It would be a lie for me to say that I hate chick flicks. Unfortunately, it would also be a lie for me to say that I particularly enjoy them. So much ooey-gooey nonsense packed into the same tired storyline over and over again. It’s like Hollywood read “Pride and Prejudice” and thought, “Ah! Here be catnip for the uterus!”
To be fair, they weren’t wrong.
However well these movies sell, though, that doesn’t change the fact that my little Disney Princess heart yearns for something more. I miss the humanity and the good-natured companionship of my favorite books. I miss the laughter. I miss the joy. I miss the dearth of penis jokes in place of actual humor. And so, for the most part, I tend to avoid your average chick-flick and head straight for “Se7en” territory.
But once a month, I feel the call.
When my hormones are at their peak and I can feel the estrogen bubbling in my veins, when the Netflix app on my laptop calls to me invitingly from the corner of the room, when my chocolate cravings war with my diet plans and my pretty pink jammies find their way out from the bottom of my dresser, I hear it:
The siren song of the Romantic Comedy.
It is then that I am drawn irresistibly to the screen, my fluffy pink blanket clutched tightly around my shoulders and the heels of my jammies dragging softly against the carpet.
Here be feelings. Here be unrealistic happy endings. Here be ovary-fodder.
And now, because I am a kind soul and know I can’t possibly be the only one out there who has a secret craving for sap, here are my Top 6 Break-In-Case-Of-Emergency, Grade-A bits of Girl Porn to help combat that all-too-annoying hormone-driven love bug.
1. Leap Year (2010)
“Leap Year” is the story of a woman named Anna (played by Amy Adams) who leaves her native Boston so that she can stalk her boyfriend all the way to Ireland with the aim of proposing to him on Leap Year.
Unfortunately, it seems that God himself is against the plan from the get-go, seeing as her plane is nearly hit by lightning and the boat she ends up taking as a result is nearly lost in the storm that took out the Irish air-traffic. She ends up in a small pub near the sea where we meet our romantic lead for the evening. A delightful road-trip ensues.
Now, to be honest, I’m not that fond of Anna. I think her plan is ridiculous, and I found her to be generally unlikable. No, what makes this movie for me is Declan.
Declan (played by Matthew William Goode) is at once the best and worst road-trip buddy you could ever hope to have. His music rocks and he’s good for conversation, but he complains the whole way, makes fun of Anna, pranks her and even lets her suitcase get stolen by three guys in a rape van. Logically, I should hate his guts.
But that smile.
Every few seconds, he spouts some clever quip and lets loose that stupid grin that melts me every time. He doesn’t let her take herself too seriously. He apologizes when he goes too far. And, Lord help me, he’s just so darn adorable. He never does anything too heinous, so I’m okay with giving him a pass. If you’re up for a laugh, definitely give this one a look.
2. Call the Midwife (2012)
This is actually a TV show, so only go after it if you’re up for a binge session with your best friend Netflix.
“Call the Midwife” takes place in London approximately ten years after the end of World War II, when the city was just beginning to get back on its feet and the people were finding the will to heal and move on with their lives after the horror of the Blitz.
The majority of the stories center around the lives of the midwives living in Nonnatus House, a cozy little convent/women’s hospital seated squarely in the East End, though it does occasionally take a break to follow the comings and goings of the people living nearby. It’s a realistic look at what it was like to be a mother, a woman and afraid in a time when help was not readily available for those who found themselves in any of the above categories.
I love “Call the Midwife” because it’s insidiously addictive. The style is dialed back and realistic, and so earnest and heartfelt that it’s impossible to look away.
You root for these characters, not because the world is at stake or because there’s some huge, decisive battle to be won, but because you want to see to them succeed, whether it’s Chummy learning to ride a bike or Sister Evangeline delivering a baby on a ship with a dislocated shoulder and a horny crew waiting outside the door. This show grabs hold of you by the heartstrings and refuses to let you go.
3. Kate and Leopold (2001)
Not going to lie, this movie is about as bland and generic as an early 2000’s Meg Ryan films get. Meg Ryan plays herself, New York plays itself and all the requisite movie stereotypes are present. And yet, for all its early 2000’s blandness, I keep coming back.
Is it the costumes? The sets? The highly improbable time-travel plot? Maybe. But I think we all can agree that the one thing that gives this movie any sense of individuality or watchability at all is Hugh Jackman as Leopold, Duke of Albany.
And that the standout moment in this film is the friggin butter scene.
While Meg Ryan whines and makes speeches about how she’s COMPLETELY OVER her ex (don’t worry, Meg, we totally believe you), Hugh Jackman is cuddling and baking and teaching Brecklin Meyer how to not scare women away. This dude turned freaking BUTTER into the sexiest substance on earth. Kudos to you, Hugh.
If you’re up for an hour of unashamed girl-porn, this is definitely your movie.
4. Coming to America (1988)
“Coming to America” is one of my favorites. I don’t care how many times you show me this stupid movie, I will never, ever get tired of watching Arsenio Hall suffer at the hands of a very goofy-looking Eddie Murphy. I know that this movie isn’t strictly a chick-flick, but since it features a contrived romance, I feel safe adding it to the list.
“Coming to America” tells the story of a prince who goes to America to seek a bride. A simple enough premise that, for all the terrifying power of James Earl Jones’ smile, remains surprisingly innocent and fun.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is an Eddie Murphy film, so it does get pretty raunchy at times. And, admittedly, you could replace Lisa with a plastic blow-up doll and probably get the same level of emotion.
But the side characters are so colorful and the jokes are so inappropriately hilarious, and the actors are so clearly having the time of their lives, that I can’t help but have fun along with them. If your ovaries need a rest but your funnybone needs a warm-up, give this one a try.
5. Calamity Jane (1953)
Hear me out, guys.
“Calamity Jane” chronicles the adventures of a sharpshooter named, surprisingly enough, Calamity Jane, who lives in the town of Deadwood, Illinois, in the Dakota Territory.
Shenanigans ensue when she promises to bring back a famously beautiful actress on her next trip to town, and instead brings back a maid. This being after the town’s saloon owner accidentally hired a male actor for his show, and then tried to pass him off as a woman anyway. As you can imagine, the show didn’t exactly go according to plan.
I love Calamity. I really do. She’s wild and brash and somewhat psychotic, but her friendship with Wild Bill Hickok (played by my love, Howard Keel) keeps her in check. Hell, he straight up throws her across a room at one point when she’s about to rip him a new one, and she responds by pointing a gun at his head. Friendship goals, indeed.
It’s a ’50s movie, so, as you might expect, there’s a healthy dose of racism to add some flavor to the mix. Native Americans are so poorly represented that tobacco statutes across the US cried out in outrage, and there are a few choice words thrown around to describe the Sioux residents of the Dakotas. If you think this is too big of a deterrent, I’d give this movie a skip.
“Calamity Jane” is no “Annie Get Your Gun,” but it can still be insulting. Then again, we all survived the “What Makes the Red Man Red” song from Disney’s “Peter Pan,” so I think you’ll be okay with some mild inaccuracies and a deplorable word or two.
This really is a great film. It’s beautifully shot, the songs are great, the costumes are amazing, the comedy is on point and it is chock-full of that trademark ’50s cheese that made those romances so hard and yet so easy to watch.
I know that the general ignorance that all ’50s movies seem to have when it comes to representation of POC may be daunting, but you opt out you’ll be missing the adorable, surprisingly likable film that put Doris Day on the map.
6. When Calls the Heart (2014)
Fair warning, this series on Netflix makes “Seventh Heaven,” “One Tree Hill” and “Gossip Girl” look positively butch. It’s a Hallmark Channel series (a name that should be a warning in itself), and is so vanilla that I could frost the entirety of Chicago with just the pilot episode. It’s innocent and sweet and … I can’t stop watching it. It’s like heroin for my ovaries.
“When Calls the Heart” is a Victorian Western starring Erin Krakow and Daniel Lissing as our clueless romantic leads for the evening. The basic premise of the show is that a woman named Elizabeth Thatcher leaves her life of wealth in order to move out to a mining town and become a schoolteacher.
She immediately meets tall drink of water Jack Thornton, who happens to be a Mountie charged with the protection of Coal Valley (now, isn’t that always the way. I guess we should feel blessed he wasn’t a sheriff; this makes for MUCH more subtlety). As you can imagine, shenanigans ensue.
It’s one of those shows where you want to Blue-Skidoo through the screen and slap these two. If they got any cutesier, a unicorn would come flying out of a Skittle cloud, pooping sunshine and puking flowers. But, you know what? That’s what makes it so much fun.
Every character is so likeable, and you really feel like the actors are having fun. Bring on the vanilla, Hallmark. It always was my favorite flavor.
And there you have it. Go forth, my butterflies. Go and revel in your lady-porn. May flights of butter sing thee to thy rest.