Yes, we’re just coming off of the four-month-long 2013 Oscars hysteria and yes, we probably need a little breather. But let’s face it: the movies that arrive on the first half of the calendar rarely receive the respect and blaring praise necessary to cut through the awards season onslaught and garner nominations that validate (in the eyes of Hollywood, at least) their artistic success. The hope is, maybe if the Oscar buzz starts now, if we plant the seed early, it can blossom into something substantial by the time the real voting begins.
So in hopes that voters will keep Spring Breakers— and specifically, Franco — in the conversation at year’s end, we happily present this For Your Consideration poster, featuring in full Alien mode (click to enlarge):
At first glance, Franco’s Alien may look like another one of his self-aware jokes. It’s “funny” because we know it’s James Franco playing a doofus gangster rapper and it’s contextualized by his penchant for taking on any role/art project/assistant manager position/higher calling that crosses his path. In the beginning of the film, Alien does function on that level. We see him singing in a concert and it’s pure Franco absurdity. But slowly — as the women of Spring Breakers fall further and further into the glowing, alcoholic, dubstep-infused hell of Florida — Franco begins to disappear. He’s hooked us with a joke, as Alien hooks his entourage of thugs and binki clad women. Then, he pulls the carpet from underneath it all.
The actor’s most recent film, Oz The Great and Powerful, never coalesced because Franco couldn’t click into the world. He needed to play an ordinary human in an extraordinary world — and he couldn’t do it. Franco loves exaggeration, he loves character, and he loves personifying the world around him. In Spring Breakers, he’s the perfect reflection of the demented, post-apocalyptic reality director Harmony Korine suggests we’re currently living in. Korine uses Franco’s Alien to make criticisms about a pop-driven lifestyle. “Look at my s**t,” screams the materialistic Alien as he uses a handgun to point to a wall covered in hats, one of every color. Franco never wavers as he delivers Alien’s self-absorbed philosophies through crude English. It’s hilarious, it’s terrifying, it’s mesmerizing, and it’s the kind of work that could go under-appreciated, because it’s uniquely reflective of “the now.”
Spring Breakers is a tone poem filtered through Girls Gone Wild. It’s a movie that has something to say — and Franco says it at the top of his lungs.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com]