Editorial – Heated Debated

Keen readers of the Hope Lies Twitter feed will note that one topic of discussion has dominated for much of the last couple of days. Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers opened in the UK, and has drawn something of a controversial reaction. My own participation in said debate has flowed in two directions. The first is with those who have written off the film without having seen it, assuming that it’s some kind of exploitative sex film revolving around young girls, while the other line of discourse has been with those who have seen the film, but object to certain things within the film. The former has seen much encouragement of the blind naysayers to give it a chance, while the latter is the sort of thing that was to be expected, and is nothing worth complaining about, until it starts coming attached with ugly accusations being thrown around (“perverts dream” etc). Call me uptight, but I do have an issue being labelled as a sex pest just because I enjoyed the film. (I)

But alas, there is a valuable discussion to be had about Spring Breakers, and it’s place within the current UK box-office, around the slurs and hyperbole.

My most interesting exchange came late last night, in a discussion with the Twitter user Digital Maverick. As the father of a 12-year old girl who is a fan of one of Spring Breakers stars, Selena Gomez, Digital Maverick has some problems with the idea of his daughter being presented with the marketing material of a person that she recognises as a figure of admiration. It’s a legitimate concern, and one that while I’m unable to appreciate fully (I don’t have a daughter), I understand completely. Across the course of an hour or so we to and froed with the question of responsibility, and precisely who exactly it is that’s responsible for the situation at hand. While the ultimate results are anything but conclusive, the discussion did raise a number of very interesting points of note.

When you’re dealing with participants as morally suspect as Hollywood and Marketing it automatically starts out as a difficult situation to judge from afar with any real sense of the definitive. Much to the chagrin and bemusement of friends who work in the field, it’s the marketing folk who are my immediate first port of call for when it comes to flinging blame. And following acts as classy as this who could blame me? (II) But alas, and it’s an often tread out line that I can’t quite believe I’m repeating here, but let’s not forget that it is the job of the marketeers to attract attention by any means necessary. Of course, the moral compass of the individuals behind the campaign come in to play, but then, it’s probably all a part of the plan anyway, with the marketing team presumably acting upon the advice of the film’s distribution company and director. So who do we then place the blame with? Harmony Korine, the self-styled agent provocateur who has forged a career out of such infamy? The actresses involved for not having more respect for their fans? (III) The Disney Channel for continuing to air the shows in question post-break out of the stars? Is there even blame to be assigned? Shouldn’t a well -imposed, parentally defined moral standing on a child be enough? The filmmaker and ad-men are acting within the rule of law and certification after all. As you can see, there are a great deal of questions raised, most of which I’m personally in no position to answer myself, and some of which are intentionally facetious.

Content of debate aside, there’s something fairly reassuring that a mainstream film can cause so much heated discourse. So much for complacency and desensitisation.

What is especially frustrating is that the film itself could have stood up on it’s own without notoriety. and that said notoriety has only blurred the standing of what is essentially a solid little Neo-noir infused crime drama. Our own review of the film outlines my thoughts on Spring Breakers in greater detail.
Adam Batty – Editor-In-Chief

(I) My favourite piece of “criticism” came in the form of some head-slapping hypocrisy from a Daily Mail gossip columnist who threw out a hyperbolic and reductive “warning” that one ought “not see Spring Breakers at any cost unless you want to see gratuitous soft porn of teenage girls in bikinis“, a sign post all the more questionable when one understands that the gossiper in question’s own work features on the Mail’s notorious Wall Of Shame, which is, if you’ll excuse me a bit of hyperbole here myself, arguably the most defacing anti-woman zone of “journalism” on the mainstream internet, and full of gratuitous soft port of teenage girls in bikinis on a daily basis.

(II) Note- not all marketing companies are horrible.

(III) Digital Maverick seems to think the buck stops here ultimately.

Further Reading

This week’s Criticwire Survey. In which we were asked to name an unsung gem.


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