Lifetime's revival of Beaches starring Idina Menzel and Nia Long aired last night, and if I'm being honest, I cried 23 times. Here's my inner monologue while I bawled my way through the TV movie.
Opening credits: I consider this a warm-up cry. Like stretching before a marathon. Also, they are showing images of beaches.
Minute 4: Oh no. I just realized Bette Midler is not going to be in this. Certainly a weep-worthy moment. Maybe we’ll get a cameo? Sure, Idina Menzel and Nia Long are great, but the 1988 Beaches could have just been called Bette Midler Does Awesome Stuff and Then Her Friend Dies.
Minute 8: Aww, the two girls are communicating through AOL Messenger as they grow up. I am filled with nostalgia. I would have cried even more if they had added modem noises.
Idina Menzel is singing for the first time: What a magical, tear-inducing voice! I weep into my wine for you, Idina. And she’s not even singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” or “Let It Go.”
Minute 15: They kept the lovely original scene where the two women sing Christmas carols in their shitty apartment through the little window that separates their twin beds! It’s nothing less than magical all over again.
First commercial: I just remembered that there’s going to be commercials. Lots of Lifetime Movie commercials about mops and tampons and other upcoming Lifetime movies. Definitely tearing up.
During an ad for milk and being a mom: OK, I usually wouldn’t cry during this, but I am all warmed up. It’s not even a commercial for a certain brand of milk, just milk in general. Pull it together!
First friend fight: And it’s over a man! They really need to hurry up and resolve this quickly. You only have like 90 minutes together, and that includes milk commercials! Don’t waste your time quarreling. Remember the beach? The photo booth?
Minute 31: They changed the name of Hillary’s love interest from Michael to Bryan, with a y, for some reason. So sad! Waterworks.
Funeral scene: Hillary’s dad has kicked the bucket, but not before he made her promise to give up her dream of being an ACLU lawyer and follow in his footsteps as a corporate attorney. I guess I’m a little sad.
Minute 39: They’re not going to do the Broadway musical brazier song in the reboot! A true tragedy.
Second friend fight: This is the big one. C.C. is in a marriage of convenience with Hillary’s old love! Hillary is following someone else’s dream instead of her own! C.C. wasn’t there for Hillary during her big life milestones and got her salt and pepper shakers for her wedding gift! Oh, good lord, these are some low blows. C.C. just called Hillary a bitch! My emotions can’t handle it.
When C.C. and John Pierce break up: There’s nothing wrong with the relationship except that they have grown apart, irreconcilably, forever. I really need a Bette Midler cameo pick-me-up right now. Maybe she’ll jump out of a closet?
When Hillary and Bryan break up: Hillary leaves her beach house early to return home to her husband, but Bryan-not-Michael is caught at home making breakfast for another woman. Being caught making breakfast is much worse than being caught making love, for some reason. I’m crying both because it’s super sad and also because they cut the amazing “That’s my robe” line that's said in the original.
When Idina Menzel sings the first sad song of the movie: This song has been juxtaposed with a montage of hard times for both women. There’s something in my eye. And also in my other eye. They are tears. Lots and lots of tears.
Arthritis commercial: No excuses for this. I don’t even know anyone who has arthritis.
Minute 68: Hillary’s baby is born, and then C.C. starts singing “I’ll Stand By You.” Then Hillary collapses on a staircase because she has a terminal illness. I can’t exactly tell, but I think the “you” that C.C. is singing about is Hillary. I need a new box of tissues.
Minute 81: Hillary just got the bad news that she has a rare heart disease. It’s fatal, and the chances of finding a donor are low. Wait, did that doctor just say that Type O blood is rare? Does she not know that Type O is the Universal Donor type, compatible with any blood type? Did no one on the set of the movie catch this goof? Not even the camera guy? I am weeping for the ignorance of the world.
Third friend fight: C.C. confronts Hillary about giving up on life before her life is even over (which will be pretty shortly). This one is better than the original. Nia Long brings it to this scene. I cry because you cry, Nia.
OK, 15-minute crying jag: Hillary and C.C. return to the beach house with Hillary’s little girl, Tori. There’s talk about motherhood (sob) and life (sob) and friendship (sob). There’s a scene where they look through old photos. You know I am going to cry all through an old-photos scene.
Minute 110: Finally, C.C. sings “Wind Beneath My Wings” and Hillary dies. Flashbacks to youth and good times. I don’t want to say I was looking forward to this, but I kind of was. It’s like the scary parts of horror movies. You shut your eyes and scream, but this was your idea in the first place, and you love it.
Final scene: The movie seems to have gone so fast — maybe because it was 35 minutes shorter than the original. As C.C. takes one final look at the photo booth photos and becomes Tori’s new mom, I can’t help but think about all the special moments in the original that lost their magic in the remake. Or about how I was going to make popcorn to go with my wine, but then forgot. Or about how there was no Bette Midler cameo.
Closing credits: I just realized I’m going to have to stay up two more hours watching the original Beaches. I’m tearing up just thinking about the opening credits.
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