For the Boys (1991) from Tuna

For the Boys is one of my favorite Bette Midler performances, and I am a huge fan of the divine Ms. M. 
Others agreed with me, as she was nominated by the Academy for best actress, and received best actress from the Golden Globes. --  Maltin awards 2 1/2 stars, but praises Midler's performance. Ebert, in a carefully written review, trashes the film as having a bad script and lack of character development, while awarding 2 stars 


none, other than cleavage.
Midler (as Dixie Leonard) is an unknown radio singer at the start of WW-II, when she gets her big break. Her uncle is a writer for famous song and dance man Eddie Sparks (James Caan), and gets her a gig on his European USO tour. She leaves her young son with a friend, and flies off to London for what is probably a career making chance. She arrives late, tears her dress, gets off on the wrong foot with Eddie, but is a huge hit with the GIs, both for her singing, and her indelicate humor. Eddie wants her on the first plane home, but is convinced by his writers and his manager that the two of them together will take show business by storm. In all honesty, this is the best part of the film.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • trailers and TV spots

The story is told as a flashback by Midler to a young production assistant who has arrived to get her to an awards show with Eddie, whom she hasn't spoken to in 25 years. They did the USO thing through WW-II, had a hit TV sitcom, went back on tour for Korea, and then again for Vietnam, where Midler's son is  killed in front of her. She blames Eddie for this, and for not defending her uncle against an HUAC blacklisting. Take Bette from this film, and it would not be watchable. I am a fan of big band music, so really enjoyed the music. The makeup in aging Eddie and Dixie was very well done, and some of the sets were impressive. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 2/4, Maltin 2.5/4. 

  • Bette Midler was nominated for an Oscar, and won the Golden Glove for best performer in a comedy or musical.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.6. 
  • With their dollars ... it wasn't a smash, hit, but it grossed $18 million at the domestic box.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+, defining the genre as "Bette Midler movies".

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