Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Breakers (Rhoades)

“Spring Breakers”
Is Timely Subject

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Living in Key West, I see a lot of Spring Breakers -- college students off having a Girls Gone Wild moment between semesters.
And there’s a just-released movie about this coming-of-age ritual called (you guessed it) “Spring Breakers.” Of all places, it’s playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Movies about Spring Break are nothing new. Remember “Where the Boys Are,” the 1960 rom-com drama with Connie Francis, Delores Hart, Paula Prentiss, and Yvette Mimieux? It was one of the first teen films to explore the changing sexual attitudes among American college students. Now, more than 50 years later, we live in a more permissive sexual environment. As well as other views on morality.
So “Spring Breakers” is more of a crime caper than a lighthearted sex romp. In it, four college girls decide to rob a fast food restaurant to pay for their Spring Break.
Ubiquitous James Franco (you just saw him as “Oz the Great and Powerful,” but here his role is more akin to “Pineapple Express”) heads the cast as Alien, a drug gangster with more women than he can handle.
But it’s the girls we’re watching -- Faith, Candy Brit, and Cotty -- as played by Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine.
The attraction here is watching Good Girls Go Bad, being that several of them got their start as pubescent Disney stars.
Aside from starring in TV’s “The Wizards of Waverly Place, Selena Gomez is known as pop star Justin Beiber’s on-again-off-again girlfriend.
And Vanessa Hudgens eclipsed her “High School Musical” fame as heartthrob Zac Efron’s early-on girlfriend. But it was those sexting photos of Vanessa in the nude that made her an Internet star.
Ashley Benson is best known for TV’s “Pretty Little Liars,” although she got some notice for dating Justin Beiber’s former swagger coach Ryan Good and is now rumored to be dating James Franco.
Despite a few movies on her resume, Rachel Korine doesn’t require any history since “Spring Breakers” was written and directed by her husband, Harmony Korine. He’s best known for writing “Kids,” the sexually explicit indie cult film by photographer-filmmaker Larry Clark. (Note: I own several original photographs by Clark.)
In “Springer Breakers,” you will see these once-teen-idols perform in very different roles than their fans are used to seeing. Harmony Korine shrugs it off. “I thought it was an interesting counter to their perception and what they’ve done in the past. And I thought it was exciting for them. They were all at a place in their life where they wanted to try things that were more graphic, more extreme — a different type of acting. And it was great.”
How does this compare with previous Spring Break and coming-of-age films? “Adolescents, they always have the same urges, and at its base level, I would assume that it’s the same,” says Harm (as his friends call him). “But at the same time, the world has changed; and the way people communicate and socialize has changed.”
And how have times changed? “Back in the day, it was more about kids trying to disappear, or people trying to find themselves. It was more of a shadow culture. Now everything is on display, and filtered through some kind of technology.”
Like let-it-all-hang-out movies.

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