Without question, Say Anything, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink were my earliest primers on love, dating and relationships. With the help of these flicks, I learned that hot chicks could be both wicked smart and nice (Say Anything), that all blonde, popular girls were bitches who eventually got their comeuppance when they were dumped/passed over by the hot guy for the interesting, quirky girl (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink) and, of course, that slightly loner-ish dudes (Say Anything’s God-like Lloyd Dobler) made way better boyfriends than meathead football studs (with the exception of Sixteen Candles’ Jake Ryan, however).
Though I didn’t totally realize it until I was like, 30, each movie had a “You go, girl!” element, way before said sentiment was cool. All three have a “follow your own path, sister, and make than man come to you!” message; whether you must wise up about your embezzling father and then follow your passion for all things nerdy by traveling overseas for an academic scholarship, wise up about your alcoholic father and then follow your passion for vintage-inspired fashion design or, merely, wise up about your birthday-forgetting father and then be a bridesmaid in your airhead sister’s wedding, waiting for your awesome future boyfriend to come your way was what chicks who get the guy do…duh.
In Kimberly Potts’s awesome “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Chick Flick”, the chick flick 101 romance education continues. Potts catalogs all of the classics, noting the important lessons to be gathered from each. Here’s a sampling of some of the cinematic instructions she finds most profound:
Lesson: Obsession is the mother, sometimes literally, of insanity. Or, there’s nothing like mama drama to bring out the drama mama in all of us.
“The Wedding Singer” (1998)
Lesson: Sometimes it takes a case of bad love to lead you to true love. An assist from Mr. William Idol doesn’t hurt, either.
“Waiting to Exhale” (1995)
Lesson: Through thick and thin (and the worst kind of men), you can always get by with a little help, and honesty, from your friends. If that doesn’t work, torch the bastard’s whole wardrobe.
“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (2005)
Lesson: It’s a thin line between love and hate. (And having enough children for your own basketball team or baseball team).
“Mississippi Masala” (1991)
Lesson: Opposites attract, but a relationship grows from common ground. And having sweaty Mississippi Delta sex with Denzel Washington.
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997)
Lesson: Assumptions make an ass out of “u” and the guy you’re secretly in love with. So just tell him already, m’kay?
Lesson: Coming late to the party doesn’t mean settling for leftovers. Especially when the leftovers have a brother played by a young, hot Nicolas Cage.
“9 1/2 Weeks” (1986)
Lesson: Get your freak on . . . until things get downright freaky. Or you have a safe word.
Lesson: Lookin’ after leapin’ will leave you weepin’. As will having your jealous husband off your lover with a snow globe to the back of the head.
Kimberly – we’re eagerly anticipating your television follow-up. Ah, the multitude of love lessons found in the episodes of Melrose Place, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl….