Disney Reinvents the Beach Movie
June 28, 2013

I’ll watch it. I’m a long-time fan of the kitschy beach party movies, a short-lived genre fad of the mid-1960s (before things got really weird). Why not try to resurrect the idea? Watching attractive teens singing and sporting is a great way to waste a couple of summer hours.

Teen Beach Movie

There’s already a soundtrack album for sale.

The Disney Channel plans to air Teen Beach Movie, a modern take on the sun-and-fun approach, starting July 19. They’re looking to start a franchise that they hope will be as popular as High School Musical, which perhaps explains the bare-bones, this-is-exactly-what-you’re-getting title.

More recently, there have been parodies, such as Psycho Beach Party, but this Disney project takes a somewhat meta-level approach.

In “Teen Beach Movie”, two modern adolescents are transported into “Wet Side Story”, an over-the-top 1962 tale of surfers versus bikers. The characters from the film within the film — Tanner, Butchy, Seacat, Cheechee, Giggles, Lugnut and Struts — welcome the interlopers. But the modern visitors inadvertently change the plot.

Sounds vaguely like Pleasantville, which worked out pretty well. Also, this is promising:

“Teen Beach Movie” also comes with empowered modern girls who bristle at the antiquated views on gender roles in “Wet Side Story”. Rolling her eyes at the boy-crazy antics of one of the girls in “Wet Side Story”, Ms. Mitchell’s character asks, “Why does she need a boy to be happy?” (The answer: “Because it’s 1962.”)

By the way, the last of the original beach movies, 1987’s retro nostalgia piece Back to the Beach, is now available from Warner Archive.

2 Responses  
Jim Kosmicki writes:  

I remember liking “Back to the Beach.” It was knowing in its satire, but also showed a deep down love of the genre. I can remember finding the beach movies on the weekends on local television when I was just the right age for this sort of thing. Actually, it was probably about the age that a lot of Disney viewers get hooked on Disney programming. If this is done well, it should be great.

Johanna writes:  

I need to watch it again — it’s been forever since I’ve seen it, and I probably know who more of the old-timey guests are now. :)


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