Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Movie List

Chick flicks get a pretty hard, although admittedly sometimes well-deserved, rap. But in all painful honesty, there is not much that I find more stress-relieving than curling up and watching a really cheesy chick flick at the end of a long week.

Some of them are one-time-hitters. The standard plot lines, the ridiculous stereotypes of both men and women, and the deus ex machina coincidences that completely resolve all conflicts right before the credits roll get a little, well, predictable.

But then there are the movies I watch over and over and over again. In fact, in my opinion, they barely qualify as chick flicks. They're not about just a romance, or dating, or soul-mates. They're about life. And people.

So in honor of the beginning of the holiday season, here's my movie list. It's not the 10 best movies ever. It's probably not even the 10 best chick flicks ever. It's just a list of 10 movies that I really love. And everyone, even guys, should watch all of these at least once.

1. Elizabethtown - This movie isn't really about a romance as much as it is about a road trip. It's about two very quirky people who change each other's lives. There's a very dysfunctional, but close-knit family. There's great music.

Great Quotes:
  • "I'm impossible to forget, but I'm hard to remember."
  • "We are the substitute people."
  • "Everybody is less mysterious than they think they are"

2. Emma - I didn't mention the BBC production, because that barely qualifies as a single movie due to the length. But the version that stars Gwyneth Paltrow is quite well-done. First of all, it's faithful to the original story. It's also easy to follow even if you haven't read Jane Austen's novel. Emma reminds me, sometimes, all too much of myself and my friends. She's full of good intentions that often go awry, she's controlling, and she screws up at a fairly regular pace. Ultimately, though, she learns a lot about pride and grace.

Great Quotes:
  • "Marriage is so disrupting to one's social circle."
  • "Maybe it is our imperfections which make us so perfect for one another."
  • "Vanity working on a weak mind produces every kind of mischief."
3. Family Stone  - Talk about dysfunctional families. Even my holidays aren't this weird. Uptight Bostonian Sarah Jessica Parker comes to meet her laid-back, carefree future in-laws and, of course, disaster results. Everybody steps on everyone else's toes. People say stupid things. And 20 minutes before the end of the movie, every character is in love with the wrong person.

Great Quotes:
  • "We're all gonna be down here talking about you."
  • "Hey, I know this is probably a tall order, but I need you to do me a favor, and try not to be so perfect."
  • "You have a freak flag. You just don't fly it."
4. He's Just Not That Into You - This is a hilarious dating-survival guide. But it's also about a lot of people who are all desperately trying, and failing, to find total satisfaction through relationships. The resulting chaos is entertaining, refreshing, and even a little educational.

Great Quotes:
  • "We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you."
  • "That's a lot of prepositions."
  • "I"m not the exception. I'm the rule!"

5.Music and Lyrics - Possibly my single favorite chick-flick. Drew Barrymore is an emotionally dysfunctional and really quirky plant-girl. Hugh Grant is a pop-star has-been. While collaborating on a project, they manage to help each other grow. The best part of this movie is that this movie isn't about perfect love or perfect people. It's about people learning to love each other in spite of, and even because of, their faults and quirks.

Great Quotes:
  • "The few syllables you got out were absolutely devastating."
  • "I have great insight. I'd use it on myself only I don't have any problems." 
  • "I did not pander. I just told her exactly what she wanted to hear."

6. Sense and Sensibility -Another well-done Austen. This story has all of the characters...the cool kid who makes Marianne's heart race but who proves to be a real loser; the well-intentioned but often mistaken Edward, and even the interfering neighbors. It's also easy to watch even if you haven't read the novel.

Great Quotes:
  • "If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather." 
  • "There is a painful difference between the expectation of an unpleasant event and its final certainty."
  • "Your friendship has been the most important of my life."

7. The Holiday - Four people, whose personal lives are a complete mess, cross paths, throw each others lives into disarray, and ultimately teach each other a lot about life and love. There's a lot of great music in this one, too.

Great Quotes:
  • "It's Christmas Eve and we are going to go celebrate being young and being alive." 
  • "I like corny. I'm looking for corny in my life."

8.The Proposal - This one competes with Music and Lyrics for my heart. It's just good. Through and through. Family members trying to control each other. People manipulating other people for their own ends. Relationships doomed to be problematic. A lot of great lines.

Great Quotes:
  • "This woman is about as subtle as a gun."
  • "Do you prefer Margaret or "Satan's Mistress"? "
9. Valentine's Day - This one, like He Just Not That Into You, has multiple parallel plot lines. It's another movie about a few people all trying to find true love and happiness and all failing miserably. Even the ideal couple turns out to be only slightly less dysfunctional than the rest of the cast.

Great Quotes:
  • "You don't keep inklings to yourself! You share them! You're like hey guy, I got an inkling you're headed for a fall here! That's what friends do . . !"
  • "My closest relationship is with my Blackberry"
  • "There you have it, folks. Young love. Full of promise, full of hope, ignorant of reality."

10. You've Got Mail - The ruthless owner of a bookstore chain and the quirky owner of a tiny bookstore clash. This movie isn't just about coincidental love. It's about trying over and over again even when dreams fall apart. It's about people realizing what's really important. My favorite part of the movie is the addiction to books that seeps through every part of the plot.

Great Quotes:
  • "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee."
  • "I always take a relationship to the next level. If that works out, I take it to the next level after that, until I finally reach that level when it becomes absolutely necessary for me to leave."
  • "How can you forgive this guy for standing you up and not forgive me for this tiny little thing of... of putting you out of business?"


    balanceandblueberries said...

    Great list :) There's just something about winter that screams, "You should watch a movie!" I like that.

    bridgeiscliche said...

    Love your list! I've seen about half of these movies. I really liked the Proposal as well. But my favorite from your list is You've Got Mail. My college roommate and I would watch that one at least once (if not twice) a week LOL. Meg and Tom are such a good combo. We also watched Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally over and over. :)

    Emily said...

    Rachel: It does seem like it's that time of year! Maybe we should arrange a movie night.:-)

    Jessica: You should see the other half!;-) Yup...I think I've seen You've Got Mail about 100 times. It never ever gets old.