Malibu Beach (1978)

This film is one of my favorite of all time. Why? Because there’s obviously something wrong with me. Who in their right mind would find brilliance in a film so thoroughly built for the quick Drive-in buck. Who would tolerate marginal acting and a non-existent storyline, a soundtrack the consists of three songs played over and over and over again, and a freeze- frame ending where everyone is laughing at a bad joke?

Who, you ask? Anyone who can see past the mechanics of this film, the strained convention and the low-budget. Crown International was the perpetrator of this relaxing slice of 1970’s nostalgia and they know how to make these type of films like no one else.

There’s something magical that exists between the lines of this film and how it captures the lazy days and fun nights of being a teenager and spending your days on and near the beach. It reminded me of those times back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Moreover, the two lead girls have definitely got something going. And, as far as the three songs are concerned, with the exception of the synth track that seems to be the only thing that plays at the bar they all go to, the other two tracks (“I go to pieces” originally by Peter and Gordon, and “You’re Gonna find love” by who the heck knows) add to the charming time machine quality of this film.

During my summers, when I was too young to see R-rated films like these, I recall that Crown used to group their latest and their last as double features. This film originally was grouped with “The Van” and later with “Van Nuys Blvd.” Both MB and Van had “Dugan”, whom, I guess, wasn’t a popular enough character to make a franchise out of (due to the unfortunate comic stylings of Steve Oliver). Van Nuys Blvd., it seems, couldn’t procure him so they created the much beloved character “Chooch” instead. A sad day for all, indeed.

I put this on sometimes when I have friends over. The typical response they have is amazement at the sheer randomness and stupidity of the movie — but after a few minutes, no one can stop watching it. When I ask why, they usually say, “I just want to see what happens next.” Sign of a masterpiece if you ask me.

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