5 Things Thursday: Chick Flicks with Brains

First off, I wanted to let you know that I’m guest-posting at Tobi’s Blog (welcome, Tobi’s Blog readers!) today about the DIY tufted ottoman I made a little while back. Such an exciting treat to be asked over to share, and I hope you’ll stop by and show Tobi some love. She’s a talented designer with some serious eye-candy on her blog! (Funny side note: when I was looking through her portfolio, I saw a room I KNEW I recognized. Then I realized it was from a house for sale in Hot Springs, Arkansas that we saw an ad for while on vacation last year. I seriously loved the pics so much that I wanted to schedule a viewing of the house just so I could see it in person. What a small world!)

And now for a post that might make you hate me.

I am not a fan of most chick flicks. (I know, I know. Boooo! Hiss!)

I find them implausible and downright annoying sometimes. Miss Congeniality? Eh. It has its moments. How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days? I suppose some parts are funny, but I still want to smoosh pies in Kate Hudson’s character’s face. The Notebook? Hmmm…I should probably stop before I get myself in serious trouble.

And yes, I know the point of a chick flick is to entertain, not make you want to go work on your doctoral dissertation (oh, please no), but I like my movie escapism to be brainless in an intelligent way. Ha! No wonder my brother (who likes chick flicks/happy endings more than I do) thinks I’m a picky movie-watcher.

The truth is that, while I think the genre hasn’t done itself too many favors as a whole, I’m a big sucker for a chick flick “done right” (and yes, I know that that’s an extremely subjective and debatable term).

And I’ve made a list of 5 of my favorites to try to win you over.

1) Return to Me

return to me

This little known gem stars Minnie Driver as a girl who gets a heart transplant from a cute guy’s (David Duchovny) dead wife. I bet you’ll never guess what happens next. Still, even if the plotline is predictable, the dialogue and characters aren’t. Plus, the movie exudes a genuine sweetness that is hard to pull off. (**There are several spurts of profanity in this otherwise tame PG-rated movie; I think they threw it in there to “spice things up,” more’s the pity).

2) Sense and Sensibility

sense and sensibility

How can you go wrong with Jane Austen? No, this isn’t the fastest moving film around, but the acting is superb (oh, Emma Thompson, you amaze me), the storyline compelling, and there’s a bit where Emma’s stiff-upper-lip protagonist has this spectacular meltdown in response to a stuttering speech from Hugh Grant that makes me want to stand up and cheer every. single. time.

3) Benny and Joon

benny and joon

Another relative unknown starring Mary Stuart Masterson and a Buster Keaton impersonating Johnny Depp (also a bit salty on the language side…what’s with these PG movies and their potty-mouths?). It’s a quirky tale of two misfits falling in love. And it’s quite well-acted and manages to make you genuinely care about what happens to the lovers.

4) Emma

emma

Yes, yes, I know. Two Jane Austen movies in one list. But Emma is so completely different from Sense and Sensibility that it would be like saying, “Why are you making pie when you have cake?” (A legitimate question when you think about it, but I’m trying to make a point here!) Both are good but in completely different ways (Mmmmmm…cake). Emma is a frothy, bubbly frolic of a movie that will make you smile and shake your head all at once. Plus, Gwyneth Paltrow’s fake British accent is actually pretty darn good.

5) Roman Holiday

roman holiday

Hard to go wrong with a classic Audrey Hepburn flick about a bored princess who pretends she’s a commoner for a day and ends up falling in love with the worst possible person for her…an American reporter.

I have loads of other chick flicks I love, including quite a few mainstreamers like You’ve got Mail, While You Were Sleeping, Notting Hill (actually my favorite chick flick of all time, but I don’t recommend it because it’s pretty raunchy in spots, and I only own it in a “cleaned up” version), The Devil Wears Prada, and Pride and Prejudice (of course). I just wanted to introduce you to/remind you of some of the lesser recognized ones.

Hopefully, you don’t hate me too much for doggin’ on the popular chick flicks. And hopefully, I’ve given you a little fodder for your weekend relaxation. There’s only so many times you can watch Kate Hudson desecrate Matthew McConaughey’s medicine cabinet, right?

I’ll see you tomorrow for Feature Friday. I’ve got something really cool to tell you about.

P.S. So spill: what’s your favorite chick flick of all time?

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29 thoughts on “5 Things Thursday: Chick Flicks with Brains

  1. Oh my goodness. I just left a comment on your latest post telling you that you favor Minnie Driver, one of my favorite actresses ever. Then I searched your blog to see if you’ve ever mentioned it, and I found this post. (I’m a new reader.) Now we have to be friends because you have listed three of my all time favorite movies on the planet. Return To Me, Sense & Sensibility, and Roman Holiday. In fact, I own two copies of the first two because I’m always pushing them on people. I watch them at least 2 or three times a year, especially Return To Me. I love the actors, the music, the funny, warm moments, and the story.Sigh. Now I need to watch it again.

    Anyway, I had to comment because I hardly ever find people who know about this movie. Sad but true. So excited that you featured it! :)

  2. I know this is an older post, but I linked back to it from today’s miniseries post and thought of a movie to recommend that no one else seems to have mentioned…The Lake House. It’s my favorite romance! Very clean. Thanks for mentioning Emma – it’s been on my list to watch for a while, but wasn’t at all sure I’d like it. Enjoying your blog!

  3. Here’s my short chick flick fave list:
    1. Love affair (remake of An affair to remember) starring Warren Beatty and Annette Benning. I still have yet to watch the original, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in its entirety, though.
    2. My best friend’s wedding – I like the soundtrack. Don’t like Julia Robert’s character that much in the middle of the movie but she redeemed herself in the end.
    3. Little women starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst. I absolutely love the book but also enjoyed watching the movie. A real tear-jerker.
    4. The Joy Luck club – not sure if this is under the chick flick category. Characters are mostly women so I’d say it is. I like the way the story about mothers and their daughters unfold, the different aspects and degrees of love.
    5. My girl with Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky. I know, the characters are kids. But I’ll include this because I love it. Everytime I watch this movie, I always shed a tear at the end of the movie. Another tear-jerker.

    I’ll try to watch the movies from your list. I’ve watched both Jane Austen book-based movie – LOVE it! I have to watch the other three. I like Audrey Hepburn (watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s before), but there’s something about older movies that I have to exert more effort to watch. Is it the dialogues, the background color or scenes?

  4. Oh, it is so good to know I am not the only one! I don’t care for most of the chick flicks out there either. Although you’re absolutely right anything Jane Austen is wonderful – I love both Emma and Sense and Sensibility (I need to go watch them again, now). And anything with Audrey in it? Divine. I think my favorite is Charade – Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, crazy identity switches, quirky humor, great clothes – perfection on film. :)

  5. While You Were Sleeping is one of my absolute favorites (leaning anyone?) and I always get a kick out of The Wedding Planner. Abbie have you seen EverAfter with Drew Barrymore? That’s another good chick flick and a different but great take on the Cinderella story.

  6. You know, Kelli…it’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and yet I hardly ever mention it in a movie context b/c it’s technically a miniseries. That’s silly, I know, but I think that’s the only thing that holds me back. I never did a review of it on my movie blog, Picky Flicks, either. Weird. But yes, I love me some Anne-girl. I’ve actually been thinking about it on and off recently…how it’s been quite a while since I’ve watched, and I need to again soon. Just haven’t found the right chunk of time.

  7. Sense and Sensibility is definitely my favorite movie. I watch it pretty much every month and have even devised a way to work it in to my English 1302 syllabus. Alan Rickman is positively swoon-worthy, and Emma Thompson is fabulous. I don’t know if it qualifies as a “chick flick”, but if you’ve never seen Stranger Than Fiction, you should check it out: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Will Ferrell (whom I do not normally care for as an actor, but this isn’t his typical ‘just plain stupid’ fare. I love the twist in reality that it presents and would love to be able to work it in to my English 1301 class. I just need to find a way to justify that…

  8. I l’ve seen and loved all of those title except Benny & Joon. Emma has to be one of my all time favorites! I also loved the “Love Comes Softly” series. Sappy, but sweet. :)

  9. I’ve always wanted to get Love Actually in a cleaned up version, but right now, I can’t remember if I ever did. For some reason, I think yes. But then again, I used to read LOTS of movie reviews and synopses, so I might just be remembering the cast/storyline from that. Hmmm…I’ll have to see if I can find it.

  10. I love all the ones you mentioned, but Return To Me, has to be an all time favorite! I love that movie and I love Bunnie Hunt in it. :-) Another one I like is The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. And another holiday one which is raunchy, Love Actually.

  11. We must be kindred spirits in movie-watching land…I LOVE Return to Me…I’ve watched it so many times and never get sick of it. I could watch Sense and Sensibility every day. I was a “no crying for movies” gal until I watched it in high school. First movie that ever made me cry–during the Hugh Grant speech at the end that you mentioned. Also love Emma and will have to watch Benny and Joon–have always heard good things about it. Also agree about Miss Congeniality and the typical formula movies…my mom has gotten to the point of specifically mentioning movies to me that she thinks I’ll like because they don’t follow the typical “formula.” :)

    I don’t know what my fave is…that would be a tough call, but it might be between Sense and Sensibility and The Young Victoria. I just watched that for the second time this past weekend (and made my husband watch it with me!) and loved it even more than the first time. It’s so sweet!

    Thanks for sharing these movies!

  12. I love that movie! It’s such a great love story. Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter and John Goodman are amazing. I’m so glad you’re planning to give it a try. Let me know how you like it.

  13. They used to have this quiz on Facebook–maybe they still do–which took your movies and compared them to those of your friends to see how you ‘scored.’ I think you and I would definitely have been up there in the 90th % twinkie category. : )

  14. You’re welcome, Sarah. And I agree that, in general, books are far superior to their film versions (in the case of Emma, I think the movie is “happier” and makes us like Emma more than the book). But I will say that, while Sense and Sensibility, the book, is wonderful, I *might* like the movie a smidge more. It doesn’t cover everything in the book, but what it covers, it does flawlessly. I have a sudden urge to rewatch it right. this. second. : )
    P.S. I spent a little while browsing your site this morning and really enjoyed seeing your pre-wedding shots. ; )

  15. Only You is quite entertaining. Robert Downey Jr. makes me smile even if he is a mess (or maybe that’s *why* he makes me smile). Also, I like Sliding Doors. It’s quite different and has an edge. For me, though, it’s kind of in the same category as Notting Hill. I enjoy it and appreciate its cleverness, but I also don’t love some of the stuff in it, so I wouldn’t add it to a recommendation list…if that makes any sense.

  16. Only You is one of my favorite chick-flicks. What’s not to love about Italy and Bonnie Hunt as your BFF? That said, Marisa Tomei IS a little annoying in it. I also really love Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s not too sweet (actually, it’s a little depressing in spots), and it’s set in London/stars John Hannah. Awesome! I love Return to Me, and I’ll definately have to check out Benny & Joon.

  17. Oh, and I agree with the other commenters about The Proposal. Loved it! Hilarious and made me fall in love with the characters!

  18. I haven’t see any of these but Emma, but I liked the book a lot more. They did do a good job with it, though. I will watch Sense and Sensibility once I get around to reading the book (I know it will blow me away with those actors in it).

    I happen to love The Notebook, but I think I like any movie set back when people dressed in clothes I would love to wear, and any movie that features great houses. I do think it’s a wonderful story, though.

    One of my favorite chick flicks that probably isn’t even considered a chick flick is Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. I’ve been obsessed ever since I saw it for the first time two years ago. I don’t really know what I love so much about it – probably the fact that it’s about going after your dreams and it shows some true realities about marriage, but it is desperately sad as well in the end. Plus, it’s extremely funny in some parts and has great songs!

    I also really love the movie Because I Said so with Diane Keaton (and Mandy Moore and Lauren Graham – my favorite actress ever since Gilmore Girls). It didn’t get good reviews, but I absolutely love it. It’s so charming and a great story about mothers and daughters. I thought it was fairly unique and fresh as well!

    I’m going to add your suggestions to my never ending Netflix queue! Thanks, Abbie

  19. The proposal has to be my fave! It’s funny and has some original bits. Though still predictable, but I didn’t mind because it was fun to watch. I’ll have to check out some on your list. Emma I’ve been meaning to try for a while.

  20. Aww, I love Return to Me, especially since in the opening scene they show the building I used to work in {under construction}!! I know cheesy, but I can say, hey I worked in that building…which leads me to loving that it was filmed in Chicago. :)

    I will watch How to Lose a Guy just for Matthew McConaughey alone ;) but my favorite is Waitress, second to August Rush, which really isn’t a chick flick I guess, but I love it still! Good choices Abbie!! ;)

  21. I think you and I must be long lost movie-watching twins! I’ve seen and ADORE every single one of those movies, with exception to Benny & Joon (hadn’t heard of it) and Notting Hill (didn’t have enough time to finish the movie)…LOVE Roman Holiday especially…I even made hubs watch it! : )

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