So I’d been thinking of doing a “best of 2013” kind of thing, but I honestly don’t think I’ve seen enough new stuff to merit a whole list. I’ve got a bad habit of letting my stuff to watch pile up, so I’m usually years behind. This year, for example, I’ve only seen 4 or 5 films in the cinema. I love going, but not all the films I want to see play in english here, and I refuse to see dubbed films. So, anyways, all that to say that my “best of 2013” list would be too short, so I decided to not make one, and just go on with my regular programming, hehe.
Chick flicks. They’re usually either really good, or really crappy. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with these films. A good one will make you feel all fuzzy and schmoopy, while a bad one will usually just make you roll your eyes, and occasionally wonder if the film makers really think their target audience is that stupid. I do love a good chick flick though, under that shell of horror lover, there’s a closet romantic. So I’ve put together a list of the 12 chick flicks that I love the most. I’ve put them in order, but honestly the “points” separating the films are few, so while they’re ordered 1 to 12, it would probably be closer to three 4-way ties, or something of the sort. I’ve also kept the list to “adult” chick flicks. Teen flicks like Clueless, Pretty in Pink or 10 Things I Hate About You would definitely fit into this list too, but I’ve left all the teen films out, so if it takes place in or around a high school, it’s not here. Maybe I’ll make another post sometime for the teen flicks. But until then, here are my dozen favourite chick flicks.
12 – While You Were Sleeping
(1995) Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle and Jack Warden
Lucy is a lonely subway worker who admires a handsome regular traveller, Peter, from afar. One morning she sees him get mugged and pushed onto the tracks, unconscious. Without thinking, she jumps onto the tracks and pulls him to safety. At the hospital, a misunderstanding leads Peter’s family to think that Lucy is not only the woman who saved his life, but his fiancée as well. Taken in by the family, Lucy goes along with the charade because she’s tired of being so lonely. But things get complicated when she starts to fall for Peter’s handsome brother, Jack, and Peter himself wakes up. This film is just so sweet, you can’t help but love it. The characters are all so real, and you can really feel poor Lucy’s plight. It’s not anything really that special, but it somehow just sticks with you in the long run, and it’s been a favourite of mine since I first saw it.
11 – Center Stage
(2000) Amanda Schull, Zoe Saldana, Ethan Stiefel, Susan May Pratt, Sascha Radetsky and Peter Gallagher
I love dancing films. Even the crappy ones I tend to enjoy more than I should. But it’s even better when the whole movie is awesome as well, and not just cool for the dance scenes, like so many of them are. Center Stage is dancing film at it’s very best. Jody is a young dancer whose dream is to be accepted to the American Ballet Academy, and then be offered a position dancing for the company. The first part of her dream comes true, and she goes hard to work trying to please her teachers, and falls hard for the handsome new choreographer. She strives to become the best dancer she can, despite her “imperfect” feet, and she makes friendships that will last a lifetime. I love how real the characters are in this film. So many chick flicks have such totally implausible scenarios (but we love them anyways, don’t we ladies?), but this one is completely believable. And the dancing, of course, is stunning. They hired actual ballet dancers, so the dancing is all real and seamless, not chopped up and edited to look like it’s all the same person doing the dancing (but you can always tell it’s not). Not on this list, but still very much worth your time, is the sequel: Center Stage, Turn It Up.
10 – The Truth About Cats & Dogs
(1996) Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman, Ben Chaplin, Jamie Foxx and Hank the Dog
Abby and Noelle are best friends who live in the same building. Noelle is a beautiful model, but is rather dumb, and Abby, while not an obvious beauty, is brilliant, and has a radio talk show about animals called, you guessed it, The Truth About Cats & Dogs. She gets a caller one day asking for help getting a very upset, very large dog out of roller skates. After successful removal, the caller, Brian, asks if he could meet her to say thanks in person. She, being very insecure about her looks, goes ahead and gives her description… of Noelle. But when she sees him, she immediately falls for him, and spends most of her evenings on the phone with him. But when they meet in person, she sends Noelle in her place. I fear I’m not explaining this very well, and I think I’m making it sound more complicated than it is, but trust me, if you haven’t seen it and love chick flicks like I do, run out and get this one right away. It’s a definite winner, so sweet and romantic, and Ben Chaplin is a total hunnie, especially with that accent.
9 – Romeo + Juliet
(1996) Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite and Paul Rudd
Ah, Leo. I was 15 when this film came out, and, like all the other girls, I was gaga over Leo, and this movie just solidified his standing as “ultimate heartthrob” of the 90’s. The way the movie was made, it could have just been campy and ridiculous, but thankfully they hired actors who can actually act, and it made it the best version, in my opinion anyways, of Romeo and Juliet ever put on film. I’m sure I don’t need to go over the synopsis, even those who have never seen the films nor even read the play still know what it’s about. So, instead, just scroll up and gaze lovingly at Leo for a minute or two. It’ll make your day just a little brighter :-p
8 – Little Women
(1994) Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Trini Alvarado, Gabriel Byrne, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Samantha Mathis
You would think something like this would be boring, because nothing really happens, but it’s not. It’s just, simply, life. Jo and her family (three sisters and their mother, father’s away at war) have fallen on some hard times. The story follows them as they grow, go to school, find work and fall in love. The movie looks gorgeous and is wonderfully acted, I especially love Gabriel Byrne, and we’re treated to a slightly geeky looking pre-fame Christian Bale. If you like sumptuous period pieces and don’t mind a slowly paced film, then this is for you. Get the kleenex out, though, this one’s a tear-jerker!
7 – Fried Green Tomatoes
(1991) Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker, Jessica Tandy, Cicely Tyson and Stan Shaw
Another simple story of a lifelong friendship between two women, the fiery and wild Idgie and the calmer and grounded Ruth. After loosing her brother (and Ruth’s fiancée), Idgie and Ruth’s bond becomes unbreakable, and the women open a café together that soon becomes the heart of their small town. Things get rough when Ruth’s abusive ex-husband comes around looking for her and his son, but when times get tough is when you see that family means more than just blood. Kleenex will also be needed here, lots of it. Damn that duck story…
6 – Benny & Joon
(1993) Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn, Julianne Moore, CCH Pounder and Oliver Platt
Joon is a mentally ill young woman who lives with her over-protective older brother, Benny. Benny is advised by Joon’s doctor that she should be in a home for the mentally ill, but Benny refuses to send her away, preferring instead to get home care. Benny is at the end of his rope, however, after Joon drives away yet another caretaker, and he’s not sure what to do any more. That’s when Joon “wins” Sam, an eccentric young man, in a poker game. Sam comes to live with them and he assumes the role as Joon caretaker. At least, that’s how Benny sees it. For Sam and Joon, it’s an opportunity for love, an opportunity neither has had before. This film is so sweet and so quirky, it’s impossible not to love it. Sam and Joon have such chemistry onscreen, and all the acting is amazing, so much more than your typical chick flick. And, of course, Johnny Depp is a joy to watch, both for his stellar acting and his dreamy looks.
5 – Practical Magic
(1998) Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Aidan Quinn and Goran Visnjic
Sally and GIllian Owens are witches. Ask anyone in town, and they’ll tell you stories of the long line of Owens witches. After her husband dies, Sally goes back home to live with her two aunts with her two daughters, who she vows will never do magic. She’s convinced that her husband was killed by the “Owens curse”, and doesn’t want her children to share her fate. Gillian, in her travels, meets a heartthrob called Jimmy, who, as it turns out, is a serial killer. Sally races to her sister’s rescue, but is unable to get her away in time, and after much fuss, Jimmy ends up dead in their car. A handsome cop comes around, hunting for Jimmy, and Sally feels that old stirring of love in her heart again. This is such an amazing film, everything is perfect. I keep on meaning to read the book, but I always end up picking something else instead. But I hear it’s quite different from the movie, so maybe it’s best if I didn’t read it, since I adore the film so much.
4 – Moonstruck
(1987) Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello and John Mahoney
Loretta is a 38 year old widow who lives in Brooklyn with her parents, grandfather and a crap load of dogs. She’s been dating a man, Johnny, for several years, and accepts when he proposes marriage. Loretta doesn’t love him, but that’s a good thing, her mother assures her, because “when you love them, they drive you crazy, cause they know they can”. Johnny has to fly home to Italy to be with his dying mother, but says that once she’s dead he’ll come home to marry her, which should be no longer than a month. As he’s leaving he asks her to contact his younger brother, Ronnie, who he hasn’t seen in years, to invite him to the wedding.When Loretta goes to Ronnie, she finds a young, turbulent man whose hand was sliced off in an accident. Loretta finds herself drawn to this man, and, after a night of passion, they’re deeply in love. I absolutely love this film. Cher is wonderful (and disgustingly beautiful) as Loretta, and Nicolas Cage is, well, young, hehe. But what I especially love about the film (or love the film despite of, depending on how you see it) is that everything is just so… damn… dramatic! Lots of heavy sighs and raised arms, it may be a caricature of Italians, but it’s a darn entertaining one.
3 – Only You
(1994) Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr, Bonnie Hunt, Joaquim de Almeida, Fisher Stevens and Billy Zane
Stupidly romantic, this film is what solidified Robert Downey Jr as my favourite actor. As a teen, Faith and her friends play with a Ouija board. When asked who her soulmate was, the board told Faith it was someone named Damon Bradley. A few months later, a fortune teller tells her the same thing. Fast forward ten years, and Faith is a young teacher, engaged to be married to a podiatrist. A phone call is about to upset her whole life, though, as she writes down the name of the caller: Damon Bradley. She absolutely looses her shit (that’s the technical term) and decides to follow Damon to Venice, to see if he really is her soulmate. Films don’t get much more schmoopy than this, folks. This is the very definition of romantic. My heart flutters a little every time I see it.
2 – Ever After
(1998) Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey and Patrick Godfrey
A retelling of the classic Cinderella story, perfectly done. Danielle is a hard working young woman whose stepmother, after her father dies, treats her like one of the servants instead of like her own daughters. Danielle accidentally meets the prince, Henry, while she’s attempting to free another servant from being shipped off to the Americas. Henry takes a fancy to her, believing her to be a courtesan, and starts to court her. Danielle, having felt the same attraction, keeps up the charade to be with him, but her scheming stepmother has other plans: she wants her own daughter, the beautiful but horrible Marguerite, to marry Henry, not Danielle. The Cinderella story has never had such a glorious treatment, not before nor since. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it.
1 – The Princess Bride
(1987) Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, André the Giant, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn and Billy Crystal
And, of course, the chick flick to beat all chick flicks is the fantastic The Princess Bride. The plot is a little twisty-turny, so I won’t go into it too much, but it’s wonderful. It’s got action, suspense, revenge and lots and lots of schmoop. Long story short, a man has to save his beloved from an evil prince who wants to use her to start a war. There’s lots more to it, but that’s the basic thing. Anyone who doesn’t like this film simply has no heart. That is all. Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Oh yeah.
And that rounds up my list. There are a bunch more awesome films that were thisclose to being on the list, but in the end these ones on the list were just a little better. But here, in no particular order, are the honourable mentions:
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Some Like It Hot
Josie and the Pussycats
The Cutting Edge
Three to Tango
I realize there are more titles in the honourable mentions than in the actual list, but oh well. Just pretend that all these films are tied for 13th place, hehe.
So what do you think? Are your favourite chick flicks here? Did I forget something? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more! 🙂