Director Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” may star teen-friendly actresses Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson, but it’s most definitely NOT a movie for teens. If the R rating doesn’t tip parents off (the MPAA’s official rating is “Rated R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout”), consider the fact that Korine is an indie director incapable of making a film that isn’t controversial or explicit.
Better yet, just read these 10 shocking moments from the movie about girls who go wild, and then just plain homicidal, during their depraved “Spring Break Forever.”
(WARNING: Major Spoilers Ahead)
1. A Drunk Girl Gets Molested: Considering the Steubenville, Ohio rape case that’s currently in the news, one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie is during an out-of-control party where a young woman’s body is used like a platform from which partygoers snort cocaine. The topless and nearly passed out drunk college co-ed’s chest is used several times for a “body shot.” Not only do people fondle her, but one guy even takes the opportunity to put his mouth on her breast after taking his hit of coke.
2. Selena Gomez Smokes Up: Between Gomez and Hudgens, the former was able to maintain a certain amount of her innocence by playing “good girl” Faith, while Hudgens is definitely nothing like her former Disney image. Selena’s Faith is only guilty by association, having been lifelong friends with the three party girls she’s going to Spring Break with, and before they head down, she celebrates by taking a hit of a bong. As shocking as it is to see the former “Wizards of Waverly Place” star smoke up, there are so many scenes of drug use, it’s shocking only because it’s Selena Gomez.
3. Vanessa Hudgens Kisses a Girl: Hudgens, whose breakthrough performance was in Disney’s trilogy of “High School Musical” flicks, and “Pretty Little Liars” star Ashley Benson play the two wildest girls of the four main characters: Candy and Brit. Those two may pretend like they’re listening to their class about postwar reconstruction, but they’re really doodling about sex and daydreaming about their next party. They’re the ones who come up with the robbery scheme (see below), and in the end, they’re the ones who get freaky with each other, before a climactic…
4. James Franco Threesome: If it’s not enough to see Selena Gomez get her marijuana fix, Korine just keeps the shockers coming with a much-buzzed-about threesome between Hudgens, Benson, and Franco’s character, Alien. Athough the audience sees a lot of skin, there’s no full nudity –- at the very least — but it’s still hard to see Hudgens in such an explicit ménage a trois. Hudgens’s previous roles have all been remarkably chaste by comparison –- a sweet kiss to Zac Efron here and Josh Hutcherson there is not the same as Franco and Benson everywhere!
5. Robbery at Water Gun-Point: In the movie’s first act, the four friends are desperate to finance their trip down to St. Petersburg, but they can only cobble together a few hundred bucks that will barely cover their bus fare to Florida. After a fruitless brainstorming session, Candy, Brit, and Cotty decide to steal a teacher’s car and then rob a restaurant using water guns and wearing ski masks. Their M.O. for the robbery is to curse like sailors and pretend they’re playing a shoot-em-up video game. The scheme works remarkably well, and the girls end up flush with enough cash to fund their debauchery filled week in Florida.
6. Beer and Boobs: This goes without saying for most rated-R movies, particularly comedies about college roadtrips or spring break, but Korine replays shots again and again, most of them close-ups of spring breakers doing all sorts of libidinous activities: body shots off half-naked girls, guys pretending beer cans are their penises and trying to aim the stream of beer into topless girls’ mouths, or playing topless chicken at the beach. As James Franco’s Alien says, “booze and booty” is what it’s all about.
7. A Girl Is Shot: It’s all fun and games until a girl is actually shot in the arm. Until that moment, there’s only been the threat of violence –- even the robbery didn’t involve real guns. Gun violence is a major theme of the movie –- the water guns, the recurring sound of cocking a gun, Candy finger shooting people, the climactic shoot out –- but Cotty getting shot in the arm by a stray bullet is the first moment that there are any consequences. Her injury looks pretty serious, but Alien merely cleans her up and then she showers and puts a bandage on it. Only then does she realize, like Faith does, it’s time to call her Spring Break done.
8. Franco Fellates a Gun: Moviegoers have seen James Franco do a lot of things –- like cut off his own arm in “127 Hours” or make out with another man in “Milk” or raise a chimpanzee like a son in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” –- but never have they seen Franco pretend he’s giving a gun oral pleasure. Not to be crude, but it’s the kind of thing you can’t unsee once you’ve seen it (we’ve tried). Whether you think it’s surreal or hilarious or disgusting, it gets uncomfortable (and realistic) really fast.
9. First Degree Murder: There’s no accidental violence in this movie. Every use of a gun is a purposeful one, a premeditated one, and it escalates from the figurative to the play-acting scenario with the water gun robbery to the sexualized posing with Alien’s guns to finally the decision to commit first-degree murder. What starts out as a wild and crazy spring break trip turns into cold-blooded murder when Alien announces that he’s going to kill his former best friend, a St. Petersburg drug lord (played by rapper Gucci Mane), and the final two girls are more than happy to go along.
10. Shoot ‘Em Up: Without revealing exactly how it goes down, let’s just say that Alien doesn’t need to do much convincing to have Candy and Brit don ski masks and grab guns (real ones this time). They know what he’s planning to do, and when he can’t finish the job, they do it in the most shockingly enthusiastic way possible.