My Reaction to Spring Breakers

by Ama Debrah

Trust us, it gets weirder.

So, I just saw Spring Breakers.
Hell did I just watch??????

But let me back up. For those you not-in-the-know, before Spring Breakers officially came out in the United States, the producers decided to have it open in New York City a week earlier than the scheduled release date. And frankly, after seeing the movie, this was probably the best decision they could have made. Why?

So everyone would tell their peers how cracked up this move is.

I was at first hesitant to see Spring Breakers. The previews seemed iffy, (music from Skrillex featured in a non-ironic way?), and I didn’t feel like witnessing Selena Gomez and Vanessa Ann Hudgens frantically attempt to shed their Disney image by consuming copious amount of drugs and alcohol on screen. But after hearing enough people on Facebook exclaiming over the sheer bizarreness and oddity of this neon-colored nightmare, I decided that it was something that I needed to see for myself.

Really, that’s the best way to describe the cinematic shit-show/masterpiece that is Spring Breakers: you just need to see it for yourself. But hey! Since you’re probably not in a theater right now, let me recount the Spring Breakers experience (oh, and spoiler alert).

It’s definitely that winning smile.

Spring Breakers starts off with some shots of college co-eds partying on the beaches of Florida. There’s lots of beer, boobs, blunts. Pretty typical. We then flash over to the generic state college where Selena Gomez, or “Faith” (she’s a pastor’s daughter—obvs), and her gang of demented bleach-blonde cohorts are lamenting over their humdrum lives and lack of cha-ching to fund their ultimate spring break experience. So what do they do to get some fast cash? They definitely don’t start a baby-sitting club to responsibly acquire funds while giving back to the community. They rob a chicken joint with water guns filled with booze!

Off to Florida our four protagonists go, followed by a twenty-minute montage of drinking, sex, and lots of drugs. Like, a lot of drugs. How no one in this movie overdoses is beyond me, or maybe I just haven’t really been making the most of my college experience.

Anyway, someone in the middle of this blur of debauchery, we view James Franco in his sure-to-be-Oscar-winning-role of Alien (yes, that’s the character’s name), a white-trash rapper/drug-dealer/ball3r, complete with dollar sign tattoos, grillz, and corn rows. If this visual image is making you vom a little, that is the correct response! No matter how many times I saw Alien throughout the duration of the movie, (and trust me, you see all of Alien), it did not get any less horrifying. And yes, James Franco does actually rap. I’ll leave it at that.

Continuing on, at one point, Selena Gomez and company are arrested for doing cocaine, and are consequently bailed out by Alien, who wants the girls to live with him and join his straight-up-gangstah lyfe. Not surprisingly, the only person who has a problem with abandoning their collegial experience to live with Alien in his gun-covered mansion is Selena Gomez, who clearly can’t completely shed her Disney censor.

As an aside: there’s one scene where Selena Gomez is crying because she feels uncomfortable playing pool with Alien’s “bein’-bad-is-a-lifestyle” posse. Surprisingly, though I have never been kidnapped by a white rapper, I completely related. When I was five or six, I was in France for a bit, and my mom signed me up for this French day school. One day, they took us on a bus to some random house in the country for a “field trip.” Unfortunately, since I did not understand French, I thought I was being kidnapped by these psychotic French day camp leaders (one of whom had a shocking resemblance to Justin Timberlake). Just like Selena Gomez, no matter how hard Justin Timberlake and/or James Franco tried to persuade me, I knew that I just wanted to go home. (However, unlike Selena Gomez, later the French leaders introduced a fun scavenger-hunt game and I was perfectly fine.) About halfway through the movie, Selena Gomez peaces out and goes back to boring college land.

And this is when things start to get weird.

The kind of weird like James Franco (shirtless, btw) giving a monologue with machine-guns in both hands about how he “was the only white guy in his class” and “is a baller for a livin’” and how his profession is “bein’ bad.” The kind of weird like the remaining three bad girls dancing around in bright pink ski masks with machine guns in their hands while James Franco plays “Everytime” on his white piano. The kind of weird like James Franco deep-throating two handguns and then having a three-some with Vanessa Ann Hudgens and her naturally blonde friend.

Oh hey G-Mane.

And then Gucci Mane appears as James Franco’s drug-dealing rival who was als
o his best friend as a child (whatever) and has sex next to a huge pile of weed.

But I won’t spoil the ending—partially because I haven’t completely processed it yet—but because also, as I have said before, you really need to see Spring Breakers for yourself to get it. I haven’t really decided if Spring Breakers is the best or worst thing I’ve ever seen, (honestly, probably the latter), but you should probably see it, if only just to be able to join the conversations that will inevitably happen to try to decipher what the moral of this cracked up story is. If you figure it out, please get back to me. I’ll be hearing James Franco drawl “spring break forever” in my dreams tonight and trying to piece together my renewed understanding of the meaning of life.

Ama Debrah is a junior at Barnard and New York and On Campus editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Stand By For Mind Control, Spring Breakers LLC, and XXL.