Two girls meet on the beech, and a lifelong friendship is formed. Hilary is the shy rich girl (horse riding and the whole thing, don’t you know) and she grows up to be Barbara Hershey. CC is the working class extrovert, and becomes Bette Midler. As adults, they become roommates, and we follow the entire arc of their friendship through their lives, with conflicting romances, plenty of ups and downs, and then, in the last act, the inevitable Hollywood Fatal Illness.
My sarcastic capi…als indicate, of course, that I am completely the wrong audience for this flick. As has been said before, if you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you’ll like. But the emotional manipulation is NOT subtle.
We have the full-on 5.1 treatment here, and the results are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, a lot of effort has gone into making the music big – the spatial volume of the sound is impressive – and the environmental effects are very strong. The dialogue, however, sometimes has a strange echo to it, as if the actors were reciting their lines in a cathedral, and there is some buzz. The sound effects are also a bit overdone, with minor ticks and clicks suddenly blasting out of the rear speakers as if this were a horror movie.
The print has aged somewhat, with some dirt visible in the opening, and a degree of grain present throughout. The colours and contrasts, however, are good, and the image as sharp as can reasonably be expected. A decent, if not overwhelming, transfer.
Director Garry Marshall does his schtick on the commentary. He’s a lively speaker and all, but I confess that I’m beginning to find his enormous enthusiasm for his own work, whether justified or not, a bit grating in the long run. The blooper reel is one that was created for the cast party in 1988. “Mayim Remembers Beaches” is a 12-minute interview with the actress who played the younc CC. There’s Middler’s video for “Wind Beneath My Wings”, plus a clip of her on an AFI show. Finally, there’s a screen test for Hershey, and the theatrical trailer. The menu is animated and scored.
Big (if a touch OTT) sound, a decent transfer, and a solid collection of extras. The movie itself is your problem.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- “Mayim Bialik Remembers Beaches” Featurette
- Gag Reel
- “Wind Beneath My Wings” Video
- AFI Clip
- Barbra Hershey Screen Test
- Theatrical Trailer