Film: Spring Breakers

Girls Gone Wild: The Movie

Spring Breakers is a 2013 comedy-drama-arthouse-crime-exploitation film by Harmony Korine, starring notable teen idols Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and James Franco.

The film revolves around four college students looking to split campus for Spring Break, but there's a snag in their plan: they don't have nearly enough cash to cover the trip. As a means of covering the costs, they do what anybody else in their situation obviously would, and that's to rob a fast food place for quick money. Once they have enough to go, they enjoy all the typical activities of a Spring Break tripů until they end up in jail. As if their trip couldn't go any more worse, they're inexplicably bailed out by a drug-dealing, wannabe rapper. And somehow, it goes even more downhill from there.

Naturally, the film has gained a lot of controversy due to its mature subject matter, and especially because it stars former Disney idol Selena Gomez in her first "adult" film role (and Vanessa Hudgens too, for that matter, though we all knew she wasn't quite so innocent after Sucker Punch, or that nude photo scandalů).

Despite the notoriety the film amassed for itself, it averaged a sum of $87,667 in just three theaters during its first weekend in limited release, and made back its $2 million dollar budget worldwide. Plus, the critics actually like it, too. And You Thought It Would Fail?

This film provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Alien and Big Arch, to a certain degree.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Except Faith.
  • Ax-Crazy: Candy and Brit come across as such in the latter half of the movie, considering they have the guts to stick loaded guns in the mouth of a gangster who was seducing them, and casually discuss offing him and taking his stuff. Even in the first half of the movie, their go-to plan for getting money - robbing a local restaurant and threatening to kill the people inside - screams that they are not stable, and Faith's church-buddies warn her that they are evil.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: Alien gets lucky with two hot young blondes... good for him, right? Well, they put loaded guns in his mouth, further humiliating him by having a cheerful little discussion with each other over his head... this discussion being about whether or not they should just kill him and take all his stuff. His reaction is to fall in love with them. (Or pretend to - but he never tries to take revenge.)
  • Battle Harem: Alien, Candy, and Brit.
  • Bi the Way: Candy and Brit, presumably. Of course, it could be closer to Anything That Moves.
  • Blondes Are Evil: What separates Faith from the rest of the girls. Subverted for Cotty, whose crossing of the Despair Event Horizon makes her the least disturbing of the blonde girls.
  • Break the Cutie: Sweet, sweet Faith is just not cut out for the misadventures the girls get up to.
    • Cotty suffers this as well, after getting shot in the arm.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Robbing a fast food restaurant with water guns at the beginning? Comes in handy for Brit, Cotty, and Candy laterů with ''real'' guns.
  • Contrast Montage: Much of both the film's humour and drama comes from juxtaposing naive idealism with cynical debauchery and, ultimately, bloody violence. In between drug fuelled parties and violent crimes, the protagonists are seen watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and singing Britney Spears songs. On a similar note, the bloody climactic scene features two characters wearing pink balaclavas with unicorns emblazoned on them.
  • Creepy Twins.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Half of the movie focuses on the development of Faith, but after she gets Put On The Bus, the perspective changes to Alien's.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The reason as to why some characters were Put On The Bus. Faith's comes after being bailed out by Alien and not feeling comfortable in his presence, while Cotty getting shot is the kick in the ass she needs to leave.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Alien, who dies in the most abrupt manner in the movie.
  • Florida: St. Petersburg, specifically.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Faith (Melancholic), Candy (Choleric), Cotty (Phlegmatic) and Brit (Sanguine).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: From a very perverse perspective. Faith and Cotty become disillusioned and cynical after their experiences, and end up going home. The other two, however, stay on and end up rich after a successful killing spree. For them, the dream of "spring break forever" has come true.
  • Expy: Alien is one of Dangeruss, according to Word of God.
  • Fanservice: The girls only wear their bikinis once they reach Florida unless they decide to be Put On The Bus and Alien is almost always seen without his shirt...
  • Fan Disservice: ...on the other hand, while there are plenty of shirtless extras (of both genders), it never feels quite right, what with the excessive slow-motion Jiggle Physics and unflattering camera angles. Also, the only time we get to see Cotty's breasts is when she's having a Shower of Angst and covered in blood, having just been shot in the arm a few hours prior.
    • Also, despite all the advance publicity, Selena Gomez's character never gets naked nor partakes in any of the film's sex scenes.
  • Foil: The two Power Trios - Alien, Brit and Candy vs. Big Archie and his two unnamed companions. Alien seems to genuinely love (or at least put in the effort to pretend to love) his two female friends, caring for them and helping them, while their Three-Way Sex is passionate and engaging for all involved. Big Archie, by contrast, treats his companions like sexual objects and doesn't even bother to pay attention to them. The contrast is highlighted in the final shootout, when Archie's girls are busy feeling each other up in the shower while Brit and Candy rush in and kill Archie.
  • Foreshadowing
    • An interesting auditory example. The movie is broken into roughly four segments, and the transition between each is a specific event that has a distinctive sound. The sound is worked into the edits and shot changes in the scenes leading up to their events. Specifically, sounds of crashing and hammering leads up to the fast food robbery which heralds going to Florida, sounds of the jail cell door leads up to the arrest which moves from typical spring break to weird spring break, and sounds of gun fire leads up to Cotty being shot.
    • When the girls try to build up their courage prior to the Chicken Shack robbery, one of them says "Just pretend it's a video game." The final shootout itself is very video game-like in its structure.
    • The girls' reenactment of the bank robbery in the parking lot shows that the lot of them are a little too dedicated to abusing Faith, who plays the role of one of the Chicken Shack customers. This helps show us how easily the three girls slip into Alien's violent power fantasies.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Many people not familiar with Harmony Korine's work were surprised to find out that he's actually a man.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Brit and Candy.
    • To be fair, they DID seem to be pretty into one another prior to their encounter...
    • There's a number of lesbian make out scenes during the spring break party too.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Cotty, especially.
  • Hidden Depths: Alien playing Everytime by Britney Spears flawlessly on the piano shows us that he likely had formal training at some point though he could have just learned the song to impress girls like the gang.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: All the mooks in Big Arch's gang compound. This is notable since all of them couldn't hit two slow walking girls wearing nothing but bikinis and ski masks.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: A very egregious example since Brit and Candy killed everyone on the gang compound using sub-machine guns held with one hand, despite the movie never having shown them shooting anyone before.
  • I Warned You: Faith is told early on that her Childhood Friends Brit, Candy, and Cotty - especially the first two - are bad news, but she doesn't listenů
  • Karma Houdini: It's implied that Brit and Candy will completely get away for killing hordes of men right before they leave Florida.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In preparation for the girls' robbery, Brit says "Just pretend it's a video game. Like you're in a fucking movie."
  • Meaningful Name: It's no surprise that Faith is depicted as being religious, in some aspect.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Thought this would be another coming of age movie that would have dark comedic twists and turns? When Alien plays his part in the story, it won't be.
  • Put on a Bus: In this case, literally. Faith goes back home an hour into the film, with Cotty splitting towards the end.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The film ends with Brit and Candy riding off in one of Big Arch's fancy cars, likely with all his and Alien's money, too.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Alien's lifestyle is filled with this.
  • Shout-Out: Lots, with some of the most notable being a few Scarface references and a singing of "Baby One More Time".
  • Small Town Boredom: The main reason the girls wanted to go on Spring Break in the first place, though for half of them, this doesn't last too long.
  • Three-Way Sex: Brit, Candy and Alien.
    • They Do: Candy and Brit have oodles and oodles of Les Yay with one another, and finally...yeah.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: The Twins always "share" their girls (have threesomes with them). None of the girls seem interested, though.
  • White Gang Banger: Alien, who claims to have been the only white guy in his neighborhood growing up.
  • X Meets Y: One review described the film as being "Scarface Meets Britney Spears", with another calling it "Miami Vice meets Girls Gone Wild".