I have probably seen the movie Beaches, starring Better Midler and Barbara Hersey, five times. The first time was when it first came out around 1985. I was five or six. Recently, I have been somewhat of an innocent bystander to Patsy’s penchant for watching it while hungover on the couch. So I have seen it many times, and there has never been a time when I haven’t noted its flaws: the pacing is way too brisk, to the point where it feels like “hurry up and [SPOILER WARNING] die, Barbara Hershey”; the kid is too cute and, therefore, cloying when she should be sympathetic; there are several songs, especially the “Love a Little” song, that are just way too schmaltzy, objectively speaking; and, generally, there is nothing filmically interesting about it, it’s just a Hollywood yarn, edited so that you forgot you’re watching a movie. With regard to the latter observation, Roger Ebert called Beaches “a movie completely constructed out of other movies.” [FN1] But, at the same time, it is time for me to come to terms with my inability to not be moved by the story– this is despite my dogged efforts to erect an emotional barrier to its plot mechanizations because, you know, it’s Beaches, it’s one of most blatant chick flicks this side of Fried Green Tomatoes. But dammit Beaches always finds a chink in the armor. I almost cry when fucking Barbara Hersey dies … every time. Basically, it’s just the thought that the most unlikely people can become your friends and that even your most random friends might turn out to be really important parts of life some day. And although, as I mentioned above, most of the songs are just too ridiculous, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, which is also ridiculous, is too good to deny. The entire movie is basically a movie video for that song, which is fine in the grand scheme of things. And for those that dismiss the song because it’s a Bette Midler song, remind yourself that Bette Midler was once kind of cool and even collaborated with Tom Waits. [FN2] I also cannot deny the fact that she manages to make her boobs look pretty nice at various points in the movie. Not as nice as here, obviously, but still. Anyway, in summary, I like the movie Beaches.
FN1: When I searched for Ebert’s Beaches review, another movie that came up in the results was Fletch, one of the greatest comedies ever made. Turns out Ebert gave Fletch and Beaches the same rating (2.5 stars). What does it all mean?
FN2: Let the record reflect that, at this point, I looked up her wikipedia site to see if there was anything else cool that she has done and there pretty much is not. Plus, there’s a chance that Hocus Pocus cancels out the Tom Wait connection.