For mature audiences only.
I was sad and exhausted. I felt defeated. I’d been living in Los Angeles for about a year and a half doing the Hollywood writing thing. By a few wisps of luck and a couple of pubes of talent, things had been going fine, but I was starting to feel like maybe I wanted to give up. This isn’t a “poor me” story, I’m just telling you where my head was at before I saw Spring Breakers. I wasn’t angry, I was just tired. I had surrendered to the fact that I probably would never be able to write Wreck It Ralph and that was okay. So what if I didn’t succeed at what I’d set out to do? So what if I wasn’t invited to brunches? So what if I wasn’t even that talented? Or great or special or brave or whatever personality I thought I needed to have in order to get people to like me? So what if I died? Or worse—so what if I didn’t? I marked my life with a big fat SO WHAT stamp of approval and went to the movies with my friend Gia.
Spring Breakers starts with an unnerving Skrillex song and a plethora of barbecue-tanned titties getting sprayed with beer against a backdrop of neon blue sky. And just like that, I wasn’t tired anymore. Being a fan of Harmony Korine, I was excited to see the movie even though I knew there was a good possibility that I might not understand it. I was wrong. I understood it maybe a little too well. I remember once when I was in high school, my dirt bag friends stole a credit card and rented a motel room. We proceeded to get f**king wasted and graffiti all the walls and mirrors and tear the room apart. This isn’t a bragging right; I felt bad. I was being an assh**e and I knew it. But I never got in trouble for it. I suffered no consequences.
The same can be said about the characters in Spring Breakers. No event in the film ever led once to something I had predicted. Plot-wise, every complicated corner turned out instead to be a nice round bend. Cottie – young, naked, remarkably wasted and seemingly wanting to get f**ked – did not. The consequence to being insanely drunk and naked with a group of drunk white boys wasn’t met with rape, as one would expect, but rather… nothing. And doing coke resulted in a slight consequence but… not really. The characters who acted cocky, naïve and fearless were met with no punishment. And those who were scared and wanted to go home did just that, also without being punished.
When Selena Gomez started to cry and get scared, she was shipped off as her friends waved goodbye. Good. No one wanted to see Bonnie or Clyde cry, either. If anything, her punishment for leaving was just that. Her story stopped. If ever there was a movie that lived in a singular moment, it’s Spring Breakers. It doesn’t care that it could ruin the innocent minds of Disney princess fans. Did Harmony Korine exploit these girls? I don’t see how, since they wanted to be in the movie. Is it possible that they were both exploited and exploitative? As far as I’m concerned, those girls grabbed Korine’s film by the balls and had their way with it. I’m not sure the same could be said for Walt Disney, who exploited them as much as anyone else.
Spring Breakers doesn’t care about what’s considered homosexual and what isn’t. It doesn’t care about race or class too much, either. Stick a glock down James Franco’s throat and watch him either get his brains blown out or suck the gun like it’s like a big fat d**k. Either answer works (and ultimately did). Harmony Korine didn’t set out to make anything other than what he wanted. The result is a beautiful work of art and a truly compelling story. If the end goal of making a movie or writing a book or painting a picture or whatever kinda art you do is to communicate, Harmony Korine has succeeded x forever. Before Spring Breakers, he was just a friend of a friend who wrote Kids, made a Dogme 95 movie and a bunch of other stuff that was at times both pretty to look at and borderline annoying. He was the punch line to a “How many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?” joke. Now with Spring Breakers, we’re the punch line. And it’s funny. I’m still laughing. And a lot of people are laughing with me.
As a result of all of this, I got inspired. I’ve always loved movies. I loved D’Jango Unchained as much as I loved Knocked Up as much as I loved Airplane. I love stories like Game of Thrones. I love villains vs. heroes. Spring Breakers is a movie where either everyone is bad or everyone is good. The characters rotate and shift in every scene. It might drive some people crazy. In fact, everything about it might make people like Nikki Finke write really dumb/untrue things about it on deadline.com. But aren’t you glad that there’s room for all of it? That so many different kinds of storytelling can exist not just in the world, but also in Hollywood? It gives me chills to know that someone did something different and it could have sucked, but they didn’t care and did it anyway, and it was beautiful. I feel so privileged to get to walk into a movie theatre feeling one way and two hours later walking out feeling completely different. The same reasons people hate it are the same reasons people love it, and it makes my heart explode with joy to witness a living, breathing example of that kind of dichotomy. Spring Breakers is, in this order: beautiful, frightening and silly. I’ve never seen anything like it, let alone at a sold out show at the Arclight movie theatre. I laughed, I covered my eyes and I cried to a Britney Spears song. When was the last time you did that in one sitting? Is this how they felt in the 1900s when they saw Duchamp’s Fountain? I hope so.
My big fat SO WHAT stamp of approval remains as fresh as ever, except now I’m not tired anymore. I’m AWAKE and I don’t care about brunch or Wreck It Ralph, and I’m definitely not throwing in the towel. In fact, I’m gonna use the towel instead to snap the ass of anyone who tells me that I can’t do whatever the f**k I wanna do whenever the f**k I wanna do it! Right?!
Spring break 4 ever, bitches!!!!
Featured image via TheBlemish