My Lifeguard Week

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I’m a big fan of the genre.

What genre?

Lifeguard was completed in 1975 and not released until Spring/Summer 1976. What is that I have on in the background? Malibu Beach, 1978; makes me want to put Saturday Night Fever on for the music. The Beach Girls, 1982, is surprisingly good. This one, I kind of knew what was going to happen once the main characters were introduced and that is not stopping me from leaving it on. It does have a few catchy lines.

At least everyone is happy. I’m a fan of David Strathairn but could barely watch Blue Car (2002). (Yes, there is a beach.) Same with The Lifeguard (2013) and that is not because Kristen Bell doesn’t have it all. Everyone is crying in both of them. Lost in Translation (2003) outclasses Blue Car by virtue of the music alone but it is stuck in claustrophobia. Rushmore (1998) is a must see again, but no nature.

Sticking to the genre: Fletch, Hardbodies, The Malibu Bikini Shop is surprisingly good. Bend it like Beckham has a river so I am going to include it. Blame It On Rio, If It’s Tuesday, Local Hero, Under the Tuscan Sun, Tequila Sunrise. Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Parker Stevenson), State Park, Doc Hollywood, Wet Hot American Summer. Rip Girls, Billboard Dad. North Shore. I’ll stop for now.

Uh oh. I recognize the song at the end of Malibu Beach.


“I have met beautiful women before. Many beautiful women. But you, you are the most beautiful woman I ever seen in my life.” Don’t say it standing at a crowded crosswalk. Love Potion No. 9 shouldn’t be included here.

Lifeguard is the best beach movie I have seen. The writer and director leave a trail. Swan Song, on YouTube, was worth looking up and there is much more.

Lifeguard is an unusual almost bizarre movie. There is no fancy dialogue and there are no big words. Rick says “man” in about every other sentence and in some respects he cannot tell the difference between cracking jokes at the beach and sleeping with a woman. Probably the deepest conversation in the movie is in the very beginning, initiated by model and actress Sharon Weber. It goes over Rick’s head and she turns away.

(I used to do that too: You should do what you want to or need to do. It is 100% true, but it is not what anyone wants to hear.)

Wendy, the character, although stupid as hell to swim until almost passing out, is the most articulate of the lot.

I’m tempted to read some of the witty and sarcastic reviews of the movie, especially ones from the experts at the time, but I won’t. They are everyone’s prerogative, but they also show how wrong snarky reviewers can be and how no one can predict the future or people’s reactions. More to the point, when I go back and try to clip lines that represent the movie, there are none. The closest I can come is a simple “Yes” uttered by the Wendy character in reply to a question about whether her parents are still married or the aforementioned “When are we going to make love again?” Neither are not smart, ostentatious, know-it-all, or funny. The movie doesn’t work that way.

Rick never gives Cathy an answer. Next Summer Wendy will be 18 and they have all winter to talk.

Me? I am going to build a fire and put Lifeguard on again. It is supposed to snow 15 inches here in Colorado. I’ll plan my next trip to the West Coast.

I’ve never actually been to Burnout Beach.

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