By Thomas Sellers Jr.
What is a “chick flick”?
The Urban Dictionary defines it as a film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls. A film that has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending. Over at Dictionary.com the definition is more subtle with a movie that appeals especially to women, usually having a romantic or sentimental theme and a female leading character.
With such a broad range, many movies made since the 1940s fit into this category. Recently we’ve gotten divisions like the romantic comedy, drama, thriller and action adventure geared toward women.
For this Best Sellers’ List I’m going to leave out movies like “Captain Marvel,” “Fatal Attraction” and “Proud Mary.”
Women empowerment movies are the hottest trend in Hollywood with moderate success. Females are strong in various ways, but the films of today are showcasing women dominating in a male fashion.
So leaving superpowers and police skills out of the equation, this week I will rank the best chick flicks of all-time with a coming of age element. My honorable mentions should give you an idea of where I am going: “Clueless,” “Just Wright,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Little Women,” “Save the Last Dance,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Sixteen Candles,” “My Girl,” “Never Been Kissed,” “Grease” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
- “Love & Basketball”
RELEASED: April 16, 2000
STARRING: Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps
Thanks to my mom Alma and sister Latanglia I am familiar with this urban classic. I watched childhood neighbors Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) both chase their dreams of becoming professional basketball players.
Of course they share a special bond that survives significant others, turmoil at home, distance and the guy being foolish. Quincy let fame, basketball and another woman almost pull him away from Monica.
But when she challenged him to a game of hoops for his heart, Quincy had to prove a point and beat her anyway. Although he was victorious in the one-on-one contest, Quincy became the ultimate winner when he accepted his love for Monica.
- “An Officer and a Gentleman”
RELEASED: July 28, 1982
STARRING: Debra Winger and Richard Gere
A common theme in a good chick flick is, “Will he wake up in time to realize she’s the most important thing to him in the world?” Gere’s Zack Mayo is one of the newest member of the U.S. Navy. His bad attitude toward life is worked into shape by Sgt. Emil Foley, portrayed by Louis Gossett Jr. Through the demanding training of Foley, Mayo learns how to relate to others, including the love of his life, Paula, played by Winger. That unexpected romance blossomed into the amazing ending with Mayo carrying out the love of his life in his arms, dressed in full uniform.
RELEASED: May 7, 1993
STARRING: Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline
A good chick flick also has a good antagonist. The symbolic nature of Kevin Kline playing both the jerk and the sensible protagonist displays his range in Dave. And just like any good woman, Sigourney Weaver’s is not fooled because her heart can see straight into the truth. Kline’s Dave replaced the near-death president also played by Kline.
Although the plot was cheesy and hard to believe, I loved every second of it. And I rooted for the first lady to get her new president.
- “Teen Witch”
RELEASED: April 28, 1989
STARRING: Robyn Lively and Dan Gauthier
Just before the 1980s ended, one of the best tropes in the movie industry from the decade was utilized: A teenage girl coming of age while simultaneously getting her dream guy. High-school nerd Louise Miller played by Robyn Lively learns from psychic Madame Serena that she has magical powers. Louise used her powers for good and entertainment while grabbing the attention of hunky popular guy Brad Powell (Dan Gauthier). But our shero quickly learns a life lesson about how getting what you want doesn’t mean a happy ending.
RELEASED: July 13, 1990
STARRING: Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze
Good and bad are primary parts of a chick flick. The ghost makes it plain and simple using the afterlife as the platform. Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is a young man in love with Molly Jensen (Demi Moore). Before they can build a life together, murder comes Sam’s way. An evil plot by his “friend” Carl is uncovered by Sam’s ghost and a psychic Oda Mae Brown, portrayed brilliantly by Whoopi Goldberg.
You’ll get your share of laughs and adventure in this classic. And the term “Ditto” takes on a special meaning to the audience, illustrating that bond couples share.
RELEASED: Dec. 16, 1987
STARRING: Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
Sometimes the woman can be the jerk that needs to grow up and learn what is important in life. The original “Overboard” put the real-life chemistry of Russell and Hawn on display in wonderful fashion.
Hawn starts the movie as a stuck-up, rich and snobbish Joanna Stayton.
Hard-working single father Dean (Russell) takes advantage of her fall off her yacht. The memory loss by Joanna allowed Russell, his sons and friends to reboot her personality.
Then a beautiful love story develops. The classic ending with the two swimming toward each other will make you cry and laugh.
- “Fools Rush In”
RELEASED: Feb. 14, 1997
STARRING: Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry
Full confession: My crush on Salma Hayek made me watch this movie the entire hour and 49 minutes. But the “will they/won’t they” element keeps me coming back. Two people from two totally different worlds find love after a quick marriage and business union. Three months after a one-night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) out west, New York City real estate developer Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) learns she is pregnant. That brought along their marriage. But it was the next series of events that made them realize they do love each other and maybe a Higher Power brought them together.
- “Dirty Dancing”
RELEASED: Aug. 21, 1987
STARRING: Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze
One of the most iconic chick flicks of all time is “Dirty Dancing.”
“Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” is the most memorable line in chick flick history. Baby (Jennifer Grey) comes of age during the summer at a resort in the Catskills. The edgy and daring Johnny played by Swayze teaches her how to dance.
The two start to connect and form a special relationship. Baby is falling in love with Johnny and has her chance to come out of her shell at the finale dance at the resort.
Baby’s father forbids her from seeing Johnny and places her in the corner at the finale event. But she’s determined to help him perform the last big dance of the summer, and Johnny walks in to rescue his Baby.
- “Just One of the Guys”
RELEASED: April 26, 1985
STARRING: Joyce Hyser and Clayton Rohner
This classic film is the ’80s on steroids. Terry Griffith, played by Joyce Hyser, is convinced she lost her high school writing competition because she’s a girl. She hatches a plot to become a boy and change high schools to prove her point. After the typical ’80s montage of her transformation with the help her brother Buddy, Terry is born.
Terry didn’t count on finding a best friend Rick (Clayton Rohner) and falling into love. It was too funny seeing Terry dressed in a tuxedo kiss Rick at the prom.
- “Steel Magnolias”
RELEASED: Nov. 5, 1989
STARRING: Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine
“Steel Magnolias” is based on Robert Harling’s real-life experience of the death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson, in 1985 due to complications from Type 1 diabetes. This movie brilliantly brings this tragic moment to the masses. He changed his sister’s name in the story from Susan to Shelby. And when Shelby dies in the movie, I dare you not to cry. The scene in the cemetery is gripping with the longtime friends trying to comfort Sally Field’s character after losing her daughter.
“Hit this. Hit Ouiser!” makes you chuckle through your tears. Then all the special memories you witnessed the past two hours in the film come back flooding to your heart.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to email@example.com.