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‘Spring Breakers’ sexploitation &?satire

April 1, 2013
By Tony Rutherford (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

Reflecting societal issues has been obligatory for cinematic art. All flicks do not fulfill this purpose, they entertain and cater to niche audiences. Occasionally, the mores of generations vividly alter blurring distinctions between gratuitous provocative excess and almost symbolic satire.

"Spring Breakers," "Olympus Has Fallen," and upcoming "White House Down" have a commonality - though admittedly stretched. The films' assessments of youth, civilization and politics both excite, titillate and subtlety mock the norm.

One of these films, "Spring Breakers," has buzzed into a fable for instant gratification, one that negates the choices- conduct-consequences pattern. The week out of college becomes a behavior free pass, it's only a week and it's in Florida. Bonnie and "Clydette" premise flaming, props consist of bikinis (or half thereof), cut-offs, flip flops, guns and "fake" abused substances. Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens (both former Disney Channel princess types), Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine grind bodies, snort, and booze, though Gomez, playing "Faith," a Christian youth group member amongst the reprobates, might have loss of innocence flashbacks like the "Janet" from "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Article Photos

From live.orange.com

Cinema violence has taken a hit due to real-life crazies with guns who even take the lives of infants. Raunchiness has over used vulgarities as less politically incorrect than alienating those who disdain sexism. Facing the limit of pushing the edge be it slash, bang, or torture, director Harmony Korine returns to a "passion pit" drive-in standard beyond brutal grindhouse exploitation evidenced in the 2007 homage ("Planet of Terror," "Death Proof" by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez) which poured on slashing and martial arts yet went easy on the sexual sleaze, perhaps in an unsuccessful quest to appeal to modern women.

Now, mixing sexploitation with alcohol, drugs and guns, the prevailing "screw it" and "bad attitude" norms ironically labels these consensual "it happens every weekend, nearly everywhere" activities being praised as an eye-opening look at hooliganism (as if we did not already know from tweets to headlines). I'll agree that it's intense enough to consider grabbing a cold shower to shed the grittiness, but for countless victims of crude, cruel and criminal behavior a mere penicillin shot won't make the trauma go away.

Interestingly, the U.S. has the random acts of gun violence issues and the less Puritanical Europe has encountered little criticism for bare tops unless they belong to royalty. The Ukrainian founded FEMAN (Freedom for Women) has set up a training base in France where the "ladies" gain soldier-like mindsets before squalling "radical" demands for equality on their bare chests, even at the risk of stoning.

Twin ironies, rehab (not jail) bound Lindsey Lohan's sentencing came simultaneously to the releases of "Inappropriate Comedy" and "Scary Movie V," (April 12) both of which portray mere bleeps of her bod, when equated to continual "Breakers" displays.

 
 

 

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