Here we are friends, almost one year into the Grindbin and still talking about the first movie we ever covered on this show. Chris and I thought it would be a great idea to spend this time going back to The Van and covering it's "sequel" Malibu Beach (1978); after all, it's a Crown International Picture, what could possibly go wrong?
In a world of constant sequels and reboots we are used to hastily-made productions trying to get a few dollars from eager fans wanting more. It's rare to see a sequel to Grindhouse film, it's very rare to see one for a Crown film; obviously with good reason.
Malibu Beach is not exactly a sequel to The Van (1977) so much as it's spiritual successor. Written by the same writing team from The Van and featuring Stephen Oliver (as the same character he played in The Van "Dugan") this film inhabits the same world as that movie but little else.
Jugs of wine, Dugan being called a turd, underage drinking, drinking while driving, bumbling cops, Malibu beaches, kids graduating from high school; it's all there but it certainly doesn't add up to what we traditionally expect from a Crown film. This feels like a money grab - a money grab that nobody wanted or asked for.
While Crown films can certainly be called lazy, their teen comedy offerings are rarely this dull. While we might criticize a movie like Van Nuys Blvd (1979) for not having much of a plot or Superchick (1973) as being nonsensical, nothing quite compares to the level of laziness that Malibu Beach exemplifies.
This movie honestly feels like Crown International leftovers - as if they dug through the piles of unused film in the editing room and came back with 96 minutes and a credits sequence. It's also one of the longer Crown films which really gives you an idea of why these films are best digested at 80 minute increments.
There isn't much good to say about this film. The jokes are bad, the characters are extremely unlikable and the the rush to make another movie is extremely evident. It's rare for a Crown film to exhibit this much contempt for it's audience but it's as if they simply didn't care with this one. It's no surprise this movie faded far into obscurity and only premiered in two drive-ins in the entire country (one being in North Dakota).
We'd love to say the Vanniversary is off to a good start but... it's not.