1. The Beach: Hot off his the globe-shaking success of ‘Titanic,’ Leo opted to continue with the ‘seafaring drifter’ theme and starred in Danny Boyle’s South Seas thriller as an American ex-pat who happens upon a map to a mythical beach that turns out to hold some deadly secrets. Ironically, the films theme of corrupted paradise crossed the line from fiction to reality when stories broke about 20th Century Fox bulldozing huge swaths of the location where the film was shot in an effort to make it look more “paradise-like.”
2. Beach Blanket Bingo: Recognizing that ‘bikinis’ plus ‘teenybopper idols’ plus ‘frothy melodrama’ plus ‘bikinis’ could translate into ‘box office goldmine,’ the deceptively straight-sounding American International Pictures singlehandedly created the ‘beach party’ genre in the early ‘60s and paved the way for everything from ‘Baywatch’ to literally every single Disney Channel series in the past five years. This entry, arguably their best, features everything from a mermaid to a biker gang to the heroine escaping from an oncoming buzzsaw to random appearances by Buster Keaton. No, really.
3. The Blue Lagoon: Long before ‘Lost’ made a killing by confusing its viewers about…well, everything, this steamy Brooke Shields vehicle broke the bank by focusing on a different brand of confusion, namely the sort involving which part goes where and where babies come from. As cheesy and pseudo-exploitive as it may appear today, you’ve got to admit that having everyone embrace nudism and discover primal love would’ve been an infinitely better way to end ‘Lost.’
4. Point Break: “So anyway boss, it’s…well, it’s got Keanu Reeves in the lead and…that’s right, the guy from ‘Bill and Ted.’ And he’s an FBI agent, see?…Yes. An FBI agent who surfs…well, he’s trying to catch this bank robber-slash-surfer played by Patrick Swayze and…That’s right, the pottery guy, but…Well half the time he’ll be wearing a Ronald Reagan mask…Because that’s how they all hide their faces…Can Gary Busey play Keanu’s partner? Sure, I don’t see why not…”
5. Jaws: Admit it. You still imagine everyone rushing headlong for the shore once in a while when you’re out floating in the surf.