The 411 Movies Top 5 02.15.13: Week 361 – Top 5 Chick Flicks for Guys
Welcome to Week 361 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: This week is Valentine’s Day, one of the worst holidays in the world for most guys. I don’t know about the rest of you, buy my wife likes chick flicks and this is a perfect holiday to make me watch one with her. Here is your chance to throw out five chick flicks that guys can choose that won’t make them want to claw their eyes out while watching it with their loved ones.
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Honorable Mentions: Sweet Home Alabama (2002), She’s All That (1999), Straight from the Heart (2003)
5. The Christmas Card (2006)
This Hallmark movie usually enters heavy rotation around Christmas (hence the name) but it’s more than just some low budget Christmas TV movie. It tells the story of a U.S. soldier who, while on leave dealing with his dead best friend’s arrangements, ends up going to a small Nevada town to meet a woman that sent him a Christmas card while in Afghanistan. It’s a sad movie; but that sadness is never overwhelming (star John Newton refuses to allow it). You feel for Newton’s Cody Cullen as well as for Faith (Alice Evans), the woman Cullen has come to see. You want them to be together, but you also want Faith to realize it for herself (she’s engaged to a real weenie). The ending, while not all that surprising, ends up feeling like a breath of fresh air. Watch out for great work from Ed Asner and the Peter Jason as the flick’s two “old men.”
4. 27 Dresses (2008)
3. First Daughter (2004)
Directed by Forest Whitaker (yes, that Forest Whitaker), First Daughter tells the story of the college aged daughter (Samantha, as played by Katie Holmes) of the President of the United States (Michael Keaton) as college freshman. She has issues with making friends and interacting with the school’s other students because of the constant presence of the Secret Service. Samantha eventually convinces her father to back off on the security so she can try to have a relatively normal college experience. It’s at this time that she runs into James (Marc Blucas), a hunky, hip and edgy mysterious grad student and she begins to fall in love. As the story progresses, Samantha finds out that James isn’t the guy she thought he was and her life becomes that much harder (school, a love life, the whole Secret Service thing, and her father is running for re-election, so you know that’s going to be a pain in the ass). Holmes is great as Samantha, and she clearly has serious chemistry with Blucas. Keaton is awesome as the President, and, man, Amerlie, as Samantha’s best friend/college roommate Mia looks outstanding in a bikini. Oh yeah.
2. The American President (1995)
Most people probably don’t consider Rob Reiner’s The American President a chick flick, but when you really look at it the movie is a proper chick flick. You have the successful single woman (Sidney Ellen Wade, as played by Annette Benning) searching for love (although she probably doesn’t realize it until she meets the President, played by Michael Douglas, and he asks her out on a date). You have the personable, likeable widower (Douglas) looking for love and she sort of falls into his lap (he sees her in the meeting room and is immediately smitten). You have several cute scenes where they talk on the phone, engage in sarcastic conversation, there’s a funny sex scene (which is engaged in off screen. We get to see the beginning of it, though), and ultimately a happy ending. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and watch this movie again. You will see it this time.
1. Hitch (2005)
The weird thing about this, the ultimate chick flick, is that it works because of the chemistry between the two main male characters, Will Smith’s Hitch and Kevin James’ Albert. Smith and Mendes work well together as a couple, yes, as do James and his character’s love interest played by Amber Valletta, but if Smith and James didn’t click as the master and his mentor the movie would have failed. Think back to that scene where Hitch teaches Albert how to dance. If you don’t laugh when Hitch smacks Albert for dancing like a lunatic the movie fails. But you do laugh. And then there’s the whole “Hitch teaches Albert how to be confident around Valletta’s Alegra Cole, but Hitch is all nervous and weird around Mendes’ Sara” thing. The role reversal works so well because Albert really is a schlub before meeting Hitch, and Hitch is a “can’t miss” with the ladies until he both teaches Albert what to do and first meets Sara.
And I’m willing to admit that the dance scene at the wedding that ends the movie is still fun to watch eight years later. It’s goofy and ridiculous and cliché, sure, but look at James try to do a split. Hilarious.
5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
My first two picks are questionable depending on what you believe constitutes a chick flick. If you believe all it needs is a little romance and comedy then I would definitely go with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Nicholas Stoller made his directorial debut with this film and it is unbelievably hilarious. Jason Segel plays the role of a guy getting over a break-up in a comedically genius way. Not very many actors can make depression look this funny, but he pulls his off. Even though the main character involves a guy, women love to laugh, and the plot involves Segel finding love in Hawaii. This is an excellent romantic comedy selection for couples.
4. (500) Days of Summer
This is basically a chick flick from a guy’s perspective on relationships. Again, the main focus of the story focuses on a male, but most women I know actually love this movie. Typically, because they can relate with what the central character experiences. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the role of Tom who falls in love with a girl named Summer (Zoey Deschanel), who does not believe in relationship labels or true love. Tom is a romantic and finds himself hopelessly chasing these qualities from Summer. I think most of us at one time expected more from a relationship that the other was not willing to give. (500) Days of Summer is actually my favorite love story, but because it has a negative perspective on the fairy tale ideas of romance, I cannot confidently make this my number one recommendation for valentines day. Still, it’s a terrific movie.
3. Pretty Woman
Women are suckers for Pretty Woman, which often at times surprises me. Most women look down on the prostitute profession, much less the idea of a man buying a call girl. Yet they love this movie. Why? Well, it’s a perfect fantasy romance for men and women. Girls can embody themselves in Julia’s character because she is the girl being rescued by the rich charismatic businessman. Men can enjoy it because they get to see a hot younger Julia Roberts nearly naked and playing a prostitute. And yes, it also is a well crafted love story. Although sappy at times, Pretty Woman is a great chick flick that guys can enjoy as well.
2. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996)
What better chick flick than the greatest love story of all time? Baz Luhrmann’s contemporary vision of Romeo + Juliet is a perfect film for guys to enjoy with their lady friend. All the grand romantic themes are still in place. The difference is instead of swords they have guns; horses are replaced with cars; and old style music is replaced with modern rock pop tunes. The direction is wildly energetic and will constantly keep your attention up until the tragic conclusion. Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes are dynamic in the lead roles of the star-crossed lovers. They elevate the material wonderfully throughout the film. If I had to pick a chick flick, this would definitely be a top choice of mine.
1. Jerry Maguire
The reason I place this at number one is because Jerry Maguire brings a fine balance of a chick flick mixed with the aspects of a sports genre. Just like most sports movies, this is very much an underdog film. Jerry Maguire is on a road to redemption to make a career comeback after being fired from his agency. Along his journey a romance sparks with the one fellow employee who believes in him. Zellwegger and Cruise bring tremendous chemistry to the unfolding romance. This aspect, along with the dynamics of the sports industry makes Jerry Maguire one of the best romances for guys to enjoy with their girlfriends or wives. You’re welcome Gentlemen!
5. City Lights
I’m not trying to be a film snob with this choice, it is just a fact that, when looking at romantic movies, there aren’t many better than this classic Charlie Chaplin film. This is a romantic comedy that pretty much set the template of how the genre became what it is today. Chaplin played his classic “Tramp” character and one day met a beautiful young blind girl selling flowers on the street. The two meet and The Tramp falls in love. After he saves a drunk millionaire’s life, the rich man gives The Tramp some money and he takes the blind girl around town. However, when the millionaire sobers up, he throws out The Tramp. When The Tramp learns there is a cure for blindness, he sets out to make money any way he can, running into troubles and stumbling along the way. When he finally gets the money to her, it is to his own peril, but he believes it is all worth it in the end. It is a brilliantly told story, with great slapstick moments and a hopeful ending. It is 100% a chick flick, but this movie is good enough for any man to sit through and enjoy as well.
4. Jerry Maguire
You can’t beat this Cameron Crowe movie when it comes to delivering a perfect mix of the guy-girl enjoyment ratio. For the girls, you get a sweet love story of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy screws up and loses girl, boy wins back over girl by saying “you complete me” and she says “You had me at hello.” That is enough to make most guys throw up a little bit in their mouths. However, for the guys you get football, an agent trying to win a contract for his star client, an agent trying to create his own agency to escape “the man,” and guest appearances from Drew Bledsoe, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Barry Switzer, Herman Moore, Art Monk, Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. Most chicks might recognize two of those names, but it is enough to make this a sappy chick flick with enough in it to keep a guy interested.
3. Say Anything…
We have Cameron Crowe again. The problem with most chick flicks is that the guys in them never really connect with the guys in the audience. They are either too big of dicks or they are too sappy. There is rarely a realistic male character in a chick flick, because most of them create what the females in the audience feel is the ideal male. It’s probably the same complaint women have about females in action movies. With Say Anything…, Crowe completely blows that entire stereotype out of the water. While there has been backlash lately on the Internet against John Cusack, he is honestly one of the best actors to pull chick flicks out of the lady’s clubs and let them live in the mainstream conscious. Here, he is Lloyd Dobler, a normal guy who falls for Ione Skye’s Diane. There is a subplot surrounding Diane’s dad, who the IRS is after for fraud, but this movie wins because Lloyd Dobler is a real guy and he wins over the girl of his dreams, instead of being an ideal guy who the girl wins over.
2. When Harry Met Sally…
Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally… stands the test of time as the smartest written chick flick ever made. This was at a time where Meg Ryan was appearing in pure chick dreck like Sleepless in Seattle, Molly Ringwald was the poster girl for teenagers everywhere, and women (and D-Rock apparently) were swooning over a hooker with a heart of gold in Pretty Woman. However, this movie looked at a quandary that has haunted most men over history. What happens when a girl just looks at you like a friend? It is a lot deeper than that, because in this movie Billy Crystal starts out with the thought that men and women can’t be friends and have sex (that is a Crime against Mankind), but it gets better when they continue to meet up over the next few years and eventually fall for each other. What makes the movie great is the dialogue, perfectly written and performed. And that diner scene. If you want to find a chick flick that doesn’t insult the males in the audience, write a smart script. This movie has that in spades.
1. The Princess Bride
Argue with me and tell me that The Princess Bride is not a chick flick. It is a movie about a princess forced to marry an arrogant prince until a valiant pirate comes along and saves her, winning her heart in the meantime. That is a chick flick. This is a love story about two wayward people, who fall in love and then find the world trying to keep them apart, until fate finally intervenes and they find each other in their arms. That is a chick flick. Of course, this also has sword fights, a weasel kidnapper named Vizzini, perfectly portrayed by Wallace Shawn, Andre the Freaking Giant, more sword fights, and a Spaniard who wants revenge against a six-fingered man. It is the greatest chick flick ever made.
“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
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