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Review: Spring Breakers

Mar. 19, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Four bored college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, & Rachel Korine) rob a fast food restaurant on a whim, and use the money to go on spring break in Florida. While indulging in a non-stop orgy of booze, coke, and sex- they meet a rapper/drug dealer named Alien (James Franco)- who takes them under his wing.

REVIEW: SPRING BREAKERS is absolutely mental, and I mean that in the best way possible. Anyone who knows his work can understand that Harmony Korine is far from an accessible director most of the time, and while SPRING BREAKERS is full of hot, nubile young flesh, and loud, thumping music, it's all just window-dressing, for a film that's ultimately as true to his own aesthetic as anything he's ever done. Meaning, SPRING BREAKERS is more Michelangelo Antonioni than Todd Phillips- for better or worse. Korine uses sex to get our butts in the seats, but once we get there, he takes us on a journey that's far from what you'd expect.

Korine's film is actually only peripherally about the phenomenon of spring break, which he depicts like a carnival sideshow. Sure- there's tons of hot girls getting naked, but everyone seems so moronic that it's hard to be turned on by any of it. Rather, it feels like Korine wants you to be repelled by it. Enter our four heroines. Their casting is bold, with three of them; Gomez, Hudgens, and Benson- being known for their sugary sweet images- utterly devoid of edge. Suffice it to say, they've found their edge.

The one everyone's talking about is Selena Gomez, and while she's good, her character- being the Christian good-girl, Faith- who's probably the only one of the four that's not a full-on sociopath, is probably the least interesting. Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson are the really intriguing ones, with their “perfect 10” faces and bodies hiding the fact that each of them seems to be utterly devoid of any morality whatsoever, making them a match made in heaven (or hell) for Franco's Alien. Both of them deserve huge kudos for the way they let Korine depict them.

All that said, SPRING BREAKERS really is Franco's movie. Other than a quick scene, he doesn't really show up until thirty-to-forty minutes into the movie, but from there on he dominates it. A nightmarish caricature of a wanna-be thug, complete with cornrows, grillz on his teeth, and a house-full of bricks of coke, cash and assault weapons, Franco is utterly unrecognizable, and disappears into the part in a way I can't ever remember him doing before. His “look at my shit” monologue seems patterned on Tony Montana's “Say goodnight to the bad guy” speech in SCARFACE, and indeed- he has a picture of Montana hanging on his wall.

Through it all, SPRING BREAKERS feels like an absolute assault on the audience Korine seems to be trying to court, but is really subverting at every turn. I can't imagine what Selena Gomez' teen- “Belieber” fans are going to make of this- but for those of you that have seen other Korine films, or have an idea what you're getting into, it's a pretty great little film.

That said, Korine's movies can be a bit tough to sit through, but SPRING BREAKERS never is. It's gorgeous to look at, and I'm not only referring to the sexy girls in bikinis (although that doesn't hurt). With photography by Benoit Debie, who also shot GET THE GRINGO and IRREVERSIBLE, it goes from having the (intentional) look of an MTV special during the spring break sections, to a cool, nightmarish vibe during the night scenes, and a surreal, alienating look as the film gets darker and darker. The score by DRIVE's Cliff Martinez and electronica maestro Skrillex is also extremely memorable.

While it's dark, and certainly weird, SPRING BREAKERS always remains entertaining- which is something that can't always be said about Korine's other movies. Going in I figured I'd have a blast with it, but instead I came out with a film that's a surprisingly complex and disturbing look at a culture that's always seemed vapid, but now seems like something out of a nightmare, no matter how sexy it is on the surface. SPRING BREAKERS is a must-see.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:35AM on 07/28/2013

I am with brdman13

I am the type of person the usually enjoys most movies at some level, but this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Franco is good and he put on a preformance that reminded me of Oldman in True Romance, but the rest of the movie is complete garbage. Half the movie repeats itself over and over and the other half is just shots are of people partying on a beach. I wanted to turn it off at least four times, but I had to see the end. Pointless and a waste of Franco and of hot former Disney
I am the type of person the usually enjoys most movies at some level, but this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Franco is good and he put on a preformance that reminded me of Oldman in True Romance, but the rest of the movie is complete garbage. Half the movie repeats itself over and over and the other half is just shots are of people partying on a beach. I wanted to turn it off at least four times, but I had to see the end. Pointless and a waste of Franco and of hot former Disney girls in bikinis.
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3:59AM on 03/20/2013

Totally disagree

Horrible, horrible film. Lazy filmmaker, no plot, unlikeable one-dimensional characters, scenes and lines are repeated over and over and over(lazy), characters have no motivation and are uninteresting (nothing triggers their "rebellion"), Franco was awesome tho and the ending was kinda cool, but still I have no idea what the filmmaker was trying to say. It was all just so pointless.
Horrible, horrible film. Lazy filmmaker, no plot, unlikeable one-dimensional characters, scenes and lines are repeated over and over and over(lazy), characters have no motivation and are uninteresting (nothing triggers their "rebellion"), Franco was awesome tho and the ending was kinda cool, but still I have no idea what the filmmaker was trying to say. It was all just so pointless.
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7:32PM on 03/19/2013

I liked it...

But not as much as I thought I would. There's a lot of hot girls in it in bikini's which is a plus, Franco was amazing, especially having just seen Oz then seeing this, what a difference! It was a good movie, but I think my biggest problem was the fact that there are lines that are repeated like 1000 times over that, by the end, kind of grated on me. I could hear other people talking about it too. The first few times Franco says "Spriiiiiiiiiing Breaaaaaaak" everyone was laughing, by the
But not as much as I thought I would. There's a lot of hot girls in it in bikini's which is a plus, Franco was amazing, especially having just seen Oz then seeing this, what a difference! It was a good movie, but I think my biggest problem was the fact that there are lines that are repeated like 1000 times over that, by the end, kind of grated on me. I could hear other people talking about it too. The first few times Franco says "Spriiiiiiiiiing Breaaaaaaak" everyone was laughing, by the 10th time, not one single laugh. Did anyone else who saw this feel the same way?
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5:30PM on 03/19/2013

Just came back from the theater...

... and I felt like the only one that liked the movie.... or maybe was I the only one to get it ? 90% of the audience seemed to be here to see a girl version of "Project X" or something. The audience reaction was as surprising as the movie itself. James Franco is incredible and there's a scene I won't spoil here, but it starts as a funny joke, then transforms into a WTF moment and quickly becomes the defining scene of the movie (hint : involves a piano). It amazed me as much as it horrified me.
... and I felt like the only one that liked the movie.... or maybe was I the only one to get it ? 90% of the audience seemed to be here to see a girl version of "Project X" or something. The audience reaction was as surprising as the movie itself. James Franco is incredible and there's a scene I won't spoil here, but it starts as a funny joke, then transforms into a WTF moment and quickly becomes the defining scene of the movie (hint : involves a piano). It amazed me as much as it horrified me. And that's what this movie will make you feel.
You may go see it for the hotties, but you'll come out feeling like the world may end sooner than expected.
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+1
12:45PM on 03/19/2013
omg my computer is pissing me off.
omg my computer is pissing me off.
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+4
12:44PM on 03/19/2013

heh

I'm still amazed at myself that the hot chicks in bikini's is actually at the bottom of my short list to see this movie. Franco is actually the main reason to see this. This guy is becoming an amazing actor and one of my fav's. I wonder what it would be like to watch Oz then this right after. It would probably blow some ppls minds that its Franco in both.
I'm still amazed at myself that the hot chicks in bikini's is actually at the bottom of my short list to see this movie. Franco is actually the main reason to see this. This guy is becoming an amazing actor and one of my fav's. I wonder what it would be like to watch Oz then this right after. It would probably blow some ppls minds that its Franco in both.
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12:31PM on 03/19/2013
Definitely want to see this, I owe the filmmakers that much at least after those wonderful movie posters. Also be nice to see Gomez in all her bikini-clad, post Bieber-beard hotness.
Definitely want to see this, I owe the filmmakers that much at least after those wonderful movie posters. Also be nice to see Gomez in all her bikini-clad, post Bieber-beard hotness.
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12:29PM on 03/19/2013

I'll wait

Since a review by Chris Bumbray is about as usefull as a pair of tits on a rattle snake, I'll go with my gut and wait until DVD.
Since a review by Chris Bumbray is about as usefull as a pair of tits on a rattle snake, I'll go with my gut and wait until DVD.
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-3
12:22PM on 03/19/2013
You couldn't drag me to this pos.
You couldn't drag me to this pos.
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12:44PM on 03/19/2013
And the world will keep turning :rollseyes:
And the world will keep turning :rollseyes:
12:44PM on 03/19/2013
damn timeouts
damn timeouts
12:21PM on 03/19/2013
I'm really puzzled by the review. You go on about how great it is and how its a must see, yet you give it an 8 and don't mention a single flaw with the movie, but with other Korine's movies.
I'm really puzzled by the review. You go on about how great it is and how its a must see, yet you give it an 8 and don't mention a single flaw with the movie, but with other Korine's movies.
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11:43AM on 03/19/2013
This film wasn't even on my radar until I read this review. I see title like "Spring Breakers" and don't even bother to watch the trailer...

Now I am VERY intrigued. As always, you can't judge a book by its cover or a movie by its title for that matter...
This film wasn't even on my radar until I read this review. I see title like "Spring Breakers" and don't even bother to watch the trailer...

Now I am VERY intrigued. As always, you can't judge a book by its cover or a movie by its title for that matter...
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-9
7:19AM on 03/19/2013

still aint seeing it

I don't mind that it received a higher score than I expected to, good for it, I just dont see the appeal of this film, regardless of a bunch of trashy looking girls running around in bikinis. I'll probably see it on Netflix or something. Maybe
I don't mind that it received a higher score than I expected to, good for it, I just dont see the appeal of this film, regardless of a bunch of trashy looking girls running around in bikinis. I'll probably see it on Netflix or something. Maybe
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5:57AM on 03/19/2013
Harmony working with Selina Gomez? Color me intrigued.
Harmony working with Selina Gomez? Color me intrigued.
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4:59AM on 03/19/2013
Hmm would have thought Bumbray would hate a movie like this or not appeal to it, so if he liked it then it must be good. That last sentence is not meant to be a put down ok. I was intrigued from the getgo & given who was cast, it's surprising Franco is the one who sines.
Hmm would have thought Bumbray would hate a movie like this or not appeal to it, so if he liked it then it must be good. That last sentence is not meant to be a put down ok. I was intrigued from the getgo & given who was cast, it's surprising Franco is the one who sines.
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2:35AM on 03/19/2013
Surprised to read such a positive review. At first glance, the film doesn't look like anything special. But after reading your review and it stating that it's a "must see", I may actually have to check it out in theaters now.
Surprised to read such a positive review. At first glance, the film doesn't look like anything special. But after reading your review and it stating that it's a "must see", I may actually have to check it out in theaters now.
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2:34AM on 03/19/2013

One word: Franco

He is worth the price of admission alone, which is saying a lot considering the ample eye candy and inherent sex appeal of the main actresses.
He is worth the price of admission alone, which is saying a lot considering the ample eye candy and inherent sex appeal of the main actresses.
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1:38AM on 03/19/2013

Even if...

,,,this film got a 10/10, I would still just catch it on DVD. For some reason, it doesn't seem like a movie I would go to the theater for. I honestly thought it would get shitty reviews. I'm a bit surprised because I didn't think Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez could make this movie work. I knew a girl like Ashely Benson could work it though so there was always a glimmer of hope.
,,,this film got a 10/10, I would still just catch it on DVD. For some reason, it doesn't seem like a movie I would go to the theater for. I honestly thought it would get shitty reviews. I'm a bit surprised because I didn't think Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez could make this movie work. I knew a girl like Ashely Benson could work it though so there was always a glimmer of hope.
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11:47AM on 03/19/2013
Negative Nancies Assemble!
Negative Nancies Assemble!
+10
1:12AM on 03/19/2013
Whoa, 8/10? Color me surprised!
Whoa, 8/10? Color me surprised!
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+0
12:58AM on 03/19/2013
Hmmm, this film is getting better reviews than I would have given it credit for, but it still doesn't seem like my cup of tea. Could be wrong, and I could end up really enjoying it, but I'm not sure it's something I want to shell out the cash for.

On a side note, no offense Chris, but this review could have used another look over. Otherwise, good review of the film.
Hmmm, this film is getting better reviews than I would have given it credit for, but it still doesn't seem like my cup of tea. Could be wrong, and I could end up really enjoying it, but I'm not sure it's something I want to shell out the cash for.

On a side note, no offense Chris, but this review could have used another look over. Otherwise, good review of the film.
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12:54AM on 03/19/2013

Shirts and Skins

Based on the trailers alone, I thought this would be a fun way to catch girls in a bikini, and watch James Franco ham it up. After hearing your review though, I'm really looking forward to it now. Korine is definitely mental. Excited to see what he does with the material.
Based on the trailers alone, I thought this would be a fun way to catch girls in a bikini, and watch James Franco ham it up. After hearing your review though, I'm really looking forward to it now. Korine is definitely mental. Excited to see what he does with the material.
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