Debate Between the Sexes

Here’s a topic for discussion as you either take a break from digging out or take a break from watching footage of people digging out:

What so-called “chick flicks” should a man suck it up and see? You know, the ones that are cultural classics or just so often referenced that it makes more sense to just get those two (or more) hours out of the way to say you’ve seen it.

For example, I have forced Sebastian to watch Gone with the Wind, My Fair Lady, and Dirty Dancing. Because who doesn’t see those movies? It’s just part of our common culture. There are enough jokes about putting Baby in the Corner and common references to frankly just not giving a damn that you have to see the movies to get it.

It’s not a classic, but I also made Sebastian watch Atonement with me because I thought it was just a good movie. (Although I’m always very angry after watching it.) It had some war, so that was enough to convince him to sit still. (And really, that Dunkirk scene.)

Now I’m debating whether to make him watch the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice with me. I’ve seen several versions, but I hear this is the best. Is Mr. Darcy an important enough literary figure that he should know what the hell references to him mean? Or is making any man watch even the film version of an Austen story considered cruel and unusual punishment that is only slightly less harsh than actually reading her?

Beyond the question of Pride & Prejudice, are there others that you guys recommend? Anything the women in your lives made you watch that you’re now happy you saw because, at the very least, you now understand references in the real world?

46 thoughts on “Debate Between the Sexes”

  1. “Anything the women in your lives made you watch that you’re now happy you saw because, at the very least, you now understand references in the real world?”

    I don’t think you understand how this works. You watch the movie. You kiss her and tell her the movie was great, and you thank her for suggesting it. Then you go back into the garage and finish reloading that last batch of 158 grain hollow point defense loads, whose painstaking assembly she had so rudely interrupted when she made you go to the movie….

  2. “Is Mr. Darcy an important enough literary figure…”

    Bitter, you’ve said his name, let’s just count Sebastian educated. NOTHING is worth subjecting a man to Jane Austen. ;)

    -raised with Mom and younger sister, A&E’s Pride and Prejudice made the living room uninhabitable for DAYS-

  3. Casablanca is NOT a chick flick!!!!

    BTW the BBC P&P is pretty darn good. It bores me quite a bit, but its a good production.

    I got the wife to watch Robocop. She actually rather liked it when I pointed out the underlying social themes.

    But in the end if it really is a “chick flick” it isn’t worth sharing. At least P&P is a classic, but a true “Chick Flick” generally only applies to movies that appeal to women, just like “Guy Flicks” really aren’t worth sharing with the opposite sex.

    Good film, is good film, and should appeal to a wide demographic.

  4. Pretty Woman. Because women like it, and it’s about how to pick up a hooker.

    The Princess Bride

    Fried Green Tomatoes

    The Shop Around the Corner. 1940 film.
    Sabrina (the 1954 film, not the remake)
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the 1961 film, not the remake) – another great movie about a hooker.
    Camelot (1967)
    An Officer and a Gentleman (part of cultural literacy)
    Splash (the 1984 film, not the remake)

  5. “When Harry Met Sally”. The ultimate chick flick that any guy can enjoy too.

    Funny you should mention Austen. My wife is currently reading “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. I asked her how she likes it so far. Her response was “the new parts with the zombies are good, but the original sections are brutally tedious and boring.”

  6. When and how was it decided that The Princess Bride is a “chick flick?” INCONCEIVABLE!

    Anyway, the answer is simple, but not easy, and it’s the same as any other genre. If you love sci-fi but your friends don’t, you don’t ask them to watch every sci-fi flick you come across with you. With them, you watch Star Wars and Aliens and maybe Blade Runner–movies that aren’t limited to sci-fi, but have the elements that make a good movie in any genre.

    Similarly, if you like horror movies, you might watch all the B-movies you can get your hands on for the sheer cheesy joy of it, but to share with someone who doesn’t love them for themselves, you watch horror movies that are also good movies. Scream comes to mind for me, or the new wolfman movie coming out with Benicio Del Toro as the wolf, or Pan’s labyrinth.

    Just so with “chick flicks.” A chick flick is just a movie about strong women struggling to overcome the odds and land a good man, right? Told, usually, in an overblown romantic way? OK, now find a movie that is like that, but with good acting, interesting things to look at and interesting dialogue, and a compelling story. Those are the “chick flicks” you can share with someone else. Honestly, I’m partial to Steel Magnolias.

  7. i can’t imagine forcing MYSELF to watch (or read) anything originally penned by Austen…let alone forcing the other half to watch it.

  8. My wife came home with “Brokeback Mountain” once … and we had reserved the evening for home-cooked dinner and a movie.

    So we watched it. She liked it a lot, and I liked it some.

    Then for the next two months we only watched Clint Eastwood and John Wayne (oh, and maybe a couple of the Terminator series).

  9. “Nine months” with Hugh Grant just for the scene with Grant, Tom Arnold and the barney look a like.

  10. “Once” is an Irish indie film that grows on you as you watch it. Made on a shoestring budget with great views of Dublin. If you & Sebastian like acoustic music, I’d give it a shot.

  11. Sebastian, hold out until Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes to the cinema.

  12. Again Casablanca is NOT a Chick Flick, nor is Princess Bride!

    Sabrina is, tho….and a DAMN good one. The remake sucks out-loud tho!

  13. I watched 2 of the movies on the original list willingly and have rewatched same.

    I respectfully beg to differ that Princess Bride is a “chick flick” – and it happens to be required watching to understand the references in a couple of the subcultures in which I participate. And for that matter, it’s worked its way into pop culture.

  14. Well, I may not be a guy’s guy but I’m know poof either. I liked Dirty Dancing and watched Atonement on my own. My own wife hasn’t bothered to see it although it’s there for the viewing. I can see why the typical testosterone laden man wouldn’t want to watch it but a good film is a good film. (I was angry at the end of Atonement too). I have no interest in Gone With The Wind, cultural or no. I just don’t care for most old movies like that. My wife forced me to watch Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and To Sir, With Love (which I really enjoyed).

  15. Heh, wow. Talk about a subject to get people talking. :)

    I will agree that many of these movies transcend being declared “guy” or “girl” films. And to his credit, when I started pestering him this morning, Sebastian admitted he’s seen more of these than I expected.

    Eric’s comment has made me think that I should maybe go with the 2005 version of P&P, just so he can get it out of the way. The only thing I’m concerned about is that with the shortened version, it will be hard for him to understand the seemingly sudden changes of heart.

    And don’t worry about fair play. I would say that 75% of the time we watch a movie together, he picks. I try to keep my chick flick viewing to hours he’s not around or individually on my computer. I always make sure at least one of the Netflix movies is a “him” movie.

    He’s also lucky that I’m not a diehard “chick flick” fan by any stretch of the imagination. The movies he really can’t stand that I love are the absolutely terrible sci-fi made-for-tv movies. The more obnoxious the “science” and the dumber the actors, the better. They always make me laugh. He can’t stand them. I prefer my “chick” indulgences in book form.

  16. From a certain point-of-view I lucked out; my wife doesn’t care all that much for the classic “chick flicks (though she did get me to watch Laybrinth, which I like), and will cheerfully go see stuff like Star Trek, Iron Man, or even GI Joe (admittedly, I waited to get that from FiOS on-demand; it was barely worth the 5 bucks)

  17. There is a reason they have Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, it balances out ESPN and ESPN2.

    In our house we go back and forth, she picks, then I pick. I have gotten in serious trouble when I fell asleep in one or two.
    But I get even and make her watch Quinton Tarentino movies.

    I’s a balancing act!

    But I really hate Chick Flicks.

  18. Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network have never been watched in this house. Even I can’t stand most “chick flicks.” I tend to stick with those that have some redeeming quality beyond just “chick flick.”

    I’m also going to change the percentage that Sebastian picks the movie. I was far too generous by saying he picks 70% – to myself. He picks closer to 90% of the movies. So if you guys ever hear him complain about having to watch a movie I pick out, beat him up mercilessly in the comments.

  19. Delores Claiborne – has just enough mystery to keep it interesting and the performances by Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh are phenomenal.

    People will Talk – Girl marries nice doctor(Cary Grant) who has a secret. With a bit of academic politics mixed in.

  20. A&E’s version of Pride & Prejudice is great. A&E also did a sweet versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Lorna Doone.

  21. Nicholas Nickleby (2002) is a great movie in the Austen tradition. It is about a boy becoming a man. Only a chick flick in the period piece sense. Has some really funny moments, too.

    1. The A&E version is the same as the BBC version, I believe. Both are considered to be the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. (In his pre-Bridget Jones Mr. Darcy days anyway.)

      Actually, if I were truly cruel, then I would subject Sebastian to the Bridget Jones interpretation of P&P! (I don’t think it’s horrible as a stand alone movie. It’s one I’d see with girlfriends. It’s just not one that most guys would like, and it serves little purpose for introducing cultural references.)

  22. I forgot to mention this in my last comment. A chick-flick that I introduced my wife to is French Kiss, with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan.

  23. Philistines!

    Not all romantic comedies are “chick flicks”, it is possible for a film to have, or even be about, a relationship without it being full of girl cooties. Note that buddy films are primarily about a relationship, the particular plot merely being the framing device. Relationship between man and woman does not necessarily = “chick flick”.

    In fact, the “chick flicks” in the Golden Age of cinema weren’t the comedies (It Happened One Night) or romances (Sabrina), those were aimed at men and women both. (“Gable’s back, and Garson’s got him!” tag line for “Adventure”)

    The “chick flicks” movies made for and marketed to women in particular (with men expected to be dragged along as escorts back when men had such duties as part of being a man) were the weepers.

    Films about women alone who have lost husband/child/home/parents who rally their strength and rise above circumstances. Women got to get in an empathetic cry (which many seem to enjoy?) and then some sympathetic triumph over adversity.

    There may be a man involved in a weeper but the story isn’t about him at all, except as a means to the woman regaining happiness (or learning she doesn’t need a man at all to do so).

    see Lifetime for examples…

  24. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is one of the top rated films on IMDB. It is very well done and worth the watch. Another BBC series of films is Cranford and Return to Cranford.
    Amazing cast who brings to life a story about a group of women who basically run the town. There’s enough “action” to keep most everyone interested. Highly recommended.

  25. Once he’s seen Colin Firth and Jennifer Elle as Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bates he will be forever in your debt. It’s FABULOUS entertainment. Be sure to start early in the day. Otherwise he’ll be bleary eyed at 3 AM but unable to go to bed without first finding out whether they reconcile. Aggghh. I can still hear Elizabeth’s stinging refusal of Darcy’s proposal. Wow! Throughout the story, the use of language is amazing. It’s 9PM here, too late to start watching it again now. I think tomorrow will be a movie night.

  26. Oops – it’s Bennet not Bates. The “Kathy Bates” reference above got stuck in my brain. And it’s Ehle, not Elle. Sorry ’bout that.

  27. “Eric’s comment has made me think that I should maybe go with the 2005 version of P&P, just so he can get it out of the way. ”

    Have you even seen that version? I sort of vicariously saw the BBC mini-series with my ex-wife. She re-watched it one weekend while I was messing around on the computer. She made me take her to see the 2005 version in the theater. She was pissed off by the end, because they butchered the character of the lead woman (Elizabeth I think?).

    If you really want to expose him to P&P, just try something like what my ex-wife did. Ask him to just be in the room with a book, or on the computer, while you watch it. He at least has the option to tune it out off and on if he doesn’t care for hit, while still getting the idea of the story.

  28. Have I seen it? I own it. Not because I think it’s the best interpretation of Austen’s work, but because the mere presence of Matthew Macfadyen can make anything forgivable.

    But based on the responses here, I’ll make him watch the BBC/A&E version with me. :) Boy, he has no idea what he’s getting dragged into…

    But, hey, at least it’s not Persuasion. That would bore him to death and I kinda like having him around. Or even Vanity Fair, though that’s not Austen, it’s up there for famous period pieces. That would just remind him that women are evil. :)

  29. Pride and Prejudice is very good…nothing wrong with Jane Austen; in fact, the only so called “chick flicks” a guy should see are the quality literature based ones.
    On that note, the Anne of Green Gables series was enjoyable too.

  30. “Anything the women in your lives made you watch that you’re now happy you saw because, at the very least, you now understand references in the real world?”

    The Devil Wears Prada.
    Jaw-dropping relevance. I was very reluctant to watch it (just dripping with “chick flick”), yet was drawn in to the revelation of the power structure of the fashion industry. One of my favorite films.

  31. “She was pissed off by the end, because they butchered the character of the lead woman (Elizabeth I think?).”

    Didn’t kill enough zombies and ninjas for her?

  32. Mrs. Drang dragged me to see The Vagina Monologues a few years ago.

    I am still using the Husband Points for that one.

  33. Oh yes, the BBC production of Madame Bovary is worth watching as well as Children of a Lesser God. Warning: either may provoke an amorous reaction from your wife.

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