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The Short Stack: Spring break short “Blame It on Florida” is the spiritual distant cousin of “Spring Breakers”

September 16, 2013
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2013-09-16 16_20_42-Blame It On Florida (1969) - YouTube

Blame It on Florida is a 15 minute student short by Glenn Przyborski that follows two girls, Lynn and Debbie (LaDona Davis and Carla Hoover), as they make their way down the Space Coast of Florida for spring break.

Slowly but surely, Debbie, the goody-goody of the pair, breaks out of her social shell thanks to the help of a groovy bikini and a little bit of dicey male attention, much to Lynn’s kind of nonchalant horror.

The email from the producers called it “campy … highly dated [and] corny,” all of which is true, but there are also a few redeeming points. Watch:

Kind of familiar, no? It’s missing the cornrows, the semi-automatic weapons and the beautiful piano scene, but boiled down to its essence, it’s got just as much of the destruction of innocence that Spring Breakers packs, just condensed into a smaller scale and without the charisma of the eternal James Franco and his shit. (Of course by that logic, it also has a lot in common with Girls Gone Wild, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.)

The kind of bullshit notion of innocence wasn’t so different in 1969 from now, and the pattern of its destruction is a little bit tame compared to shooting up a drug mansion, but emotionally maybe they’re not so different. Though it seems so harmless by today’s standards (especially against the likes of Girls Gone Wild), there is a cultural feeling to Blame It on Florida that the parents of the actresses would be ashamed to have anyone see their daughters showing off in bikinis. That’s really all Selena Gomez does in Spring Breakers, yet she still had to go through a hell of a lot of backlash from the morality police in order to throw off her chubby-cheeked Disney past for a few minutes, so to watch them a generational companion pieces is kind of fascinating.

Me being a nerd though, I find that the film is more interesting as a sort of time capsule of what the Space Coast was like in the weeks before Apollo 11 would have launched.

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State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

The Cape Kennedy and Cocoa Beach scenes in Tom Wolfe’s early NASA book The Right Stuff paint the two beach towns as wild, lawless expanse of tough guys and good time girls having a blindingly great time fighting and screwing and generally ripping up the beach for their own pleasure and amusement, but that never fit in at all with the experience of the area during any of the summers I spent at my aunt Mary’s house down the road in Satellite Beach as a kid.

The Air Force base seemed to make it so square and boring, and the beaches were never filled with young people, not even down by Ron Jon’s, which always seemed like it would be some sort of paradise from the billboards along the way but ended up being just as boring and pointless as South of the Border. It was a dead town by the time I got to it, so to see it alive with youth and some of the toughness that the Apollo astronauts would have gotten themselves into on display is a great treat.

****

Also, since I finally got around to watching those TIFF shorts I posted last week, I’m going to repost the two I thought were the best.

Noah
Dir: Patrick Cederberg
Runtime: 18m

One of the most innovative (yet obvious, “can’t believe no one has done this before”) shorts I’ve seen in a long time, Noah mirrors our digital world back to us, showing a young couple, Noah and Amy (Sam Kantor and Caitlin McConkney-Pirie), breaking up in real time only using the desktop of Noah’s computer and his iPhone screen as a storytelling device. We only see them when they see each other in Skype windows. The film won Best Canadian Short Film at the festival this week.

****

Young Wonder
Dir: James Wilkes
Runtime: 5:30

Fanboy fantasies spring to vivid life in this adventure into the imaginations of a pair of youthful playmates.

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