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Film / Spring Breakers

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Spring break...
Spring break!
Spring break forever...

Spring Breakers is a 2013 comedy-drama-arthouse-crime-exploitation film written and directed by Harmony Korine, starring notable teen idols Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson in their first "adult" film roles, alongside James Franco and Rachel Korine.

The film revolves around four female college students looking to split campus for spring break in Florida, 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 trip...until they end up in jail. As if their trip couldn't go any more wrong, they're inexplicably bailed out by a drug-dealing, wannabe rapper named Alien, and somehow, it goes even more downhill from there...

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Brit, Candy and Cotty all seem like ordinary girls in their late teens, but embark on a violent armed robbery. They wield guns and hammers while doing so. At the end of the film Brit and Candy go on a killing spree, gunning down Big Arch along with his men wielding automatic weapons. Where the pair learned to do this is really anyone's guess.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Every female character in the film is either seeking or having sex, and if not acting sexual while scantily clad, with Faith as the only exception (even she spends much of the film in a bikini alongside the rest of them though).
  • Ambiguously Bi: Candy and Brit as they are willing to kiss each other as long as white rapper Alien watches them.
  • Asshole Victim: Alien and Big Arch, to a certain degree.
  • 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 friends warn her that they are evil.
  • Battle Harem: Alien has Candy and Brit, both of them action girls (he finds it attractive how they had ''threatened his life), who engage in a threeway with him.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played with. There is a reloading sound after Candy and Brit shot the gangster who killed Alien, though no reloading motion accompanies it and they have no place to store extra clips on their bikinis. Even after this, they fire off numerous bursts of gunfire at about a dozen goons without reloading.
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: Jeff Jarrett briefly appears as the pastor of a bible group Faith goes to.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Robbing a fast food restaurant with water guns at the beginning? Comes in handy for Brit, Cotty, and Candy later... with real guns.
  • Contrast Montage: Much of both the film's humor and drama comes from juxtaposing naive idealism with cynical debauchery and, ultimately, bloody violence. In between drug fueled 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: The film poster shows Faith partying with Alien along with her friends. In the film, Faith is only ever creeped out by Alien and leaves shortly after he arrives.
  • Creepy Twins: Alien's two goons are a pair of creepy twins who never speak on camera.
  • Dark Reprise: "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" by Skrillex plays during the beach party in the opening scene. A more melancholy arrangement of that same song plays over the film's climax, which is decidedly less carefree.
  • Deadly Bath: Big Arch is relaxing is his hot tub when he is shot and killed by Brit and Candy.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Half of the movie focuses on the development of Faith, but after she literally gets Put on a Bus, the perspective changes to Alien's.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Candy and Brit, presumably, as they make out with each other during their threesome with Alien. Of course, some straight women will engage in sexual activity with each other to please straight men.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The reason as to why some characters were literally 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.
  • Desperate Plea for Home: After Al bails them out of prison, Faith breaks down crying and says she wants to go home. The other girls try to convince her that she can't, but this is Foreshadowing for the fact that Faith does leave and is in fact the first to do so.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Alien, who dies in the most abrupt manner in the movie.
  • 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.
  • Erotic Eating: The montage of hedonistic activity on the beach at the start of the film includes a group of bikini-clad girls sucking on Popsicles in a very suggestive manner.
  • Expy: Alien is supposed to be one of Dangeruss, according to Word of God, though most people assume he's an Jerkass-ey expy of Riff Raff.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • 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, looking more like it comes from the eyes of someone experiencing a bad acid trip.
    • The second 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.
  • Fetishized Abuser: 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 in love with them.
  • Foil: The two Trios - Alien, Brit and Candy vs. Big Archie and his two unnamed companions. Alien seems to genuinely 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 correlating events. Specifically, sounds of crashing and hammering lead up to the fast food robbery which heralds going to Florida, sounds of the jail cell door lead up to the arrest which moves from typical spring break to weird spring break, and sounds of gun fire lead up to Cotty being shot.
    • 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.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Faith (Melancholic), Candy (Choleric), Cotty (Phlegmatic) and Brit (Sanguine).
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot:
    • Brit and Candy invoke this during their threesome by making out in front of Alien. 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 that the guys like, too.
    • Big Arch is shown getting two girls to make out in the shower before he gets shot.
  • Girly Bruiser: Brit, Candy and Cotty are otherwise all feminine girls who engage in armed robbery wielding hammers or guns. In the finale, Candy and Brit even gun down many armed men with automatic weapons with both still wearing their bikinis.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: The only two people who experience any sort of regret for their actions are Cotty and Faith. Cotty has pink hair, while Faith has dark brown hair, in contrast to the Candy and Britt's very bleached blonde hair.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Cotty, especially, but everyone parties hard. Although she does join in with their behavior, Faith is the only one not shown to be reveling in it or shown in any particularly compromising positions.
  • Hidden Depths: Alien playing Everytime by Britney Spears flawlessly on the piano shows us that he likely had formal training at some point or because he legitimately loves the song, considering the sincerity of his tone when he talks about how much the song means to him.
  • Hollywood Psych: While Alien is an established rapper in-universe, it's strongly hinted that he has a learning disability and possibly might be a bit touched as well—he repeats himself constantly and we later see that his entire internal monologue takes the form of a repetitive rap poem that begins to sound like a Verbal Tic after a while. The man clearly has problems.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: All the mooks in Big Arch's gang compound. This is notable since all of them couldn't hit two walking girls wearing nothing but bikinis and ski masks.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: A very egregious example since Brit and Candy kill everyone on the gang compound using sub-machine guns held with one hand, despite the movie never having shown them shooting anyone before. The guns used did have relatively little recoil because of their design, however.
  • 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 listen.
  • Karma Houdini: It's implied that Brit and Candy will completely get away with robbing a lot of people with Alien and then 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 you're in a fucking movie."
  • Madness Mantra: Alien has a few of these.
    • "Spring break... Spring break! Spring break forever..."
    • "Look at my shit!"
    • His "four little chickies" freestyle poem
  • Male Gaze: Rampant and justified. There's a huge amount of close-ups on women's rears and shots that are composed purely to get female body parts somewhere in the frame. One critic described it as the camera constantly moving across the four lead women "like a giant tongue." A large part of the film's theme is displaying how disturbing unchecked hedonism can become, and the cinematography reflects this.
  • Manchild: Alien, in heavy doses, from the perspective of the viewer. His attitude on life is like that of a child fantasizing about being a kingpin - the protagonists don't see through it and just find his immature idea of personal power based on decadent luxuries alluring.
    Alien: Look at all my shit!
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Alien guesses that Faith is religious based on her name, and she is.
    • Alien is, fittingly, a really weird guy.
    • Big Arch is Alien's archnemesis.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Brit and Candy kill all the men in the manor while letting the women escape, but the women are the only people who aren't armed, so it's justified. Alien is also the only one in the protagonist group who dies, which is less justified.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Alien is almost always seen without his shirt, while he's got a muscular build.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The girls only wear their bikinis once they reach Florida unless they decide to be Put on a Bus, while all of them are good-looking.
  • Only Sane Man: Faith and eventually Cotty. Given an interesting spin, in that in both cases the sane person demonstrates their sanity by eventually deciding Screw This, I'm Outta Here and leaving the film entirely, thus leaving us watching only the lunatics.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Thought this would be another mindless, fun, party movie? 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.
  • Plot Armor: The only explanation as to how Brit and Candy manage to shoot every gangster in the finale despite the fact that they could not be easier targets than if they had bullseyes on their foreheads. Definitely adds to the surreal nature of the film.
  • Put on a Bus: In this case, literally. Faith goes back home an hour into the film, with Cotty splitting towards the end. Both are never heard from again afterwards.
  • Rearrange the Song: The opening sequence features Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites;" the film's climax features a slow string version of the same song performed by Skrillex himself.
  • 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.
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Alien cultivates his gangsta cred by endlessly watching Scarface on repeat.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After being jailed for drug use and bailed out by Alien, Faith doesn't like how / where things are going and decides to hightail it home. Later, Cotty gets shot and wisely decides to cut her losses as well.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Alien's lifestyle is filled with this, with rap replacing rock & roll.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Alien is already a somewhat well-known rapper in-universe, but clearly less well known as a big, bad kingpin in the underground economy. This makes Alien the rapper want to up his gangsta cred and boost his already inflated ego by becoming an equally or even more well known criminal - leading him to a few confrontations with his obviously more powerful and established rival, Big Arch. It doesn't end well...for either of them.
  • Small Town Boredom: The main reason the girls wanted to go on Spring Break in the first place, though for one of them, this doesn't last too long.
    Faith: I’m so tired of seeing the same thing every single day. Everybody’s miserable here because everybody sees the same things. They wake up in the same bed, the same houses… same depressing streetlights. One gas station. The grass, it’s not even green it’s brown. Everything is the same and everyone’s just sad.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The delicate Britney Spears ballad "Everytime" plays over a violent scene.
    • Also, beautiful violin music plays (a string arrangement of "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites") when Candy and Brit murder Big Arch.
  • Stupid Crooks: Most of the criminality doesn't make a lot of sense.
    • Alien robs a bunch of people at gunpoint making no effort to disguise his distinctive appearance. This is after he brags about being a local celebrity. And if he gets caught, it's not going to be too difficult to figure out which three white girls in bikinis those were at his side.
    • Before conducting his drive-by, Big Arch stops and threatens Alien with his pistol out, giving Alien plenty of opportunity to defend himself, which Alien doesn't do. And when Arch's thug does shoot, it's a short, haphazard burst as they're driving away, succeeding only in winging one of Alien's passengers, leaving Alien perfectly intact to plan his revenge.
    • Alien and his remaining girls plan an assassination by charging up a long and brightly lit dock so that they will have no element of surprise, doing so while Alien is hosting a party full of his armed goons. Alien dies immediately as a result of this poorly conceived plan, but the girls have some impenetrable Plot Armor defending them.
  • Sunshine Noir: The fun in the sun of the Tampa Bay area apparently includes it being a crime ridden pit. Korine himself calls the film "beach noir."
  • Their First Time: Candy and Brit have oodles and oodles of Les Yay with one another, and finally act on it while having a threeway with Alien.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Faith is shown at a Bible study group near the beginning. She's not only the only one among the girls to leave early as she's disturbed by the hedonistic setting they vacation to. None of the rest ever show any religious sentiments.
  • Three-Way Sex:
    • The Twins always have threesomes with girls together.
    • Brit, Candy, and Alien all have sex together near the end of the film.
    • Shortly after this, Big Arch is shown having sex with two women as well.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: The Twins always "share" their girls (have threesomes with them). None of the protagonist girls seem interested, though.
  • Two-Act Structure: The first 30-45 minutes of the movie is an all-girl movie about the naive Faith and her friends committing a major crime and hiding out in Florida. With the major arrival of Alien, Faith leaves shortly after, and the rest of the movie resembles a gruesome, drug-fueled crime movie.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: A three person version with Alien, Brit, and Candy, as they all have sex in a pool together.
  • White Gangbangers: Alien, who claims to have been the only white guy in his neighborhood growing up. His twin cronies also count, not to mention Brit and Cotty.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Big Arch makes the questionable decision to pull up alongside Alien, pull out a gun, and threaten him before having his goon shoot at Alien. He could have just started shooting and given Alien no chance to defend himself.
  • Wretched Hive: The Tampa/St. Petersburg area is shown as pretty trashy and a magnet for nastier forms of human excess throughout much of the film, and that's before Alien and his bloodthirsty gangland rivals show up.