Pop quiz time: Name the two things the following movies have in common: “Terms of Endearment, “Steel Magnolias” “Sex and the City: The Movie” and “Beaches.”
- They are all on the “Top 10” or “Top 20” lists from several movie sites of the best Chick Flicks of all time, and
- I couldn’t sit through any of these if you had me tied up Droog-style in a straight jacket.
You know the drill, geek moms, we try and try to fit in and get with the program. We give these saccharine romances and strong-yet-sensitive “himbos” a go, but halfway through the weepy, sappy, whiney, everyone’s dying and hugging, and way, way, waaaaay-too-beautiful women to be having man trouble movies we think “Gerard Butler looked so much better lopping heads off Persians in red skivvies…. lose the polo and Dockers, dude and yell ‘SPARTAAAA!’”
There is a truth we geek moms must face: we have our own definition of “chick flick” and it isn’t heavy on the “chick.” We know what we want — and it all comes from comic books. Yes we are women, and we have our emotional, romantic, motherly cinematic needs, but make no mistake, we get them met through different means, often with body armor, super heroes, alien invasions, capes, death rays and a bat signal.
Therefore, through completely scientific and hormonal means, here are all the elements “experienced” movie critics say make a great “chick flick” easily found in Comic Book/Sci-Fi properties.
Iron Man (I and II) — As a long-time reader of Iron Man comics, I can tell you girls read it differently than guys and we know without a doubt Pepper is in charge. How many issues have we read that gave a hint of a kiss or “what if” scenario when we want to say “just break down and do it already.” The chemistry of these two characters in the movie was exactly what most readers have been waiting for. Whatever their fate, the deep, complicated relationship of Tony and Pepper has been brought out in the open, and we will be forever rooting for them.
Thor — Natalie Portman’s giggly, shy reaction to the first time Chris Hemsworth kisses her hand valiantly was so girly girl it was nearly nauseating, but any woman who says she would have reacted differently is lyyyying. If that’s too sugary for you gals, we will take it tribal in two words: Shirtless Thor.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine — We say we want a man who will love us, take care us, laugh at our jokes, walk our puppies and do all that “man your man can smell like” garbage, but in reality, we want a man so devoted to us, he would go berserker at the thought of our betrayal; take out a helicopter with his bare claws after jumping off a motorcycle in tight jeans and a motorcycle jacket. If that’s not love, what is?
The Incredibles —From the newsreel interviews in the beginning to the fantastic monologuing throughout, this is over-the-top fun (and likely the best James Bond ever). The inside jokes are great including the nameless minion’s drinking game watching the citizens flee to Edna’s “No Cape!” reasoning. And don’t forget: “Hoooney? Where’s My Super Suit??”
X-Men (all four films) — Could a telenovia be more melodramatic than these things? The bad-boy/nice guy love triangle with the sultry-yet-intelligent redhead. The family drama of tolerance and acceptance of the “gifted” teens (minus those horrid Glee-style musical numbers), the overdone machismo of the young males choosing good vs. evil and the fight against bloated bureaucracy. Then, there’s Magneto. Two-actors worth of one fantastically complicated and sinister, yet somehow sympathetic character. All set in one huge, home where they can live together Carrington-style. I would tune into this saga every week, if I had to, popcorn in tow.
The Dark Knight — Besides this being the best Batman movie ever made in my humble bat-crazy opinion, Heath Ledger couldn’t have been more wonderfully emotive if he tried. Geeks like me often rate how good (or oftentimes how terrible) a film is by its quotable lines. Dark Knight’s are endless fun from the near-clichéd “Why so Serious??” (of particular fun if you have a dog who is actually named “Sirius”) to personal favorites I find myself repeating like “It’s not about the money, it’s about making a statement.”
The Crow — Another quotable one with a gothic edge where nobody in this dark and dreamy ride knew the meaning of the word “understated.” The clever villainous lines uttered between cocaine snorts, the meticulously sexy and evil “sidekick” villainess; the comic relief villains; the kindly token Black guy beat cop, the “literally” tortured hero and the spunky-punky kid. Even the bird in this film could take over-acting to a new level, and it was so much fun to watch.
Zombieland — Admittedly, I’m straying from the “comic book” genre in the category, but when the funny-all-the-way through film threw me a curve ball and we found out Texas’s “dog” was really his son…. I just fell apart, I couldn’t…okay, pull yourself together…I’m okay…no I’m not…oh never mind.
I Am Legend — Based loosely on the sci-fi novel written in 1954, here’s another post-apocalyptic film that slapped me upside the head, particularly as both a mother and a dog-lover. First, I had to watch as Smith’s darling daughter and his wife are blown to bits, and then he kills his poor doggy, Samantha (and a girl dog no less) while sweetly singing Bob Marley. Only seen this once, because I can’t even make it through the credits without getting misty.
District 9 — As bad-ass as this documentary-style film was (and it was bad-ass), even guys would have to be lacking a soul to not get touched by the Prawn’s love for his child as well as poor Wikus’s unconditional love for his wife. In particular, Wikus’s continued devotion to his “angel” after what seemed the last of his humanity was biologically replaced by an alien was a geek three-hanky moment. Is there anything more touching than a hideous prawn lovingly making a little tin flower for his soul mate in the midst of a South African landfill?
• Female point of view and/or strong female leads
Kick-Ass — Who says the strong female has to be an adult? Hitgirl is the only fully functional superhero in this entire movie. Even though the mother in me didn’t like to hear a 10-year-old utter some of Hitgirl’s choice verbiage (it’s worse in the comics, though, I assure you), if I was able to reload my guns in mid air all while dodging inept thugs, I would daily just for grins. If all girls had her skills, the need for movies like “Bully” wouldn’t exist, but we would need some better trained school nurses.
Watchmen — Yes, everyone’s favorite character is Rorschach, but this movie is really about the Silver Spectre (mother, Sally Jupiter, and daughter, Laurie), how they overcome threats to women like sexism, date rape, generational differences and other very, very real issues in a very make-believe world. In particular, we get to see how two very different women from different generations take charge of some very undesirable relationship issues. And here’s an “after-hours” bonus: watch and learn how a woman can take charge in the bedroom (or owl mobile) in one of the steamiest love scenes I’ve ever scene in a superhero movie. Keep your significant other on hand after this one; he’ll come in handy later.
Avengers — I’m going to give this one a pre-emptive review, since I haven’t seen it yet, but if that awesome clip of Black Widow untying herself from the bondage of a chair by flipping it on top of the generic thug kung fu style is any indication, sign me up for the next kickboxing class. That rocked; and we all want to rock.
Batman Returns — Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of the transformation of Selina Kyle from the put-upon mousy secretary to the man-eating, take-no-prisoners tragic hero is nothing if not empowering. Want to control men? You would think a skin-tight catsuit is enough, but you also need to learn to do back flips out of a vandalized department store and time your mega-explosions to go off right after a strategically placed “Meow.” Oh, how I wish I could do this after a bad Wal-Mart run.
Next girls’ movie night, when the suggestions for films comes to you, you can argue your choice with such confidence, your friends’ little color-coded wine glass charms will be shaking on their stemware. Don’t be shy geek gals; Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne have got your back, and any other choice body part you can think of.
Next month: Keep you shirt on, Jacob. A Geek Mom’s guide to Werewolves before…and better than “Twilight.”