Where the Boys Are

I netflix-ed Where the Boys Are  (imdb / netflix / wikipedia) thinking it'd be a fun & silly movie. A group of friends go on spring break! Fun ensues! 

That was not what I got.

Here's the description from imdb - "Four very different college girls drive to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for spring break and seek out various adventures and romance for themselves."

They should have omitted the word "adventures" and just went with romance, because every adventure is romance related. And that's not the issue - I expected that! But GOOD GRIEF! I did not expect the movie to be as depressing as it ended up being. Each girl has varying degrees of luck on her romantic pursuits, and - SPOILER ALERT! - one girl ends up in the hospital wishing she was dead. WHAT FUN! "A group of friends head off to Fort Lauderdale and the trip ends with one girl becoming semi-suicidal! The feel good movie of the summer!"

(Right now I'm joking, but the end of the movie really is dire / serious so while I'm jokey about the first 7/8 of the movie in this post, please know that I'm well aware how serious / horrible one of the later plot points is - a plot point that I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER would occur in this film.)
Pre-trip / while the girls are still at school. 

Above you see Merritt (in the dark sweater with the collared shirt underneath). She's talking about how she thinks that it's okay for women to "play house" before they're married. Apparently this is one of the first movies that directly implied that teens / college kids were having sex before they were married. You'd be inclined to say "good for them!" until you see that the one character who has sex during the course of the movie ends up wishing for death. FYI - it's the girl you see sitting beside Merritt wearing the turtleneck sweater - Melanie. She's an oh so innocent little lamb when the movie begins, after the "go play house!" speech from Merritt, she asks her - "Ooooh do you really mean what you said?" I'm paraphrasing, but the point is that pre-trip, she NEVER would have dared to sleep with a guy without a ring on her finger.
En route to Florida. Front seat - Merritt and the "super-tall" Tuggle. Back seat - Melanie and Angie. Angie is played by the singer Connie Francis and one of the main points of the movie is that she's an "ugly" captain of the hockey team. All of the other girls get dates and she never gets one until the guy she has her eye on loses his glasses. As though he'd need to be blind to date her: that's even worse than the implication that Rachael Leigh Cook is gross pre-makeover in She's All That
Here's Tuggle's future romantic interest - TV. He's "goofy" and "crazy". He's an idiot and a pain in the ass. I'm not going to mince words here. But he's tall! And Tuggle needs someone as giraffe-like as she is (obviously?). 

Needless to say, he goes along with them.
Melanie is SO excited because thousands of kids go to Fort Lauderdale for spring break and 80% of them are men. They're "where the boys are"! Melanie is especially looking forward to find some "Yale-ies" or other Ivy Leaguers. 
She just met some Yale-ies!!!!! Her downfall begins.
TV takes Tuggle out. He keeps saying - "Now take sex......" over and over again and she keeps trying to change the subject.

Later in the movie they're semi-making-out (necking?) and he keeps saying in a sensual voice "Are you a good girl, Tuggle?" What a terrible, terrible sentence. 

Every man in this movie ONLY wants sex to a ridiculous degree. Every girl in this movie only wants to get engaged. Seriously. At the beginning of the movie they describe their trip as only lasting about a week, and yet each one of them expects an engagement from whatever guy they're with by the end of their time in Florida. Are you kidding me? I don't know what gender the movie paints in a worse light - the sex-obsessed men or the marriage-obsessed women. Both are ridiculous.

I'd ditch a guy that was just OPENLY talking about sex so much on the first date, but I'd also ditch a girl who was talking about MATRIMONY on the 4th date.
Melanie heading down to the Yale-ie's room for a booty call, basically.
Angie tries to flirt with a guy. He obviously chose Merritt instead because Angie is just SO hideous, right?!?!
Merritt meets her super-rich love interest from Brown.
He brings her to his yacht and tries to get her drunk in order to get her in to bed.
Back at the Yale-ie's to "play house" again.
The story definitely becomes a cautionary tale as her time in the sack begins to "take its toll".
They go on a group date to The Tropical Isle and TV becomes so enraptured by the woman in the tank that he feels compelled to jump in.
Classy move, TV. Ditching Tuggle for the Marilyn-wannabe in the tank.
The girls jump in to save him, but I would've just left him there. And left him with the bill.
Not Tuggle, though! She even goes to the police station. Where he continues to blatantly ignore her and ogle the mermaid-woman.
Tuggle, why are you still sitting beside him!?! HAVE SOME RESPECT! 

Side note- she thought this relationship was going to end in an engagement before the mermaid showed up. Before they went to the restaurant, Tuggle stated - "If he doesn't say something tonight - I'll clobber him!" Of course! I always expect a proposal on the 4th day I've known someone too! Duh!
Merritt's dude is supposed to be like the dashing lust-object of the movie, but he's just as sketchy as the rest of them. He stops plying her with drinks because he's "feeling charitable" - as though he's some sort of gentlemen for not making her blackout drunk. Throughout the movie, sex is referred to as "charity" - as though letting a man get in your pants is the same as donating money to a kickstarter fund or some shit.

I think it was around this time that he also gave Merritt (or maybe TV?) a lecture about how men and women are different and "you're not playing for the same stakes" and that women "don't understand what a risk marriage is for a man". 
Here's Tuggle watching TV chase after the mermaid. She eventually runs back to her hotel in a furious / disappointed rage.
And then the movie gets serious....... because Melanie is raped. Some guy she wasn't even interested in shows up at a hotel room she was waiting for her preferred Yale-ie in. As this was occurring I kept thinking - "Melanie's plot line is a cautionary tale, but they're not really going to have this guy rape her in this supposedly fun beach movie, are they?" Oh wait - they did.  It was very melodramatic (afterward there's this big scene where she dazedly walks into traffic) but it was genuinely upsetting and so out of place in relation to the rest of the movie. I can't imagine seeing this in the theater when it was originally released. You go to the movies to watch beachy romance, and instead it's like a scared straight thing. I almost feel uncomfortable writing about it because it's such a serious subject and this is just one of my light hearted movie posts. But. Yeah.
Merritt sobbing over Melanie. 

"Want to hear the big joke? They weren't even really Yale-ies."

Merritt - "You'll meet a nice boy back home."
Melanie - "Oh a nice boy - I'll tell him all about my wonderful spring vacation."

"I lived it up, didn't I Merritt? I lived it up. Why didn't I die?"
TV shows up at the hospital and apologizes and Tuggle (stupidly) forgives him.
Angie & her blind boyfriend drive back north with Tuggle and TV, while Merritt stays with Melanie while she recovers.
Mooning about on the beach. Her guy was supposed to have gone back to Rhode Island, but lo and behold he shows up.
"You're a pretty strong girl, Merritt" 
"Not really. No girl is when it comes to love."

He doesn't actually propose to her, but he tells her that he has a lot of events coming up (a dance / his graduation) and that he hopes she'll attend some of them with him. OH HAPPY DAY!
And then the movie ends with this incredibly jaunty music and it's SO OUT OF PLACE! Melanie wants to die! Why is this music playing!?!! What were the people behind this movie THINKING!?!? I know what they were thinking - they were trying to scare girls out of having pre-marital sex. Uh.

When I rented this movie, I thought that the song "Where the Boys Are" seemed too melancholy to be the theme song of the movie - I guess I was wrong.

Want to look at another movie post? Go HERE


  1. Seems like that whole movie was a made as a great big trap for girls. Not gonna listen to your parents? Well, maybe you'll listen to Hollywood.

  2. i remember watching this movie as a preteen thinking it was another gidget or beach blanket bingo and being sorely disappointed too.

  3. Oh, looks interesting. I don't think I've heard about this one before. Maybe I'll take a look at it sometime myself.

  4. I love your movie posts and I think you tackled the serious portion of the movie well. It was sort of like a lesson in sociology and gender inequalities, but with humor and practicality.

  5. Have you seen the movie SHAG? I feel that it has some similarities without being so heavy handed.
    Probably since it was made in the 80's, set in the 60's.
    But it might fill your beach fix without being so fraught.

    1. Yes! I'm so glad you connected the two, Georgie. Honestly, I LOVE SHAG. I used to watch it all the time with my friends at sleep-overs in middle school / early high school. When I was watching Where the Boys Are I actually thought to myself "this is a really miserable version of Shag".

  6. YESSSSS this is on my list. Need to bump it to the top because I am a Connie FANATIC.


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