Purposely mindless and trashy, with importance given to rap video aesthetics way over plot or dialogue, it’s difficult to tell whether Spring Breakers has it’s tongue in its cheek or not. Maybe even director Harmony Korine doesn’t know. Even though it’s just teenagers dancing to dubstep, acid-coloured beach wear and bouncing, beer-soaked titaays, here Miami’s spring break hedonism is portrayed as something quasi-spiritual, much in the same way that the rave scene in the late 80s/early 90s sometimes is.
The four hood rat pleasure-seeking girls the film follows are looking to lose/find themselves in this vulgar paradise, but throughout they say little more than “woo!”, and do little more than pose in their skimpy bikinis (and pink balaclavas when in Law Breakers mode). At least James Franco’s character, Alien, has a personality. A funny and ridiculous white rapper - not a million miles away from Gary Oldman’s dreadlocked Drexl in True Romance - Alien struts and preens like a likeable Vanilla Ice and is prone to cutely amusing braggadocio. “Look at all mah shit!” he says, showing the girls around his crib, “look at mah nunchucks!”. A real rap star, Gucci Mane, is the only major black character in the film, and, of course, he’s the villain.
The cinematography glows gorgeously, there are many memorable moments, like a single-shot robbery scene, and the poolside Britney Spears singalong, but the film oddly lacks energy. It becomes more woozily dreamlike as it crawls along, Alien repeatedly murmuring his mantra “sprinnnng breeaaak. Spring break foreverrrrrr… ” and the film slips into a drugged-out slur, with action and dialogue looping over and over. I had difficulty keeping my eyes open. The film’s shootout finale is like the weirdest episode of Miami Vice ever, so there’s definitely that.
I don’t know. It’s seductively photographed banality.
Long-awaited by many Smiths fans, Morrissey’s typically idiosyncratic memoir doesn’t disappoint, even if there aren’t too many surprises. Autobiography reads like a lifetime of his songs in book form, and it has a familiar witty, wordy lyrical flow to it, even when it gets caught in some swirling eddy of one of his points of interest - pages dedicated to remembering his favourite childhood TV programmes and the like. Away from the dewy-eyed daydreaming there is waspishness and point-scoring aplenty, though. According to him, it turns out that Mozzer’s life has been a succession of people letting him down. From his old, abusive teachers, to two-faced music journalists and musical collaborators (Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis can’t do right for doing wrong. For instance, when Travis finds him a new flat, Morrissey complains that it’s haunted). Even one-time idols like Sandie Shaw, Siouxsie Sioux and the members of the New York Dolls are eventually sniffly dismissed when they turn out to be every bit as flawed, exasperating and egocentric as he is.
There isn’t much insight into his creative process, or the records themselves (having just recently read the excellent Smiths biography, A Light That Never Goes Out, I wasn’t much in the mood to go over every Smiths release again anyway), and despite it being initially fascinating, the section that covers THAT lawsuit trial drags on at ridiculous length, and just becomes repetitive. The character assassination of Judge John Weeks is an entertaining overkill, though.
Well written for a pop memoir - certainly superior to Keith Richards’ tedious doorstop. Morrissey is especially good at writing about family, childhood and the environment he grew up in, as well as what it is to be a fan, and the music, films and books that shaped him. He must be the only pop star who is a frustrated journo, and plenty of space early on in the book is given over to little potted reviews of songs and performances that set his young heart aflame.
Thing is, there isn’t a great deal in Autobiography that he hasn’t already covered in song. His best lyrics were always like pages ripped from his diary - as it is, this book reads like a greatest hits. Time for the novel, Moz