WHAT it’s about: Four 1960s teenage girls, who take a weekend vacay to Myrtle Beach in an effort to meet some boys and do a little “Shagging.” And not the cheeky, PG-13 Austin Powers kind. I’m talking about the footwork-heavy dance made popular in South and North Carolina around that era.
WHO’S in it: That you’d know – Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda and Annabeth Gish. Also, Scott Coffey, Page Hannah and Tyrone Power Jr.
WHEN it came out: 1989
HOW come you haven’t heard of (or just seen) it before: The movie wasn’t a huge hit in theatres. It was brushed off as yet-another exercise in unnecessarily nostalgic, dance-sequence-heavy, post-Dirty Dancing teenage fluff. It’s got a bit of a cult following now, but unless you treasure innocent, 1960s-set beachside rom-coms, it’s doubtful you’re part of it.
- It’s not going to save any lives or anything, but the breezy plot is perfect for a summer afternoon vacay. You know, when it’s too hot to even think about doing anything but taking in the AC and a tall glass of store-bought lemonade? Think of this fun flick as a spontaneous weekend trip to the beach – relaxing, carefree and hard to resist.
- The dance scenes are choreographed by none other than Kenny Ortega, the man behind the moves in Xanadu, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and of course, Dirty Dancing. He also directed the best movies of all-time: Hocus Pocus Newsies High School Musical, High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
- Annabeth Gish, who plays Pudge, the “fat” (but not really) friend (a role she also took on in another great little 80s summer dramedy, Mystic Pizza), is making a mini comeback this summer as the therapist on Pretty Little Liars! But you knew that, right? I mean, it’s not just me. RIGHT?
- Scott Coffey – a.k.a. “That red-headed dude from every 1980s teen movie” plays the guy who romances Pudge with jokes and unexpected kindness.
- Although it definitely succumbs to tired teen tropes (see: Pudge and the cute goofy guy), Shag‘s script is actually pretty decent. It’s not just about cheap spring break gags and beach scenes. There’s a lot of talk about loss of innocence and what it meant for girls and their images back then.
- It’s got a great, 1960s soundtrack. Even if you’re not a fan of the era, it’s hard to resist the feel-good tunes.
- Same goes for the pastel-coloured, high-waisted fashions that are all the rage nowadays with indie girls and anyone who likes to window shop at Anthropologie. You’ll suddenly wish your itty-bitty bikini was a rockin’ ruched one-piece.
- Although it’s meant to be a 1960s homage (an actually-decent update of Where the Boys Are, I suppose), some 1980s definitely culture seeps in, making it a double dose of nostalgia. And that’s never a bad thing.