Spring Break movies are a unique beast. While there might not be direct research into this, it seems that these films are offshoots of the “beach, blanket, bingo films” from the 1960s. As the genre really seemed to catch fire in the late 1970s and then in the 80s, the connection between the two is actually more acute than one might think.
The beach movies of the 1960s were simple, fun and represented All American values. The spring break movie, truthfully, hailing more from the 1980s than the 70s, are similar in that their characters are looking for fun and a good time. However, spring break films have a devilish side, and that makes for many moments of boobs and butts that my generation has never forgotten. Yes, when you have a Spring Break movie, you can expect to see some sex!
How could we ever forget some of these cinematic moments? With our fantasies, literally, laid bare before our very eyes in such films as Spring Break and Where the Boys Are are, these films would go on to forge a genre that still elicits calls of “Spring Break!” whenever their titles are mentioned. Making them even more memorable is when they actually have something to say (She’s All That) or when they make us laugh until it hurts (Reno 911!: Miami). Recently, this entire genre was subverted with Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers as that expanded it even further.
That these films can be love stories, tales of terror or easy fun, only seems to increase their staying power. Like the party movie, who doesn’t want to have spring break even when it’s out of season. These movies last because they are part comedy, part fantasy, but always, always a good time. Quite simply, spring break is a state of mind that we all want to be in.
So, as summer starts to rear its glorious, glowing head from around the corner, spring is in full bloom and these films are ever more topical. With their different plots and interesting take on the human condition, what could be better than a list that attempts to put them all in one place? So put on the suntan lotion, lay out by the pool and enjoy the “11 Best Spring Break Movies of All Time”!
Spring Breakers – 2013
Leave it to the iconoclastic Harmony Korine to give us a post-modern take on the spring break film. The story is simple, some girls head down to Florida for spring break and end getting more than they bargained for. Or, do they? That is where the brilliance of this film lays. Whether it was Korine casting against type with the likes of Disney sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, or letting his camera lens linger just long enough to show how vapid this party culture can be, Spring Breakers may not be a great movie but it breaks the spring break movie mold into a million pieces. As this story moves forward, we constantly hear “Spring Brrreaaaaaaakkkkk!!” until that itself becomes a rallying cry for just how little the culture behind this world has to offer. That, if nothing else, makes this a special spring break film.
Piranha 3D – 2010
A remake of Roger Corman’s late 70s classic, this version reveled in gore, violence and nudity. Featuring such solid thespians as Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd, this remake shows what happens when an underwater earthquake lets loose a swarm of killer fish in Lake Victoria. Suddenly, some concerned residents have to save a bunch of newbies from becoming fish food. Like most spring break movies this one serves up copious amounts of nudity and blood. What makes it so entertaining is the fact that it actually has a really good cast (did we mention Elisabeth Shue and Jerry O’Connell are also in it?) that has to deal with all of this. Spring Break was never acted so well!
Spring Break – 1983
What makes Spring Break such a seminal…Uhm, spring break film is the fact that it has some cool guys showing some not so cool guys how to have a good time. This is a classic plot device of this genre. When Stu and O.T. show up to Fort Lauderdale for a great spring break, they discover that their motel room has been double-booked. Never people to just walk away from a good time, they take up with the bookish Nelson and Adam. Suddenly, the odd couple turns into the “bod” couples as these guys search out girls, girls, more girls… and beer. Sure, there’s a subplot about how the hotel they are staying at is in financial trouble, but does anybody really care about that? This is a spring break film for crying out loud! Looked at from that angle it fires on all cylinders.
Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise – 1987
Shortly after beating the jocks in the Alpha Beta fraternity in the first film, the nerds of Tri-Lamba head to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to attend a national fraternity convention. Sadly, Alpha Beta is also in attendance and want to settle the score. Now the nerdshave to fight to be on the beach! Okay, you have a Revenge of the Nerds film set on a beach in Florida. If this doesn’t scream spring break movie than we don’t know what does!