on March 26, 2006
I will cry at anything it seems, My Girl & Armageddon floor me everytime, and I sometimes even cry at Neighbours. So I just knew by reading the blurb of this, that I would cry.
It's amazing these days that a friendship can span three decades - so far my longest friendship has lasted nearly 10 years. And we've been through a lot, but never had a serious argument. As the old saying goes, guys, jobs, etc come & go, but friendships last forever.
In this, the friendship starts at the age of roughly 11, and the young actresses who play Barbara Hershey & Bette Midler's characters are excellent. The little actress who plays CeCe Bloom at 11 is the spitting image of Bette Midler - poor child! She's got the hair, the wide smile and the mannerisms down pat, and it's so funny to watch her. It's a shame Mayim Bialik hasn't done much else, it's mainly voice work she does now (most notably she voices a character in Extreme Ghostbusters.) They become penpals, and the relationship is played out through letters, until they finally get together. The film spirals from there, from husbands, to divorces, to arguments, to children.
It's predictable, and I did find Bette Midler's character just a little irritating, but that wasn't due to Bette Midler. It was just the way she played the character she annoyed me, she was so self centered. Barbara Hershey's character was fun, kinda the sidekick to CeCe, and Barbara actually got collagen injections in her lips to look younger, as she was playing her character through such a long period.
Of course you know Barbara's character is gonna get ill, but it's the way it's done, it's very subtle to start with, she starts looking more tired, and then it snowballs, and it's shocking how they manage to make her look so awful, she deteriorates really quickly, and I have to say the makeup artists did an excellent job there.
The funniest line in this film is my title for this review. "Over the shoulder boulder holders" is the perfect way to describe those annoying things called bras.
I've heard "Wind Beneath My Wings" many times before, and it's an extremely powerful song. What made a bigger difference was watching what was happening on screen, and listening to the lyrics, it brought a whole new meaning to the song, a meaning that I never got before. Well, that was me. Thankfully, I was watching this alone at the time, cos it would have been really embarrassing for someone to see me crying the way I did. To say Beaches had an effect on me is the understatement of the year. Even after I'd switched it off, I was still going about the house in tears. I'll never hear "Wind Beneath My Wings" the same again.
Unfortunately, I bought the bog standard, no frills, DVD, not realising that there was a special edition. But I'm quite happy with the edition I have. I'd probably cry through the extras too.
I'll probably watch this again (I still force myself to watch Armageddon & My Girl now & again, just because I love them that much), and I'll probably cry even more now I know what's coming. It's a terrific film, and is definitely the ultimate chick flick. It's also directed by Garry Marshall, so watch out for a cameo by Hector Elizondo.
on July 31, 2014
BEACHES  [Blu-ray] They Met on a Beach 30 Years Ago! Some Friendships Last Forever!
Celebrate the power of everlasting friendship with `BEACHES' available for the first time on Blu-ray, featuring a new digital restoration. Academy Award® nominees Bette Midler for Best Actress 1991: ‘For The Boys’ and Barbara Hershey for Best Supporting Actress 1996: ‘The Portrait Of A Lady’ star in this funny and touching film from legendary director Garry Marshall.
When the irrepressible C.C. Bloom and the shy and proper Hillary Whitney first meet under the boardwalk, all the 11-year-olds have in common is the need for a best friend. Worlds apart in a lifestyle and location, their friendship ebbs and flows through a lifetime of highs and lows. From the boardwalk in Atlantic City to a beach house on the Pacific, `BEACHES' will remind you what being a true friend really means. Relive every heart-warming moment on Blu-ray High Definition.
FILM FACT: Included on the soundtrack was Bette Midler's performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings," which became an immediate smash hit. The song went on to win Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990. It was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Art Direction for Albert Brenner and Garrett Lewis.
Cast: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Spalding Gray, James Read, Lainie Kazan, James Read, Grace Johnston, Mayim Bialik, Marcie Leeds, Carol Williard, Allan Kent, Phil Leeds, Lynda Goodfriend, Nikki Plant, Michael French, Robert Ball, Frank Campanella, Diane Frazen, Michael Elias, Patrick Richwood, Tracy Reiner, Zachary Weintraub, Jenifer Lewis, Charlotte Crossley, Julie Bond, Kimberly Morgan, Andrea Paris, Adrienne Parker, Steven Majewicz, Joe Grifasi, Lucinda Crosby, Jack W. Larson, Judith Baldwin, Jane Dulo, Lisa Savage, Frank Buxton, Steve Restivo, Maureen Jennings, Kathleen Marshall, Julie Paris, Clara Huff, Barbara Marshall, Scott Marshall, Cindy Riegel, Bo Sabato, Michael A. Salcido, Arnold McCuller, Carla Earle, Katherine Singleton, Ken Gibbel, Harvey Miller, Kevin Ash (uncredited), Sarah Blaze (uncredited), Hector Elizondo (uncredited), Whit Hertford (uncredited), Garry Marshall (uncredited), Marc Shaiman (uncredited), Lori Sigrist (uncredited) and Terri Sigrist (uncredited)
Director: Garry Marshall
Producer: Bette Midler, Bonnie Bruckheimer and Margaret South
Screenplay: Mary Agnes Donoghue and Iris Rainer (screenplay)
Composer: Georges Delerue
Cinematography: Dante Spinotti
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 123 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: When I had the Special Edition NTSC DVD of ‘BEACHES' back in 2005, my life was considerably different from what it is now. And today as I view this special Blu-Ray version of the film, with that same cover art, I wondered if my opinion of this film will be the same, well I was proved wrong and have found it is a vast improvement of the inferior NTSC DVD as it still the same the same ambience that only Bette Midler can deliver and it can still be a big tear-jerker type film, which always happens when watch this film for the umpteenth time, but to me it's still the same beautiful film. I will say, the ending has far more of an impact on me now; however I find I'm far more susceptible to emotional manipulation by the watching this film.
The box office hit ‘BEACHES’  starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey was based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Iris Rainer Dart about the lasting friendship between two very different women. The free spirited but poor Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom [Bette Midler] and the uptight aristocratic Hillary Whitney Essex [Barbara Hershey] meet as children in Atlantic City and form a lifelong bond that endures conflicts, boyfriends, marriages, babies, divorces and even death.
‘BEACHES' starts out by establishing the foundation of the eternal friendship between, Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom [Miyam Bialik] and Hillary Whitney Essex [Marcie Leeds], a street-smart Atlantic City kid and an upper- crust child, respectively. Meeting under the boardwalk, they find they are kindred spirits of sorts, and thus start a relationship that spans the rest of their lives through letter writing, until both Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey become adults. Finally getting together again, and find their friendship is the only constant in their lives. The prologue, with brilliant work by Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom [Miyam Bialik] age 11 years old and Hillary Whitney Essex [Marcie Leeds] age 11 years old, gives the film a smart-aleck attitude that helps overcome the more heartstring-pulling moments...for the most part.
From there on out, the two women find life to be a series of struggles, with them switching places, as Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom [Bette Midler] life explodes into mega-success, and Hillary Whitney [Barbara Hershey] hits roadblock after roadblock. Through it all, they rely on their friendship to carry them through the challenges that love, marriage and family bring. The friendship is tested often, especially by the dreaded presence of men, but it's hard to believe that anyone in the audience has a doubt about what will happen in the end. ‘BEACHES’ often risks drifting into melodrama, but Bette Middler's irreverent presence keeps the movie on an even keel until the plot becomes too heavy to maintain buoyancy.
Using Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom and Hillary Whitney Essex's flashback correspondence as the main method of progressing the story along, along with an in-the-now framing device, the film spans 30 years in two hours, which by any measure is moving at light speed. There are some problems with moving the story so quickly, in that the plot can seem unnaturally motivated. But within the structure of the plot, there's no other way the film could have advanced the story. By compressing the lives of these two women, the parallels between them are made obvious and meaningful.
While the story of these two women is the core of the film, Bette Midler's musical moments are some of the most entertaining portions of the film. From her character's start as a jazz singer to her award-winning performances, she gets the opportunity to show off her impressive range as a vocalist. I've always considered Bette Midler to be extremely good, based on her roles in ‘Ruthless People' and ‘Outrageous Fortune' [which I wish they would release on Blu-ray] but ‘BEACHES' goes to show why she gets the respect she receives. Singing ability like hers and an amazing comic wit has combined to make her a true star.
At approximately the halfway point, the film loses its sense of humour and becomes like a sort of soap opera, but not a bad one, especially with Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom speaks badly about at the time of the change. Life itself is too much for the girls, and the whole film becomes exactly what the first half seemed to strive to avoid. Ironically, it's that turn-around in the second half that has earned the film its fan base and massive reputation. It takes a heap of nurturing to make and keep a friend over the long haul of a lifetime. ‘BEACHES’ illustrates a few of the challenges, disappointments, and rewards of this worthwhile endeavour. With its mix of drama, comedy, and music, the film leaves behind a rainbow of delectable emotions for all ages.
When ‘BEACHES’ went into production, Bette Midler was enjoying a wave of success ushered in by her association with Disney's adult-oriented Touchstone Pictures. Bette Midler had made hits like ‘Down and Out in Beverly Hills’  and ‘Ruthless People’  for Touchstone which many credited for revitalizing her career as a comic actress in the 1980s. With Touchstone Pictures, Bette Midler formed her company All Girl Productions and co-produced ‘BEACHES’ as her first project.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The very nice 1080p encoded transfer on this disc is remarkably better than the mess that existed on the previous Blu-Ray. That said, it still has some issues, as it's uneven in the handling of grain, with some scenes buzzing and others, mostly darker interior scenes later in the film, looking stunningly clean, to the point where they could have been shot this year. Everything has been given a polish, so the vast majority of the dirt and damage seen on the inferior NTSC DVD has gone with the rare exception of a spot or two. Fine detail has been vastly improved, though there's some softness here and there, and the colour has been made far more natural (and warmer), even if it all looks a touch darker. At its best, it looks fantastic, while at its worst it's much better than the previous release. It's worth nothing that it appears that the image was opened up on all sides on this release, showing more in all directions. The aspect ratio (listed on the box as 1.85:1) seems to be the same between the two, but the framing seems better on the new transfer.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘BEACHES' 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is pretty front heavy, to the point where surround channels only really kick in when Midler sings. There is some occasional noticeable surround activity, especially the boardwalk scene is a good example, but even then, the bulk of the mix is tilted toward the front channels. There is also widely differing reverb and ambient recording effects quite noticeable in some of the post-looped material, with the van scene with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, especially when Bette Midler is in the bunny suit, one of the more obvious examples. In scenes like that one, the dialogue sounds overly tinny and boxy compared to the bulk of this track. Fidelity is generally very good, especially in the musical sequences.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Garry Marshall: Gary Marshall is always fun to listen to, and he's quite funny through large swaths of this commentary. Gary Marshall is quite gracious in doling out accolades to various people involved in the film. Gary Marshall makes nonstop fun of some of the plot machinations, and that actually helps to make some of the more saccharine elements in the film go down a little easier.
Special Feature: Beaches Bloopers [6:59] We get just over a six-minutes reel. Apparently created for use back in 1988, this one offers the usual goofs and giggles, though a narrator attempts humorous commentary as well. It's typical for its genre.
Special Feature: Mayim Bialik Remembers Beaches  [12:06] This is a very sweet reminiscence of her performance in the film ‘BEACHES’ by the current day star of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’
Special Feature Music Video: "Wind Beneath My Wings" Performed by Bette Midler  [4:32] "Wind Beneath My Wings" (sometimes titled "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Hero") is a song written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley.
Special Feature: AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Songs With Bette Midler  [1:17] This is the segment of this special devoted to "Wind Beneath My Wings." The top 100 songs of the past 100 years chosen by the American Film Institute are presented by host-actor John Travolta.
Special Feature: Barbara Hershey Screen Test  [6:18] Shows a scene in which Cecilia Carol "C.C." Bloom and Hillary Whitney make up with each other as well as a couple of subsequent sequences. Bette Midler works with Barbara Hershey in the test, so that makes the reel more interesting than it otherwise might be.
Theatrical Trailer [2:12] The Blu-ray disc opens with trailers for `The Odd Life of Timothy Green' and `Monsters University.' These also pop up under Sneak Peeks along with clips for ABC TV series and Castle. We also get the trailer for ‘BEACHES' as well.
Finally, ‘BEACHES' is a wonderful warm hearted true classic, the kind of weepy film everyone likes to curl up with on a rainy Sunday for the stereotypical "good cry." It's hardly worth debating the quality of the filmmaking, as it's secondary to the emotions involved for fans of this film. This Blu-Ray is a considerable improvement in terms of the visual quality, and though there are no changes in the contents from the now inferior old NTSC DVD, it offers a decent package of extras, thanks largely to Garry Marshall's commentary. If you're a fan and you've never owned `Beaches' there's not likely to be a better version down the line at this point in time and that is why it is a great honour to add this to my ever increasing Bette Midler Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom