Tag Archives: Romantic Comedy

Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman

Synopsis: Bullock and Kidman play two sister witches who are plagued by a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed die early.

This must be one of the chickiest chick flicks to ever grace cinema. It’s got everything women love: sisterhood, sappy emotional drivel, and Wicca. Also, Sandra Bullock. She is like cat-nip for white women. Ordinarily these things combined would scare me off but, after having an American Horror Story: Coven marathon over the holiday season, I decided to give this a shot to see if it was just as good. Turns out it wasn’t. Surprise, surprise. However, as I always say, some of the worst films out there can become the best films with the aid of a little weed. While I wouldn’t say weed made this one of the best films, it certainly made it more enjoyable…most likely because it helped me to realise what this film is actually about.

Cocaine

Yes, that’s right. This film is all about Nicole Kidman’s character overcoming her addiction to blow. How do I know it’s about cocaine? Well, for starters Kidman runs away and becomes this groupie chick in the desert and then starts hanging around with a sordid crowd. She then goes into this house, kind of like the one in Boogie Nights, and then starts talking a lot about “Angel love” i.e. angel dust. Boom. She’s an addict. It’s hardly surprising really. Most films about witchcraft seem to have addiction as a central theme. Just look at The Craft, which was all about heroin addiction. I wonder why that is. It’s probably because performing magic would give you a power trip in the same way that doing drugs sends you on a trip. If you could alter the laws of the universe for personal gain, it would be hard to use that power responsibly. Willow from Buffy found out the hard way….and she was clearly on some strong shit.

Dark WillowMy guess is that it’s meth

So, drug abuse aside, what is good about this movie. Well, it’s quite stylish for one thing. These women live in a gorgeous house. It’s a grand old wooden Victorian house next to the ocean. It also has a sick greenhouse. I would push my mother down the stairs if it meant I could live in a house like that. Also, the soundtrack is surprisingly good in places. It’s got that one Faith Hill song in it that everyone likes but no one can remember the words to. However, the film also has a song in it in which the artist rhymes the word ‘glove’ with ‘love.’ That’s pretty amateur.

Something else that’s pretty amateur in places is the writing. Whoever wrote this film clearly had no idea about police procedure. I can’t believe these women let the cop in without a warrant and he handles evidence without the proper equipment. Any hack could get his entire case thrown out. Seriously writers, if you are going to have a cop as a character in your work, whatever it may be, please learn about proper police protocol. It’s very easy and it is mistakes like these that threaten to derail an otherwise coherent movie.

High-lights:

  • Stylish.
  • No matter how you look at it, Sandra Bullock is still kind of a BAMF.
  • It has the cat-faced lady who played Mona in the first Tales of the City series!
  • The scene where Sandra Bullock hears the beetle is actually quite good.

Downers:

  • It kind of skims over the Salem witch trials, which is one of the most interesting points in history. I would have preferred more detail on how idiotic people were back then….”My milk hath gone sour! It must be the doing of a witch!” No, it’s because your dumb-ass left the milk outside in 40 degree weather.
  • It was sad how the kids stoned young Nicole. Kids are shits.

Summary:

This is one of those light, feel-good movies that will completely disappear from your mind a few days after watching it. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good to watch these sorts of movies just to kill some time or to impress your girlfriend. From an objective point of view, Practical Magic is kind of mediocre. Let’s be honest, it was never going to light the world on fire. However, under the right circumstances (i.e. you must be blitzed) it can be a pretty enjoyable film if you let it be. It wins points from me because of that.

6.5/10

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Filed under Comedy, Good, Romance

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Romancing the Stone

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Action/Adventure

Cast: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito

Synopsis: A wussy romance writer goes off to Colombia to rescue her sister who has been kidnapped. There, she gets lost in the jungle and meets a rugged yet brutish Michael Douglas.

Ordinarily, I’m not the sort of guy who likes chick-flicks. In fact, it’s a rule of mine to avoid most chick-flicks. However, I’m willing to break that rule if the movie was made in the 1980s. It was a golden age for the genre, before all the Julia Roberts, Meg Ryans, and Katherine Heigls came along to incite my hatred. I decided to switch my viewing routine up a little by watching a classic rom-com from the 80s. My mother recommended Romancing the Stone so, last Friday, I chilled out, got into my comfy PJs and then got in touch with my feminine side.

Cat LadyWhat my feminine side looks like

I can see why this film is so popular with some women. For starters, the main character is, in fact, a crazy cat lady. She is the most stereotypical female shut-in you can imagine: she writes erotic literature, has conversations with her cat, and throws plates around for no reason. Her erotic fiction isn’t even that good. As a (struggling/failing) writer, I found myself screaming at the laptop and trying to reason with her that she should not under any circumstances hand in the draft to her publisher. Still, part of me was envious. She has my dream life: beautiful apartment in the city and a fuck-off easy job. Plus, Kathleen Turner has the voice I want. It’s like butter mixed with sex.

Butter Sex…Or not

Turner’s voice makes me want to start smoking a pack of 20 a day. Anyway, this film successfully overcame the first of my hurdles that rom-coms regularly stumble at: it has a main character who is flawed but still likeable.

What about the male lead? Well, as far as panty droppers go, Michael Douglas is not the most desirable of men. It’s something that really confused me in Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction. The man is, quite simply, swimming in vagina. It’s a mystery to me, but I actually quite like that the male lead in this film is not a super-stud. It gives me hope that one day I too can find someone who doesn’t look like a smacked arse. Plus, when he threw a kilo of weed onto a camp fire and inhaled I wanted to cheer. I wonder if that works.

I think the thing that really stood out for me in this movie is that I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before. The plot is ridiculous. I mean, a lady gets mugged and kidnapped by a ten year old and then Kathleen Turner’s character befriends a drug cartel leader after she finds out he’s a fan of her work. Plus, this film has crocodiles and Danny DeVito. Romancing the Stone’s quirkiness is definitely its biggest strength and I think it will be hard to find another romantic-comedy that is as bizarre and unique.

High-lights:

  • Kathleen Turner’s voice.
  • Turner and Douglas have really good chemistry.
  • Danny DeVito can do no wrong.

Downers:

  • This film makes it look like being a writer is really easy.
  • It’s depressing to think I will never have a crazy romance like the one in this film.
  • I don’t think drug cartelists in real life are as friendly as the one in the movie.

Summary:

Romancing the Stone isn’t perfect by any means, but it knows how silly it is and plays into that. It’s a film sweeps you up in the adventure and it avoids a lot of the problems I find in romantic comedies. Romancing the Stone is the sort of film I think most people can enjoy. There is something for everyone: action, comedy, good character development, even a cheeky nipple slip right at the start. Even if you’re not a fan of romantic comedies, this one should still manage to keep you entertained.

7/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Comedy, Good, Romance