A couple of days ago, one of the most talked about films of the last few months debuted in theaters across the world. Based on the information I read, it’s well on it’s way to becoming the top-film at the box office for this weekend, which in turn will make this the most-profitable film 90’s indie film prodigy Harmony Korine has ever undertaken. Because of the film’s overwhelming success on it’s opening night, I’m presenting you with 7 reasons why Spring Breakers will be regarded as one of the biggest films of 2013.
1. Harmony Korine wrote and directed it
18 years ago, Harmony Korine’s screenplay about skaters and the teenage AIDS experience was turned into a film that was received so dramatically on each end of the spectrum, terms like “wake up call to the world” held hands with “child pornography”. That film was Kids.
16 years ago, Korine wrote and directed a film that defied traditional narrative in favor of a surreal look into the underbelly of a tornado ravaged town bubbling with adolescent anarchy. That film was Gummo.
14 years ago, Korine became a figurehead in the independent film community by re-imagining the Lars Von Trier’s Dogme 95 manifesto and creating a piece about a schizophrenic man collapsing under the weight of the world he doesn’t understand. That film was Julien Donkey-Boy.
4 years ago, Korine went back to his roots, forsaking the cinematic tools of the present in favor of VHS tapes and creating a disturbing cinematic tour-de-force as we followed around a group of men who peep into windows and have sex with trash cans. That film was called Trash Humpers.
So, how will Spring Breakers compare to the disturbing and beautiful body of work Korine has been creating for nearly the last two decades? In a March 27, 2012 article by Indiewire, Spring Breakers “might be the weirdest movie [Korine] has ever made by nature of being totally unlike his previous work.” The film boasts a relatively traditional plot and an array of actors who are within the mainstream, something Korine does not have a history of doing. But, as many of us who are familiar with Korine’s work know, it’s not so much the plots (or in some cases, lackthereof) that make Korine’s movies a cross between the works of Buster Keaton and David Lynch, it’s the characters. Korine has a knack for making the scum of society appear angelic and beautiful, justifying their actions (which have ranged from stealing virginity to pimping a girl with Down Syndrome) as a necessary step in the achievement of a goal. A goal that you, the viewer, have been cheering them for without even realizing it.
That’s what makes Korine great and his films cinematic achievements.
2. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens completely shed their Disney pasts
Yes, the girl on the left is from High School Musical, and yes, the girl on the right is from Wizards of Waverly Place. Once upon a time, she was also on Barney. I know, and now, as they begin to take a closer look at their careers during their early-20’s, they decided to be involved in a film with one of the most brilliant (yet, disturbed) minds in cinema.
I think it’s brilliant!
For a little over ten years now, Disney has made careers, only to have the actors and actresses either give them the old fuck you (which I refer to as “Duffing”) or quickly jumping into very non-Disney material after the departure from the House of Mouse. It’s perfect career strategy, if you think about it. What better way to add a can of nitrous to your career than to make every writer and reviewer in the country go, “Oh my God! She used to be ___________ on the Disney Channel program ____________!” Hell, Miley Cyrus was caught smoking “salvia” right after Hannah Montana was cancelled. Remember that?
Anyway, back to the topic. (I fucking hate Disney). Vanessa Hudgens has been free from the cheese-greased fingers of Mickey Mouse since 2009, and since then has assembled a less-than-stellar resume of film roles, including Beastly, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and Sucker Punch. In Spring Breakers, she plays Candy, who is described in the Venice Film Festival review by The Hollywood Reporter one of three “reprobate skanks”.
Just so you know, she’s also billed in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez film, Machete Kills.
Selena Gomez, on the other hand, hasn’t completely escaped the Wonderful World of Disney. In Spring Breakers, she plays Faith, and while she may be a member of a youth ministry, she still is involved the film’s debauchery. This is an interesting role for Gomez, though, and one I think she could really pull off. She is sharp, witty, and has natural acting talent. I just find it interesting that she’s involved in a project like this and the ghost of Walt Disney isn’t slapping her around and calling her a Jew.
Okay, that may have been a little too harsh. But…
3. The film was released on March 22nd
Release dates are definitely important in the film industry and Spring Breakers really couldn’t have been released at a better time. It comes out the weekend after most Spring Break’s across the country end, serving as a kind of “finale” to whatever Spring Break shenanigans may have commenced.
4. James Franco is one of the most diverse actors around right now
There is no denying that James Franco has really set himself apart from the crop of actors who came up with him via Judd Apatow. Many of them have end up type-cast, such as Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, but Franco continues to display his broad acting range with nearly every film he is a part of. Since playing the role of Daniel Desario on the cult-drama Freaks and Geeks, Franco has garnered high praise for such roles as James Dean (James Dean), Harry Osborn (Spiderman 3), Saul Silver (Pineapple Express), Scott Smith (Milk), and Aron Ralston (127 Hours). He also played a sociopathic artist (aptly named Franco) on the long-running ABC soap opera General Hospital, which also brought him tremendous acclaim and recognition within the soap opera community.
In Spring Breakers, Franco plays Alien, a drug dealer that takes the girls under his wing and acts as a guide for the debauchery they immerse themselves in. His casting brought a lot of attention to the film and for the actor with arguably the most unpredictable career in Hollywood, that’s a very Korine thing to do.
5. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival
The Venice Film Festival is one of the most prestigious in the world, arguably of equal significance as the Cannes Film Festival or the Berlin Film Festival. It’s also the oldest in the world.
Films that are accepted into the Venice Film Festival competition almost always become successful, not just in their own countries, but abroad as well. For many in the industry, there is nothing more important to the success of a film as festival recognition.
6. Skrillex is one of the most-marketable names in music right now
Despite my personal opinions toward Skrillex, and “dubstep” as a whole, one of the things that could definitely assist Spring Breakers in being one of the films discussed at the end of the year is, actually, Skrillex. He’s at the front of the dubstep trend and more and more people are listening to his music every day. Skrillex has six Grammy Awards, as well as a VMA and an Annie Award (for Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, believe it or not). On top of that, he was a nominee in BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll and MTV’s 2011 Electronic Dance Music Artist of the Year.
7. It made back double it’s budget on opening night
It took one night for Spring Breakers to make enough money to avoid becoming a box-office failure. The average theatrical run is about four weeks. You tell me why that’s a good thing.