Monday, December 1, 2008

For the Boys (1991)

Bette Midler gives the brassiest, sassiest performance of her career as Dixie Leonard, a USO singer whose electrifying stage presence, and flair for outrageous comedy, captivates troops and civilians alike. Teamed up with America's beloved song and dance man, Eddie Sparks (James Caan), the whole world becomes Dixie's stage through three very different wars, and 50 years of music and memories, laughter and tears. All of it... FOR THE BOYS.

The only reason Miss Midler didn't win that year, (Jodie Foster won for Silence of the Lambs) was because 'For the Boys' was a box-office dud. I wish back then the marketing executives at 20th Century Fox would've sold this movie a little better. First of all the soundtrack had two possible mega hits, 'In My Life' the Beatles' tune in which Bette's renditon turned into an emotionally packed moment in the movie. I get a lump in the throat every time I see it. The other tune, 'Every road leads Back to you', like 'Wind beneath my wings' is a wonderful song reflecting on a bumpy and long, yet close and loving friendship. These songs should've been airing over the radio way before the movie was released. Secondly, 'For the boys' was pitted against 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Addams Family' when it was released.

It's no wonder this movie got shoved aside. As for the movie itself, it's evident that Miss Midler poured her soul and guts into the whole project. Yes, the movie does try to cover a lot of war-history in 2 1/2 hours, but Bette as Dixie and her love-hate relationship with Caan as Eddie do have an appealing quality despite all their tumultuus bickering behind the scenes of entertaining the boys. Critics complained about how awful the aging makeup looked on Midler and Caan. Well my argumnent to them is, when you see an elderly performers win a lifetime acheivement award on TV, aren't they supposed to look somewhat gray and wrinkled...Or do all aged show biz icons have to look like Joan Collins and Dick Clark? Nevertheless, the scene of Dixies's first time singing with the troops in 1942 is the reason why people love to see Bette....I just wish more people would have done so when this was released in 1991. By customer TL

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