Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chick Flicks for Guys

It's Valentine's Day. Or, if you prefer, Singles Awareness Day. If you're lucky, you've either got a Special Someone who thinks a romantic date is going on a raid in Northrend, or else you live alone in a cave in the mountains. For everyone else, there's a very high probability that someone is going to demand that you watch a chick flick with them on Valentine's Day.

Traditionally, guys hate chick flicks and girls love chick flicks, but I know people of both genders who defy tradition. I call this post "Chick Flicks for Guys" 'cuz it'll pick up more traffic. I'm sneaky like that.


Regardless of your stance, I've been subjected to enough chick flicks to know that it is indeed possible for almost anyone to tolerate--nay, enjoy--a chick flick... if you pick the right kind of movie. Allow me to draw from my experience and suggest a few ideas for finding chick flicks that might actually please all involved parties.

Here's my chick flick trick: Purge from your mind the notion that the movie you hold in your hand is a chick flick (assuming you've picked one up for consideration). Judge the movie as you would any other movie. Do you like the actors? Can you relate to the characters? Does the premise sound tolerable? Is the setting interesting?

I've sat through a number of chick flicks because I liked the actors. Ewan McGregor, Adam Sandler, and Billy Crystal were major factors in why I liked Down with Love, 50 First Dates, When Harry Met Sally, respectively. Alfred Molina and Dame Judith Dench gave me twice as much reason to like Chocolat.

The actors are especially helpful in determining whether there's going to be any comedy in a so-called "romantic comedy." Robin Williams starred in License to Wed, but there are people who would tell you that he hasn't been funny since the '90s; use your discretion in such a situation.

Being able to relate to the characters is a big help when little else about the movie sounds interesting. A great example of this is the Japanese film Train Man (Densha Otoko), which features a hopelessly geeky guy who finds himself falling for a girl who couldn't possibly be interested in him. Sound familiar, anyone? This ties in with my next point about enjoying the premise.

Say you've never heard of the actors and you have no idea what the characters are like from the description; sometimes the premise is all you need. Forget the mundane situational stuff; the more outlandish the plot, the better. In The Time Traveler's Wife, Rachel McAdams carries on a relationship with Eric Banana, who spontaneously time travels to different periods in both their lives. Mel Gibson can hear what every female on the planet is thinking in What Women Want. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet... actually, I can't say too much without spoiling the movie; if you're the least bit into science fiction or high-concept films, go watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The setting can be a persuading factor in choosing a chick flick. I, for example, find it very difficult to sit through most things that take place in the Victorian era, so I avoid chick flicks (and movies in general) that use that setting, unless there's a very compelling reason not to.

If you're feeling creative and happen to know a little bit about the movie you're considering, try planning an activity that relates to the movie in some way, to bring the movie to life. In Chocolat, there's a scene where the characters drink hot chocolate with a dash of cayenne pepper in it; when I first saw the film, we took a break at that point to have our own cayenne-enhanced hot chocolate, which was surprisingly good! It made the movie that much more enjoyable for me.

If all else fails, look into foreign films. That's how I stumbled across Love Stories (Historie miłosne), a Polish film where one actor plays a priest, a convict, a military officer, and a college professor, all of whom find themselves making interesting decisions between their current way of life and some form of love. Other countries may put a different spin on romantic films, and even if the movie turns out to be atrocious, you can still claim you were having a cultural experience.

Or, if you're really good at compromising, maybe you can convince your Special Someone to watch you play Final Fantasy VIII. Hey, it could work.


Scott said...

Kate & Leopold: It's funny and it stars a time-traveling Wolverine!

Flashman85 said...

I think I tried watching the first ten minutes of that once and just game up. Or maybe I'm thinking of Tristan & Isolde.