Top positive review
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Getting on people's nerves
on March 24, 2014
Just look at all those 1-star reviews, my my. Why do I get the feeling that those 1-star rates and comments are from a bunch of guys in their early 20s going, "wtf"? They had hoped for something stupid and sexy; what they got was an art film from a moralist who has a lot to say about the gangsta culture embraced by bored Caucasian suburban youth. It's a culture that glorifies violence and ostentatious consumption ("Look at all my S***!" James Franco howls with glee while jumping up and down on his ridiculous bed). It's a culture that encourages young women to look and act like whores while simultaneously pretending to some sort of you-go-girl faux-feminism. I am Woman, hear me roar -- now watch me shake my booty like Beyonce. Feminism for Dummies. This culture is now mainstream among the under-25 set. "Spring Breakers" attacks that culture by taking its precepts to their logical conclusion. By doing so, director Harmony Korine (male, btw) also attacks the generation responsible for it. No wonder y'all hate this movie, yo. Not only has this movie gotten on your nerves, I suspect it has struck a few nerves, too.
One thing's for certain: Increasing equality between the sexes is creating more aggressive females, sexually or otherwise. The movie shows this paradigm in action with a superb scene between Franco and two of the girls in his bed. After thinking that he's impressed them both with his gangsta routine, he's ready to get down to business with them ... but they turn the tables on him, holding him at gunpoint (he has guns lying around everywhere) and sticking the guns in his mouth. The gender roles are reversed, or, more interestingly, blurred. The pink ski masks that the girls wear while accompanying Franco on his robberies is another example of blurred, or combined, gender symbolism. Pink, once disdained in the 70s and 80s as a girly color, is now the color of the female warrior. There's even a pop star who calls herself "Pink". By golly, I guess the girls of the world took back pink. Whether or not this advances the cause of women is up for debate, as is aggression for aggression's sake.
Our four Spring Breakers can be divided into three factions: 1) the earnest and Christian Selena Gomez, torn between her need for action and her sense of right and wrong. (The other girls mock her when she's not around.) 2) Rachel Korine as the pure party-girl. She gets the drunkest and goes along with the crowd, but when the going gets rough a latent survival instinct kicks in. 3) Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson, the Bad Girls, the girls who doodle male genitalia on notebooks while in class, the girls who go the furthest with Franco. They're his superior in every way, having established dominance in that bedroom scene with the guns. The movie encourages debate about what Hudgens and Benson are supposed to represent: the natural culmination of feminism, or a regression? What's better? -- the moral but helpless Gomez who weeps in terror as Franco tries to soothe her, or the promiscuous and violent Bad Girls, who, while totally in control of their situation, also happen to have the morality of vipers? There's probably not a "right" answer; the director is just posing some interesting questions.
4 out of 5; a fascinating surprise. Never has a movie gone so far out of its way to blow up expectations; it's as if director Korine deliberately tried to lose money in the hopes of creating a cult classic. I'd say that he has succeeded, if that was his intention. The fifth star is withheld because of Korine's fondness for repeating shots and bits of dialogue -- the problem is, the effect doesn't generate shades of menaing, because the dialogue is so deliberately unintelligent. Drop the pretentious film-school stuff next time.