Thursday, May 9, 2013

Staff Picks: Girls' Night Movies

This is the first of what we hope will be many collaborative posts where we just tell you what we all like in a category. We hope that you'll share your favorites with us in the comments! 

There's nothing more fun and relaxing than a good old-fashioned girls' night. We all need them from time to time to unwind and be silly. Here's a little (okay, "little") list of our favorites.

Meg: There are so many awesome girls night movies, but if I'm being honest, I'm always in the mood for an SLA (Sumptuous Literary Adaptation) and I have enough bookish/Anglophile friends that I can usually talk someone into watching them with me. North and South (the 2004 Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation, not the 1985 Patrick Swayze Civil War one) is basically Pride and Prejudice with a cotton mill strike. It clocks in at about four hours, but it's the perfect movie to watch while you work on projects, paint your nails, and swoon over Richard Armitage in all of his angular British majesty (plus the actor who plays Bates in Downton Abbey is running around). It has a little bit of a hefty (non-violent) death toll (cotton workers get fluff lung a lot) but the romantic payoff is so great that I always feel like starting it over again as soon as it ends. I have never recommended it to anyone who didn't fall in love with it, and I even watched it with my mother-in-law.

Lindsey: I didn't think this would be a difficult choice, but, my friends, it was so difficult.  I'm not a "chick flick" kind of girl and generally let my girlfriends convince me to watch things like North and South (I am the proud originator of the term "fluff lung," thank you and you're welcome) and other lengthy sagas.  I will confess I did not watch the BBC's Pride and Prejudice until I was in my mid-twenties, I do not know what I was thinking, because we all know that this happens:

And that's really something I can get behind.  My girls night movies are usually comedies that guys would also like, something from the 80's, or ridiculous teen movies with catchy phrases we can say over and over.  So, I'm going with the 80's selection since it is severely overlooked as of yet in this post.  There are so many, but I have to pick Pretty in Pink.  Molly Ringwald is the girl from the other side of the tracks who falls in love with a rich guy named Blaine.  BLAINE.  He has perfectly floppy hair and is non-threatening and soft spoken, just the kind of guy teenage girls swoon over.  The soundtrack is fantastic, the angst is thick, and Jon Cryer does the best lip-synch I've ever witnessed.  It brings me great joy.  

Bonus points for Pretty in Pink: I saw James Spader walking around the Louvre with his girlfriend in 2007.  It was amazing and every time I watch this movie, I remember slightly stalking him from a respectable distance in a famous French museum.  Kristy Swanson hits on Ducky at the end of Prom.  This means Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ducky dated (before she met Donald Sutherland and fell in love with Dylan from 90210). Movies are great.

Melissa: While You Were Sleeping is the perfect romantic comedy for a girls night. Starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman, this 90s flick is filled with hilarious dialogue, and a plot so ridiculous it is irresistible. It’s the not so classic tale of girl falls for boy, boy falls onto train tracks, girl saves boy, boy falls into a coma, and in a comedic series of misunderstandings the boy’s family believes the girl is his fiancĂ©e. This movie has been a staple in our family since it hit theaters in 1995. It is witty, it is honest, and of course in the end true love conquers, leaving you satisfied (and maybe even a little teary eyed).
“Do you believe in love at first sight? Nah, I betcha don't, you're probably too sensible for that. Or have you ever, like, seen somebody? And you knew that, if only that person *really* knew you, they would, well, they would of course dump the perfect model that they were with, and realize that YOU were the one that they wanted to, just, grow old with. Have you ever fallen in love with someone you haven't even talked to? Have you ever been so alone you spend the night confusing a man in a coma?”

Paige: Downton Abbey. Okay, I cheated. This isn't exactly a movie BUT if you watch two episodes in row it is! Or better yet, you could be like me and watch a whole slew of them at once and get a pop up box on your computer that says, "You've been watching for three hours. Are you sure you want to continue?" Thanks for the self-esteem boost, computer. They might as well put a note on the bottom of the chip bag that says, "You just ate a whole bag of potato chips. Do you hate yourself yet?"

Downton Abbey is the best because it is wholly and completely a soap opera... but it's on PBS and everyone has British accents so you can totally get away with watching it. Do you ever hear your co-workers talking about who finally kissed on Days of Our Lives? No, because everyone would be too embarrassed to admit they watch it. But you can still have the "can you believe who woke up from their coma?" conversations in total confidence if you invest in this classier soap.

So if you're going to hop on the band wagon (and I highly recommend that you do) you should know that the cool kids just call it "Downton"; don't ever let autocorrect make you look like a fool that spells it Downtown Abbey or you will be mocked and ridiculed; and we all hate Ms. O'Brien.

Now feel free to call the next person that cuts you off on the freeway an uppity minx.

CaraI’m sometimes up for a good chick-flick but most of the time I just need a smile. Some of my favorites that I’m always up for are (in no particular order): Young Frankenstein, Princess Bride, Some Like It Hot, Singin’ in the Rain (one of the few musicals I truly love), White Christmas (another musical I dig), and Noises Off.  Some of my TV favorites: Matlock (you really can’t beat spunky Andy Griffith in a grey suit, though it's not typically my friends' movie night pick), Firefly (Mmmmm...Nathan Fillion...), Friends, and The Vicar of Dibley.  If I feel as though I need a good tug on my heart I’ll opt for: In Her Shoes, Big Fish (always makes me cry), and Stranger than Fiction.  As you can tell, I really don’t like choosing favorites and I lean more toward nostalgia than anything else. :o)

Megan: My current movie obsession is Pitch Perfect. Who knew that a movie about "organized nerd singing" could be so fun?  I love almost everything about it. I watched it for the umpeth time on Monday night for "research," even though it meant I only got 5 hours of sleep that night. I love the soundtrack. We listened to it over and over again on our road trip last month. I love how empowering for females the movie is (it even passes the Bechdel test). The movie is also extremely quoteable! My favorite lines comes from Fat Amy (yes, there is a character named Fat Amy and she is played by the amazing Rebel Wilson). Here are just a few of my favorites: "I'm gonna finish him like a cheesecake" and "Yeah, I did, but yet maybe I didn't because I got hit by flying Mexican food."

Miri: This is a difficult question for me, because much depends on what kind of girls' night it is. Are tubs of ice cream and the comforting of a recently-dumped roommate involved? If so, is the goal cheering up or wallowing and commiseration? Is it a pizza-and-drinks movie night, where you just want something fun? A girl-power night? Snooty foods and classic films? (It is now obvious to me that I should have made a flowchart.) 

Weirdly enough, both types of roommate-comforting needs can be met by the two movies I couldn't choose between: Bridesmaids and Bridget Jones's Diary. Both are excellent for wallowing; both are also hilarious with sweet love stories and warm fuzzies. Seriously, Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are pure comedic genius. For something fun, Easy A is both hilarious—Stanley Tucci's role = fabulous—and a light-hearted, interesting (though not un-problematic) commentary on slut-shaming and other social topics. It has depth, but it's the kind of depth you can totally ignore if you're just in the mood for a funny movie. Now, if you're looking for girl power, I don't think you can do better than Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show, not the movie, which I haven't seen). I will say only this: Even moderate to severe levels of 90s cheese are worth it for the experience of a universe in which a woman is always the strongest person in the room. And finally... the classics. Go with pretty much anything starring a Hepburn, and you're good. For girls' night, I'd pick Stage Dooran almost entirely-female cast including Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, and Eve Arden, plus dialogue that would make Gilmore Girls die of envy.

Elise: If I'm going to be honest here (and I believe honesty if of utmost importance when it comes to girls nights) I have to choose You've Got Mail. It's got the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks dynamic duo, cute music, a to-die-for children's book store, a great story line, and loooove. I'm impressed with how well the movie has aged even though the main theme centers around the internet in its prepubescent days, complete with the dial-up tones when everyone logs on to check their email.  This is my go-to movie and seems to fit any situation; are you crafting and need some background noise? You've Got Mail. Can't sleep? You've Got Mail. Feeling lonely because your husband/boyfriend/significant other is out of town? You've Got Mail. And it's endlessly quotable ("152 people who think he looks like Clark Gable. 152 people who think he looks like a Clark Bar"). See what I mean? Excellent girls night fodder.  

Lis: I really like The Holiday. It's got Jude Law- enough said for me, but I also like how they made Jack Black and Kate Winslet go so well together. It's the first movie I saw in a theater by myself. My other choice would be Northanger Abbey, the 2007 version. The main guy reminds me of Jude Law- pure coincidence. I love the playful feeling of the movie mixed in with the gothic novel aspect. It has comedy, drama, and romance- perfect Jane Austen for those who have watched Pride and Prejudice fifty times already.

Rachel: The Little Mermaid. The Les Poissons song, princesses and handsome prince, a happy ending, animation, and childhood memories.

Jill: Between growing up with five sisters and no brothers and ten years of living with various female roommates, I have had dozens, nay hundreds of "girls nights." They were all special in their own way, but not too long before I gave up living with a gaggle of girls to live with one anti-chick-flick husband, a group of friends and I discovered something even better than finding the best girl's night movie. We began a quest to find the best worst girls night movie. Ever since then we have been slowing making our way through some of the most unintentionally laughable films out there and let me tell you- they are some of the best girls nights I have ever had. The top contenders? Burlesque (Oh. My. Lands. I was speechless), Liz and Dick (we felt bad picking on a made-for-tv Lifetime movie, but it seemed destined to be in our lineup anyway), Spice World (okay, I not-so-secretly actually loved this one), Josie and the Pussycats, and my personal pick for the absolutely best worst movie ever made... From Kelly to Justin. Although, good luck getting your hands on a copy of that last one- I had to take the metro to a public library two counties away before I found it. Apparently it was, like, not that popular or something. Shocking.

Zaissa: Mirror Mirror is a newer movie that I think has been totally under appreciated. It's fun, and clean so you can watch it with kids in the room (they will like it too). I love the retelling of an old fairy tale that  dumped the old version of Snow White you may know. She was never my favorite character because - other than pretty, there wasn't much to her. The story was always more about what people did to her and did because of her. And she was pretty much a lost girl who just went with the wind. But in this version she is smart, funny, and really brave. Her beauty comes from the way she cares about other people. And she and the queen aren't fighting over being the "cutest" but over power - 'cause you know, even in a chick flick it seems like we girls deserve more credit than to have it believed all we care about is our skin and hair. The scenery is beautiful.

Dafni: Chocolat has to be my all-time favorite girls' night movie. Gorgeous France, smooooth, creamy chocolate, Johnny Depp... need I say more?? It may be my obsession with travel and my love for Europe (and did I mention Johnny Depp? :)) that pushes this to the top of my list, but it really is a fantastic movie. Beautiful scenery, acting and a romantic love story. So dreamy.

On a completely different note, Pitch Perfect is hilarious and all about music nerds. I was totally one of those nerds in high school. Wait- that's probably not past tense. Either way, this one is great. I usually like to give it some time before I watch a movie again, but I've seen this one at least 4 times in the last 2 months. Hilarious with a fantastic soundtrack = awesome.

Honorable Mentions (because this list could be so very long):

She's the Man
Bring It On
When Harry Met Sally
Sleepless in Seattle
Moulin Rouge
Mona Lisa Smile
Becoming Jane
Mean Girls
Whip It
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Miss Representation

What are your favorite movies for Girls' Night? 


P & J said...

Love it! Jill, I love yours! Have you ever seen Crossroads with Britney Spears? That is a fabulously awful chick flick.

laurenthequeen said...

Lindsey is going to mock me, maybe because I've made her watch this movie with me twice, but my favorite girls night movie right now is Di Bole Hadippa. It's the Bollywood version of She's the Man. Love it!

Miri said...

I feel like I need to add my support to just about everything else that's on this list. North and South: LOVE. Almost as much as Pride and Prejudice (if not equally). Pretty in Pink is fantastic, as are all the Molly Ringwald/John Hughes movies, like The Breakfast Club, which is THE best one ever. Pitch Perfect... I don't even know how many times I've seen it anymore. My husband and I are obsessed with this movie. Chocolat is one of my all-time favorites, and it was actually on my list until I saw that Dafni wanted to do it too, so I switched it out for something else. Mirror Mirror WAS surprisingly fun. Northanger Abbey, The Princess Bride, In Her Shoes, Noises Off, anything by Joss Whedon... All awesome. I love this post.