I know this movie came out in 1960. I know that things were different then. But I watched Where The Boys Are for the first time in the year 2016, and BOY, do I have some things to say about it.
I picked up a VHS copy of link
(along with a heap of other old beach movies) at a thrift shop, thinking it would be cute and summery 60s fun. Diiidn't quite turn out that way.
The summary on the back cover reads,
"Break out the suntan lotion, put on the shades and tune into AM radio with the original classic that celebrates the annual migration of thousands of college students to sunny Fort Lauderdale for a wild and, hopefully, romantic spring break.
Four college girls share a hotel room and a strong desire to go where the boys are! Melanie (Yvette Mimieux) makes the first move with an Ivy League man; Tuggle (Paula Prentiss), a lanky brunette, discovers a boy who is even taller than she is; Angie (Connie Francis) goes clubbing with the leader of a jazz band; and Merritt (Dolores Hart) is swept off her feet by a wealthy Brown senior.
The film boasts an ensemble cast of fine supporting performances: George Hamilton is cool and sexy as Merritt's wealthy beau, Jim Hutton is the wisecracking TV Thompson, and impressionist Frank Gorshin appears as Basil. So for an entertaining look at co-ed fun, go where the sun is hot and the mood is romantic... go Where the Boys Are!
If this is one of your favorite movies, or if you haven't seen it but would like to, you might want to find something else to read. This will be full of spoilers, and I am going to rip it to shreds.
Lesson #1: Smart, educated, "strong" women will get their priorities straight once they meet a boy.
The movie begins with Merritt (Dolores Hart) having a discussion her college dean about her low grades, and they schedule a meeting after spring break to discuss Merritt's future at the school. She hadn't planned on going to the beach with her friends, but changes her mind at the last minute and joins them with the intention of studying while she's there. There was no studying done after a boy entered the picture. There was no follow-up about her academic life. We don't know if she was able to return to school. All that mattered was that she met a rich, handsome man.
Lesson #2: It's better to set your sights on the first jerk you meet than to shop around.
There are four main female characters in Where The Boys Are. Merritt (Dolores Hart) wants to get her grades up and stay in college. Tuggle (Paula Prentiss) wants to become a "walking, talking baby factory". (Her words, not mine.) Angie (Connie Francis) just wants a boy. Any boy. Merritt meets a rich guy and forgets about all that studying she's supposed to be doing. Tuggle hooks up with literally the first guy she meets, a hitchhiker. He's obnoxious, he won't take the hint that she doesn't want to talk about sex, and he eventually runs out on her to follow some Marilyn Monroe wannabe. Angie latches on to the first guy that pays her any attention, who reluctantly asks her out immediately after two of her friends rejected him. Right in front of her. She knew she was his third choice, and that he didn't really want her, but she stuck with this rude little dipshit 'til the end. But it's okay, he started liking her better once his glasses were broken and he couldn't see her.
Mini-Lesson: Even uggos like link
can get a man if they become doormats and maybe break his glasses!
Lesson #3: Bad things happen to promiscuous little girls.
Melanie (Yvette Mimieux) is the only one of the four main characters who went out with more than one boy, and she was was raped and hit by a car. The last time we see her is in the hospital, crying at the thought of any "nice boy" back home finding out about what happened to her.
Melanie was a happy, chirpy character hoping to find a husband at the beach. She went out with an Ivy League-er named Dill and had sex with him. *gasp!* On another date, with his roommate, she drank too much and had sex with him
. She came home hammered and seemingly very happy about the date, but was much less enthusiastic the next day when talking to Merritt about it. (Was she too drunk to consent? This probably counts as Rape #1.) On the next date, the guy's roommate showed up instead. She backed away and said "no". She was raped and abandoned in a hotel room. Melanie called her friends for help, stumbled out in a daze and a torn dress, and walked into traffic. Her friends arrived just as she was struck by a car on the highway. In the hospital, Merritt tried to reassure Melanie that she could still find a nice boy at home, and Melanie cries about being rejected for what happened to her in Florida. See here kids, nobody wants damaged goods!
Lesson #4: If you keep your legs closed, you will get a happy ending.
Three of the four main female characters remain virgins, and they each end up with a boy at the end. Two of the three boys they end up with are total pricks, but hey, a prick is better than no boy at all, amirite?
Lesson #5: "Men are rats, listen to me, they're fleas on rats. Worse than that, they're amoebas on fleas on rats. I mean, they're too low for even the dogs to bite."
Okay, maybe that one's from Grease, but it still stands.