Thursday, March 13, 2014

This 'n That Thursdays: Chick Flick Favorites


This is spring break week at the University of Georgia where my husband teaches.  Right now he is doing field work in the tropical ambience of Puerto Rico and won't be home until late Sunday night.  I am, as usual, at home with the animals, but the good news is that our weather has turned lovely and mild.  I plan to get a little yard work done while I can.  Of course, since this is March, the nice weather won't last, and we should be getting some rain and cooler temperatures later in the week.  I've decided that this rainy day will be a chick flick day, because for some reason (could it be a longing for spring?) I've had a hankering to do a chick flick movie marathon.

And just what movies will I be watching?  Well, first I should clarify my definition of a chick flick, which may be a little different than most.  To me, these movies are about events in the lives of ordinary women, sometimes but not always in extraordinary circumstances, not necessarily about romance, usually not tearjerkers, often with funny scenes but not mostly a comedy, and always to some extent character- rather than plot-driven.  I am not a fan of epic romances, so no "Titanic" (1997) for me.  And while I love a good romantic comedy, I do not include all of them in my chick flick category.  (I admit my choices here are rather arbitrary.  I could watch "The Goodbye Girl" (1977) and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002) over and over, but not as chick flicks for some reason -- possibly because they emphasize comedy and romance more than character?)  As for the movies I do put into this category, I won't be watching anything new, but I do have a collection of favorites that I haven't seen in a while.  I also recently purchased an older movie that I saw again a few months ago and decided I needed to own, so adding that to the queue, here is a list of five favorites, in no particular order, that are distinct possibilities for my movie marathon:

1) "Babette's Feast" (1987)

This is the movie I just bought, and I don't know why it took me so long.  It is a beautiful movie set in the 19th century, Danish with English subtitles. It is about two elderly unmarried women, daughters of the now deceased minister of their small village, who spend their time taking care of fellow villagers and trying to set a good example, at the expense of their personal lives.  They are asked by an old friend to provide a safe haven for a French woman named Babette who has just lost her husband and son in the war, which they agree to do.  This simple act of kindness makes a world of difference in the lives of this woman, the sisters, and the inhabitants the Danish village, especially after Babette wins a lottery prize!

2) "Enchanted April" (1991)

The 1991 version of "Enchanted April" is my favorite movie of all time, and I have described it in an earlier post.  Since it is set in the spring, now is the perfect time to watch it again.

3) "Strangers in Good Company" (1990)

While I find this movie fascinating, it is not for everyone.  My best friend thinks it is slow-moving and uninteresting, but I love character-driven movies, and this one goes into great detail about the varied lives of a group of older women who find themselves trapped in the middle of nowhere when their tour bus breaks down.  They surprise themselves with their own resourcefulness, and we get to learn about their earlier lives and how their experiences shaped them into the women that they have become.  No matter how many times I watch this one, I am always drawn into their stories, probably because so much of the dialogue is spontaneous and straight from the hearts of the nonprofessional actors.  I wish more movies were made like this one!

4) "Amélie" (2001)

I don't know anyone who doesn't love this movie, and that is despite the fact that it is in French with English subtitles.  Amélie, as portrayed by the actress Audrey Tautou, is such an appealing protagonist, and the characters who inhabit her world are quirky, amusing, and for the most part likeable in an average, everyday sort of way.  But it is Amélie's vivid imagination and her fateful decision to do good in her little world that make this movie so enjoyable and worthy of repeat viewing.

5) "Chocolat" (2000)

A stranger and her daughter move to a French village and open a chocolate shop just before the season of Lent.  Her arrival causes an unexpected upheaval in a town that prides itself on "tranquilité", and the mayor is determined that she must leave.  A battle of wills ensues between the woman and the mayor, and the town is changed forever, as is the life of the woman and her daughter, but only in a good way.  Once again this is a movie with a superb cast of characters, and excellent actors who portray them.  Be prepared to develop quite a craving for chocolate, though!

Of course there are quite a few other movies that qualify as chick flicks for me, but I think five is more than enough.  In fact, I doubt I will even make it through that many, but at least I know I will not run out of entertainment for a rainy day!  Quite coincidentally, I read a blog post the other day by another woman who is ready for a chick flick marathon.  She writes a food blog, and suggested this cheesy popcorn recipe as the perfect accompaniment.  (BTW, to me her movie selections are more romantic comedy than chick flick, according to my quirky definition.)  Armed with popcorn, chocolates, and a big bottle of water, I am ready to indulge unapologetically in a day of nonstop video entertainment.  I'm actually hoping rain stays in the forecast this week!

"Chocolat" and Pot au Chocolat
(from Kahakai Kitchen)

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