Beautiful Girls (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ted Demme|
|Produced by||Cary Woods|
|Written by||Scott Rosenberg|
|Music by||David A. Stewart|
|Edited by||Jeffrey Wolf|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$10.6 million|
Beautiful Girls is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ted Demme and written by Scott Rosenberg. Its story follows New York jazz pianist Willie Conway, as he heads back to his hometown of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts for his high school reunion, where he finds his friends evaluating their lives and relationships. It stars Matt Dillon, Lauren Holly, Timothy Hutton, Rosie O'Donnell, Martha Plimpton, Natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport, Mira Sorvino and Uma Thurman.
The film was produced by Cary Woods and was released on February 9, 1996, by Miramax. It grossed $2.8 million during its opening weekend and $10.6 million worldwide. It received positive reviews and has a 79% approval rating based on 47 votes on Rotten Tomatoes.
New York jazz pianist Willie returns to his hometown of Knight's Ridge, Massachusetts for his ten year high school reunion, staying with his widower father and younger brother. He reunites with three old friends: Mo is a successful family man, while Paul and Tommy, who own a snowplowing business, are having relationship issues. Paul was recently dumped by his longtime girlfriend Jan because he refused her ultimatum of marriage. Believing that she is now seeing Victor the meat cutter, he vindictively blocks her driveway with snow every night. Tommy is cheating on his girlfriend Sharon with his married high school sweetheart Darian.
Willie meets 13 year-old neighbor girl Marty, and they strike up a witty rapport. She presses him about his relationship: Willie has been with his girlfriend Tracy for a year, but is unsure if he wants to marry her. He is considering taking a steady job as a salesman, but Mo urges him not to quit his music. Paul desperately proposes to Jan, but she turns him down. Sharon argues with Tommy about his infidelity, and seeks advice from her girlfriends. The outspoken Gina advises her to break up with Tommy, but Sharon tries to salvage the relationship by planning him a surprise birthday party. When the attractive Andera comes to town from Chicago, the guys compete for her attention. The next day, Gina lectures Willie and Tommy about men's unrealistic expectations of women set by supermodels and pornography. Willie feels jealous when he sees that Marty has a boyfriend.
Darian shows up at Tommy's surprise party drunk and openly tries to seduce him, causing Sharon to leave heartbroken. Tommy drives Darian home but refuses her advances, and unsuccessfully tries to patch things up with Sharon. Willie tells Mo about his feelings for Marty, but Mo reminds him how young she is and says that Willie just doesn't want to grow up. Willie encounters Marty again, and she says that she has broken up with her boyfriend because she is interested in Willie, and asks him to wait five years until she is 18 and they can be together. Willie declines, saying that she will outgrow her feelings for him as she matures.
Paul takes Andera out in an attempt to make Jan jealous. Andera plays along, but when Paul tries to kiss her she smacks him and leaves. Willie chastises Paul about his obsession with supermodels; Paul responds that beautiful girls represent hope and promise. Tommy breaks things off with Darian, but she states her intent to win him back at the reunion. Andera approaches Willie, turning down his flirtations but accompanying him to Paul's ice shanty, where they discuss their respective relationships. Willie misses the emotional rush of new love, but Andera feels truly happy with her boyfriend and returns to Chicago the next day. Tracy arrives from New York, and Willie's feelings for her are rekindled. Marty is downhearted by this, but Willie assures her that she will grow up to do amazing things.
At the reunion, Darian is confronted by a former classmate who she bullied; he tells her that she was beautiful, but "mean as a snake". Tommy skips the reunion to avoid Darian, but encounters her husband Steve and his friends at a bar. Steve reveals that he knows about the affair; a fight ensues, and Tommy is badly beaten. Learning of this, the guys rush to Steve's house to confront him. Steve calls his friends, but Willie pushes their car into a snowbank using Paul's snowplow. Mo is about to beat Steve but stops himself when Steve's daughter comes to the door. Darian arrives home in the aftermath of the confrontation. Tommy ends up in the hospital with a concussion and two broken ribs. Sharon stays with him overnight, and they make up. Paul, overcome with emotion, clears Jan's driveway of snow.
Willie says his goodbyes the next day, having decided to head back to New York with Tracy and not to take the sales job. Paul announces that Jan and Victor are engaged. Willie introduces Tracy to Marty, and kisses Marty on the cheek before departing.
- Matt Dillon as Tommy "Birdman" Rowland, a former high school football star turned snowplower
- Noah Emmerich as Michael "Mo" Morris, a textile plant manager and family man
- Annabeth Gish as Tracy Stover, an attorney and Willie Conway's girlfriend
- Lauren Holly as Darian Smalls, Tommy's high school girlfriend, now married with a daughter and having an affair with Tommy
- Timothy Hutton as Willie Conway, a New York City pianist visiting his hometown
- Rosie O'Donnell as Gina Barrisano, the outspoken friend of several of the characters
- Max Perlich as Kev, a snowplower employed by Tommy and Paul
- Martha Plimpton as Jan, Paul Kirkwood's ex-girlfriend
- Natalie Portman as Marty, the Conways' 13 year-old neighbor, a witty, self-described "old soul" who connects with Willie
- Michael Rapaport as Paul Kirkwood, a snowplower
- Mira Sorvino as Sharon Cassidy, Tommy's girlfriend
- Uma Thurman as Andera, Stanley Womack's attractive cousin from Chicago
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Stanley "Stinky" Womack, proprietor of a local bar
- Anne Bobby as Sarah Morris, Mo's wife
- Richard Bright as Dick Conway, Willie's father
- Sam Robards as Steve Rossmore, Darian's husband
- David Arquette as Bobby Conway, Willie's younger brother
- Adam LeFevre as Victor the meat cutter, who is dating Jan
- John Carroll Lynch as Frank Womack, a bartender
- Tom Gibis as "Peter the Eater", a former classmate of Darian's whom she bullied about his weight
- John Scurti as a Greyhound Lines ticket agent
- Greg Dulli, lead singer of the Afghan Whigs, as himself in a scene with the band performing
Additional minor roles were played by Kristen Rossmore as Steve and Darian's daughter Kristen; Camille D'Ambrose as Sharon's mother; Martin Ruben as Jan's restaurant boss Chip; Allison Levine as a waitress; Earl R. Burt as a bartender; Trent Nicholas Thompson and Nicole Ranallo as Mo and Sarah's children Michael and Cheryl; Joyce Lacey and Matthew Nathen Castens as classmates at the reunion; Ollie Osterberg, Sterling Robson, and Edward Kaspszak as Steve's friends who beat up Tommy; Herbert Ade as a bar owner; Ben Gooding as a customer; and Frank Anello as Irv. "Lucky the Saint Bernard" is credited as Paul's dog "Elle Macpherson", named after the supermodel.
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg was living in Needham, Massachusetts, waiting to see if Disney would use his script for Con Air. He said in an interview, "It was the worst winter ever in this small hometown. Snow plows were coming by, and I was just tired of writing these movies with people getting shot and killed. So I said, 'There is more action going on in my hometown with my friends dealing with the fact that they cannot deal with turning 30 or with commitment'—all that became Beautiful Girls."
Ted Demme had the entire cast come to Minneapolis and live together for two to three weeks so that they could bond. Filming took place in the Twin Cities Metro Area communities of Edina, Marine-on-St. Croix and Stillwater, with Demme wanting to make sure that the setting was a character unto itself. He "wanted to make it look like it's Anytown USA, primarily East Coast. And I also wanted it to feel like a real working class town". To this end, Demme drew inspiration from Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978). "The first third of the film is really an amazing buddy movie with those five actors. You could tell they were best friends, but they all had stuff amongst them that was personal to each one of them".
Scott Rosenberg co-produced and co-wrote for the 2007-2008 TV series October Road. The show is loosely based on what happened after Beautiful Girls came out and how his friends reacted to a movie about their lives. Both Beautiful Girls and October Road take place in the fictional Massachusetts town of Knights Ridge, and have similar characters, jobs, plot lines.
|Beautiful Girls: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||January 30, 1996|
|1.||"That's How Strong My Love Is"||Roosevelt Jamison||Roland Gift||6:18|
|2.||"Be for Real"||Frederick Knight||Afghan Whigs||4:16|
|3.||"Easy to Be Stupid"||Harold Chichester||Howlin' Maggie||4:51|
|4.||"Me and Mrs. Jones"||Billy Paul||4:48|
|6.||"Graduation Day"||Chris Isaak||Chris Isaak||3:10|
|7.||"Beautiful Girl"||Pete Droge & the Sinners||4:34|
|8.||"I'll Miss You"||Aaron Freeman||Ween||2:56|
|9.||"Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe"||Barry White||Afghan Whigs||5:21|
|10.||"Could It Be I'm Falling in Love"||The Spinners||4:31|
|12.||"Groove Me"||King Floyd||King Floyd||3:01|
|13.||"The Stroll"||The Diamonds||2:31|
|14.||"Sweet Caroline"||Neil Diamond||Neil Diamond||3:24|
Additional tracks (not included on soundtrack)
|1.||"The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)"||The Greg Kihn Band|
|2.||"I Got You"||Neil Finn||Split Enz|
|3.||"I Ran (So Far Away)"||A Flock Of Seagulls|
|4.||"Will It Go Round in Circles"||Billy Preston|
|5.||"Locomotive Breath"||Ian Anderson||Jethro Tull|
|6.||"Never on Sunday"||Manos Hatzidakis||Bernie Wyte and his Orchestra|
|7.||"Walk on the Wild Side"||Lou Reed||Lou Reed|
|8.||"Fool to Cry"||Rolling Stones|
|9.||"Honey White"||Mark Sandman||Morphine|
The film was released on February 9, 1996 in 752 theaters, grossing $2.7 million on its opening weekend. It went on to make $10.5 million in North America.
The film received fairly positive reviews and currently has a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "What's nicest about the film is the way it treasures the good feelings people can have for one another." In The Washington Post, Desson Howe praised Natalie Portman's performance: "As a self-described 'old soul' who connects spiritually with Hutton (they're both existential searchers), she's the movie's most poignant and witty presence."
However, Jack Mathews, in the Los Angeles Times, wrote that the film was "about as much fun as a neighborhood bar on a Tuesday night. Its crisis: not much happening." In her New York Times review Janet Maslin wrote that Natalie Portman got the film's "archest dialogue", and called her "a budding knockout, and scene-stealingly good even in an overly showy role."
- "Beautiful Girls (1996)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
- "Beautiful Girls". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- Beautiful Girls (1996), retrieved 2020-02-17
- Alexander, Peter. "Scott Rosenberg: Off to a Beautiful Start". The Best Video Guide.
- Ryan, Kyle (September 28, 2007). "Random Roles: Leslie Mann". The Onion A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 12, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
- Griffin, Dominic (1996). "An Interview With Ted Demme, Director of Beautiful Girls". Film Threat.
- "Beautiful Girls (1996) Filming & Production". IMDb. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- "Beautiful Girls - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- Ebert, Roger (February 9, 1996). "Beautiful Girls review". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 24, 2006. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
- Howe, Desson (February 9, 1996). "Beautiful Girls review". Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
- Mathews, Jack (February 9, 1996). "High School Buddies Take Stock in 'Girls'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- "Beautiful Girls review". The New York Times. February 9, 1996. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
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