Burl here! Today I wanted to stroll down the beach with you for a bit! What beach? Ha ha, Malibu Beach, of course! “'Cause school is out and nothin’s gonna hold us down! Malibu is calling, it’s got the best looking girls around! All day and all night we’ve got no troubles, everything is fine! Love is here, that’s summertime!"
That last paragraph was mostly me quoting the theme song of Malibu Beach, and not only is it a great song, but it pretty thoroughly describes the plot, such as it is, and outlines the main themes of the picture as well! Ha ha, this movie is just a movie about being young in Malibu in the late ‘70s in the summer, full stop! That’s it! And as a result, you don’t really watch the movie, you immerse yourself in it for ninety-some minutes and just enjoy!
There are a few characters, like a lifeguard girl, her friend, a couple of surfer-type guys (though they don’t do any surfing or even talk about surfing), a rich-kid named Claude, a local goodtime gal called Glorianna, and, wouldn’t you know it, a muscleman named Dugan – the very same Dugan from that marvelous picture The Van! All of these people, and many others, interact on and around the legendary beach of the title, and while there are a few mild conflicts here and there, mostly involving Dugan and a dog who steals bikini tops, just like the one in The Beach Girls, the overall vibe is extremely mellow!
What do they do? Well, they sit around driftwood beach fires, drink beer, smoke a little wig-tightener, go skinny dipping, make sweet love, drive around, attend a party at Claude’s place (he’s got an awesome stereo system, a catcher’s mitt chair and a huge neon sign reading “Pleasure!”), have a swimming race, toss around the old pigskin and oh so much more! It’s a lot like the opening scene of Jaws, but without the shark! Oh, wait a minute, there actually is a shark in the picture! It chases one of the characters, but he gets away okay!
This is a Crown International picture, it hardly need be said! Crown International was a company that seemed to specialize in this sort of plotless summer youth movie, and they made a whole bunch of them in the 70s! The Van is another one, and The Pom-Pom Girls, and The Beach Girls, and there’s plenty more too! They made other sorts of movies as well, but I think they’re best known for goodtime classics like this!
It’s the middle of winter as I write this, and therefore the perfect time to watch Malibu Beach! It’s like taking a little holiday, not just to California, not just into a groovy and mellow past, but to your own teenage years! And sometimes a movie with no plot at all is just what you want! As there’s no sense of forward motion to the movie, none of the usual signposts that tell you where you are in the narrative and that the climax is approaching, the movie seems to last forever! I mean that in the best possible way, of course!
Go on, seek out Malibu Beach and check it out for yourself! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, though the third or fourth time you hear the same song on the soundtrack, you might become slightly annoyed! Just try to roll with it, dude, and take a puff on the nearest joint! I give Malibu Beach three very strange jukebox-type machines that Claude fools around with! Ha ha, you’ll have to see the movie to see what I mean by that, but trust ol’ Burl, it’s worth it!