What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Spring Breakers? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
Spring Breakers (2012) | Directed by: Harmony Korine | Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Additional notes by: Tommy Cook
Analyzed by Aliens – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Spring Breakers, starring unknown NYU grad student James Franco and Disney refugees Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.
The film follows four human females who feel oppressed by Earth society’s attempts to pump them full of information, wishing instead to damage their brain cells with poison at a mystical place known only as “Spring Break.”
In order to obtain the galactic credits they need to get to Florida, often considered to be America’s scrotum, the females rob a local food factory. Once at their destination, they party like it’s 19,999. Soon they meet a wealthy rapper- slash-drug dealer with a highly offensive name. Hey! You can’t say that. Only we can say that. But whereas most humans were made of bones and skin, Alien is made of money. He takes the females to his house, where he implores them to examine his excrement.
Shortly thereafter, one of the females gets annoyed that everyone just wants to play pool all the time, so she leaves. Another one gets annoyed that everyone just wants to shoot her in the arm all the time, so she leaves too. The last two stay to help Alien fight a turf war, but once they’re done with that they decide it’s probably time to go study for midterms.
Spring Breakers is largely a comment on American youth culture, inasmuch as American youths could look up from their phones long enough to feign having a culture. The girls speak about authentic epiphanies and meaning they’ve derived from their trip, yet all we see are images of human booties gyrating, partying, and general excess. Look, that guy is smoking out of a baby! This ironic juxtaposition coyly suggests that American youth culture derived its identity purely from sexuality and gratuitous debauchery, not to mention normal, run-of-the-mill debauchery. The camera dwells on the bodies of our protagonists, sexualizing them and fetishizing youth. It also fetishizes scooters, but come on, who wouldn’t?
In short, this culture was narcissistic. Which is understandable, considering they were trapped inside their own brains without the ability to mind- merge. The protagonists “refuse to be miserable,” so they break one of Earth’s most sacred commandments– not committing armed robbery– to fulfill what they believe is their god-given right to go to Spring Break. Likewise, Alien bases his entire life around fulfilling his personal desires, no matter how long it takes to do those braids. To him, that is the American Dream: fuck everyone else, get money.
As portrayed in the film, Spring Break is a fantasy world, a hyper- stylized reality governed only by vibrant color.
Whereas scenes of the school bathroom, the jail, and the bus back home are presented in muted, drab colors, life on the beach is bathed in neon like a bag of hallucinogenic Skittles. The film also features elliptical editing, moving forward and backward through time with impunity. The result often feels more like a music video than a cohesive narrative, engrossing the audience in something akin to what Earth historians call “tripping balls.” And when suspended in such a state, the only thing on one’s mind is: “I wish this could last forever.”
Indeed, much of movie explores the relationship between permanence and impermanence. The Spring Break lifestyle is an ecstatic investment in the moment. It celebrates fleeting things, like drug experiences, youth, the “gangster” lifestyle, joy, beauty, and Britney Spears [clip of them singing Britney]. Yet the idea of permanence, or “forever,” is one of the primary motifs of the film. The girls’ mantra is “Always lie to your legal guardian over the phone.” But their other, more important mantra is “Spring Break FOREVER”.
Perhaps Spring Break is a symbol for all things transient– a week where human beings can live outside the laws of society and physics, and simply let the good times roll. The film suspends the audience in a protracted state of party energy, disorientation, and sex. Just like a warped drug experience, but also like a dream. And unfortunately for anyone whose body chemistry depends on a sleep cycle, eventually you have to wake up. Or hit the snooze button one more time. See if I care.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. To look at all mah shit, aka more videos, click the subscribe button.