• Loren Javier

Bette Midler's Touchstone Films From Worst To Best


From 1986-1991, Disney Legend Bette Midler was the Queen of Touchstone Pictures. Over the weekend, I had a little Bette marathon and thought it would be fun to rank her Touchstone films from worst to best.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Scenes From A Mall (1991)

Let's face it. There was no bad Bette Midler Touchstone film. Scenes From A Mall is a slice-of-life comedy about a wealthy couple's day at the mall which inevitably devolves into a test of their relationship. I put Scenes From A Mall at the bottom just because, despite the comedy powerhouse of Bette Midler and Woody Allen, the movie felt slow to me. That said, I still found the performances enjoyable.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Outrageous Fortune is about two women having an affair with the same man who turns out to be a spy. This fact brings their lives into danger and, ultimately, they have to solve the mystery. In all honesty, I still think this film is hilarious and I love the pairing of Shelley Long and Midler. They both take the aspects of their personalities they are known for and really pit them against each other.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Ruthless People (1986)

Ruthless People is an absolutely hilarious film. It revolves around a wealthy businessman who hates his pampered and spoiled wife. He plans to kill his wife, but a couple of amateur kidnappers get to her before. When the businessman fails to pay the ransom, they realize that he wants to see his wife dead. And they all end up conspiring against him. Midler is at her best here. Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater are great as the amateur kidnappers. It's just a fun movie overall.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Down And Out In Beverly Hills (1986)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills is an absolutely wonderful film. It is about an upper class family living in, obviously, Beverly Hills who's life is turned upside down when a homeless man played by Nick Nolte tries to drown himself in their pool. There is lots of great insight in this film about race and class. It's a great film, but I rank it a little lower on the Bette Midler scale as she is more of a supporting character than a main character.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Beaches (1988)

Beaches is the ultimate weepy film. It's about two unlikely friends who go through both joys of living together to petty jealousies. The two's friendship is both tested and strengthened when Barbara Hershey's character Hillary contracts a rare viral infection affecting her heart. I cannot make it through this movie without bursting into tears. I think both Midler and Hershey are just amazing. Midler also provides a fantastic soundtrack for the film. One of the best tracks is "Otto Titsling" about the creation of the brazier.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Stella (1990)

Stella is Midler's second foray into the weepy movies. It is based on Olive Higgins Prouty's Stella Dallas and basically a remake of the 1937 film starring Barbara Stanwyck. Stella is a lower income woman with eccentric tastes who has a baby with a wealthy man. When she realizes that her daughter might be going down the wrong path living with her, she makes the ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of her child. Honestly, I find this a better weepy than Beaches (and I love Beaches). They managed to update Prouty's story to be relevant to today's audiences and the film just makes me cry.


Photo: Disney/Touchstone Pictures

Big Business (1988)

The movie is about two sets of twins that get switched at birth. One set of children is wealthy and who run a giant conglomerate. The other comes from a poor family living in a small town known for furniture making. To me, Big Business is one of the funniest movies of all time. Midler and Lily Tomlin are at top form and it's wonderful seeing them play two versions of the same character. I can watch it anytime and it will make me smile.

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