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If you've never seen the 1988 movie "Beaches," you just might like the TV-movie remake (Saturday, 6, 9 and 11 p.m., Lifetime).
If you have seen the original and you watch the remake, you'll probably think to yourself why? Why bother to remake a good movie?
This is still the story of hugely talented/somewhat kooky C.C. Bloom (Idina Menzel replacing Bette Midler), a driven performer who forms an unlikely friendship with Hillary Whitney (Nia Long) during a brief meeting when they were kids. They grow up writing to each other, become roommates as adults and fall for the same man.
Just like the first time around.
C.C. becomes a big star; Hillary gets trapped in a life of privilege; they become estranged. Until they're not.
Then Hillary develops a life-threatening condition … and there's lots of crying. From viewers, that is.
It's not a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but it's close. So why do it?
"There is really a whole young generation of kids that have not seen 'Beaches,'" Menzel said.
I'm not so sure that those young viewers are going to be watching Lifetime on Saturday night, but ...
Menzel said she hopes the remake "can open a new discussion at this time about where women are, and how we balance and navigate all of these passions we have and ourselves career and our family. I think it's similar to back then, but I think things have changed. So it's just another way to start a conversation."
Yes, "Beaches" is about a friendship between two women. The men in the story are supporting characters.
But "Beaches" was and is basically just a big, two-hour tear-jerker. Let's not pretend it is/was anything more.
If you're going to do it, why create a new version that's not really distinctive from the one that starred Midler and Hershey?
"I think that what we are able to do is update the friendship," said director Allison Anders.
Because … friendship has changed in 30 years?
"And we were also able to update the music," Anders added.
Yes, Menzel ("Wicked") sings some songs that Midler did not in the original. But the two biggies remain "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "The Glory of Love."
Menzel has a spectacular voice. But … she's not Bette Midler. And "Beaches" without Midler is just not the same thing. It's just not as good.
And the remake doesn't have the high-energy number that Midler performed in the brassy, bawdy Broadway show that made C.C. a star.
The remake's biggest flaw is that it isn't funny. There are tears, but there isn't much in the way of laughs.
Lifetime's "Beaches" isn't bad. For a TV movie, it's pretty good. And if you haven't seen the original, you'll like the remake more.
But the younger generation is smart enough to know that the original is better. So, yeah, better to just show them the 1988 movie.