Chick flicks. What the hell are they? From what I've gathered over the years is that they meet one (or more) of three criteria.
The cast must be predominantly woman, with the lead being a strong female character.
The film must be filled with heavy emotional issues, usually relationship based. And usually the movie will make you want to cry... or laugh... or angered... or sad... or happy... or all of this at once. (Yes, its usually an emotional roller coaster.)
The film is typically designed to appeal to women. This is the film's main target audience. (and if the movie just so happens to pull in a male viewing audience because they were dragged to the theatre to see it by their girlfriends, well then more power to you.)
So that's what I think a "chick-flick" is.
Are men allowed to like chick-flicks? Let's let the men answer that for themselves.
Okay guys, have you ever seen "Notting Hill"? Great film right? Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant were innocent and wonderful in that movie. Guess what? Chick-flick!
Men, have you seen "The Proposal" "Thelma & Louise", "Mean Girls"? Chick-flick, chick-flick, chick-flick!
And how about that delicious little surfer girl film starring Kate Bosworth called "Blue Crush"? Yeah guys, that smoke-show of a movie was also a chick-flick.
"The Devil Wears Prada", "The Notebook", "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Sixteen Candles", "Clueless", "Bridesmaids", "When Harry Met Sally", "Win A Date With Tad Hamilton", "Bring It On", "13 Going On 30", "27 Dresses", "Beaches"... all of these wonderful films are chick-flicks.
But the mother of them all, the matriarch of all chick-flicks is "Titanic". It encompassed everything a chick-flick would need. It had a strong female lead in Kate Winslet. It was littered with emotion. And thirdly, women loved it.
After listing all those fantastic female films, and also being a man, I can only come to one conclusion and tell you that, yes, men can absolutely like chick-flicks.
So why am I talking about chick-flicks you ask? Because I saw a chick-flick this weekend and I have been looking forward to reviewing it since I saw it. It had an all-star female cast with the likes of such superstars as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, and Abigail Breslin. Not to mention the all-star male cast also. (Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney, and Benedict Cumberbatch.)
The story is about life and death, and family issues. It deals with the stuggles all families go through. We all have skeletons in our closets and this family is no different. Heck, I know a family that had actual skeletons in their closets. Well, to be more precise, they were in his fridge. (The Dahmer family.)
But getting back to this movie. The story is about an Oklahoma family that has to come back home and deal with the sudden death of their father. The three daughters (played by J. Roberts, J. Nicholson, and J. Lewis) have to deal with taking care of their overbearing, drug addicted, pain in the tukas mother (Streep). It also brings to light the ongoing problems in their own, extended family lives. It's an incredible story with some very interesting plot lines to say the least.
But bigger than that, this movie is more of an exercise in excellent acting than it is anything else. This film couldn't have been more perfectly cast. With Meryl Streep playing the matriarch of this family, with her mood swings and her addiction to prescription drugs, and her over the top cruelty, you couldn't ask for a better performance.
Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson were remarkable as two daughters with some underlying issues themselves.
As for the men of the film, they were great too. But they were a subtext to what was really going on with the woman in this film. (Don't get me wrong though, they were a major piece of this story.) Cumberbatch, McGregor, Mulroney, and especially Chris Cooper were all magnificant in their roles.
But to see Julia Roberts play her character with such emotion and fire was such a joy for me to watch. I've always liked Julia Roberts' characters in all of her films, but this one let me see the magic she can bring to the screen once again. I think this was a tough role for her yet she made it look easy. She is a true professional... As a matter of fact they all were.
I really didn't want to see this movie at first because of the whole "chick-flick" moniker it carried with it, but I am damn glad I did because in the end, it is a phenomenal film. Is it good enough to make a spash come Oscar season? Coming from this movie reviewer, I say absolutely it is. It is quietly one of my favorite films of the year.
In closing, do I, Matty W. Kelley, like chick-flicks? Let's put it this way: If I need to have my penis removed just to legitimize me going to see these incredible female based films, then snip away my good man, because I LOVE these movies. (Hell, I haven't been using my penis too much lately anyways.)
Matty W. Kelley, A Seat Apart Productions, reporting.
Fun Question: What was the name of the fake science-fiction film Julia Roberts was promoting in "Notting Hill"?
Fun Answer: "Helix" (There were no horses in it... or hounds.)