The Grade Book: “Spring Breakers”

Spring Breakers

Plot: A drug/arms dealer hooks up with four college girls in order to pull off some dirty work during Spring Break. 

Director: Harmony Korine.

Writer: Harmony Korine.

Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine.

Genres: Comedy, Crime, Thriller.

Running Time: 1 hour and 34 minutes.

MPAA Rating: R.




SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Spring Breakers features some entertaining and possibly satiric moments, as well as an electrifying performance by James Franco, but the film is artsy and strange to a fault.



  • Gabriel Alcantara (Big Gabe):

Grade: D

Everyone wants to believe this film has social commentary, satire, artistry and has a message… no, I’m not buying it. This film is garbage. Porn and Girls Gone Wild videos have more substance and class than this film. The editing is poor, most of the characters are despicable and uninteresting, and the imagery is headache-inducing — and supposedly, that’s the intention. Now why would anyone enjoy that? Apparently some people do. I don’t. And as for James Franco’s performance… the average Maury Povich guest could have played his character.

  • Erik Bajzert:

Grade: B

I’m not sure if the film is really empty, or a really obvious satire. However, my confusions about the film, in the grand scheme of things, don’t change the fact that it’s still an artful and hypnotic movie-going experience that is easily appreciated.

  • Christian Becker:

Grade: B-

This is a film in which I respect the message and themes it’s trying to play at, but it may have been a little subtle for the average moviegoer to pick up on. It felt like your Philosophy Professor was at the same party we were, and he was preaching his thoughts while an energetic party was in full force. The two just didn’t seem to go together for me. Still, the hypnotic visuals and amazing performance from James Franco was enough to keep me interested and entertained. Say what you will about the film as a whole, but this is one of Franco’s best performances. It’s a film that will be worth more to you in reflection.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: A+

Harmony Korine’s tale about “Spring Break” is executed in such a genius and complex way. The cast was assembled very well. The editing of the film was fantastic and edgy. The writing isn’t perfect, but it is still intriguing.  James Franco provided great comedic timing. The soundtrack (besides Britney Spears) became a tad redundant but then again, so did the constant use of the phrase “spring break.” Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s not for everyone though. But it worked for me and I recommend it.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: B+

James Franco is the true savior of this film, but I enjoyed it still in a sick and weird way!

  • Leah Hather (Bright Eyes Long Lashes):

Grade: D+

A little unsure what this film was trying to achieve, and I found the director’s style an uneasy watch. James Franco was the only thing that kept me going.

  • James Michael Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: C

Spring Breakers is festive and fun at times, while other times overindulgent and pointless. Some of it was really bad and it ends up falling on its face in the end. Give the actors credit though for being willing to go that far, especially Franco — as the performances cause some laughter and bail this movie out. 

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: B-

A film full of bizarre and bewildering scenery, along with a story that takes several sharp turns. It’s difficult to grasp what exactly is going on entirely, but it is interesting in comparison to the typical party roundabout. After it’s over, it stays planted within your mind whether you like it or not. And that counts for something.

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: A-

A transfixing, strange, but entertaining and messed-up movie with a fantastic performance from James Franco and a fantastic soundtrack from Cliff Martinez and Skrillex. The best scene in the movie by far is the scene where Franco is singing Britney Spears’ “Everytime” while playing on the piano.

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: D

If it weren’t for all the hype surrounding this film, I probably would have disliked it less but honestly the idea of the film’s “hidden message” makes this movie one of the saddest excuses for an art house film. While the music is hip and fits the tone of the film, the rest of the film is made up of mediocre acting, montages, and a ridiculous attempt to make Spring Break seem edgy. The only rewarding qualities of this mess of a film are Selena Gomez and the memorable piano scene where Franco and the girls sing Britney Spears’ “Everytime.” The rest of this film feels like a failed attempt to take Spring Break to the next level.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: D-

Having never seen a Harmony Korine film before, I was really hesitant about seeing this (plus the trailer made the film look like sh*t). I hated the characters. Every time one of the girls said “spring break” I just wanted to tell them to shut up. The editing was weird, as it looked like it kept showing previous footage that already happened. Plus I wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack, as I’m not a fan of techno or dubstep. Although, I liked that James Franco was having fun acting like a wannabe rapper and one scene had an interesting use of a Britney Spears song and had a message about today’s generation of youths.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: B+

A surprisingly great film that pokes fun at the Spring Break scene for all the youngsters. The director does a great job at tricking the audience into believing the movie will be a movie without any substance. James Franco delivers an amazing and hilarious performance; there is a shocking performance by Selena Gomez as well. Though not a perfect film, it was not the film expected to be and delivers a dark and humorous take on young people going the distance just to have a little fun.

  • Delon Villanueva:

Grade: B

An inconsistent but bold satire of teenage excess. Although his directing choices overall end up with mixed results, Harmony Korine still succeeds in challenging his audience. Like it or hate it, Spring Breakers is definitely a memorable and unique movie experience. Also, James Franco as Alien. Enough said.

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