I have to thank Eric Dodge for a Facebook link. He linked to an interview with Dustin Hoffman. After Richard Dreyfus, Dustin Hoffman is probably my favorite American actor.
I have been working on this article for a couple of weeks. Eric’s link helped bring it into focus. I knew the title had to be In Praise of Chick Flix, but after that I couldn’t get it right.
My favorite movie of all time is “Somewhere In Time“, starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. But then I also really enjoyed “Sleepless in Seattle“. I don’t think I have missed a single movie that has been based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. That is pretty sad, because it is a confession to having read every one of his novels. Well, actually I have read his ONE novel…written twenty times only with different character names.
There is something very intriguing about great movie lines such “You gotta ask yourself, was that five or six shots he fired?” Then who can possibly forget “Yippee Ky Yeah” said only the way that Bruce Willis can say it. And, what real man amongst us doesn’t want “Well, Pilgrim” engraved on his tombstone. And speaking of Tombstone how about Kurt Russell’s cold comments
Wyatt Earp: [Tyler reaches for his gun] Go ahead, skin it! Skin that smokewagon and see what happens…
Johnny Tyler: [pauses, scared] M-mister, I’m gettin’ tired of your…
Wyatt Earp: [slaps Tyler across the face, unafraid] I’m gettin’ tired of all your gas, now jerk that pistol and go to work!
Wyatt Earp: [slaps him harder, now completely steely-eyed] I said throw down, boy!
Ahhhh> Yes. The good old feel-good, tough guy movies. We catch them all.
But this article is in praise of chick flix.
For all the steel-jawed stone-fisted lead characters that can get run over by a Mack truck, a steamroller, and then dragged through buzzsaw that make a man grin like a fool, there is the other side. There is that gentle moments when the football jock builds Mandy Moore a telescope, because she is dying of cancer in A Walk to Remember. That moment is what brings every guy in the theater, including the Duke and Bruce Willis to shed a tear.
It is easier to see Superman (Christopher Reeves) struggle for his life against Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) than it is to watch him pull that fool modern-day-coin out of his pocket and loose Jane Seymour forever…almost. You know it is a touching moment at the beginning of the Somewhere In Time when the old lady says “Come back to me”. But it is only when they fade apart in the nearly final scene that the viewer fully understands everything that was lost in her lifetime.
Chick Flix make us feel, whether we think we want to or not. That is important!
Manly movie make us think we are invincible. After the first Rocky movie back in the late seventies I was ready to go looking for fight. Every guy coming out of the theater was eying each other thinking ‘Go ahead, make my day!”
Yet, after The Notebook, those same guys were wrapping their arms around their dates, even their wives, and holding them just a little bit closer.
Chick Flix make us a kinder gentler breed, and that is really what we all need; a kinder, gentler place. Women get that. They understand it. That is why they drag us neanderthals off to softer movies. After a day, a week, a month of being locked in the manufactured environment of a battlefield even the most hardened hero needs a soft place to collapse for a few minutes. Chick Flix are just the place. It’s dark and nobody can see our tears, and our sniffles are drowned out by all the females in the theater.
I hope you watch the short interview with Dustin Hoffman. He sheds a tear about his own Chick Flix, Tootsie. He discovered in the making of the movie the great value of forgotten women, the overlooked ones. He shares his perception. When we all play the role of James Bond, the ultimate fighter and conqueror of beautiful women, we miss out on the truly magnificent and character building traits of manly gentleness.
Chick Flix deserve our praise…because they make noble men out of manly men, without detracting a single thing from us.