Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Dance Party: Industrial Theft

The fallout continues over last week's Facebook tsunami, during which women from all over the globe posted the color of their bra as a status update. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here.) I've read several more essays this week, written by, or on behalf of, women who have lost their breasts to cancer. They found it emotionally dispiriting to be reminded about their loss in such a public way.

I still maintain that anything which brings attention to the fight against breast cancer is a good thing, but I sympathize with the ladies who did not wish to be confronted in such a way. I have a pretty poignant story of my mother's own experience with double mastectomy, and the difficulty she had with prosthetic bras, but I'll save that for a darker moment. So it seems justified that the subject of this week's Dance Party support.

Appropriately, our star is Bette Midler, whose own bust figures prominently in every concert she has ever done. She's had varied success with films throughout her career, with many hits and many flops and few in-between. Her first big splash, The Rose, landed her an Oscar nomination, but Hollywood had a hard time finding appropriate vehicles for her outlandish, over-the-top persona. She seemed to have the most success with movies which could showcase her vaudevillian talents. Beaches was a financial success, and For the Boys garnered a second Oscar nomination for her; in both, she played entertainers. She did not have much success with non-musical comedies, at least during her youth (remember Jinxed? Nobody else does, either). When she got a bit older, she managed a string of comedy hits (Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, Big Business), and in her more recent film work, such as The First Wives Club and the Stepford Wives remake, she has matured into a fine comic character actress.

This week's Dance Party comes from Beaches, a melodramatic tearjerker which costarred Midler and Barbara Hershey as life-long friends who meet as children on the beach (clever, huh?). The Divine Miss M steamrolls right over her costar in just about every scene, and if you are not a Midler fan, the film is insufferable. The movie soundtrack remains Bette's biggest selling album to date, as it includes her uber-smash, Wind Beneath My Wings. It also includes the song below, a novelty number which Midler introduced on Johnny Carson's couch, and subsequently included in Beaches.

And as I warned you, it's about bras.