On “Spring Breakers”

It’s been a while since this film came out and people haven’t been talking so much about it, but I still want to talk about it, so I’m going to. A lot of people didn’t seem to like it all that much. They chalked it up to portraying the stupid aspects of our culture without much plot to entertain the audience. While, there wasn’t a strong plot, “Spring Breakers” ran much deeper than simply portraying our fucked up culture. It was a critique of it, and it scares me that some people didn’t pick up on that.

These are a few things that are wrong with our culture: gun violence, sexism, and the gang subculture that people don’t want to talk about or recognize. This movie points out all three of these, very bluntly and shows how they intermingle. The makers of this movie were well aware that some, probably a lot, of people would watch this and think that it is cool or glamorous or at the very least be intrigued. But, the dark tone and absurdly high death toll at the end are triggers to also be disgusted for feeling that way. And maybe people were and that’s why they didn’t like it. We should go one step further, though, and ask ourselves why we didn’t like it. Could it be because our society has tainted our minds to be fascinated by such violence?

What I got out of this film is that there’s one source of the three problems I mentioned above, and that is the need for power. The three girls are leaving their college environment, where they feel powerless, to have a spring break where they can get their thrills, if only for a week. One of the most poignant scenes to me is when two of the girls are simulated oral sex by making James Franco’s character suck on a gun that they are holding like it’s their penises. This turns all three of them on and the reason is, guns and penises are both symbols for power. James Franco’s character actually turns out to be pretty progressive, being turned on by being emasculated, but that does not solve the root of the issue. In our society, men crave power, which both puts women down and causes much of our violence. We need more facets of pop culture to point this idea out as “Spring Breakers” did.

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