Monday, April 1, 2013

"I'm About Making Money! That's the Dream! The American Dream!"

I often wonder what people do with their free time that is the time in which they are not engaged in "productive labor". Are they watching movies? Reading books? Going to theme parks? Enjoying a meal with a friend at a restaurant? I always wonder what commodity and to what extent they are dealing with it, and how they just get it away from it all. Recently Hollywood has given me a voyeuristic encounter with how people spend their time away from the drudgery of work and school.

Spring Breakers, directed and written by Harmony Korine of Kids, and Gumo fame, is the story of four nubile, and nearly identical young women who vacate their collegiate life to enjoy a spring break bacchanal. The thin story begins with three of the women (all bleached blondes) robbing a working class, "Chicken Shack," an obviously low standard restaurant in their hood, in order to fund their extravagant vacay away from school. The necessity for the vacation is obvious in the women's lines and their desire to see another world after all spring break is "Way more than having a good time". Spring Break is a way to get away from it all, "its nice to have a break from reality". They even convince the light weight moral compass, Faith, to come along on the hedonistic trip with their repetitive mantra of "Spring Break Foeva".

Their plans go sour when after a collage of cocaine, alcohol, and exploratory bisexuality they are arrested. Luckily the Alien, portrayed by James Franco, bails them out. Franco, an obvious play off of rapper Riff Raff, (who is a mixture of white trash, and black gangsta rapper - think Kid Rock meets  Ole Dirty Bastard but not as cool, unless you are a hipster, then its probably deeper- both ironically cool and uncool at the same time) is Alien, another worldly being who is made of money. Alien is the embodiment of currency made flesh pronounced when he exclaims "Look at my teef", which are rimmed with gold and diamonds. Alien is made of the right currency after all for the young ladies "Money makes my tits look bigger", and "money makes my pussy wet". Which in the realm of the spectacle a wet pussy and big tits will get you far.

 When Alien first comes on stage as an active agent in the drama, it is in the courtroom, a third of the way through the nonlinear narrative. Alien leans forward interested in the girls being charged and given the choice to pay bail or spend two more days in county jail, a place of B-O-R-E-D-O-M, almost as bad as school. Alien, visually sporting his $ neck tat, makes his tat not just a signifier but signified when he springs the ladies out.
seriously have you ever seen rich bitches look so bored?

Alien meets them outside and brings them to the underbelly of of Spring Break, which doesn't mean that the continual splicing of white kids ejaculating booze on lined up rows of white women stops, it just means that there are more black bodies about. The black bodies come to a for in a strip club which is visited by Alien and three of the girls (Faith drops out of the indulgence with fake tears). The black females are covered with money and Alien slaps their asses as he talks to his childhood best friend, Big Archie, who taught him everything he knew.

The two are threatened by each other and posture, after all what working class white rapper isn't threatened by a black working class rapper? Both have come from the "streets" and somehow both made it into the realm of spectacular capitalism, although neither of them are working class any long but are nouveau rich. Obviously there is a clash of markets and the conflict is not only one of color, but also of the ways in which the colonizer mimics the colonized (how many white girls asses did we see in the film? How many women of color twerked?) The racial depth, along with conflicts of sexuality and  depth of intra class warfare, are beyond the depth of this trite blog review however, poo poo.
So hood, soooo hood!

In an encounter on the street, with both driving expensive sports cars, Big Archie, in obvious dissatisfaction that his vehicle does not have $ sign rims opens fire on Alien's car. One of the girls (don't ask me who) is hit in the arm. The flesh wound is so upsetting that Alien must engage in a solo piano number, smashing the keys, while the wounded girl showers naked (in a surprisingly unsexual scene). The wounded girl goes home and then... there were two little blonde girls.

In an act of vendetta and an attempt to show his masculine prowess, rather than be a continual "Scaredy Cat," Alien lays siege to Gucci Mane's place of residence, which is sea side and has a hot tub. Alien and the two girls ride a motorboat, dock, and clad in bikinis and pink balaclavas the two girls way waste to all the black men in the compound, finishing their bulletory ejaculation with Gucci Mane who is watching two voluptuous women of color engage in light lesbianism. Alien, however dies in the first burst of fire and the ladies are left to commit racial genocide without their man. Sad, sad, sad.
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns!

In the end what can we gather from this film? Is it a new venture in riot grrl capitalism? A way of white angst expressing dissatisfaction with the growing black bourgeoisie? A condemnation of curvy bodies? Or black bodies? A tale of intraclass violence? A testimony of the power of the phallus and threat of violence? Is it just a teen exploitation movie?

Well one thing is for sure... it is a commodity meant to sell and a commodity appears, at first sight as a very trivial thing, seemingly easily understood. Its analysis shows, however, that it is in reality, a very peculiar thing, abounding in pop-cultural subtleties and ideological niceties.

1 comment:

EL CHAVO! said...

The new Ebert has emerged!