There's camp, and then there's camp: pop culture so awesomely awful that it ends up being just, well, awesome. Many of Elvis Presley's flicks fall into the aforementioned category (ok, all), but the campiest by far is Clambake, a 1967 Miami beach movie encompassing erudite themes like the science of boat resin, love vs. money and the importance of confidence.
The flick is being screened Sunday at the Coral Gables Museum, and this cheesy classic is your perfect respite from holiday hell. From the sophisticated theme song lyrics "Clambake, gonna have a clambake" to Elvis' green screen waterskiing moves, here are all the reasons why this is the best movie you've never seen.
The screening ties into the museum's "Concrete Paradise: The Miami Marine Stadium" exhibit, since the film was partially filmed at the stadium. Along with your ticket, which costs $25, you'll get a free plate of paella, a drink, and a comfy seat. Plus, you'll experience the following:
10. The clambake scene is the best thing ever.
There's singing. There's dancing. There are girls (pretending) to take off their bikini tops. There are clams. It's a cornucopia of '60s cliches and tacky fashion that you simply cannot miss.
9. The dude who plays Elvis' dad is like the Monopoly man personified.
Holy Texas oil tycoon stereotype, Batman. Cigar, accent, hat -- you name it. But this was the '60s, and stereotypes were kind of their thing. And by "their," I mean everyone.
8. Most of the movie is green-screened.
You haven't lived till you've seen a PA splash water on Elvis' face from offscreen as he "waterskis." And Shelly Fabares' slick moves are enough to win her the ultimate prize: a rich dude with a boat.
7. Elvis keeps his shirt on for the entire movie.
A slightly questionable state of affairs for a beach flick, particularly since he plays a watersports instructor. It's likely because this was the start of his downward health/weight/mental decline. Luckily, he can still sing.
6. The song "Confidence" tells us everything we ever needed to know about life.
"He had confidence/A little thing called confidence/Theres no job too immense when you've got/Confidence." Wisdom of the ages.
5. Sixties beach dancers are everything.
Seriously, there's nothing like girls shaking their stuff in bell bottoms and crop tops, with big hair and round hips. Why doesn't anyone dance like this anymore? Huh, Beyonce?
4. The story's moral is that gold-diggers win big.
The King plays an oil tycoon's heir who fakes poor so he'll know if girls really dig his "personality." He then proceeds to meet a self-proclaimed gold-digger, looking to land a millionaire. We won't spoil the ending entirely, but it's safe to say, Elvis gets the girl. And she gets the dough.
3. Elvis' character invents something called "GOOP."
Rich, handsome, a master at fake waterskiing and a chemistry genius, to boot. The dude invents a miraculous boat resin and proves he's more than just a pretty face. In today's world, he'd be the next Bachelor.
2. Sixties-pseudo innocence wins.
At the beginning of the flick, Elvis hands over his identity (and money) to a dude he meets at a gas station. Those were the days! When people trusted each other and all was right with the world. When one guy could become another without background checks or blood tests. Y'know, except the fact that anyone who wasn't a straight white male faced insane discrimination and rampant bigotry. But other than that ...
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Nothing beats Elvis. Ever. And there's something to be said for his formulaic flicks. Hell, they've stood the test of time, which is more than we can say for The Real Housewives of Miami.
What are you waiting for? Grab some tickets before people get wise to the awesomeness. You can snag 'em online.