What could it be...?
Well here we are. Two years of reviews. Two years of seeing terrible movies, great movies, Five Nights at Freddy's, whatever the hell Huniepop is, and trying desperately to not kill anyone over Fant4stic. It's been one hell of a ride the past year, and before we actually begin the review, I have a few things that I want to quickly say.
First off, thank you. Thank you to the over 10,000 readers not only on this site, but on Channel Awesome. Without you guys, I wouldn't be doing this, and to see people actually care about my opinion to truly fulfilling. We may disagree on several points, but that's why it's called an opinion. I do this for the fans, and I cannot thank you guys enough. Second, it pains me to say this, but the new site under wordpress is taking a lot longer than anticipated. I want to make sure the site is perfect and has everything that I want on it, but I cannot do that while I am overseas. The new site will debut in 2016, once I return to America. And finally, I just wanted to say again, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me the privilege to review things for you. Most of the site comes directly out of my pocket with hardly any reimbursement, but I do it because I love it, not for a paycheck. It's a passion project of mine, and I wanted to thank everyone one last time for supporting me in my endeavors.
So with all of that out of the way, you're all probably wondering just what I'm going to review for this momentous occasion? Last year I buckled down and reviewed a My Little Pony movie, but that's not going to happen this year. Instead, I wanted to do something that I will almost certainly never do again; I want to do a retro review. Or at least, a review of a movie that's a little over two years old. I want to a review a movie that has loomed over this site for years. I want to review a movie that instantly makes people judge my credentials when I say that I liked it. I want to review the one movie that has polarized audiences every since it came out.
That's right. It's time for Spring Breakers. One of my favorite movies ever.
So, I don't think that I really need to summarize the plot for Spring Breakers. It's not a movie that's overtly reliant on a plot. A bunch of girls go down to Florida for spring break to party, but the longer they stay there, the more they get involved in the seedy, drug fueled underworld of Miami and eventually all hell breaks loose for them until they either leave, die, or just revel in the debauchery. It's a movie that's less focused on its plot than it is about the experience. And my God, this movie is one hell of an experience.
We all know that I love this movie. It's my favorite movie of 2013, my third favorite movie of all time, and a contender for being one of my favorite experiences I've ever had with a movie. Whenever I watch this with someone, they will always have a polar reaction to this movie. You either love Spring Breakers, or you despise it with a passion. I'm not here to convince people that this movie is the second coming of Christ. If you hated this movie, I'm not going to change your opinion. I'm simply here to shed a new light onto this movie and attempt to explain why people like me love it so much.
First, you need to understand exactly what this movie is attempting to do. This movie has a very specific point that it is trying to make about Generation Y and modern pop culture that usually gets swept under the rug (for good reason. More on that in a bit). Essentially, this movie is a slam against the superficial culture of the day. Back in 2013, most of the rage for movies were about a person losing their inhibitions and just letting loose. We saw this in movies like Project X, The Hangover, That's My Boy, and countless others. Not only that, but for the time, the main show on TV was Jersey Shore, a shameless show that was all about watching a group of terrible, superficial people party constantly and see the results of their partying, but in a way that glorified their actions and made them into celebrities. In fact, most of the celebrities of the time were celebrities for that exact reason. They got famous for terrible reasons. Snooki, Mike "The Situation", and even more famous instances like Brittney Spears post shaved head and whatever the hell Paris Hilton was. We reveled in losing our inhibitions.
So, imagine for a minute that you're back in 2013. This movie just came out that was advertising itself to be the next big party movie. The ads were blaring about how wild and crazy it would be, marketing exclusively to the Jersey Shore demographic and young college students that wanted to have a good time. Hell, Spring Breakers even came out in late March, right around the time that most people would be on spring break. You sit down, expecting a crazy time, and instead you get a movie that openly insults and mocks its target audience. It shows them the harsh truth of the reality they've been exposed to. No filters, no cameras (well okay there are cameras for the film, but you know what I mean), and shows them just what kind of life they're aspiring and praising.
So, it's easy to see why some people would have a very negative reaction to it. People were lied too. They were deceived. Not only that, but they were told pretty upfront that they were part of the problem in our generation. Harsh? Yes, incredibly so, but it's effective. Spring Breakers doesn't try to hide what it is. It's trash, but it's meant to be trash. It's precisely orchestrated, conceived, and implemented trash. It's high quality trash.
However, some people don't like that. Some people will simply label it as trash and move on without examining it any further. I take umbrage with those people, but I'm not here to discuss that. We're here to talk about the movie.
If we're going through the notion that the movie is meant to be trash, then most of the characters and their actions make more sense. All of the girls, with the exception of Selena Gomez as Faith, are not actual people. Or at least they don't act like normal people. No one talks about money smelling like pussy or does handstands in college dorm hallways for fun. If the girls are trash, they're trash for a reason. They're societal extremes. They're the Paris Hilton's of the movie, celebrities that are solely meant to shock the audience. The biggest difference is that they're not glamorized, so we're not meant to like them and aspire to them. Go back now and watch some footage of some of Paris Hilton's craaaaaazy antics back in 2006, and you'll see that they line up pretty well with the depictions of the girls in Spring Breakers.
So we've got the girls established, but you can hardly talk about Spring Breakers without mentioning James Franco's infamous Alien, the Miami drug dealing, spring break preaching, rapper extraordinaire. Alien is... interesting to say the least, yet he's the most compelling character in film. He's also the most laughable with many people quoting him to the detriment of his performance and the movie as a whole. And yet, his performance is usually regarded as the best thing about the movie. Hell, there was a campaign back in 2013 to get him nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards! So what's so good about him? Well, Franco is both a shady as hell character and infinitely pathetic.
The one scene that sticks out in my mind is when he invites two of the girls (I have no idea what their names are) to his drug den of an apartment. He preaches about how macho Tony Montana is and shows off all of his guns, cologne, shoes, and pretty much anything an insecure man would do to make people think he's cool. When he's just about to have sex with him, one of the girls takes one of his guns and puts it right in his mouth saying how they're gonna kill him and take all of his money. So what does Alien do in this circumstance? Deep throats the gun. They they all make out and play with his money. It's bizarre, but I can't turn my head away from him. He's so full of himself when he has no right to be. He tries to be tough, bigger than he really is or has any right to be, but he can't handle reality.
I could go on and on about the symbolism and meaning behind this movie, but I don't think that's necessary anymore. I could go on for days about Spring Breakers, but it wouldn't make a difference at all. You all know I love it, and most of you hate it. So why do I love it so much? What does all of this have to do with my feelings towards the film?
Well, this movie is pretty much the reason why I love movies. It challenges my notion of what a movie could be. It's trash, but it's beautiful trash. It revels in sin and hedonism the same way that the Romans did, or any other large society with no care in the world. And yet, it can turn something as self centered and, frankly, misogynistic as spring break and make it into a work of art. It's highly watchable and brief, yet you still feel like yous aw something important. Or maybe you saw something that you despise. Spring Breakers will still leave you with an opinion no matter which way you look at it, and the variety between the two extremes is equally fascinating.