I just watched Where the Boys Are with the Queen of Bohemia. She enjoyed it – at least I think so, anyway she giggled a lot – and I enjoyed it, despite the, uh, problematic subtext. But then I have always had a soft spot for that movie, based mainly on the clothes I think, or maybe on the fact that one of the characters thinks she is undateably tall, being exactly my height.
But! There is that problematic subtext and boy, is it ever problematic. This is old news, I know – everybody knows – that the point of Where the Boys Are is to let us all know that girls who drink and have sex will be raped and abandoned in squalid motels and then try to kill themselves inefficiently on busy highways. Then, I guess, they drop out of college – I just want to see my father, sobs the girl in question, my mother and father will tell me what to do! Yes, I just bet they will. After all, the problem couldn’t possibly be that people have been telling you what to do and you’ve been smilingly obedient, could it? Well, no matter. It’s all over for you anyway! Hopefully they’ll stone you right up and down Main Street, you little hussy. No more than you deserve! It’s really kind of an astounding movie.
The guys are all sort of universally horrible, too. There is the guy who gets drunk – the one with the tall girl, who won’t put out – and takes up with the mermaid from the fancy restaurant. Then he yells at the tall girl as she is sobbing on the beach. Well, naturally. I mean, she shouldn’t have sex, because it’s deadly for women, and just wrong, and she’s a Good Girl, but you can understand him getting angry and going for a sleazy ho. Of course she immediately loves him more when he shortly thereafter sees the error of his ways. Hooo boy, I bet that marriage worked out well. Serial infidelity, spiraling alcoholism, hovering on the brink of divorce by 1976 – I think they were friends of my parents! Or maybe they were my parents. Then there is the “boy” – he looks about 40 – who can’t see without his ridiculous glasses, so his new girlfriend (Connie Francis herself, always joking about how she’s not pretty, because having an amazing voice and looking damn good to my 2015 eyes clearly doesn’t make up for not being blonde) says she will keep him in the dark. Ha ha! He is so wrapped up in his music he doesn’t even know what she looks like! Ha ha! Another marriage that ended badly but at least she had a career to fall back on. And then there is the main character, who is Serious and has a High IQ – they actually ask each other about this, her and the Rich Boy. He is Understanding but he also Wants Sex. Does she give in? Not before the credits roll but as they are rolling they are declaring true love, so maybe. Probably not, though, and anyway I predict that their different social statuses will lead to trouble and he will never marry her, or his parents will steal the kid and have it annulled or something like that.
I don’t know, this movie was made before I was born and it is foreign to my understanding. Therefore when I got home I tried to watch Where the Boys Are 1984, but it turned out to be so alarmingly awful I couldn’t even make it 15 minutes in. As I was watching it I was thinking about my generation too, and figuring that if there had been a remake it was probably a slasher pic, because if the cinema has taught me anything, it’s that Gen X girls who hop in cars with guys usually get decapitated. Alas, the remake is not a slasher pic, or even very interesting, and the one star review said that there were lots of really dreary sex scenes. Yes, my generation: by 1984, in that weird little space of time before AIDS and after the sexual revolution, women were supposed to have sex with every single guy they met to show how liberated they were. Then on to the decapitation! Or at least to Porkys. So had it improved? Not so much. Has it now? I don’t know, because nobody has had the balls to make Where The Boys Are 2014 or even 2004 and that is kind of too bad in a sick or at least a sociological way.
Well. Where the Boys Are is still a great great song and the clothes? The clothes are a-fucking-mazing. But don’t take my word for it. You can watch it right here, or at least the first half and there’s a link to the second half on that page. Enjoy!