I've been missing the beach, it has been too long. Good thing I got a freelance writing job to remind me of this beautiful place. I'd like to share it here.
My Top 10 Beach Movies
10. A Perfect Getaway
The ultimate slasher film on the beach.
Released in 2009, A Perfect Getaway is about a couple enjoying their dream Hawaiian vacation. The film takes a turn when they realize that a serial killer is stalking and killing tourists in the island.
Although it received mostly mixed reviews, one cannot deny that this is more than the average suspense thriller. The build-up is long, but it promises to keep you entertained on boring Friday nights with your friends. The film reached top 10 in the UK box office and the New York Times reviewed it as a “genuinely satisfying” movie.
9. Blue Crush
Surf’s up with hot bods!
Premiering in 2002 starring Kate Bosworth and Michelle Rodriguez, the story is about how the main character strives to pursue her dream of becoming a professional surfer while struggling with work and taking care of a younger sister. The film takes on a romantic theme when she falls in love with another prominent character. So you know what to anticipate: the sport, guys with abs, and a lot of girls in bikinis.
It’s good to watch if you don’t want to think too much. If you like surfing, you’d appreciate Blue Crush. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 62% rating, saying that “surfing sequences are exhilarating, but the plot is pretty forgettable and trite”. Audiences received the film positively, placing 3rd on its first opening week.
8. The Blue Lagoon
Think you know Brooke Shields? No, not until you watch this.
Starring a young Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, this beach film had a lot of eye brows raised when it debuted in 1980. The story is about two children and an adult who survive a shipwreck in the South Pacific. The three take refuge in a lush tropical island with the adult trying to take care of the two children. However, much of the film revolves around how the children learn to survive on their own when the adult unfortunately dies.
The film depicted the character’s transition from childhood to adolescence, as well as sexual discovery through quite a number of detailed scenes. Over time, the characters develop feelings for each other and struggle with sexual maturity in a setting where romantic love and sex are unknown to them. In any case, there’s no doubt this film is worth the time and pop corn. It’s best to watch with an open mind.
The Blue Lagoon was highly criticized by conservative Christian groups, but it went on to be the 9th most acclaimed box office hit in North America, according to Box Office Mojo.
There’s nothing like a Steven Spielberg film from the '70s.
Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws is about a great white shark attacking people in the waters of a fictional beach community. The plot revolves around how to kill the shark and prevent victims, especially tourists, from being harmed. If you plan to add thrills and screams into your beach movie experience, then Jaws can definitely have you sliding at the edge of your seat.
But then again, you have to remember this was made way back. Compared to CGI effects today, you’d notice how artificial the shark’s face is. Nevertheless, you should forget about the other Jaws sequels. You have to see the original 1975 film for yourself. Being the first film to use wide release as its distribution pattern, Jaws’ debut proved crucial in film history.
6. The Beach
Re-think your idea of the perfect island getaway.
Premiering in 2000, The Beach is directed by filmmaker Danny Boyle, better known for Trainspotting (1996), and more recently for his Oscar winning film, Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
Based on the novel by Alex Garland, the film is about a young American tourist in Thailand who discovers a secret island paradise as revealed to him by a crazed drug addict who commits suicide and leaves him a map. The tourist, played by Leonardo Di Caprio, meets a couple also touring the country. They talk about the myth of the island being a haven with unlimited supply of marijuana and shortly after, decide to find it.
Most of the story happens on the island: love affairs, living in a community of marijuana users, and keeping the island a secret within its members. Many viewers comment that it began rather promisingly but lacked a certain depth which the book possessed. While it may have fallen short on certain areas, we tag The Beach as one of the must see existentialist-slash-escapist films of the decade.
5. Temptation Island
“A cult classic”, says Boy Abunda, and something to be proud of.
Of course, we won’t forget our local films. Also from 1980, Temptation Island enthralled viewers as it exposed complex themes including the concept of cannibalism. On a more personal note, it presented relevant learning themes for its audience such as trust, freedom from materialism, and personal independence.
The film’s plot focuses on the fictional Manila Sunshine Beauty Pageant with its character finalists played by then real life beauty title holders Dina Bonnevie, Jennifer Cortez, Azenith Briones, and Bambi Arambulo. While on the way to the finals, their ship catches fire and the characters are forced to stay on an island. A series of events open each character’s eyes as they struggle to survive long enough for rescuers to find them.
4. Point Break
FBI + surfers + robbers + Keanu Reeves + Patrick Swayze = why not?
Point Break is about a two FBI detectives who investigate a series of bank robberies by a gang masked as ex-American presidents. The film becomes a tad more interesting when they go under cover as surfers to investigate. Released in 1991, actors Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves were casted in the film. It was also nominated for MTV Movie Awards Best Action sequence.
The film shows a lot of philosophical insights and heavy surfer lifestyle influences as the characters become passionate about surfing. A viewer comment from film review giant Rotten Tomatoes document that “while it can accurately be described as an action film, a heist movie, or even simply a thriller, Point Break is also one of the first extreme sports film”.
3. Y Tu Mama Tambien
She’s your mother too.
Renowned film critic and screenwriter Roger Ebert describes it as, “one of those movies where after that summer, nothing would ever be the same again”. The film is about two young men who try to flirt with an older woman at a wedding by making up stories on a secluded beach called la Boca del Cielo (Heaven's Mouth). After a turn of events, they convince her to come and travel with them. From here, the story offers interesting insights into friendship and relationships. Apart from the seductive scenes, the older woman finds herself the object of two young men’s affections while also acting as their maternal figure.
Upon its release in 2001, this Spanish film received awards such as the Venice Film Festival’s Best Screenplay Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign film. Y Tu Mama Tambien also received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
2. Cast Away
Tom Hanks: the real one man show.
Released in 2000, Cast Away takes us to the virgin islands of the Pacific where lead character Chuck, played by Tom Hanks, survives a plane crash. As a FedEx systems analyst stranded on an island for 4 years, he finds himself determined to survive in order to return to his girl friend.
More than the usual survivor story, Cast Away risked filming one man on screen for most of its duration. Most scenes were soundless and “conversations” by Hanks were directed to a volleyball named Wilson. This film was widely acclaimed by critics and Tom Hanks received an Academy Award for best actor.
1. Sex and Lucia
Surprisingly, sex isn’t the whole point of this film. There is the heart.
Sex and Lucia is an award winning Spanish film which premiered in 2001. Starring Paz Vega, it begins with a distraught Lucia upon having learned that her boyfriend, a novelist named Lorenzo, committed suicide. She seeks comfort in her grief by going to the Balearic Islands, a place which Lorenzo had often told her about. In the island, she meets two other characters who also happen to have known Lorenzo. Here, they discover the roots of Lorenzo’s depression and his past in connection to the novel he wrote.
The film is striking for its poignant revelations, not to mention the beautiful people and places involved in the plot. Needless to say, Sex and Lucia garnered international success shortly after its premier.