels isn’t one of those directors. He’s just a regular-director that seems like he’s trying his damn near hardest to have us all forget about the over-weight girl story he pulled-off 4 years ago, and try to distract us with insane amounts of sex, whether it actually happen on-screen or just be insinuated. Either way, there’s a bunch of sex that seems to come out nowhere at times.
Is all of this wackiness and cookiness fun? In a way, yes it is and honestly, as much as I may be ragging on the film right here, I am more or less just hating on Daniels. Not to say that the guy doesn’t know how to make a story move, because he definitely does, but it focuses way too much on the personal lives of these characters and not in an exciting or electric way either, it’s just a boring, way-too-dramatic way that comes off as trying too hard. We never really care for these characters, the case they continue to push to the side, or what their relationships are with each other and how that affects one another, and I guess that was the point. Daniels is just giving us a bunch of dirty people that we can either care to like or not. Whether or not we actually do, doesn’t matter, because as long as Daniels is just allowing us to see how insane he can be, then he’s the one with the real joy in the end. That kind of ticks me off now that I think about it, because there was definitely a crap-ton of promise with this flick and premise, it’s just a shame that it had to fall so far from ever achieving that said promise.
The only promise that this flick ever does hit head-on, is the ensemble cast and what they are able to do with each of their roles, no matter how wacky or unbelievable they may be. Zac Efron is the sort-of voice of reason throughout this whole flick and is definitely growing-up right in front of our own eyes, but if you think about it, it is sort of a dull role for the guy but nowhere near as dull as the role Robert Pattinson had in Cosmopolis. Still, Efron makes this character work and his performance shows-off a kid that definitely wants to be treated like an adult, yet, still has the tendencies of a kid that just doesn’t yet know what to do with his life or who to spend the rest of it with. Sort of how Efron is now, just without being peed-on. Then again, I still have no idea what him and Vanessa Hudgens did in their spare-time.
Playing his big bro, Matthew McConaughey is good as the slick and sly reporter that can not only charm his way into getting whatever the hell he wants, but also has a bit of problems brewing underneath that he’s pretty good at hiding. This is a nice role for McConaughey and it’s one that he can practically play while sleeping, but after a year where tore the roof down as force to be reckoned with in flicks like Killer Joe and Magic Mike, this one definitely ranks the lowest-of-the-low for him. Not to say it’s bad, but it’s not to say that it’s anything special, either. John Cusack is playing really, really against-type here as the psychotic and nutty Hillary, and shows that Cusack can probably do more than any of us ever expected from him. He’s strange, he’s weird, but he’s also very sinister and I like how Cusack totally just swan-dived right into the role, totally leaving all shades and memories behind of Peter Gabriel tapes in his pathway. Not to say that this is a special performance that makes us think of Cusack in a different way now, but it’s definitely a role that shows the guy can do more than just be that old dude from the 80′s we all remember relating to when our dates walked-out on us at prom. Yeah, that he is no more.
The one who really steals the spotlight from the rest of these dudes is Nicole Kidman, as the starlet fire fox, Charlotte. Kidman hasn’t been this sexy or bad-ass since the days of Eyes Wide Shut and To Die For, but here, she totally steals all the glory and attention, and has all of the fun out of everybody here. She just relishes in the fact that she can be sexy, be a little dirty, but also be a little bit sympathetic as well and once things start to go South for her and this story, she’s the only one you really give a single hoot about, especially since she’s the only one that has the most believable convictions out of the whole story (she just wants love). Kidman is probably getting the most recognition and praise for her work here and rightfully so, because the gal just looks freakin’ hot and steams up every scene she’s in, whether she’s trying to seduce people and act sexy, or not. Either way, Kidman definitely had my attention in almost every scene and I’m glad so, too, because she deserved it.
Consensus: You may have a boat-load of fun with The Paperboy if you’re looking for some weird shit to happen, non-stop without any rhyme or reason as to why exactly, but if not, then you may just be bored and annoyed by how uneven everything is, despite Daniels trying his hardest to make us think or see otherwise. You strike-out this time, my friend!