Good Vibrations Via Video


Magazines blare their summer movie previews: Asteroids! Aliens! "Armageddon"! In all, some 114 new movies will burst onto screens this summer.

But you don't have to go theater hopping for a hopping good movie. Get a summer rental to put you in a beach frame of mind. Here are our picks for a quick summertime pick-me-up.

Best Smooch: "From Here to Eternity," (1953), with Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Deborah Kerr. A story of Army life in Hawaii just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lancaster and Kerr get our prize for best pucker-uppers on the beach. With waves cascading over them, the two lock lips in a kiss to remember.

Best Boogie Nights: "Beach Party" (1963), with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, is Avalon's favorite. It was the first in a long-running series that blended slapstick, songs and surf. Later came: "Muscle Beach Party" (1964), "Bikini Beach" (1964), "Pajama Party" (1964), "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965), "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965), "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" (1966) and "Back to the Beach" (1987).

"Ride the Wild Surf" (1964), with Fabian, Tab Hunter, Barbara Eden and Shelley Fabares. Set in Hawaii, the boys surf, the girls romp and, natch, love is in the air.

Best Drag: "Some Like It Hot" (1959), with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Two musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and make a getaway with an all-girl band headed for Miami. Monroe plays the ukulele, and the boys play like Barbie on and off the sand.

Best Teen Romance: "Gidget" (1959), with Sandra Dee, Cliff Robertson and Doug McClure. A California teenager hits the beach one summer and falls madly in love not just with one surfer dude, but two. What's a girl to do? Make "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" in 1961 and two TV series.

Best Demented Sister Act: "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. This black comedy about two former movie stars is a cult fave. Crawford, stuck in a wheelchair, is at the mercy of her sis, Baby Jane Hudson, played by Davis in macabre makeup. In the final minutes of the movie, Davis takes Crawford to the beach for a picnic and leaves her for dead. Oops, we gave the ending away.

Best Sob Story: "Beaches" (1988), with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. A bittersweet saga about a 30-year friendship between two girls that begins at the beach. One's rich and pampered--the other's poor and later driven to show-biz divadom. Have hankies handy.

Best Elvis: "Blue Hawaii" (1961), with Elvis Presley and Angela Lansbury. Lansbury plays mom to Presley, an ex-G.I. who returns to the islands to work with a tourist agency and date bikini-clad babes while crooning "Can't Help Falling in Love." In 1966, a rehash of the original was called "Paradise, Hawaiian Style."

Best Catch of the Day: "Jaws" (1975), with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. A New England beach community is terrorized by shark attacks in this Steven Spielberg standard. The big fishy returned in "Jaws 2" (1978), "Jaws 3-D" (1983) and "Jaws the Revenge" (1987).

Best Gameboys: "Side Out" (1990), with C. Thomas Howell, Peter Horton and Courtney Thorne-Smith. This no-brainer is about a college kid whose summer job is to evict tenants for his sleazy uncle. Instead, he joins a volleyball team and wears cool wraparound shades and board shorts.

Best Soul Surfing: "Point Break" (1991), with Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Lori Petty. Reeves, as an FBI agent, goes undercover in the So Cal surfing community to investigate a series of bank robberies. He wears cool wraparound shades and board shorts, and gets stoked about riding the waves.

"Surf Party" (1964), with Bobby Vinton and Jackie De Shannon. Teenagers meet and mate in Malibu. Duh!

"Surf II" (1984), with Cleavon Little, Lyle Waggoner, Eric Stoltz and Ruth Buzzi. It's a spoof of classic surf movies and '70s splatter flicks, with the first gag being the title itself--there was no "Surf I."

Best Blood on the Sand: "Blood Beach" (1981), with John Saxon. People mysteriously disappear into the sand. Guess what happens when it's high tide?

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