Chick Flick City: “Steel Magnolias”

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Welcome to the inaugural post in my new series, “Chick Flick City”, where I address deficiencies in my movie watching filmography based on recommendations from the readers.

Up first? “Steel Magnolias”, a movie set in a beauty parlor and starring six, count ‘em six different women.

OhmygodwhatamIdoing?

As always, IMDb was at the ready as I prepared to watch this movie. As I typed in the word “Steel” to bring up this movie, IMDb’s search engine gave me an auto-fill choice between this and “Steel Dawn”, a 1987 movie starring Patrick Swayze. The synopsis for that movie reads: In a post-apocalyptic world, a warrior wandering through the desert comes upon a group of settlers who are being menaced by a murderous gang that is after the water they control. It has a 4.4 user rating (out of 10).

And still, my thought was, “God, I wish…”

Nonetheless, I have a mission. Giddy-up!

“Steel Magnolias”… Here we go.

Annnnd we’re back. I’ve watched 2 movies, 3 episodes of “Fringe” and like 4 hours of the NFL Network since I wrote that last sentence yesterday night (I have this week off).

But here we go! “Steel Magnolias”.

By the way, I highly recommend “Inside Job,” a documentary on the 2008 financial crisis narrated by Matt Damon. It does a great job of simplifying complicated financial issues like derivative instruments, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps… Oh goddamn it alright, alright, “Steel Magnolias”!!

Alright. It’s going. I’m going to do this running diary style and see how it works out. Cribbing directly from The Sports Guy. Stylistic plagiarism, yet another reason to love Fogs’ Movie Reviews!

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I think that’s a harp I hear behind all those violins… Yup. Harps and violins. At the signpost up ahead… You are entering “Chick Flick City”.

Are those the ugliest glasses (Daryl Hannah’s) in movie history or what?

Shots fired! Shots fired! Bah, it’s just a starter pistol. Trying to scare some birds…

Oh my god, Dolly Parton’s hair!! Wait… Did I just write that? Christ, I’m not even ten minutes in and I’m losing my masculinity already.

Is Daryl Hannah supposed to be “slow” in this movie?

Am I supposed to be listening to all this stuff Dolly Parton is talking about? All I hear is blah blah blah southern accent blah blah blah.

So we’re like fifteen minutes in, and here’s the men of “Steel Magnolias” so far. An idiot firing a gun off, a jeep driving perv creeping in a window uninvited, a kid on a motorcycle wearing a leather jacket, a lazy boy on the couch and another dribbling a basketball indoors. We’re all some degree of low IQ mutants. I’m going to keep an eye on how this movie sees men as we go…

Does Julia Roberts take a bubble bath in every movie she’s in?

So, there’s a wedding in our future… Getting excited now! Oh wait, trading recipes in the hair salon, I didn’t realize how exciting it was gonna get!!

PMS gets mentioned, and not as an accusation! We’re in chick flick city now!

My Co-lahs are blush and bashful. Can I add thick fake southern accents to my reasons I’ve always avoided this film, retroactively? Armadil-lah…

Is Julia Roberts sick, or just having cold feet? Uh oh, bad music, bad music! Drink the juice already! Is that what diabetes is really like? That’s like epilepsy!

Does Tom Skerritt wear that green hat the whole movie? When you buy a hat like that you get a free bowl of soup.

I like Ouiser… Give ‘em hell Ouiser. Oh wait, she just said “Men are the most horrible creatures, they will ruin your life, you mark my words.” Now I really like her. Give ‘em hell Ouiser!!

Ok, Daryl Hannah just gave her big reveal about her husband being a drug dealer, etc… She’s definitely slow.

A FLURRY of activity. Tom Skerritt uses a cross bow to launch some fireworks into the tree to scare the birds! The dog breaks loose! The Easter wedding eggs get smashed! They all chase the dog! Ouiser gets birdshit on her face! Ok, that’s fun, I’ll admit it…

Buuuuuut we cut right to a wedding. Good LORD! They just opened the door to the church… I’ve never seen more pink in my life! Patently ridiculous. It’s a joke right, no woman actually thinks that’s… desirable, do they? It’s like a Pink Armaggedon.

How gorgeous is Julia Roberts? Don’t answer, it’s rhetorical. Do we get a wedding night scene in this movie? Hope, hope…

I want to watch “Wedding Crashers” now.

Ok, Dolly Parton is talking to Sally Field at the wedding, and I’m ready to hand this film my first kudos. These are some authentic characters, women DO have these conversations. I feel like I’m listening to my mother and her friends.

THAT’S the armadil-lah cake? No wonder they think we’re rednecks.

I want to see Tom Skerritt sneak out of the wedding reception to find Drew Barrymore a la “Poison Ivy”. This movie would be awesome if that happened.

Sally Field helping Julia Roberts with her corsage. Awwwww. No, seriously. Awwwww.

Drunken morons firing guns bring the wedding car up. Yup, that’s how “Steel Magnolias” sees men.

Sally Field is really good here. I like her, I really like her. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

Daryl Hannah almost getting picked up by the dude with the truck… Definitely slow. I felt like he’d be taking advantage of her…

We’ve fast forwarded now apparently. Daryl Hannah is all Dollyfied now. Olympia Dukakis bought the radio station, she’s a football announcer now.

Dolly’s husband is depressed, smoking. Add loser to the qualities of the men in “Steel Magnolias”

Ouiser in the locker room!! LOL

Julia’s preggers. Wasn’t me!! Sally Fields and Julia debate her pregnancy. Is this foreshadowing? She doesn’t die during childbirth does she? That would be chick flicky for sure. Ok, much too much talk about risks not to be foreshadowing. You don’t get stuff like that by me, I’ve seen way too many movies. Especially with lines like “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothin’ special”. Julia Roberts is now marked for death. She’s not making it out alive.

Good grief! Tackiest set in Steel Magnolias: the Pink Armaggedon of the wedding, or the garishly over decorated Christmas Porch? Discuss. Ok, I’m a officially a chick now.

She’s not crazy, she’s just been in a very bad mood for 40 years. I like Ouiser. Give ‘em hell, Ouiser!!

I love how Dolly Parton and Olympia Dukakis happily rag on people at the Christmas party, but look like they’re being so polite. Men have a word for that. “Bitchy”.

Tom Skerritt just announced that Julia is pregnant. The matriarchy meet to discuss. Skerritt uses the opportunity to sneak upstairs with Drew. They all openly discuss Julia’s pregnancy risks. If you slow mo this scene, the Grim Reaper walks by in the background. But now I’m all messed up. What if she LIVES and they go for the happy cry? I’d be screwed then, that might get me. If she dies, no biggie… I’ve already written her off. We’ll see.

Goooo Team!!

Wait, ok, so Julia’s fine now, and her baby’s like two already? I would have bet $700 this movie climaxed in the hospital during her childbirth scene… All this fast forwarding is making me feel ripped off.

Back in the hair salon. Do women really do all this shit to their hair? Olympia Dukakis has her head wrapped up like a leftover turkey. Sally Field has tinfoil sticking out all over… Julia Roberts cries over a haircut. Men can not relate.

Oh, ok, So the Julia Roberts deathwatch is still on. Whew! I felt foolish for a minute there. She needs a kidney transplant. “Momma’s gonna give me one of her kidneys”. Now could both of them die? The Chick Flick Sick Flick two fer?

Daryl Hannah’s like, hyper religious now? Definitely slow.

I’ve spent more time in church watching this movie than I have the entire last year.

Ooooooh… Ouiser’s got a boyyyfriennnd. Ooooooh…

Ok. So we’re finally in the hospital. I feel like this movie has been trying to get here all along. Ouiser’s smoking. Gotta love it.

Kidney transplant’s over. Doctor says it looks real, real good. I know better. Cant fool me. Someone’s dying. I can feel it. Otherwise this movie will be incomplete. Like the end of the Sopranos. It would be clever of them to kill someone other than Julia though. Wouldn’t see that comin’.

Ouiser gives Daryl Hannah lingerie. Give ‘em hell, Ouiser!! No one asks her to try it on, though. You can tell this movie wasn’t written by a man. I beg your pardon, it WAS written by a man. Robert Harling. Has to be gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I clicked on his filmography… This, “Soapdish”, “First Wives Club” and a Rom Com with Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore, “Laws of Attraction” = Not Straight.

Julia’s kind of staggering, there. You can see the sickle’s gleam…

Ouiser just told Daryl Hannah to stick her bible where the sun doesn’t shine. Give ‘em hell, Ouiser!! I swear, just as I had just written “There is so much talking in this movie about nothing.”

Upsy Daisy… Uh oh. Mommy’s kidney doesn’t feel so good. But of course she’s not dead yet, right? They need some kind of bedside “I love you” moment right? Or Sally Field has to choose to pull the plug? Open your eyes, Shelby, open your eyes! Sally Field won’t leave Julia’s side. Tom Skerritt sees more of Drew Barrymore than he has in months. Did they just “pull the plug”? I can’t tell yet… Ok, yup. Ok, that’s kind of sad, but where’s everybody else. Where’s Dolly and Olympia and Ouiser? It would have been sadder if it hadn’t been so heavily foreshadowed.

The violins are in full effect now, Sally is crying driving home.

Funeral. Sad Dylan McDermott. Hey, maybe you can score with the housekeeper again tonight on “American Horror Story”, cheer up!

I just paused it, and there’s still 20 minutes left. What the hell, Julia’s dead now, isn’t the movie over?

Wasn’t she Tom Skerritt’s daughter, too? Shouldn’t he be a little sadder? Shouldn’t he be comforting his wife?

Yes, Daryl Hannah is definitely slow in this movie. That was sweet though, her little metaphysical speech there. Ouiser’s all choked up. Ok, sad now.

Wow. Two seconds ago I was ready to say Sally Field didn’t pull off the casket scene cause she didn’t seem sad enough. I didn’t know there was a “Part Two” to it, where she shifts into high gear with the Why! I wanna know WHY! Damnnnn…

What the $&#%?? That was so funny!! It’s not supposed to be funny there!! “Hit her!” Lol, seeing Olympia Dukakis saying Sally Field should hit Ouiser was funny. The scene after where the two of them make up and get buddy buddy was good, too. Ok, I like this movie, this is a really good movie now.

They close with the Easter party. I think this movie covered every holiday except St Patrick’s Day. Ouiser’s all dressed up, Tom Skerritt has his green hat on again, Daryl Hannah’s preggers (wasn’t me!!) and Olympia is telling Jack Jr. how evil Ouiser is so he slaps her. Poor kid has like eight grandmothers. Daryl Hannah goes into labor, and everyone rides off to the hospital. They should pretty much cue “The Circle of Life”.

————————————————————————————————————

Ok, I won’t even front. That was a really good flick. While it’s still definitely aimed at women, about women, for women, etc… It’s got great characters, good performances, and it does just enough zigging and zagging to avoid me labeling it as cliche. I thought they’d go for the big cry, instead they went for the big laugh (probably a lot of people were crying already, though). I thought they were going for a tragedy of a mother losing a daughter, instead they turn it around to be the strength that comes from having friends. The men in the movie are all some degree of moron, and completely unnecessary (we’re only needed to fix cars in the world of “Steel Magnolias”) but I have a feeling that women may have more grounds for complaint – and more often – about things like that in movies than I do. It was sad, but no tears for me. It WAS funny though. Lots of laughs. I really liked the Shirley MacLaine/Olympia Dukakis stuff if you couldn’t tell.

An excellent movie.

A

If you ladies (and gentlemen who participated) keep steering me towards quality flicks like this, I’ll have no qualms about revisiting “Chick Flick City” again!

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Daniel Fogarty

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19 thoughts on “Chick Flick City: “Steel Magnolias”

  1. You know, I have never seen it. Your commentary on it kinda makes me want to find it though. Save it for that cold, Sunday afternoon when I have nothing I want to do.

    • Yeah… still kind of feeling this process out. I debated over whether to do it this way or do a straight up review type piece, and I made the “Bold” choice. Took a little gamble. I knew I’d risk losing people who hadn’t seen it.

      Hope you got something out of it anyways.

      I’d recommend it. Very solid movie. Funny, sad, good characters. It’s a winner.

  2. LOVE this review, Dan! I knew you would like this movie; too many talented actresses to be bad. Your Ouiser comments are spot on, she is sooooo funny! I loved the “hit this” scene, too. I remember busting out laughing while tears streamed down my cheeks.
    Thanks for taking the risk…. XO

    • Well, thanks for your help!

      We’ll see how the actual post does, but there definitely seemed to be a lot of interest out there last week when I ran the poll. And your facebook posts really helped with that.

      Hey, if people are reading and enjoying, I’m all for it. I dont care. Hell, I’d watch foreign language arthouse films without subtitles if everyone was having fun with it!

  3. Maybe the funny one was the way to start you on your journey…..glad you liked it! I’m with Mary, the “hit this” scene…laughed myself to tears.

  4. I think your choice to do the running commentary is spot on. Gives us females an insight into what a guy sees when watching these kinda films with us. I’m glad you enjoyed it though…for a minute there I thought not even Ouiser can win you over!

    Trying to come up with more suggestions for you that you might actually enjoy:
    Bridget Jones’ Diary (When watching this film every woman in the UK though OMG that is me, maybe a little less posh though)
    Two Weeks Notice (Sandra Bullock does the Romcom thing in her sleep anyways but the best thing about this is Hugh Grants quick-witted loveable idiot.)
    Love & Sex (Underrated)
    Before Sunrise (Classic)

    There’s a ton more, but I can’t think of any at the moment. Only the I-know-it’s-terrible-but-I-love-it-anyways kinda movie is coming to mind….and I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path!

    • Yeah, cool! I was hoping I made the right call. I thought it would be funnier than a straight up review at least.

      Meanwhile, as I set the field for the next poll, I can tell you Bridget Jones’ Diary and Before Sunrise are both definitely in. They’re both pretty talked about flicks, so that helps me out if I finally address not seeing them.

      Something brought to mind Four Weddings and a Funeral, is that a good one? How about My Big Fat Greek Wedding? I need to round out a field of five….

  5. Dan,
    You’re really evolving (sort of…I suppose, kind of …well I think so…ah maybe not so much.)
    Has Terms of Endearment made your list yet. Its a really good film (James Brooks) – Just sayin

    • No, but, I think I might be cheating if I included that one… I dont know we’ll see.

      I’ve seen it already. You know… Jack’s in it man. Had to see it.

      Fried Green Tomatoes is the other big chick flick I could think of that I’ve seen, although that one wasn’t all that chick flicky in actuality, there was a mureder mystery in it, so…

  6. The diary was brilliant!
    I’m glad you enjoyed the movie, the way it makes you cry and laugh at the same time.

    I’m waiting for more Chick Flicks!

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