Our editors give two thumbs up for 10 great beach films.
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Beach Themed Movie Night
If the weather outside is frightful, stay in for family film night this season. We asked the movie-philes on our staff to review their favorite coastal films. Whether they're set at the beach or near the water, these flicks will have you dreaming of the sand.
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Fifty First Dates (2004)
Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) while having breakfast at a local eatery on an island in Hawaii. Henry feels a connection with her and returns to the café the next day, but Lucy doesn't recall ever meeting him. It seems Lucy suffered a head injury in a car accident on her father's birthday. Short-term memory loss prevents her from remembering anything from that day forward. Henry's tender devotion leads to his creating a short film that gently explains her missing memories. Lucy awakes every morning to find a videotape marked "Good Morning Lucy." Favorite scene: the final one when you see Lucy watching the latest video. Camera pulls back for an aerial view of a big ship sailing in iceberg-dotted waters as "Over the Rainbow" plays in the background. Dreams really do come true. ―Vicki J. Weathers
The quintessential fun-in-the-sun beach movie, Gidget lacks only a spontaneous choreographed dance moment à la Frankie and Annette. Of course, if it weren't for the pioneering of Sandra Dee's sweet-as-pie Gidget, we never would've shaken and shimmied at the Beach Blanket Bingo all those years ago. This coming-of-age tale teaches us that tomboys can be hot chicks, too, and tough guys aren't always what they seem. Follow little Frances Lawrence as she surfs the waves of life and love―and the ocean―with the help of surprisingly upstanding surf bum/hunks Moondoggie and The Big Kahuna. In the words of Gidget, "Honest to goodness, it's the absolute ultimate!" ―Abigail Millwood
Any fan of Judy Garland's movies will tell you that A Star is Born ranks as one of her best. Rent this classic (the restored version is widely available) for her performances of "Swanee" and "The Man that Got Away," and for the fabulous '50s style that permeates the film. Don't think it's a beach flick? Wait 'til you see the beachside home that Garland shares with her husband, Norman Maine, played by James Mason: The oceanfront terrace alone will knock your socks off! And of course, that sandy stretch of beach below the house plays a central role in this tearjerker. (No hints―you'll have to watch to find out why.) With direction by the famed George Cukor and music by the incomparable Harold Arlen, this is one Hollywood tale you can't afford to pass up. ―James Schwartz
Think ocean breezes and long walks on the beach, and you'll have the setting for this romantic comedy. Uptight yet likable Erica (Diane Keaton) has given up on romantic relationships. But when she finds a half-dressed Harry (Jack Nicholson) in her kitchen, things change. Harry, the chauvinistic womanizer (who dates only 20-year-olds) is visiting Erica's Hamptons retreat for a weekend romp with her 20-something daughter. Harry explains during dinner, "Some say I'm an expert on the younger woman ... since I've been dating them for 40 years." While attempting to impress the young daughter with his prowess, Harry has a heart attack. Erica begrudgingly comes to his aid, and the slow chemistry begins: Do opposites really attract? Powerfully moving performances and tons of one-liners make you laugh out loud and ponder fate and relationships. ―Mamie Walling