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Critics Love Comparing 'Spring Breakers' to a Fever Dream

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire March 22, 2013 at 2:27PM

The weird part is I didn't call it a fever dream and I HAD A FEVER when I saw the movie.
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James Franco in "Spring Breakers."
James Franco in "Spring Breakers."

At Huffington Post, Christopher Rosen notices a curious trend in the reviews of Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers:" critic after critic after critic (after critic) are all using the same two words to describe the film: "fever dream." All told, Rosen found 17 different articles about "Spring Breakers" that mention that phrase, including his own:

1. "'Spring Breakers' is Harmony ('Gummo') Korine's fever dream of something he never experienced -- an orgy of sand, sin and snorting." -- Roger Moore, Seattle Times

2. "A candy-colored fever dream is the most unforgettable movie of the year so far." -- Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Do critics need to come up with some new material? Or is this a case where there really is just one perfect phrase that sums up a movie's vibe? I don't know. I do know I'm kind of surprised that I didn't contribute to this phenomenon with my own review of the movie, despite the fact that I actually had a fever when I watched "Spring Breakers." 

Rocking and rolling on about eight DayQuils at South by Southwest, I could barely keep my shivering under control as I listened to James Franco talk about his nunchucks and dark tanning oil. Yet the phrase "fever dream" never entered my mind. Admittedly, the actual fever dreams I had that night (I vaguely recall one involving a remake of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" starring the cast of "Charles in Charge") didn't much resemble "Spring Breakers"' DayGlo fantasia.

But that's just me; maybe these seventeen other critics' fever dreams do look like Korine's spring break movie. By the way: the number of "Spring Breakers"' reviews that used the phrase "DayGlo fantasia?" Zero. 

Read more of "'Spring Breakers' Is a 'Fever Dream.'"

This article is related to: Spring Breakers, From the Wire


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