*Available online and print in St. Petersburg High School’s school paper, Palmetto & Pine, volume 110, issue 3.
With love from St. Petersburg, “Spring Breakers” is an indie film for the record books that’s got residents in a tizzy.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no better description that could sum up Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” than this tweet from Tampa Bay Times journalist Sean Daly: “#SpringBreakers is a totally irresponsible fantasy, a Day-Glo postcard from St. Pete-as-Sodom”.
Personally, it’s my review that the aforementioned “Day-Glo postcard” of a movie was a stroke of independent film brilliance. Destined to either be a smash hit or titanic mistake, director Korine rose to the occasion with a rather raunchy, violent, blindingly neon hyperrealistic film to teach a lesson about the dangers of hypnotic illusions and transformation.
In March 2012 it was nearly impossible to miss the news of some of Hollywood’s hottest young actresses, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, and star James Franco coming to town. We should have all known right then that this movie would be embarking on a difficult task: to create a deep independent film with famous actors in a sure attempt to conquer the box office.
That’s where it flopped. With a less star-studded cast, the movie would have been easier to take seriously. On the flip side it probably would not be the global sensation it has become. Franco’s character Alien would have been much more believable had the audience not known who the actor was. The acting was in fact surprisingly very convincing, but it seemed to be a struggle to separate the characters from the actors that created skepticism for most.
As a St. Petersburg resident, it is perhaps a bit difficult to take most aspects of the story seriously, whether it was dweeby, very white Franco portraying a “gangster with a heart of gold” or throngs of topless women on our beaches. I can’t help but wonder if other theaters across the world were filled with badly timed giggles and sneering faces. Other cinemas certainly didn’t have movie goers trudging out of the theaters whining about how trashy it made the city look or how unrealistic the characters, storyline, and/or events might’ve been.
I’d venture to say a fair amount of residents are missing out on a fantastic film, I believe it’s one worth giving a second watch. The tale is timeless, the scene a post-modern effervescent spring break wonderland. To fully embrace “Spring Breakers”, I suggest students and teachers cast away expectations of a popular plot-less movie and relax. For those who have already seen it, the second time around stop trying to pick out familiar faces and places, it’s more enjoyable without trying to gauge its realistic value.
Warning to those who have not yet seen “Spring Breakers”, it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you can’t appreciate the vulgar, the violent, or the overwhelming, I don’t advise you waste your money. Additionally, be prepared for lots of underaged “Pretty Little Liars” and Disney fans chatting throughout the movie. Don’t forget that the movie is rated R. My best advice is to see the movie in the day time; it will help avoid the crowds and give you time to digest the slightly disturbing aspects of the flick before bedtime.
In conclusion, if you’re prepared to dismiss your recognition and perceptions of St. Petersburg, “Spring Breakers” is worth the ticket price. It’s authentic enough with a neon dream twist; I’d give it a solid four stars, and maybe, just maybe, even buy it on DVD.