People are often shocked when they learn that I do not have a Netflix account. Well, I definitely don’t and here’s why; today on The Ruthless Forum we were talking about movies that are missing from the Ruthless lexicon. In other words, what have we missed? Somebody mentioned Back to the Beach, a movie I must have watched a dozen times before I turned thirteen. See, with Netflix I would have had to have stuck it up my queue or whatever and maybe have been able to watch it in a month or whenever. The other point–and I have brought this up from time to time–is that my video store, Jerry’s in Los Feliz, is THE BEST VIDEO TORE ON THIS PLANET. If you live with in thirty-minutes of Los Feliz and you do not rent your movies from Jerry’s, you are fucking insane!!! And stupid. Cause not only did they have Back to the Beach, they have a beach party section. Oops, forgot to yell. A BEACH PARTY SECTION!!!!
All that said, I sort of wish they didn’t have Back to the Beach because then I could have rented something else. Something equally moronic, sure, but then it would have at least left one of my few reaming pleasant childhood memories in tact. If you look at the six(!) people it took to conceive and screenwrite this film, it reads like a who’s who of dudes that have done nothing but hurt people with their moronic scribblings. I’ll just run down the crimes of one of the hacks who penned Back to the Beach, Mr. Bruce Kirschbaum; 21 Jump Street, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (the TV series), The Ben Stiller Show, Arli$$ (actually, Arli$$, while not good, did let you know that The Sopranos were over and that it was time to change the channel), Everybody Loves Raymond and The Mind of a Married Man. And that’s just the output of one of these dudes. By the way, “these dudes” live in nicer houses, have done way more coke and have banged way more hookers than any of us will in our entire lifetimes.
However I do need to point out that the first twenty minutes of Back to the Beach are legitimacy funny. Really funny. Consistently funny, actually, which as you probably know, is one hell of an achievement. The majority of the laughs center around Bobby (Demian Slade, who will forever be known as “Two Dollars” for his work as Johnny in Better off Dead). He’s a mixed up fourteen-year-old wanna be punk rocker who practices his knife fighting skills on the family poodle. He tries to drink a beer (a Budweiser, in what has to be the weirdest product placement ever) and smoke a ciggy, but Mom (yes, Annette Funicello) just ain’t having it. He explains that the family is going to Hawaii, “which is a great place for a kid who only wears black.” Though the line would have been funnier if was, “for a kid who only wears leather,” it still pulled a laugh out of me. Besides, anything more than Harold Ramis style, “those crazy kids!” would have required thought on the part of the writers. Also really funny was the fact that Dad (sigh… Frankie Avalon, who looks disturbingly like Joe Pesci) was constantly trying to kick Bobby’s ass. Like seriously, every few seconds. And I for one find child abuse hysterical when on TV or in movies. In fact, it was definitely the prototypical Homer-Bart relationship. Prototypical because Back to the Beach was released a full three years before the Simpsons first appeared on The Traci Ulman Show. Dad even uses Bobby’s head to bash a door down.
The writers apparently shot their entire wad on the beginning, for Back to the Beach just devolves from there. Because after the quite funny opening, Back to the Beach was nothing more than an hour-long beach dance party, complete with endless Beach Boys tunes. Which is, to me, the most repulsive form of human interaction. Er, I guess Burning Man is more reprehensible, but only because those utter fools think they are affecting the world. Seriously, I hate beaches, I hate dancing and I hate people. The thought of Daytona Beach during Spring Break makes me spit shine my gun. And Back to the Beach was basically that. Criminally stupid to be sure, the plot centers around the fact that Dad saw his old flame and now Mom’s jealous and they “separate” and… I’m boring myself just typing this. If Bobby wasn’t in the scene, the scene sucked. All I have left in me is this; if Gilligan’s Island jokes are the highlight of your film, YOU SHOULDN”T BE MAKING MOVIES!!!
And now, the somewhat funny Gilligan;s Island jokes;
Gilligan: I’ve been away for a long time.
Gilligan: Worse. There were chicks but you couldn’t touch ’em.
Gilligan: I was on an island for years with a guy who could take two coconuts and some string and make a nuclear reactor. But he couldn’t fix a three-foot whole in a boat.