July is the right time for sand and surf. Many of our readers are undoubtedly lucky enough to live on the coast where they have daily (or at least weekly or monthly) beach access. But many of us are landlocked and too busy or poor to make the trip. And let's be honest here -- the very best beaches in the United States and Mexico are probably going to look like something out of The Road before vacation season rolls around again.
So, what's someone desperate for a seaside trip to do? Escape in some old-fashioned escapism through the magic of movies. There's a lot of tropical films a person can watch to cure their lust for islands, cabanas, and crumbly sand. I've narrowed it down to five. I've also deliberately kept it to films that are just cheesy enough that you could mute them and just look at the pretty sunsets.
Now, If you're one of those creative types, you could do some kind of cute theme party where everyone shows up in Hawaiian shirts and chows down on shrimp, salsa, and key lime pie while watching one or more of these films. If you're like me, you'll just cut up some limes, crack open a Mexican beer, and get buzzed enough to forget the wind outside belongs to the prairie and not the sea. Hey, we all escape in different ways, and some of those ways involve alcohol and Kurt Russell. Don't judge my vacation.
Continue below for free trips to the beach ...
1. Captain Ron
You may or may not find Captain Ron funny. I do, but that's because I recognize my own manic family vacations in it and because I think of this as Snake Plissken's sideways universe. Even if you find the humor grating, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking ... and I'm not just talking about Kurt Russell's low riding swimwear and shirt allergy, although that's definitely part of it. He's my cabana boy of choice, especially with the eyepatch.
2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Beach parties, cliff diving, sunsets, drinks, surfing, leis, beautiful people, Forgetting Sarah Marshall has all the makings of the ideal vacation. Best of all, you can take it knowing you won't run into an ex-girlfriend or Russell Brand, but can laugh at their misfortunes from a safe distance. I don't know about you, but part of my ideal vacation is realizing how much better I've got it than anyone else!
3. Mamma Mia!
I didn't care for Mamma Mia!, and to watch it again would definitely require a mute button, if only to save myself from Pierce Brosnan's warbling. (And hey, I actually really like Abba. I was raised on them.) But oh, the scenery. Even the star-studded cast and elaborate dance numbers can't detract from the luscious Greek coastline.
4. Against All Odds
A rather silly thriller, Against All Odds has such hypnotic sex-on-the-beach scenes that it's the ideal DVD vacation to take with a significant other and some strong liquor. On the plus side, you won't get sand in awkward places. On the downside, you won't have access to a Mayan sweat lodge. (However, archaeologists are grateful you don't. It's all fun and games until a priceless carving is destroyed.)
5. 50 First Dates
Again, you may not find this funny. I have a terrible sense of humor, so I do. But it's easy to tune out what you might not like -- Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler -- and lose yourself in the incredible Hawaiian landscape and Drew Barrymore's charm. Plus, it has cute animals! I'm a sucker for anything with penguins or walruses who make eyes at the camera, and I think the walruses kissing at the end of the movie might be sweeter than any of the "first kisses" between Barrymore and Sandler.
Honorable Mentions: Cocktail, Pirates of the Caribbean ... and the ones you list below. Come on, we'll have our own beach party! I'll make margaritas.