Greetings, programs, and welcome to the latest edition of the Awesome Friday Movie Podcast! This week we are looking at two new Netflix movies. First up, The Harder They Fall, a western starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, and a host of other talented actors. Second, Tick, Tick… Boom! , the new film adaptation of famed Rent composer Jonathan Larson’s one-person show directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and starring Andrew Garfield. One of these movies we have differing opinions on, the other we unabashedly loved. Listen in to find out which!
Spring Breakers might be the smartest movie I see all year based on one fact: It’s managed to advertise itself dubstep and drug fueled sex romp for four girls but it’s actually a highly intelligent movie highlighting the emptyness and malaise felt by the current Gen Y crowd.
Yeah, I said it, Spring Breakers is really good and you should watch it.
The basic premise is this: four college girls played by Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine (Director Harmony Korine’s wife) want to go to spring break but have no money despite saving all year. All of them are desperate to go, and two of them stage a robbery of a local restaraunt to get the necessary funds.
They then head down to florida for spring break and indulge in all the dubstep and drug fueled debauchery you can imagine without the film being X-rated before getting busted for posession and subsequently bailed out by Alien, the wannabe rapper and drug dealer played by James Franco, who then invites them to roll with him and his crew. Alien though is ankle deep in the criminal world of Florida and things get pretty real pretty quick.
At least three of the four girls are playing against type here, being current or former Disney pricesses, but that serves to highlight just about everything they do and make it, conciously or not (and whether you’ve seen their work or not) all the more shocking, especially Hudgens and Benson as the two bad girls of the group (Korine is the deluded one and Gomez is the good girl). All of this plays out semi-linearly, jumping back and forth around the immediate action.
James Franco is enough reason to see this film though. I know a lot of people who hate him, but every once in a while he bats one right outta the park and this is one of those times. He disappears right into Alien and it’s almost surprising he made it back out.
What makes his performance great is that you come to realize that Alien seems to undertand not only that hes a Svengali type character, but also that he’s kind of useless at it. There’s a weird sincerity about his character who is trying so hard but is ultimately still just a really highly functioning poser. He wants the thug life but doesn’t actually seem to want to be a thug, and later in the film when he says he’s falling in love with the girls it’s totally sincere.
This is one of those movies that looks like it’s going to be stupid but then turns out to be great, that has managed to marketed as one thing but is actually quite another. It manages to present what’s going on without necessarily praising or celebrating it which is hard to pull offl. It’s sharp and intelligent and gorgeous to watch. Fair warning though, this is a movie that you are going to either love or hate, I can’t see any middle ground but that’s kind of the point. Either way, I can’t recommend anything other than that you watch it.
So go watch it already.