Malibu Beach (1978)
Directed by Robert J Rosenthel
Starring Kim Lankford, Susan Player, Steve Oliver
"Hey, you got big tits, for a lifeguard!"
“I need seven half-naked cheerleaders and a case of beer stat!”
“Sure thing. Robert J!”
Who knows why it ended? Did Robert J just get tired of tits? Can you ever get tired of tits? It’s been 44 years, I’m still not tired of tits. And here’s the good news. This movie has a lot of tits. It also has a LOT of 1978. The waves of late 70’s nostalgia hits hard and fast, right from the beginning.
There’s a bikini top stealing dog, there’s Dina, (Kim Lankford) the lanky, heavy-lidded new lifeguard (in a bikini) , there’s Paul (Michael Luther), a goofy dude with an Elvis visor, there’s weirdly named Glorianna (Tara Stroheimer) a bosomy good-time girl with frizzy hair in a sports car with a "Cure virginity" bumper sticker and a John Scnhneider iron on on the back of her sweatshirt, etc. The pop culture bullshit is pretty overwhelming.
It’s Malibu Beach, it’s the summer of 1978, and the kids are alright.
So anyway, Dugan (Steve Oliver) is the local over-aged musclehead asshole who’s always hitting on the young chicks. But today he finds somebody his own age to bug, Miss Plickett (Flora Plumb), the stuffy teacher for most of the kids at the beach. Malibu must be a small town.
For whatever reason, she decides to go for a ride on his motorcycle, and he takes her back to his place. There's photos of body builders and paintings of big eyed puppies on the wall. I think there’s a velvet-rendered jungle scene, too. If his weird garage/apartment wasn’t off-putting enough, he rants to her about some dead goddamn plant. Then he puts his moves on her. It all feels kinda rapey, even with the schlocky soft rock jam on the soundtrack. She doesn't dig it, and bails. You get the feeling this kinda thing happens to Dugan a lot.
But fuck it, there's a party tonight. Claude (Roger Lawrence Pierce) wears safety goggles while he drives. Quirky motherfucker.
Dina and her bud Sally (Susan Player) get a flat tire. I know it sounds like I’m just randomly mentioning things that happen in the movie, but that’s the way this one rolls. It’s like the scenes are all marbles and Robert J just drops ‘em on the ground and lets them roll wherever they want. Parenthetically, Sally has the most amazing bangs I've ever seen. They’re awesome!
The fellas - Paul and certified cocksman Bobby (James Daughton) - help fix the flat, and they all head out for booze and disco dancing. They do the Bump in high waisted pants. But then the fellas strike out. This might bum you or I out, but you and I are not at Malibu Beach in 1978. The guys plit, head to the liquor store, do some drunk driving in Bobby's pimped-out Jeep, and head out to the beach for a late night booze, frisbee, and weed party. A couple cops show up. The "police" sticker on their car is not convincing. It's peeling right off the fuckin' door.
Dina and Paul end up hanging together on the beach. Paul decides to make his move, and lays his lips on her. She rejects him, and to make matters worse, Dugan shows up and shoves him around.
Luckily Rodney breezes by and tells ‘em to be cool. So they stay cool. Rodney munches on Crackerjacks until the fat cop shows back up and they drive away, drunk and stoned.
With the heat off, the gang goes skinny -dipping. 70's kids were a lot leaner, man.
Then they fuckin’ chug wine to get warm. All in all, it was a sweet night.
Dina gets home. She's got Rolling Stones, Zep, and A Star is Born posters on her wall. She sits there and hugs Bobby's jacket. He let her wear it on the way home. Then she gets in bed with it. Dina, I hope you know that you are like the third chick he's made out with TODAY.
Back at the beach the next day, some snotty punk kid pretends to drown just to fuck with Dina, but then he actually starts to drown. She saves him anyway. Some dude says, "You shoulda let him drown". Harsh. And then Dugan roughs him up. How about you fuck off once in a while, ok Dugan?
I dunno, Dugan and Bobby get into some static, and they decide to drag race. Dugan takes Claude’s wheels and Bobby takes Rodney's police car. Rodney was busy smokin’ weed with busty Margie (Sherry Lee Marks) at the time.
Anyway, they total the fuckin’ cars. Luckily, they're both ok. "That was the highlight of my life," says Bobby, as he drives always triumphantly in his own jeep, with Rodney's cop car lying in a crumpled heap. Fuck you, Bobby.
Meanwhile Claude hooks up with Gloriana, the Vette chick. Nice score, Claude. By the way, Claude's a rich kid and he's got plenty of cars, so he's not even mad about the drag race.
Night’s still young, so the gang bust into the fairgrounds and go for an illicit bumper car ride before heading to inspiration point for some heavy makin’ out. Good times. I wish my 1978 was like this. My 1978 was mostly sweating on a bench outside of our apartment because we didn’t have air conditioning.
Next day, Paul rats out a couple of gas thieves, and they slit his tires and threaten him with a switchblade. "Very 50's", laughs Sally. Also, Paul sticks a hose in their rape van and floods it. They'll probably come back and fuckin’ kill him later. I kinda hope they do, because all the guys in this movie are assholes.
And then, disco party at Claude's! Everybody is having good times. The outfits are diabolical. The dancing is ferocious. The only thing that could fuck up this night is Dugan. So guess who shows up? It's all fist fights and cops from there. Dina's had enough of all this he-man bullshit, and tells them both to buzz off. And that's the night disco died on Malibu Beach.
Later that night, Dina and Bobby make up and make out on the beach. He was swimming in his jean shorts. She was wearing white flares. Who could resist? Anyway, then there's a bunch of love stuff for the next ten fuckin’ minutes. Lame.
Clearly, we've been building up to a climactic face-off between Dugan and Bobby, and boy do we get one. A shark is involved. Well, a wooden plank with shark teeth nailed to it, at least.
So who wins? It's 1978, man. Everybody wins.
If we're going to technical about it, nothing really happens in Malibu Beach, but then again, if you were living it, it’d probably be the most memorable weekend of your life. In fact, I would suggest that if you are a young person, you study this movie and then go try to live your next 48 hours exactly like this. That would be ballsy. If you are not a young person, I would suggest you watch this and then lament the fact that you spent your 1978 on a fucking bench when you could’ve been partying with Sally and her bangs, or whoever your foxy neighborhood equivalent was. In fact, whatever your age or disposition, you should watch Malibu Beach. Why wouldn’t you? It moves along at a fast pace, the acting is solid, the chicks are rad, the boobs are plentiful, and you can tell that everybody involved is having good, hazy times. And isn’t that what life is all about?
PS: Stacey says:
Hot fun in the summer time! Good times and a few hassles... this is one fun flick! Too bad the boys weren't cuter.
Cool or not so cool 70's fashions, a guy wearing goggles 24/7, and someone get those girls some hair conditioner! Obviously the boys don't care about that... but I suggest a classic 70's Alberto VO5 hot oil treatment (the girls get it, I'm sure.)
Surely, this was the inspiration for Richard Linklater's tamer Dazed and Confused. Rumspringa Whoo, for sure!