Movie Night

Our editors give two thumbs up for 10 great beach films.

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Bikini Beach (1964)

Bikini Beach (1964)

For cheesy fun, you can't go wrong with any of the 1960s Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello beach movies. If I had to pick just one, I'd go with Bikini Beach, third in the series. Frankie plays two roles: his usual Annette-chasing surfer (imaginatively named "Frankie") and a British pop star called Potato Bug. As the Bug, Frankie has a lot of fun spoofing the Beatles in a couple of musical numbers. (Potato Bug, Beatles―get it? Mike Myers' Austin Powers character owes more than a bit to the Bug as well.) Beach-movie regulars Harvey Lembeck (lunkhead motorcycle-gang leader Eric Von Zipper) and Don Rickles (as Big Drag, owner of a bar and a drag strip) contribute their usual silliness. And then you've got a drag-racing chimpanzee, appearances by a young Meredith MacRae and an even younger Stevie Wonder, a cameo by horror-film legend Boris Karloff, and an entertainingly idiotic car chase that leads to a climactic bar fight/abstract art critique. What about the plot? Oh, come on; these movies never had plots. ―Steve Millburg 

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