The list starts at 11 because all beach movies (so far) suck.
This pains me. I've done an extensive internet search for the best beach movies of all time. It turns out there are none.
See, the other night I had the itch. I had it real bad – some strange summer strain of cabin fever. It was time for a beach movie. I figured it would be easy to find one. Pretty much every emotional subset of the human condition has a corresponding collection of films to choose from:
- Feeling Christmas-y? It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf.
- Feeling Vegas-y? Casino, The Hangover, Ocean's 11 through 34.
- Feeling Pervy? Jesus, you wouldn't believe.
But what if I'm feeling beach-y? Feeling tropical? How about a movie that smells like coconuts and sounds like Toots and looks like distant stripes of white and blue and green? People love that shit don't they? There's a billion parrotheads out there. And a billion potheads too (caveat: my totals are approximate, and I suspect some overlap between these groups). However my point stands: there's lots of people with the beach-bug gene. Sure it might be dominant in some and recessive in others. But it's a gene we all carry. (Hey another caveat! I don't actually have an understanding of genetics, or the words I'm using in the prior sentences!)
Certainly, there must be some kind of 90-minute technicolor margaritaville for me and my people. But nuh-uh. My search revealed some of the following stanky-ass films which populated many "Best Beach Movie" lists:
Jaws. Jaws? To be clear, this is a GREAT movie. But on a Best Beach Movie list? This is like including Silence of the Lambs on your list of best foodie films. GTFO.
The Beach. This was a good book as I recall. It was about a global traveller's search for meaning and a fabled tropical utopia, countered by the reality that things fall apart and the centre can't hold. The movie, on the other hand, was about a cardboard cutout that looks like Leonardo Dicaprio, propped up in front of the most beautiful island you've ever seen. My advice: watch the movie with the volume down while you listen to the book on tape. The words and the pictures won't line up (just like the movie!). But you'll get the best of both.
From Here To Eternity. Alright, I've never seen this movie. But I've seen that picture from the movie. The one where that black-and-white guy and that black-and-white woman are making out on that black-and-white beach. So grainy! (And yes, that's both a filmic joke and a sand-screwing joke at the same time. Because that's the level of skills I was blessed with.) I'll admit, I was seriously considering watching this film. But then I realized it was shot in 1953 which means there's a really low likelihood for body shots and wet t-shirt contests. Next!
All The Other Ones. This isn't the title of a movie. This is a catch-all category for all the other sucky beach movies ever made. It's a roiling hodge-podge of full bikinis and empty characters and plot lines way too lazy to even be contrived. This includes Blue Lagoon, Blue Crush, and Into The Blue. This includes every Elvis in Wherever and whatever else ya got.
Long story short: Jimmy Buffett makes a billion dollars a year selling beach-related whatnot. And yet Hollywood can't figure out how to make a buck with a decent beach/surf/sun movie. Documentaries, of course, are a different story. Especially in the surf realm. To quote Madness: "Hey! You! Don't watch that! Watch this!" I've already talked The Endless Summer. The following are definitely worth checking out too: