In celebration of the fact that I am enjoying spring break in sunny Fredonia (the sky is almost blue!), I thought it’d be time to do two things: talk about the 2012 Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers, and jump into some academic discourse.
One of my favorite things about bad movies is that they still function as movies through a cultural lens; The Room, Troll 2 and even Grown Ups all have interesting things to reveal about the world we live in, sometimes thanks to their pure badness. Spring Breakers is a movie that I have mixed feelings on so I won’t be reviewing it, but I will be linking to some thoughtful pieces that at least complicate it.
In “The Life Lessons of Spring Breakers,” Richard Brody maneuvers between racial commentary, post-modern analysis and pure devotion to the art of film-making to suggest that it it’s quasi-educational and awkward, but ultimately schlock with a purpose. It is rather, uh, highfalutin (a few phrases will probably require Google searches throughout) but an interesting piece nonetheless.
Another essay on the American Dream combines analysis of Spring Breakers with a film that is a genuine favorite of mine, Michael Bay’s (yes, I know…) Pain and Gain. It notes rightfully that Korine seems to confuse the point of his satire by enjoying what he wants to critique (is trash that makes fun of other trash, still trash?) but also compares him to Terence Malick, which I never thought I’d read and I don’t even like the guy that much.
The real fans of the film will definitely want to check out “Spring Break Forever,” a collection of essays published by The New Inquiry that jump between analysis, autobiography and review and have great titles like “Bikini, Kill.” Even the film’s biggest naysayers (and I am probably among them) would do themselves a favor to check it out and at least get a sense of what other people see in it.
If you’re on spring break too and you’re sipping Mimosas on the beach, or like me and sitting in your apartment eating the same microwaved Chinese food you always are, all of these articles will make good reading material before you have to jump in to all the work you’re not doing right now.