Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Harmony Korine|
|Written by||Harmony Korine|
|Edited by||Douglas Crise|
|Running time||94 minutes|
Spring Breakers is a 2012 American comedy and drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine. Starring James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, the film follows four college-aged girls on their spring break and subsequent descent into use of drugs, crimes, and violence.
The film grossed $31 million worldwide and had an estimate budget of $5 million. It received positive reviews from film critics, some calling it a cult classic. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
The film opens during a spring break beach party and then flashes back to a local college attended by friends Faith (Selena Gomez), Brittany (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine). Brittany, Candy and Cotty spend their spare time smoking and partying, and Faith attends a local religious youth group, although she seems distant and uninterested. While discussing her plans for spring break, members of her church warn her about her friends and describe Brittany and Candy as particularly dangerous. As their classmates head to spring break, they are stuck behind due to a lack of money. Desperate to make the trip, Brittany and Candy, after getting high on cocaine, don ski masks and use hammers and realistic-looking squirt guns to commit armed robbery at a local restaurant. Cotty acts as the getaway driver in a stolen car (obtained from one of the girls' professors), which the girls later burn.
Now able to make the trip to spring break in St. Petersburg, Florida, the girls attend wild beach parties and engage in reckless behavior. Faith, in a call to her grandmother, describes the trip as beautiful, claiming it is the most spiritual place she has ever been while cuts show partying and women urinating by the sidewalk. Shortly after, the three divulge the details of their crime to Faith, and she is clearly taken aback by the extreme nature of their actions. However, she chooses to overlook their crimes, as she feels that while it was wrong, it was done for a good reason. After a particularly wild party, all four are arrested, along with several party members. They spend the night in a holding cell, where Faith muses on the bad direction which the trip has suddenly taken. Facing another two nights in jail, they are suddenly bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a local rapper and gangster who was signaled to get the girls by two twins who work for him and knew the girls. He questions them about themselves, and reveals to them details about his childhood, his wealth and his occupation as an illegal drug and firearm distributor.
Alien takes the girls to a local club frequented by gang members, where Faith becomes increasingly uncomfortable with his lifestyle. Despite Alien's attempts to convince her to stay, Faith decides to leave and begs the others to come with her but they refuse, and she makes the trip home alone. The girls return to Alien's mansion, where he shows them the wealth from his illegal activities, describing his life as the "American Dream". During this demonstration he embraces Brit and Candy as his "soulmates". Taking them to a strip club owned by his local rival, Alien encounters a former friend and current rival gangster called Big Arch (Gucci Mane), who warns Alien to stop selling drugs in his territory and stick to robbing "Spring Breakers".
Alien ignores him and continues his activities, arming the girls with pink ski masks and shotguns, and together they perform several armed robberies on the "Spring Breakers". While in Alien's car they are approached by Big Arch and another member of his gang. After threatening them, he executes a drive-by shooting, and Cotty is shot in the arm. Despite Alien's promises of retaliation, Cotty is traumatized by the incident and chooses to return home. Brit and Candy remain behind, and begin a sexual relationship with Alien. The three of them decide to take revenge on Big Arch. In a flashforward, the two girls call home, promising to work harder and become better people and their ski masks are shown being thrown in the ocean.
Back in the present, the three travel in a motorboat to Big Arch's mansion. Not long after stepping onto the pier, Alien is shot by one of Big Arch's guards and dies. Brit and Candy proceed on, killing Arch's gang members before confronting and killing Big Arch. During the assault and its aftermath, the camera pans over the dead bodies of Big Arch's gang while a voice over, originally played earlier in the film, from Faith describes the trip as beautiful, as she muses that they have found who they truly are. Brit and Candy are then shown driving home in Big Arch's Lamborghini. A final flashback shows the pair kissing Alien's dead body.
- James Franco as Alien
- Vanessa Hudgens as Candy
- Selena Gomez as Faith
- Ashley Benson as Brit
- Rachel Korine as Cotty
- Gucci Mane as Big Arch
- Heather Morris as Bess
- Ash Lendzion as Forest
- Emma Holzer as Heather
- Jeff Jarrett as Youth pastor
- John McClain as Judge
- Sidney and Thurman Sewell as ATL twins
According to Harmony Korine, he wrote the film partially to make up for his own spring breaks, as he had been fully devoted to skateboarding, and therefore missed out on what he saw as opportunities for hedonistic pursuits. The original lineup of lead actresses was announced as Emma Roberts, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens. Roberts however dropped out in early 2012, reportedly after hearing she would need to gain body fat for her role. Director Korine had purposely collected a group of well-known young actresses with a similar reputation to Roberts in Hollywood. Ashley Benson was ultimately cast. The film was shot in March and April 2012 in and around St. Petersburg, Florida. Skrillex produced the score for the film.
A three-minute preview of Spring Breakers was released at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in May 2012. The entire film premiered at the 69th Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2012. The film was released in New York and Los Angeles on March 15, 2013. The film was released nationwide on March 22, 2013. The film had a limited release in the U.K. on April 5, 2014. The movie was also released in France on March 6, 2013 and was scheduled to be released in Australia in early March, however was pushed back to a release date of May 4.
On February 15, 2012, Korine contacted rapper Riff Raff about appearing in an upcoming film of his which would turn out to be Spring Breakers. Once the trailer was released there was speculation that the character Alien was based around Riff Raff. According to Franco, his character is based on the underground rap artist Dangeruss, who has cameos in the film. "Of course Harmony and I looked at some of Riff Raff's videos as inspiration, but he was one of a number of people we looked at. I would say the biggest influence on the role was this local Florida rapper named Dangeruss. He's fairly unknown, but he was down there in the place, living the life, and he became the biggest model for me, and he's in the movie." After much back and forth between both camps about the issue, during July 2013 Riff Raff announced he was suing the creators of Spring Breakers for $10 million for sampling his life without his permission or a proper producer credit.
Sexist or feminist
The film has generated debate and controversy among critics and bloggers, with some arguing that it should be considered a feminist or female-empowerment film, while others regarding the film as a male film director's indulgence in furthering the objectification and exploitation of attractive young women in popular media. In regard to the former, the women are not depicted as the film's victims, but arguably as antiheroes, acting according to their own power and agency. According to Rolling Stone, the film presents "a kind of girl-power camaraderie that could almost be called feminist", a result of the director's intent to "do the most radical work, but put it out in the most commercial way (...) to infiltrate the mainstream". In regard to the latter perspective, The Guardian suggests that the film "reinforces rape culture" and "turns young women into sex objects", while other reviewers state that it "pushes booze-and-bikini hedonism to the extreme", as the "camera glides up, down and around these women's bodies like a giant tongue."
The film received generally positive reactions from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 65% approval rating with an average rating of 6.3/10 based on 164 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Spring Breakers blends stinging social commentary with bikini cheesecake and a bravura James Franco performance." Xan Brooks of The Guardian said the film is Korine's "most fully realised, purely satisfying feature film since Gummo. " Emma Seligman of The Huffington Post described the film as "Scarface meets Britney Spears." Oliver Lyttlelton of IndieWire gave the film a B, stating that the film would be a future cult favorite for "midnight moviegoers".
Guy Lodge of Variety gave it a negative review saying, "this attractively fizzy pic may be a shock to the system for fans of teen queens Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, but remains pretty toothless titillation by its writer-helmer's standards." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter noted that James Franco gives one of his more bizarre performances in his unpredictable career, saying "he's a cross between Bo Derek in 10 and Richard Kiel in Moonraker." Andrew Schenker of Slant Magazine gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. Jamie Dunn of The Skinny gave it 4 out of 5 stars, saying: "If Michael Mann was to take a lot of hallucinogenics and shoot a Girls Gone Wild video, it might look something like this."
Spring Breakers grossed $14,124,284, in North America, and $17,600,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $31,724,284.
Oscar campaign for James Franco
A24 films began a campaign in September 2013 in support of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Franco's performance. This was preceded by the Hollywood.com website that produced a "For your consideration" poster in support of a nomination for Franco in March 2013. On December 2, 2013, A24 published a YouTube video titled "James Franco - Consider this Sh*t" and also released print advertisements following the "Consider this Sh*t" theme. Originally internet chatter considered the campaign a joke, but A24 films has since made it clear that the campaign was indeed serious. He has received the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded Franco its Best Supporting Actor award (tied with Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club), while the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association nominated Franco for its Best Supporting Actor award.
The film score to Spring Breakers was composed by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex. Marking the first scoring assignment for Skrillex, the electronic music producer and singer-songwriter was contacted after director Harmony Korine sent music supervisor Randall Poster links to Skrillex's music on YouTube. "I'm accustomed to being the oldest person at a gig," said Poster, "but when I went to see Skrillex at Roseland this year, it was dramatic. There were a lot of kids that looked like they were 15 years old. But I loved it. I truly loved it."
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||March 19, 2013|
|Genre||EDM, southern hip hop|
|Label||Big Beat, Warner Music|
|1.||"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"||Skrillex||2:56|
|2.||"Rise and Shine Little Bitch"||Cliff Martinez & Skrillex||0:35|
|3.||"Pretend It's a Video Game"||Cliff Martinez||2:47|
|4.||"With You, Friends (Long Drive)"||Skrillex||3:18|
|5.||"Hangin' with Da Dopeboys"||Dangeruss & James Franco||2:53|
|6.||"Bikinis & Big Booties Y'all"||Cliff Martinez & Skrillex||3:06|
|7.||"Never Gonna Get This Pussy"||Cliff Martinez||2:40|
|8.||"Goin' In" (Skrillex Goin' Down Mix)||Birdy Nam Nam||3:19|
|9.||"Fuck This Industry"||Waka Flocka Flame||3:27|
|10.||"Smell This Money" (Original Mix)||Skrillex||2:38|
|12.||"Young Niggas"||Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame||3:44|
|13.||"Your Friends Ain't Gonna Leave with You"||Cliff Martinez||3:14|
|15.||"Big Bank" (featuring French Montana)||Meek Mill, Pill, Torch & Rick Ross||3:38|
|16.||"Son of Scary Monsters"||Cliff Martinez & Skrillex||3:40|
|17.||"Big 'Ol Scardy Pants"||Cliff Martinez||3:08|
|18.||"Scary Monsters on Strings"||Skrillex||3:11|
Spring Breakers: The Second Coming was announced in May 2014. Although the storyline will have connections with the previous film, it will include a new cast in addition to the original. The Second Coming, which Irvine Welsh has been attached to script, will focus on a set of spring breakers coming into conflict with Christian extremists.
Upon the announcement, Franco released a statement stating that the sequel was "not being done with Harmony Korine or my consent" and that the producers were "capitalizing on that innovative film to make money on a weak sequel" and attempting to "make money off someone else's creativity."
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