Directed by: Harmony Korine
Thursday, March 6 - Monday, March 10, 2014
James Franco in person Thu Mar 6 at 9:30! (SOLD OUT)
“The setting of SPRING BREAKERS is the Florida coast, where several centuries of explorers—from Ponce de Léon to 2 Live Crew—have come seeking the fount of eternal youth, and where huddled masses of frostbitten coeds migrate at the end of each winter in pursuit of sun, sex, and their own quasi-immortality. Korine shows from the start that he’s fully plugged into spring break’s mythic dimension, opening the film with a long, slo-mo montage of crotch grabbing, ass shaking, beer-soaked boob jiggling, and lips doing the most indecent things to Popsicles, all framed against the glittering Gulf of Mexico. It’s shot in anamorphic widescreen and retina-burning fluorescent colors, courtesy of the French cinematographer Benoît Debie, a veteran collaborator of Gaspar Noé. Korine turns the sequence into a Boschian invitation to decadence, a sun-soaked postcard from Caligula’s Rome.
“What we’re seeing may be the fantasy of four undergraduate friends—Brit, Faith, Candy, and Cotty—jonesing for a primal escape. In a casting coup, the girls are played by Disney and Teen People princesses—erstwhile Zac Efron and Justin Bieber paramours Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, along with Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson—who don’t so much toy with their good-girl images as set them ablaze. (They’re joined by Korine’s real-life wife, Rachel, who has no such reputation to implode.) Never mind who plays whom, loss of identity among the gyrating spring-break mass being one of the movie’s dominant themes. These Cinderellas all dream of the Florida ball (or, given the lewd drawings we see two of them making in their history-class notebooks, balls), but a cash-flow problem threatens to leave them stranded on campus. So, with little compunction, they decide to hold up a local diner, with squirt guns and ski masks and a Godardian resolve to transform life into cinema: ‘Just fuckin’ pretend it’s a video game. Act like you’re in a movie or something.’ What follows is nothing if not bravura moviemaking—a robbery filmed in one continuous take from the p.o.v. of the getaway car as it circles the outside of the building.
“The newly flush quartet then hightail it to St. Petersburg Beach, where they meet-cute the aptly named Alien, a corn-rowed, elaborately tattooed hip-hop star with a sideline in drug and arms dealing, and a mouth full of silver teeth that glisten like a werewolf’s. Alien is played by James Franco, who is at first unrecognizable. Franco is said to have modeled his portrayal on the real underground Florida rapper Dangeruss (a/k/a Russ Curry), and while one doubts Spring Breakers will provoke any Argo-like debates over how accurately art imitates life, there’s no question that Alien represents the apotheosis of Franco’s hydra-headed career as matinee idol, doctoral candidate, soap star, and gallery artist. It’s a full-blown Method performance (with an emphasis on “meth”) that can also be seen as a knowing lampoon of Method acting. In any case, it’s a consistent astonishment. Franco and Korine are so suited to collaboration, it’s amazing it didn’t happen sooner—two prankster artists whose straight-faced self-parody can skirt the sublime. You leave the theater with Alien’s growling mantra, ‘spring break forever,’ echoing in your head like a cantata.” – Scott Foundas, Village VoiceR, 94 Minutes