Movie Night

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

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The Flamingo Kid (1984)

The Flamingo Kid (1984)

The Flamingo Kid could easily have descended into cornball clichés. A working-class Brooklyn high-school grad (Matt Dillon) spends the summer of 1963 working at a swanky Long Island beach club, gets dazzled by its ostentatiously moneyed patrons, and eventually must choose between a promised future of easy (though sleazy) money and his father's old-fashioned values. Cue the violins, right? Somehow, though, the movie conveys real, honest emotion without slipping into sentimentality. The terrific cast helps, notably Dillon, Richard Crenna as a slick car dealer, Jessica Walter as his acid-tongued wife, Janet Jones as a not-so-dumb California blonde, and Hector Elizondo as the kid's dignified father. Director/co-writer Garry Marshall blends in generous amounts of tart humor to balance the story's basic sweetness. The pre-British Invasion soundtrack adds some nice nostalgic touches. ―Steve Millburg

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