Why Beaches is still the wind beneath our wings
Itâ€™s the BFF movie that set the template for clichÃ©-ridden tearjerkers for decades to come.
By: Courtney Shea Special to the Star, Published on Tue Sep 15 2015
Following its world premiere at TIFF on Saturday, Miss You Already â€” the Kleenex-mandatory drama starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette â€” is being hailed as aBeaches for the Instagram generation. â€œAmaaaaay-zing!â€ say those of us old enough to remember when normcore was just called getting dressed.
But for anyone born this side of the Calgary Olympics, the reference may require some explanation (and possibly a few song and dance numbers).
Here are five reasons why all these years later, Beaches is still the tear-jerker against which all other BFF movies are measured.
1. Because sometimes a song and a singer are so much greater than the sum of their parts
We never see the tragic climax of Beaches â€” instead we only hear it, as the scene shifts from one final sunset at the beach house to a shiny black limo pulling away from the cemetery, while Bette Midler belts â€œDid I ever te-ell you youâ€™re my-ay he-ear-rowwwwwwwâ€¦â€¦.?â€ According to scriptwriting 101, characters are never supposed to croak off screen. In most movies, this robs the audience of a much-anticipated emotional orgasm. But then, most movies donâ€™t have the Divine Miss M, and a song that is, even now, synonymous with unrestrained sobbing.
2. Because clichÃ©s are like a warm pair of slippers
When Beaches premiered, Roger Ebert gave it a measly 2.5 stars, dismissing the movie as a series of cinematic tropes. Well duh!! Rich mouse/poor mouse, best friends fall for the same man, golden boy husband has bathrobe-stealing mistress, down-and-out roomies make a night at the Laundromat look like the most fun ever. . . The list goes on, but the point is that Beaches was never supposed to be cutting edge, but rather comforting and familiar. This is not the sort of movie you see once â€” itâ€™s the one you watch again and again, until you can sing along to the â€œGlory of Loveâ€ number, feeling safe in the knowledge that sob city is a mere 107 minutes down the road.
3. Because every movie should really include one lead character who is a professional singer
This allows for maximum vocal porn while avoiding the off-putting musical theatre convention where characters burst into song for no reason. From her gig as a singing telegram delivery bunny to rehearsals at the Hollywood Bowl, CC Bloom has plenty of logical reasons to sing her heart out.
4. Because watching a 12-year-old Blossom (aka Mayim Bialik as young CC) smoke cigarettes on the boardwalk while dressed like a tweenage sex worker is the best
And that is just the beginning in terms of memorable wardrobe moments: Hillary (Barbara Hershey) as a Stanford co-ed in the early â€™70s, CC as the acid wash queen a decade later. Hairstyles and fashion trends come and go, but friendship . . . well . . . you see where this is going.
5. Because long before Sex and the City inspired the whole â€œIâ€™m a Samantha,â€ â€œIâ€™m a Charlotteâ€ thing, there was the CC/Hilary dichotomy.
The current Rogers On Demand film summary sort of says it all: â€œHeartwarming drama follows two young girls â€” one classy and one brassy.â€ Hillary is cultured, perfectly groomed, conventionally gorgeous, effortlessly poised. CC is impetuous, raunchy, unpolished and unforgettable. Identifying with one or the other is part of the fun of watching â€” which is great because we could all use a little fun before the tears start flowing.