Mega Fan vs Giant Cynic: Spring Breakers

Simon Ramshaw and Emma Allsopp battle it out over whether Harmony Korine's presentation of 'spriiiiiiing breeeak' is visionary or just plain purile

16th November 2015

The winter weather is closing in, so we could all do with a bit of sun in our lives. So, how about a heated debate over Harmony Korine’s controversial, sun-bleached Spring Breakers? Simon Ramshaw and Emma Allsopp fight it out over whether this modern day exploitation tale of ‘bikinis and big booties’ (y’all) is a superb satire on the decadency of our times, or whether it’s just puerile rubbish.


Visually garish, morally repellent and featuring a cast of (once-)goodie-goodie Disney kids in try-hard subversive roles, Spring Breakers is, quite simply, one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

"Often misconstrued as misogynistic, Korine’s ensemble drama is a satire on how far people will go for a good time"

Harmony Korine is no stranger to making the grotesque side of teenage fantasy into something beautiful (just look at his devastating debut, Gummo), and his latest film is easily the director at the height of his powers. James Franco’s colourful gangster, Alien, is a fascinating portrait of the American Dream gone truly rotten (imagine if Picasso painted Riff-Raff), while the central quartet of bad girls play off beautifully to his distorted high-life.

Often misconstrued as misogynistic and shallow, Korine’s ensemble crime drama is a gnawing satire on just how far people will go for a good time on Spring Break. The final package is a gorgeous one, 90 minutes of pure cinema, with music, voiceover and image slotting together in perfect, well, Harmony. Possibly the most underrated film ever made.

Simon Ramshaw


I remember before I watched Spring Breakers, I was excited, it had been hyped up to me endlessly and I couldn’t wait for it to mess up my mind. But then I watched it and the hype was gone.

"As soon as teen stars started urinating onscreen I knew this film was most definitely not for me"

As soon as teen stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez started urinating onscreen I knew this film was most definitely not for me.  Or maybe it was when James Franco turned up with cornrows and started rapping? I can’t quite remember, but I do remember being intensely disappointed. This was not the film I had been promised. It seemed more concerned with trying to shock than actually making an enjoyable and at least objectively sound piece.

If you want to see Disney stars pee on things and pretend to be gangsters with Alien (James Franco) then go ahead, but it’s honestly not as interesting as it sounds. Would not recommend.

Emma Allsopp

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