Monday, January 7, 2013

Beaches is a movie full of jerks

My dear readers, yesterday I had a bit of free time so I decided to watch Beaches for the first time in maybe a decade. Some quick background information you should know before reading further:

1. I looooove Bette Midler. Love may not be a strong enough word.
2. I used to watch this movie all the time and cry my damn eyes out.
3. I thought of this movie as "ultimate girly movie."

You guys. Every single person in this movie is a total asshole. Seriously.

For those of you not familiar with the movie I refuse to tell you there are spoilers in this  summary because this thing came out in 1988, which means the movie can legally drink and you should already know that someone dies.

CC Bloom and Hillary Whitney meet as children in Atlantic City. Hillary has money, CC is a child performer with a questionably risque act.

fancy child who gets lost on the beach

this week's bait on To Catch a Predator

They become friends because Hillary doesn't have any friends and therefore doesn't know how normal people behave, and because Hillary tells CC she is the most talented person alive. PS Hillary's mother died young. PPS CC's mother is Lainie Kazan, which is great because Lainie Kazan is awesome in every single role she plays. So they take photos in a photo booth, exchange addresses, and start writing letters to each other.

CC still wearing the costume, of course

They are pen pals for years as Hillary goes through law school and CC tries to make a career as a singer and actor happen. Then one day, CC is singing to no one in a seedy jazz club when Hillary shows up having run away from her privileged life.

you know it's bad when there are only two people in the club

Hillary moves in with CC, becomes a lawyer with the ACLU, does CC's laundry while they play cards, and constantly props up CC's ego.

this is just like me and my first roommate in the city except not at all.

CC meets a director while delivering a singing telegram dressed as a bunny but gets all butt hurt when the director notices that Hillary is pretty.

The dad from Home Alone is trying to decide if he's going to be a jerk in this movie. 
Spoiler alert: yes, sometimes.

CC does a bunch of plays with the director, John, all while clearly trying to sleep with him. On opening night of CC's big break in this ridiculous attempt at avant garde theatre, Hillary decides to be the greatest friend in the universe and sleeps with John herself.

Girls get all dressed up on opening night. 
Dude wears a jeans shirt. 

Then, the next day she goes back West to take care of her dying father.

With Hillary out of the way, CC eventually beds and marries John the director, who has an annoying habit of asking how CC's best friend Hillary is every so often. Hillary marries her father's lawyer and fulfills her destiny as WASP queen, giving up her career. At one point her husband asks her what she is doing today and she says she is going to an exercise class and then she's going to buy a wrench because they don't have one. THAT IS HER WHOLE DAY.

Today I was adventurous and read the paper while I walked down the driveway.

Meanwhile, CC gets cast in a huge Broadway show called Sizzle that seems to be fairly in line with Bette Midler's most popular stage shows - bawdy, ribald, lots of fun and singing. Hillary and husband come to NYC to see the show and hate it. Which makes NO sense to me because the section of the show we see is freaking fantastic. I would see that show a million times.

CC is rich now and has absolutely the worst taste in interior decorating. John is basically her trophy husband at this point. CC and Hillary hate each other and say mean things to each other while shopping for expensive things and have a big falling out. Seriously, CC is like, "This lipstick is fabulous on me!" and then Hillary is like, "That lipstick makes you look like a corpse." BURN.

I hate both of your coats, too.

Then they hang out in CC's ugly apartment and play angry cards. No seriously, this is how we know their friendship is over - they play gin in a very terse manner.

how can you even stand the tension!?

Hillary can't show emotion in front of her husband so has to lock herself in the airplane bathroom on the trip home to ugly cry. This is to make us feel bad for her. CC at least can cry to John. John clearly wishes Hillary had stuck around NY.

Hillary sends all of CC's letters back to her. CC leaves John and goes to see her mother in Miami. Lainie Kazan is like, "You are an exhausting person. Please go back to New York."

love Lainie Kazan's sweatshirt here.

Hillary has sex with her husband on the floor for their anniversary but catches him with another woman the next day, only able to say to the blonde woman, "That's my robe."

thank you, Garry Marshall, for this heartbreaking cinematic moment.

Fast forward: CC is washed up, Hillary is pregnant from floor sex, they reconnect, and of course CC falls in love with Hillary's obgyn. Spalding Gray is the obgyn and is pretty much the only character in this movie who is not a jerk, other than a cat, but we'll get to that later. Of course then CC gets an offer for a Broadway show and makes Hillary break up with Spalding Gray for her. CC wins the Tony, records a hit album and her career is a big success.

seen here being soulful

Except that Hillary gets diagnosed with a major heart malfunction and now is going to die. So CC goes to the beach with Hillary and her terrible brat daughter for the summer or something. Also, the brat daughter has a cat named Pouncer who is the only character I truly liked.

thank god for you, Pouncer,
you are the wind beneath my wings

CC gets into childish fights with the brat daughter about leaving towels on the floor.

while the dying woman looks on

Eventually, though, CC and the brat daughter come to love each other because... I am not sure why. I think it's because CC teaches the brat daughter a song and dance routine on the beach. Anyway. CC yells at the dying woman to put on real clothes instead of pajamas and to stop acting like she's already dead.

Nice one, CC.

Then Hillary DOES put on real clothes and winks at CC as if to say "you're right!" at which point I started yelling at the tv and my roommate started laughing at me.

And then she snapped her brat daughter's neck. And winked again.

Hillary dies as "Wind Beneath My Wings" plays in the background, CC reads all of their old letters, and remembers all the times they had together, hating each other.

Remember that one time we could stand each other? You know, the first day we met ?

After a very tearful conversation where she says she's far too much of an asshole to be a good mother (PARAPHRASING) CC takes over care of the brat daughter.

the brat daughter is clearly thrilled about this

Then CC plays a concert at the Hollywood Bowl wearing probably the worst makeup of all time and tells the brat daughter that when she was her age, she smoked and wore things like this:



  1. I just looked up all of these childhood actresses on IMDB, because I love my job, and this is what I found in the bio of the girl who plays young Hillary:

    (January 2011) Tucson, AZ, USA: Chief Resident at University Medical Center where she was part of surgical team who saved life Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.


  2. M.E.: This was one of the funniest things I've read in a really long time.

    Also, Annie: are you fucking serious? That's insane.

  3. FYI - there is a sequel to the book that Beaches was based on called something incredibly beautiful like..."Beaches 2." To give you a general sense of it, CC is exponentially more likeable in the movie than in "Beaches 2: I'm raising my dead best friend's daughter but am still too selfish to car about anything other than keeping the color of my hair consistent." The daughter remains a brat.