Friday, March 22, 2013


Written & Directed By: Harmony Korine
Cinematography By: Benoit Debie
Editor: Douglas Crise

Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane, Heather Morris

Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper "Alien" promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

Sitting there in the theater it was almost like I was watching 90 minute music video with a loose storyline with music by different artists contributing. The film is definitely Provocative and experimental. It’s different then the regular teen spring break films.

This Is a film you can sum up as a casual viewer and say what you see is what you get.

The film feels at times like a Terrence Malik film with visuals that have voiceovers to let us get to know the characters thoughts and aspirations. Almost like a inner dialogue that also includes dialogue between characters that seem like they are not going to show the scene the dialogue comes from. Only for minutes later to just show the scene and dialogue that leads to the problem of the film in a lot of scenes having repetitive dialogue. At first it seems like it is all a part of some kind of sleight of hand then you realize it’s just the way the narrative is revealing itself. The film doesn’t appear to have a message. Though it is saying something and isn’t exactly satire. The film seems to start off one way with one goal. Then develops and morphs until it ends in a place so far away. Though the Director tries to use the visuals to distract us from the lack of story and character development or use it in the space of. At least when it comes to Malick the voice over are used to inform us of something

Each act seems to represent a different world and mode of film. It seems that what is first intended as a brainless fantasy slowly reveals a harsh reality. The characters are exposed to the dark side of paradise due to overindulgence. Slowly making their way into a personal hell. As many characters seem to express that the great life they are living is all a part of the American dream. No matter how you maintain or get there. Once we finally get to the ending we get this message and while a great message it ends ridiculous. The characters overindulgence makes them finally wake up and seek a inner peace.

The film at first seems to expose trivial youth. What is important to them. The film Shows the characters starting off as kids. Though the most innocent person sees the danger ahead and acts like the most adult character. Then as fantasy comes back to a level of reality she wakes up from the dream world and telegraphs for us what we know is coming.

Another ridiculous aspect of this film is that James Franco want to start a war with his old best friend who taught him everything about surviving on the streets. His friend is the king of the streets and James Franco wants to dethrone him. The only problem is in a early scene we see Archie the king of the streets in his mansion (he also drives around in a Orange Lamborghini) With his crew of about 12. Where as throughout the film we see. James Franco with the girls and only two other crew members. Which seems to be like a losing battle to me once it comes to blows.

Which also shines a light on the fact that there is not much story though slowly finds semblance of one

In addition to the great visuals. There are some memorable scenes that might seem bizzare but work. Like the Britney Spears sequence where we watch Alien and the girls go through a crime spree while cutting back to him serenading them while they hold guns and wear pink ski masks while dancing. It’s actually quite outrageous and breathtaking visually.

Part of what is drawing at least some audience members to this film is to watch Teen Stars Some of Whom Star on Disney Channel Movies and Television shows. Not only being bad but getting down and dirty. Trying to change their images. Though they all wear bikini’s most of the time. It’s much ado about nothing. Yes Selena Gomez Smokes and curses. Truthfully that is all at least with her. She tries to show she can play more adult minded roles and show range as it is called upon. Here she isn’t called upon to do much except be the innocent. The others cavort and while their character do drugs it is more suggested as the scenes are cut up so that we see the before and after but not the actual doing.

While there is nudity, It’s anonymous nudity. None of the stars you might have been hoping to see naked. There is a threesome involving the stars but it actually doesn’t have any nudity nor too much sex. It’s the cleanest threesome I have ever witnessed in a film actually. Co-Star Gucci mane actually gets more of the graphic sex scene Separately.

James Franco is fantastic in the film. Making a character who could have come off as an over the top characterization and more of a comedic creation. Which is what he seems at first letting the wardrobe and look do the work for him, but as the film goes on he makes the character believable and real. Which makes him overall quite affective. All of what his character cares about and believes makes the world do around is money, Possessions so that is his version of the American dream that he is living out.

I will admit I am a fan of the actress Vanessa Hudgens this is one of the few of her films that I can sit through and enjoy. Though I will admit the role and film doesn’t ask much of her. She and Ashley Benson always are seen side by side in this film. Like they are one identity or share the same brain. Though it works for the characters and shows their chemistry. Though it get’s annoying here and there. They both obviously know how to fill out a bikini.

Another way of looking at the film is by saying Through it all whit girls will always live. As there is the killing of several minorities who are never truly humanized. They are either villains or victims or sexual playthings I could complain but I believe there is no racism on the filmmakers part, nor do I truly believe it was even intended just another way of looking at it. Plus none of the characters are not seen in a good or positive light. Just a different way of looking at it.

Having been following Director Harmony Korine and Enjoying his films. I have to say this is his most conventional film. He has managed to open up his style to more mainstream audiences but also stay true to his vision. His previous films have been on the more experimental side. They deal with reality that has touches of the absurd. Which makes them seem more obscure. He continues that with this film. Which I believe is a kind of fairytale as is almost most of his films. With this film though instead of grim and gritty surroundings. This one is candy colored and bright giving it a mainstream sheen. Giving the mainstream audience what it wants only under his terms.

He certainly directs the film with a vision, but remains vague. I only wish Mr. Korine had a bit more to say with this film and the subject matter. It is his platform after all. Here it just seems like another experiment with his vision. Flirting with accessibility just to prove he can. The film feels like an essay written by an intelligent college student. Who is vague while looking exactly for the subject of his paper. Then when he makes his point stays on them for too long trying to make you think or convince you they are more interesting than they actually are and if you don’t find it that way you don’t get it.

Though fun to experience in a theater, Wait for cable


1 comment:

  1. Cool review, for what seems to be an interesting movie, i will wait for the DVD of this I don't think it's something I will see on the big screen, I am kinda looking forward to seeing James Franco performance along with the Disney chicks pulling a Anne Hathaway by getting away from the teen image here.