Category Archives: Chick Flicks

Keeping It Real With the Housewives

I have finally figured out why movie dramas seem so lame these days.

It’s reality television, of course. We all know the old saw about truth being stranger than fiction. It’s also more absorbing, addictive, nasty, nutty, riveting, repugnant, vicious, vulgar and way more dramatic than any film could attempt to be–with the possible exception of movies based on great novels penned ages before the birth of the Bravo channel.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in my favorite genre of trash-de-vie TV, The Real Housewives.

Call me a lame brain, a bimbo, a clueless floozie, or even, to quote New Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice, “A Prostitution WHORE.” I admit to being all of those things. However, I will tell you that anyone who avoids or fears these programs is missing out on priceless opportunities to improve his or her life.

Here’s a list of precious insights and amenities YOU can hope to gain from watching the surgically inflated, socially inept, witchy and winsome Wives:

1)It Helps You Stay Sober: Whether it’s New York’s terminally tactless Ramona socking back the pinot or Orange County’s foul-mouthed Tamra doing belly shots, you can count on rediscovering why you gave up drinking–and vowing to stay on the wagon forever. Most episodes involve at least one posh luncheon or dinner where the housewives show up in bust-baring minis, toss back a few girly drinks or Drama Queen-sized goblets of wine, and then degenerate into vile, vindictive inebriation. Not to be missed: The segment of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in which a drunk psychic uses her powers to smack down the guests at the home of Kelsey Grammer’s cruelly dumped wife, Camille.

2)It alleviates loneliness: Do you wish you had more female friends? Are you longing to be one of the girls? Watch any Housewives installment and you may decide that a little alone time is a small price to pay for serenity and self-esteem. You won’t flippin’ believe all the bitchin’, back stabbin’ and betrayals. See the Wives in action and you might be tempted to label them the Ladies Who Lynch. Ganging up is a favorite activity. Each cast seems to include at least one outsider, offering endless opportunities for these fickle chicks to stick it to the pariah. Part of the excitement is that the Most Hated person keeps changing, and you never know whom the gals are gonna use for target practice.

3) It Helps You Make Important Surgical Decisions: Prior to viewing the Housewives, I had never even considered ameliorating my appearance with a doctor’s help, but these girls can really make you feel inferior for being a botox and implant virgin. Most of the wives have had at least one breast, belly, face or nose enhancement. Thanks to these procedures, anorexic workouts and mad waxing, these babes can really rock a plunging neckline on a micro mini and induce an ordinary gal to wonder if she could do the same. On the other hand, the ladies make it clear there’s a downside to deepening your decollete. I never knew, for instance, that when you get “the girls” done, your friends feel free to feel you up and make insanely rude comments like, “your new knockers look like flotation devices.”

4)It Supplies Awesome Comebacks for All Occasions:

Finally, each Housewives episode offers a gift bag of diabolical disses suitable for any situation that calls for an emergency schoolin’ of friends or family. For example:

“Scratch my ass.” (New Jersey)

“Adios, lunatic.” (New York)

“I’ll flip you over that couch.” (Atlanta)

“When you’re married to HER, every day is a milestone.” (New York)

“I’m about to take you out and put some Oklahoma on your ass.”(Beverly Hills)

“She’s a thug in a cocktail dress.” (New York).

“You touch me girl, I will wear that wig off your head!” (Atlanta)

And finally, my personal favorite, the brief but soul-chilling exchange between New Jersey’s tempestuous table-flipping Teresa and her nemesis, notorious pole dancer and alleged gangsta moll, Danielle.

“Don’t call me honey.”
“Is bitch better?”

Now that’s drama.

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Chick Flicks, Essays


To My Heart’s Desire

As you know, Dear Reader, I have for many a fortnight employed the feeble forces of my mind to contemplate the vexatious state of my tender heart regarding prospects for a promising match, wondering whence of late this plague of unsuitable suitors. Now, at last, Heaven’s cherubim have parted the clouds on the horizon of my mind’s estate, and illuminated a path for me to follow.

All I need to find my Heart’s Dear One is to slip into the pages of a 19th Century British Novel.

I was graced with this pleasant notion on a recent afternoon whilst viewing the credits of the film Jane Eyre.

‘Twas then I resolved to put quill to paper and compose a missive to those who might seek my hand, thence to be posted on a matchmaking website.

I enclose the letter. I do hope it pleases you:

“Bring me a cloak, a rainstorm, muddy skirts and a flushed face framed with tendrils of titian hair. I’ll need a hillside to tumble down or at least some decent bracken to trip me up so that my beloved can discover me in a state of radiant dishevelment.

“I must be feverish or at least mildly sprained of limb so that my stalwart angel can sweep me off the ground and carry me to the nearest manor house whereupon he will command the candle-bearing housekeeper to summon the doctor immediately.

“He must have a horse, his own raven mane, a scowling visage concealing a heart of smoldering intent, a baronial home and many many pounds.

“I will require a humble station in life, dubious prospects, a plain but discernible beauty that is most radiant when bathed in natural, preferably stormy, light, and a noble nature most ably displayed in flashing eyes and forthright speech, especially in chance romantic encounters whilst strolling through gardens or trudging across the moors tugging at my cloak to keep it from snagging on rocks.

“My heart’s own one and I will endure the sweet pain of at least one quarrel, and I will shed a few hidden tears in the wake of a false rumor of his engagement to another young lady whose father can settle upon her more riches than my modest imagination can conceive. This demoiselle will dance with my beloved at a country ball, or a lavish London party, while a woman of somewhat advanced years and devious disposition, perhaps my dear one’s sister, importunes him to turn his fathomless dark eyes away from me and toward another more fortunate one.

“My rival must possess a collection of fine coquettish frocks and a beguiling head of curls that look silly in contrast to my simple coif. She will speak in a mewling voice like a hungry kitten and have a penchant for sweets, small dogs and ornate carriages. She will not like to get her tiny silk slippers wet.

“At long last, after I learn that the strumpet whom I feared had stolen my heart’s desire has run off with one, or possibly three, of Her Majesty’s lieutenants, I will unburden my soul of its sweet agony and be united with my smoldering darling.

“When at last we find each other by a mossy garden wall, he will flatten my modest bodice against his beautifully tailored jacket, while my skirts billow becomingly in the breeze. The exquisite pressure of his scowling lips will cause my face to blush and my tiny frame to faint in his crushing embrace.

“On our wedding day, angels will scatter the clouds, bells will peal and adorable urchins will shower us with rose petals as we rush to our waiting carriage and home to the rapture of our nuptial bed and seductive softness of our identical night dresses.”

So, Dear Reader, you have now seen into the chambers of my foolish heart. If it pleases you, grant me the happiness of knowing your prayers and good wishes will accompany my missive on its mission.

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Chick Flicks


Chick Flicks Forever

I just saw the movie Dirty Dancing for the first time. I have known for years about this feel good romance but had not seen it until I found it on Youtube a few days ago.

Now that I have seen this gem, in which an adorable resort guest named Baby (Jennifer Gray) loses her heart to a steamy dance instructor named Johnny (Patrick Swayze),  I know why it is considered by many women to be the uber chick flick of all time. I also think I am beginning to understand why we women, or at least many of us, adore these shamelessly idyllic, unapologetically romantic, sweetly sensual, fairy tale films.

Take heed fellas (the few fellas, that is, that might read this blog): If you want to understand the female psyche, and answer the hackneyed question “what do women want?”, watch Dirty Dancing and other famous chick flicks (your wife, sister or girlfriend can give you a list). Then, if you want to please your woman, adopt some of the moves, mannerisms and character traits of the princely male protagonists of these movies.

Are you capable of teaching your lady a dance, any dance? Or any other physical skill that requires that you put your arms around her or position her body as part of the instruction. Archery? Fishing? Shooting pool? Tennis? Swimming? Big turn on. You will become Patrick Swayze in her eyes. Or can you master the hat in hand self-deprecating sweetly masculine mannerisms of Hugh Grant in Sense and Sensibility? How are you at picking up your wife, wrapping her in a cloak and carrying her out of a rainstorm Jane Austen style? Taking her to a doctor’s appointment on horseback or motorcycle might do as well in a pinch.

There is a female form of being turned on that doesn’t respond to pornography or plastic things that buzz. It is the most magical of romantic female feelings and, fellas, if you conjure it, you’ve got her forever. This smoky blend of intense emotion and sexual arousal is mimicked by the chick flick.

Romcoms are equally useful in pointing women in the direction we really want to go when it comes to love. Of course there is hyperbole in Hollywood, exaggeration and perfection you can only attain as a director playing God. If you deconstruct chick flicks, however, you discover the basic elements of female fantasy and desire. Using Dirty Dancing as a guide, these include:

1)Sloooow courtship. The love part has a chance to sneak up behind you and say BOO.

2)Getting physically close without sex (see above). Very important, big turn-on.

3)A lovely setting for the romance (think water, woods, beach, rolling countryside, small town, wide city boulevards with space to ramble). Noisy disco, fluourescent lit Big Box Store , strap hanging on the subway not on the list.

4)Respectful treatment. In the case of Dirty Dancing, the heroine’s position as an innocent young guest at the resort insures that the hero, employed as a resort dance instructor, will handle her with restraint (until of course he can’t contain his FEELINGS anymore).

5)A very light dose of ruggedness, or athleticism. NO roughness, rage or cruelty. Scarface need not apply. Some harmless masculine element, however, like horse riding, soldiering or physical mastery of some sort, is essential. In Dirty Dancing, it’s a soupcon of the streets and of course the muy macho moves of the dance-instructor hero that make it work. In Jane Austen, there’s horse riding, soldiering, brisk country walking and rescuing damsels who have tripped on their petticoats and toppled over in rainstorms.

Not only are chick flicks useful in deconstructing what turns us on as women. They perform other functions as well.

For instance, the best chick flicks soothe broken hearts. That might sound strange at first. I mean, isn’t it difficult to see scenes of happy love when one is in romantic despair? Actually, no. The secret of the best chick flicks is that they are inclusive. The heroine is someone one can identify with. She’s a girl’s girl, a regular person in some sense. She’s goofy, or quirky, or makes mistakes. She’s human, she lets us in on the relationship. Indeed if the chick flick is successful, we have occupied her body by the third scene and cannot distinguish ourselves from her. If we are lonely and lovelorn, she gives us hope and a vicarious thrill or two.

They also help rehabilitate those who have recovered more or less from heartbreak and want to get back into the game. Watching a chick flick, one has a chance to remember, in a safe environment, what love felt like. It helps us recall why it is that we want to stand up and try again. No, I am not talking about getting hot and bothered. I am talking about remembering the feelings that we women really want to feel. The slowly building heartbeat, the dance that gets closer and closer over time, the sensuality and excitement that cannot be separated from a feeling of growing intimacy, budding affection and yes, that four-letter word: LOVE.

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Posted by on April 4, 2010 in Chick Flicks, Essays


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