Overpriced fashion-type-person boutique Opening Ceremony has had some luck in the past with cross-promotional fashion, and it looks like they're ready to throw in their weight with this year's crop of Oscar hopefuls. Last spring, their Spring Breakers collection was a sold-out hit, even if largely buoyed by one iconic, must-have piece of headgear (and I'd really like to know more about whoever bought those $20 "HARMONY" friendship bracelets, assuming, perhaps erroneously, that it was not Harmony Korine). It helped that Spring Breakers was an incredibly tactile movie, as packed with emphasized objects and iconography as a Twin Peaks episode, so it was not at all unreasonable to start wondering if/how you could incorporate a little Alien/Brit/Candy visual flourish into your lifestyle within a couple hours of leaving the theater.
Spike Jonze has always been a styley filmmaker — that's "styley"; not "stylish" or "stylized" but somewhere in between the two — and his upcoming futuristic romance Her, with its Arcade Fire/Yeah Yeah Yeahs–assisted soundtrack, is this year's cool-kids Oscar hopeful. But to Jonze's credit, unlike that other early-aughts Charlie Kaufman collaborator Michel Gondry, his feature-film work tends to leave you thinking more about, like, life, maaaan, rather than how you can re-create Cameron Diaz's voluminous hairstyle. This has not stopped Opening Ceremony from using his work as inspiration, first back in 2009 with their Where the Wild Things Are collection (seriously), and now, I'm gonna say intriguingly, with a Her-inspired line. I haven't seen Her yet, but I know it takes place in Los Angeles in the near-future, and I know Joaquin Phoenix might single-handedly make me rethink my stance on mustaches. Sounds like the recipe for a great editorial spread!
Back in September, the Spring Breakers team announced its (probably doomed) intention to chase a Best Supporting Actor nomination for James Franco, releasing an ad to awards voters showing his lusciously begrilled Alien double-fisting a couple of statuettes, a pose suggesting he'd not only already won, but also decided to storm the podium and take a second trophy, because it would look better to have two of those little gilded fuckers splayed out among the treasures on his bed. (He's right — you need that kind of respectable hardware to balance out the AK-47s and precarious Jenga towers of shuriken. That's just basic feng shui, y'all.) Now that we're heading into the year-end Oscar-qualifying sprint, the Breakers gang seems to realize the buzz on competitors like Dallas Buyers Club’s Jared Leto and 12 Years a Slave’s Michael Fassbender has become deafening, kicking things into a higher gear with the release of the first "Consider His Shit" video. So here it is. And it's all wrong.
One nice thing about the respected French film publication Cahiers du Cinéma is that despite its somewhat erudite image, it has always been all about a careful, critical enthusiasm for American mainstream cinema. Now in its 63rd year, its top 10 list still reflects that spirit. Let's take a look at its picks for the year of Our Lord 2013, shall we?
All it took to get me into the theater was the phrase "James Franco's William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying." Actually, that's not entirely true. I was just as drawn in by the words "Danny McBride in a Faulkner adaptation," which gave language to something I hadn't even known how much I wanted until James Franco brought it forth.
As I Lay Dying, Franco's third full-length directorial feature, is his baby. An adaptation of one of the most beloved and seemingly unadaptable American novels of all time, it's also Franco's most mainstream effort to date. A planned theatrical release was cancelled at the last minute in favor of a digital release, save for a few screenings in N.Y. and L.A. Franco has been promoting these screenings by introducing the film via Skype — and, on Sunday night, in person — while deluging his Instagram feed with written pleas for his fans to go out and support the movie.
Everything is coming up Franco. The laughter from last night's Comedy Central–sponsored Night of 1,000 Francos hasn't yet stopped ringing in the heads of hungover Francophiles, and already his Spring Breakers publicity team has scrambled the For Your Consideration jets and told The Hollywood Reporter that a full-court awards-season press is on its way. Look upon Franco's Oscar shit and despair, every other person not winning that Best Supporting Actor statue this year:
It's such a cruel joke when you see a parody of something that should be real, as is the case with Daria's High School Reunion, starring Aubrey Plaza in the titular role. Thanks a lot, College Humor. You told me to "GET EXCITED" and I got excited. We need the remaining 115 minutes of this fake feature, like, real, real bad. Want to go deep into the Plaza like Eloise? GQ is happy to oblige with this interview spread, complete with an awkward I'm-biting-my-sweater-and-wearing-a-bikini photo and angry-masturbation chat.
In this mild comedy, Tina Fey plays Portia, a Princeton admissions officer in the running for a significant promotion. When she goes on a recruiting visit to an alternative high school, its headmaster John (Paul Rudd) keeps pushing her toward one of his students. John knew Portia a little when they went to college together, and he's pretty sure this kid is the son she placed for adoption as an undergrad.
How interested you might be in Admission depends almost entirely on your view of its leads, because the story is pretty thin: What you see above is kind of it, plus the usual moderately credible rom-com obstacles keeping apart the protagonists who are clearly going to end up together at the end. Since I like both Rudd and Fey, I liked it OK. It also features a winning supporting cast in Wallace Shawn as Portia's boss, Gloria Reuben as her equally ambitious colleague, and Lily Tomlin as her badass feminist mother. And watching it at home might make it feel more like what it possibly should have been: an expensive, well-made TV movie.
Sofia Coppola is by no means a universally beloved filmmaker, but there were a few years there where she was pretty damn close to being one. Her first two features, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, captured a certain youthful zeitgeist; as a tastemaker, Coppola effortlessly spins an atmosphere of pretty, hazily lit wistfulness that one wishes one could just bottle and spray all over oneself while listening to Moon Safari on vinyl (or, barring that, just some Marc Jacobs perfume). Coppola's detractors tend to point to her emphasis of style over substance, but the reason her work has resonated so well with critics and teenagers is that she lets us luxuriate in youth and beauty and pretty objects while vaguely implying that there's something empty about it all. She lets us have cake and eat it, too. And then gaze with chic dissatisfaction at the crumbs.
The Miami Heat's epic winning streak may have ended, but the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles are the NCAA tournament's Cinderella story and Spring Breakers is a surprise hit. Here are five more reasons why Florida is the nation's current cultural capital.
1. Electronic Dance Music & Trap Rap
The EDM bubble has yet to burst (or um, drop), and while we may look back at this era one day with all the head-shaking fondness now reserved for hair metal, right now is a good time to be an arena rave DJ or electronic musician in Florida. Particularly this month, when the annual Winter Music Conference is held in Miami in tandem with the electrocentric Ultra Music Festival. Diplo, who set out to be a world-famous DJ like Paul Oakenfold as a goof and ended up succeeding, also as a goof (Paul Jokenfold), titled his debut full-length album Florida in homage to the state he spent some years growing up in. Also inescapable: Carol City native Rick Ross's lumbering trap rap, heard blasting in bottle service clubs and out of hulking cars, most recently encouraging you to slip Molly in your date's drink and date-rape her.
The Girls trade in their hoodies for ski masks this week for a chat about Spring Breakers. We all loved the film, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to talk about: its success as what director Harmony Korine has called a "pop poem," the debatable empowerment/exploitation of its Disney-factory stars, Molly's inexplicable fascination with Southern men in cornrows. While we may diverge on our interpretations of the film's morality, there's no denying that James Franco's rendition of Britney Spears's "Everytime" will go down in history as one of the greatest cinematic moments of all time. But Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez weren't the only ones trying to catch some street cred this past week — Beyoncé's strange new single had us wondering where the de facto queen of pop can go from here — and if we really needed to be reminded to "Bow Down."
"It's evident that nobody knows who the real Riff Raff is right now. Nobody knows. I don't even know whadifadadada later on tonight. I probably be eating chicken nuggets or something." —Riff Raff on Spring Breakers, kind of. Perhaps he could eat them with Dangeruss's fork, his fork his fork his fork.
"F**kin' Problem," the song that bumped A$AP Rocky into the mainstream, is still hanging onto the midsection of charts, and sounds more and more like a Linkin Park song with every replay, but today I'd rather talk about Rocky's would-be other single "Wild for the Night," which has been struggling to get an airplay foothold for a few weeks now (where is 2 Chainz when you need him?) and which I have just had to resort to playing on repeat in my car. Rocky released a big-budget on-location video for the track earlier this week (see above), which included a bonus Skrillex mini-track at the end and got people talking about the song again for about 24 hours, but its time seems to have already passed, and the video hasn't even cracked 1 million views on YouTube yet. It's a reminder that in the chart world "Problem" is still bigger than A$AP Rocky, and with his Vegas days nearly upon us, the Skrillex Factor may no longer be quantifiable, if it ever was.
In visiting the Late Show last night to promote indie sensation/coked-out-ski-mask-party docudrama Spring Breakers, star James "Alien" Franco brought up director Harmony Korine, who, the story goes, had been banned from Letterman's couch — where he had appeared a few times in the late '90s in conjunction with Kids, Gummo, and his book A Crackup at the Race Riots — because of an altercation with fellow guest Meryl Streep. Specifically, in Korine's own "a little out of it" recollection to Franco, for "pushing Meryl Streep backstage." (We will now pause for our collective, horrified reaction to someone laying hands upon Streep for any purpose other than to request a healing.)
David Brent has emerged from a decade spent in relative seclusion — during which time I assume he hung out in pajamas, Googling himself and practicing his reggae performance techniques — to appear on Ricky Gervais's new YouTube channel and pointing at people of various ethnicities and sexual orientations on Equality Street with Doc Brown for the U.K. Comic Relief special. Biddily biddily biddily biddily bong, cue the endless stream of comments arguing about racism versus satire ("It's comedy, you miserable pricks").