April 8th, 2013 / 5:23 pm

Spring Breakers?

Anybody else not that big of a fan of Spring Breakers? I didn’t hate it, but I also never felt that excited by it. It felt more like watching MTV mimicking Korine’s prior styles, which I guess is maybe part of the point, but if so I don’t care for the point. I imagine if it’d been listed as directed by Todd Phillips, and that doesn’t seem impossible, no one would have given it a second thought. Having seen Holy Motors shortly after, I can’t help thinking I wish that had been Korine’s next film somehow, at least in breadth.

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  1. Scott Riley Irvine

      Agreed. It did nothing for me. Thought the first fifteen minutes or so showed potential (remember that scene in the lecture hall and the laptop screens?), but thought it deteriorated after that. The intermittent recaps were obnoxious (feel like that’s just a minor bitch though).

  2. xTx

      that’s what i came away with, blake. Overall, i felt let down.

  3. davidpeak

      I’ve seen it twice now and will most likely be going a third time. I think Korine did some amazing things with the idea of “liquid” narrative, or looping images from the past and the future around images in the present. The way the story lurches forward and backward and all around was something I haven’t seen him do before–and he did it well. And Jesus, Todd Phillips would never be able to pull off the Spears/piano montage, which is about as pure as moviemaking gets in my book.

  4. Erik Stinson
  5. Brooks Sterritt

      The beginning wore pretty thin for me on a second viewing (after excitement for “a new Harmony Korine film” faded). Too much shoehorning/spoonfeeding/getting the narrative going for newcomers. It was almost like “how much do I have to sacrifice to get the audience grounded until I can veer off and start trying to make the film I’d really like to make?” That said, it was visually amazing at times. And the repetition/looping…

      I felt like Korine came pretty close to having your cake and eating it. But maybe he should have just eaten that shit. He’s said here and there that he wanted a movie of his to play in malls, and enjoyed the instant critical response rather than having to wait years. I’m not saying $$$ was the only factor, but it may have been one. I’m glad he made Spring Breakers the way he did, though, if only because it was a risk for him, or at least a different approach.

  6. Brooks Sterritt

      threesome in SB clearly derived from pool scene at 2:18

  7. Blake Butler

      i did like the looping and repetitions, but it was so overridden by all the other bullshit that it seemed not much to hold onto in the flood of lukewarm ideas, for me.

      and i honestly don’t get the spears piano scene. i totally could see todd phillips doing that with the “wacky” zach galifinakis. Really? harmony korine does faux irony now?

  8. Blake Butler


  9. davidpeak

      I didn’t read it as faux irony at all. I think it was heartfelt. And that’s what made it moving. Like, I think Harmony Korine likes that song as much as Alien likes that song. I don’t think there was an ironic scene in that entire movie.

  10. mimi

      i agree with davidpeak’s reply

      i mean, “the “wacky” zach galifinakis” is no james franco – – – no way

  11. mimi

      i liked spring breakers a whole lot – i found it to be hilarious and nihilistic

      make a deal with the alien-devil – sell your soul – look what you get

      get cold feet, feel your scruples, change your mind and go home – to – what? – another kind of hell

      and the looping soundbites – those are your brains on drugs, bitches

  12. lorian long


  13. lorian long

      what did u like abt holy motors, other than that weird bodysuit sex scene

  14. A D Jameson

      I liked it.

      Also, I haven’t seen it yet.

  15. Brooks Sterritt

      what about Gucci Mane’s performance?

  16. Mark Cugini

      I thought it was great, but it’s not my favorite Harmony flick. It felt more along the lines of KIDS–at least in terms of its simplistic, obvious criticisms of post-aughts excess, morality, and justifications. It’s not GUMMO, but I enjoyed it a lot more than the 4-5 mainstream releases I pretended to enjoy over the last year or two. Not saying it’s unforgettable, but I was moved by it.

  17. Peter Jurmu

      along the lines of ‘waching MTV mimicking Korine,’ those opening shots, and their repetition, especially the topless girl flying into the air surrounded by paraphernalia and male arms and hands, seemed to fit so neatly into my memories of MTV spring break shit and own SB experiences that i was taken aback by seeing them in a Korine film. most of the images i’ve seen in his work have been outside casual for me. the looping did something to unseat that, but i never quite shook how unpleasant the early feeling of easy mesh was.

  18. A D Jameson

      Also am waiting for inevitable Spring Breakers + Point Break mashup.

  19. M. Kitchell

      holy shit did i think spring breakers was like four billion fucking times better than holy motors

  20. A D Jameson

      holy shit did i think m. kitchell was like four billion fucking times better than spring breakers

  21. A D Jameson

      I still like Trash Humpers best of the films Korine’s actually made. And like Fight and Tap best of the films he hasn’t made.

  22. mimi

      in addition to the scene of his two lady-friends in the shower together i would have liked to see those two bitches in neon bikinis and high-tops

  23. Brooks Sterritt


  24. Stephen Schmunk

      I didn’t think SB or HM were that impressive.

  25. Jeroen Nieuwland

      Holy Motors = gda*n genius… Still very eager to see Spring Breakers

  26. Mike Young

      i haven’t seen SB yet—i’ve missed two opportunities to see it, bummerishly—but i would love to see a bunch of people talking about why they liked/didn’t like Holy Motors. i tried to get Leidner to see it and he was basically like “yeah right i’m not seeing that pretentious bullshit”

      it seems obvious that if harmony korine had made Holy Motors, that would’ve won the universe, but that’s not what actually happened, so it’s more complicated

  27. Mark Cugini

      I’ve yet to see Trash Humpers, because I’m lame as shit.

  28. A D Jameson

      It’s hard to see. It moves around.

  29. mimi

      you mean it’s hard to hump

  30. mimi

      but with or without the pink knit ski-masks? i can’t decide!

  31. Blake Butler

      even worse.

  32. Blake Butler

      i loved the opening of holy motors the most: the shifting rooms and darkness and layers. i enjoyed how from there it kept changing positions. i liked how the ending completely changed the context of the film while also making it less definable. it didn’t exactly blow my mind as a whole, there were points i was bored, but it at least showed an inventiveness and a will to do whatever it wanted, whereas the whole time i was watching spring breakers i felt like i was on the internet. i don’t want to watch a movie that feels like being on the internet. we see that all day every day. i think mainly i was just disappointed that this was the first harmony korine movie where there was almost nothing that i felt in awe of, visually. the most memorable scenes feel like extended jokes. james franco was fucking terrible, and not in a ‘man it’s interesting to see how terrible he is’ way. the only scenes that started to get me going were the ones with gucci mane, and that was mainly because he finally felt like he was coming from the direction i expect from korine: no frills, visually striking, makes you laugh in the gut without knowing why. all the other striking stuff just seemed like toy scenery, like all the other movies full of throwaway cute. trash humpers seemed miles ahead of where he ended up and i think i was hoping he’d go even further from that. this feels like a major regression. but in the end i respect him and i’m sure it fits into his body of work somehow. i just wish spring breakers had fucked with its own set up way more instead of feeling satisfied to take easy punches.

  33. lorian long

      oh man i forgot abt HM’s opening–it’s brilliant. i was excited for more of that, but i thought it unraveled into this retarded mess that just didn’t know what to do with itself. mike was all, ‘was that the french’s attempt to take irony seriously?’ and that scene with the talking cars? and kylie minogue? i mean, i guess that’s inventive, and it certainly ‘did what it wanted,’ but it all seemed so misguided and sloppy, which, you’re right, would’ve been a different thing all together if korine had been behind that.

      i think the interesting thing is that korine did regress to making something very boring. unlike HM, SB is pretty focused and edited and nicely packaged, and it doesn’t wander. i saw it a second time and felt sleepy. but i kind of like that? it’s a nice hiccup in his trajectory, and to follow such a significant film like trash humpers with something he could’ve easily passed off as an MTV special is funny to me. but you’re totally right–easy punches were taken. at least korine knew what he was hitting.

      has anyone else heard abt joaquin phoneiz in anderson’s adaptation of inherent vice

  34. Brooks Sterritt

      So you didn’t think him naming the Christian character “Faith” was ironic? I don’t think he’s that simplistic

  35. davidpeak

      It was that simplistic, yeah. I mean, her name is Faith and the first time we see her she’s in a prayer circle. So.

  36. davidpeak

      I don’t understand how that’s worse but I also don’t really care. Part of Korine’s purpose as a filmmaker has always been about creating and presenting images that have never been seen before in a way that hasn’t been done before. He nailed it with that montage. LIke it’s the best thing he’s done since Abe Lincoln spinning the globetrotter ball in a strobe light. Or nearly all of Trash Humpers. And the more I think about it the more I think I’d like to see Zach Galifinakis in something like that because I’d probably like that shit too.

  37. Brooks Sterritt

      I guess there’s no way to really know, but based on Korine’s other films, I think he’s smarter than that. It felt like a sop to simplistic viewers, while winking at others.

  38. Brooks Sterritt

      like “Disney moms are going to love this”

  39. davidpeak

      I think the idea of Korine making a movie that Disney moms are going to love is kind of amazing? But yeah I agree with you. I also hate it when everything is supposed to mean something or when directors get busy winking and nudging when they should be trying to create movement and texture. But that’s just me.

  40. Brooks Sterritt

      Less winking, more image–absolutely

  41. mimi

      pretty sure chicks don’t dig zack galfwhatever

      just sayin…

  42. mimi

      curious what you mean by “a movie that feels like being on the internet”

      becuz i’m not sure it’s the same internet that i’m on

      when i saw spring breakers i wuz in a really big (bigger than any room in my house) dark room with a really Big screen (way damn bigger than any screen in my house) and a sound system louder than i could really play my internets in my house, and there were couches and other people that i Didn’t Even Know* and it was a 21&over theatre (http://www.landmarktheatres.com/mn/shattuck/lot68/lot68.html) where you culd drink likker if you wanted (i asked the girl that sold us our tickets if we could birng in our own likkers and she said “well, we wudn’t serch you’ and i sed “well, i already had to drinks at home so for tonight it duzzint matter )

      so, it wuzn’t (my viewing experience of Spring Breakers) anything like MY internet

      *altho that’s whut my internets has too because it has lots of people that i Don’t Even Know!

      i wud be interested in experiencing Your internet if that were possible

  43. Stephen Tully Dierks

      i loved both of those movies. spring breakers is the most fun i’ve had at the theater in a long time, maybe ever

  44. Stephen Tully Dierks

      james franco seems so hilarious to me in spring breakers. we must have very different senses of humor or you just hate james franco a lot. feel like james franco is not remotely convincing if his character was intended to be convincing which i’m certain he isn’t—feel like the entire movie is tongue-in-cheek and, in an exciting way, very self-consciously ~fake~ and unreal—also feel like the movie perfectly suits james franco’s general lack of naturalism/convincingness and allows him to ham it up in a way that he’s real good at.

      also i ~do~ want to watch a movie that feels like being on the internet, especially if it feels like the internet but giving me near-constant pleasure and interest, which is what this movie gave me. spring breakers feels extremely contemporary to me, in a way that goes beyond content, costumes, stars, soundtrack, and extends into tone, editing, and mood (the comedic sensibility of the movie seems very contemporary to me–can’t imagine this movie in a different decade)

      i was mildly disappointed by the ending of holy motors. it felt heavy-handed in a tonally unappealing way in-context, and i dislike that holy motors is an actual place in the movie instead of simply the title of the movie. loved the motion-capture dance sequence, the opening, the creature in the graveyard, the accordion interlude, and more

  45. A D Jameson

      Mimi, there are now big theaters where people can go and collectively view the internet together. Dubbed “brew & browse” the way it works is one person has the keyboard and the mouse and everyone else yells suggestions about which link to click next, which YouTube video to play, and what should be typed in the various IM chat windows that are open. Drinks are available in the lobby, hard as well as soft, in addition to other concessions although people usually bring their own from home due to the 300–400% markup this business model necessitates. (The theater makes its profit through the sale of booze and popcorn.) These internet theaters are in just a few select larger cities right now, but the plan is to roll them out everywhere by 2017. My cousin who lives in Houston went to one which is how I know about them. They’re going to change forever the way we view and use the internet! Cheers, Adam

  46. A D Jameson

      That’s why I keep a copy chained to my bed.

  47. Scott McClanahan

      I fucking love Holy Motors. Can’t wait to see Spring Breakers.

  48. mimi


  49. mimi

      i’m really in agreement with your first two paragraphs here, STD, so much so that i wanted to give you more than just an arrow-up

      i AM a big franco fan
      i love the way he just. doesn’t. give. a. fuck.
      he’s got that lovable-jerk persona honed

      so far i’ve seen JF in:
      Pineapple Express
      The Broken Tower
      Tristan and Isolde
      Camille (perhaps the worst movie ever made)
      Sonny (good movie, hilarious Nick Cage – he directed – ‘cameo’)
      Oz The Great and Powerful (so-so)

      (haven’t seen 127 hours! must see!)

      i’m a Harmony Korine fan too
      i love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7nrhGQteas

      still not sure i’m understanding the movie-viewing (or, rather, Spring Breakers viewing?) vis-a-vis internet-ing comparison, but am interested in others’ thoughts on this

      and your last paragraph makes me want to see Holy Motors now (esp “motion-capture dance sequence”)

  50. mimi

      it would turn into “browse and brawl” i think

  51. Stephen Tully Dierks

      i think the piano sequence and the movie is post-ironic or maybe like purposely tonally ambiguous—yea, i’ll go with that, ambiguous, in a way that i like a lot. tone aside, it felt nice and good to me. i don’t get the todd philiips comparison at all. because it’s comedic?–sometimes broadly comedic–and shot on professional film in rich color? that doesn’t seem like enough for a comparison. the cinematography was clean but much better than a popcorn blockbuster. the hangover was filled with unfunny jokes and was not fun or exciting. spring breakers was the opposite and had complex tone, ambiguous meaning or intention, etc

      more broadly, i like that harmony made a cohesive, satisfying, but surprising and exciting movie and didn’t just fuck around for an hour and a half. but i like music with hooks and choruses and bridges in addition to cool production touches

  52. davidpeak

      We most likely agree, though I try not to label things “post-this” or “faux-whatever” if I don’t have to. I just try to take things in on their own terms.

      I don’t get the Todd Phillips thing either, really. I think saying that a movie isn’t as good as it could have been because it could have been like something else or is maybe tonally similar to something popular/bad isn’t really doing anyone any favors.

      A world in which people like Todd Phillips made movies like Spring Breakers would probably be a better world or at least a world I’d be happier living in.

  53. Katy Mongeau

      for me the movie itself was alright. I agree that it was relatively disappointing. what really got me excited was the way the movie was marketed, the cast, etc., then watching the movie in a room full of people who had obviously never even heard of harmony korine before and were expecting something much different, only to be mocked and confused. the best part to me was definitely watching/listening to the reactions during the movie and credits. maybe my experience in the particular theater audience was unique, but I think the success/merit mostly lies in the reactions of those unfamiliar with korine’s work, as well as korine taking a step away from his typical “shock” value to explore what I think is even more shocking: that this kind of shit should be mocked because not only does it exist but is glorified and idealized to a really frightening extent

  54. John Minichillo

      I saw Harmony in the neighborhood park the other day. Our kids played together and we ignored each other as we thumbed through shit on our phones. Next time I see him I’ll have this fucking thread in my head and I hope to God he resists Googling himself because I don’t pretend to know but I get the sense that he resists intellectualizing what he does at every turn.

  55. mimi

      i think you should show him this thread on your phone
      i think he would like it

  56. A D Jameson
  57. Emma Rayward

      what you experience is EXACTLY the point behind the movie, Korine has even said so himself. But even outside of this, i found the movie really stunning.

  58. rawbbie

      Money is the motive , but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It was actually bizarre to see a movie like that in a mall.

  59. Brooks Sterritt

      was the weeknd created to make money or something? or is that a lyric from the song that i’m missing? killer track regardless

  60. mimi
  61. Brooks Sterritt

      I GET IT NOW. The song “Morning” has the lyric, though the one you linked is BETTER