January 17, 2013

Selena Gomez, Skrillex and Spring Breakers

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More than a month before the 85th Academy Awards Ceremony has even been aired, there are already bloggers looking on to bigger and better things. Namely, the 86th Academy Awards, whose nominees are due to you in January 2014 (“predictions” is currently the second most common Google search when looking up next years awards). Look around the Internet, and it’s easy to find lists of the most interesting and exciting films coming out of the major festivals this year, based purely on names and pedigree alone. In most cases, not a second of footage has been released.

The film that I am probably most excited about this year, and which as of Thursday morning has an official trailer, is Spring Breakers. The film’s director is Harmony Korine, he of Kids infamy. The film stars James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and, of course, Gucci Mane. For the cherry on top of the whole project, Skrillex is producing the score. Skrillex. It is the most perfect combination of highbrow and lowbrow art I can possibly imagine.

The basic plot of the film is as follows: Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine play a group of college girls who stage an armed robbery to finance their spring break partying. They head down to Florida, get busted on drug charges, only to be bailed out of jail by cornrowed, grilled teeth local rapper Alien, played by Franco. Gucci Mane appears, but seems to be acting in some way. Skrillex music plays. Everyone wears neon.

One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is the seemingly constant need by the director and actors to break type. Watching Yale Ph.D. student and former Oscars host James Franco embody the very essence of southern grit and skeeze is unexpected. It is even more unexpected when you realize that, in the same month, he’ll also be playing the Wizard of Oz in Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Gomez and Hudgens are Disney channel sweethearts — Wizards of Waverly Place and High School Musical, respectively — and Benson can be seen on ABC Family’s hit Pretty Little Liars. Not really the expected credentials of actors playing gun-toting, drug snorting hedonists. And, just because it bears repeating, Gucci Mane and Skrillex are involved.

Not to get too deep about a movie that stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, but underneath the neon and silver teeth, Spring Breakers seems to have something to say about American society. The most quoted line following the trailer’s release comes from Franco’s character Alien, who proclaims to a crowd of rowdy college kids on a beach, “Bikinis and big booties, y’all! That’s what life is about.” Objectification is rife throughout the two minutes and 30 seconds of film released, filled with images of guns, money and bikinis. The protagonists seem motivated by the rawest of capitalist desires, to get money by any means possible and to only look out for themselves. Alien sums it up later in the trailer when rubbing dark tanning oil on two of the girls: “This is the American dream, y’all.”

So, for all of you already back in Ithaca, and looking for the perfect escape to the white winter wonderland outside your window, here it is. Spring Breakers looks bright and fun, and it may even have a deeper resonance. In the very least, bikinis and big booties, y’all.


Original Author: Peter Jacobs