Boobs, Sex, Drugs, and Skrillex – The (Non-Disney) Fairytale of “Spring Breakers”

Boobs, Sex, Drugs, and Skrillex – The (Non-Disney) Fairytale of “Spring Breakers”


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Spring Breakers is a movie that is just like its trailer. And that’s something. A lot of movies have fantastic trailers and then you find that they contained the only good parts of the movie. Some movies are a lot better than their vague, palatable trailers, like Silver Linings Playbook. But with Spring Breakers, you get exactly what you paid for: Disney stars going bad, shooting guns, chanting sing-song verses and hanging out with James Franco in grills.

Being that it’s a Harmony Korine movie, you might expect that some of the majesty and sensationalism of the trailer would fade as the movie gets comfortable. If you’ve seen Kids, you probably expect that the girls start to lose control of the plot, that something really, really bad happens to Selena Gomez’ character or that, at the very least, one of the characters will get a hangover from all that drinking and coke snorting.

But as the movie opens up with a whole lot of Skrillex and perfect, college-aged boobies bouncing in chorus on a Florida beach, you realize that this movie is much more grounded in fantasy than the gritty realities you were expecting. While we all know Korine wanted to make a movie that shocked people by making Disney girls (and one Pretty Little Liars girl, what’s up ABC Family?) go bad, you kind of expect a message of some sort. What does it mean? What are we missing in this whole expectation of innocence in these teenage girls?

But this is more of an art piece centering on a few psychopathic (but sexay) American teenage girls than any kind of narrative that explores the deeper stories of anyone. Selena Gomez’ character Faith is somewhat of an exception because she is the story’s prude, and we learn why – she’s Christian(ish). But there’s little backstory for any of the other girls. All we really know about them is that they like drinking liquor straight out of the bottle, making gun noises, being bored with college and rubbing up on one another a lot.

There’s little actual, sustained dialogue in the movie in favor of montages of larger-than-life spring break escapades layered with chanting repetitions of the girls leaving voicemails for their parents and grandparents. It’s kind of like Tree of Life in that way, if the Terrence Malick movie had been about snorting coke off of boobs rather than dinosaurs, blonde kids running and whatever that movie was about. The whole thing is more of visual poem or drug trip, as Korine has said in interviews, rather than a traditional movie.

And that’s OK. It’s almost better in that it doesn’t try to shock and awe you in a way that is actually close to reality. Instead it’s more like a Disney World ride than a bummer movie with resounding consequences that teach you just WHY you never pass out at a party. In its pure pop-culture-y, shock and awe-filled, sparkly pulpiness, it almost seems as if Korine has taken a note from Tarantino’s book. If you borrow enough from “low” culture (Disney, rap, frat houses), you create can create something much more artistic than the sum of its parts. And in Spring Breakers, he’s managed to create something as fleeting and weird as it is beautiful.

Becky Lang