2.13.2014

Gal Pals for Galentines


The guys had their turn yesterday, and now to honor February 13th the official decreed day by Leslie Knope of Parks & Recreation, we celebrate: GALENTINES Day! What is Galentines you ask? Why it's a day we rejoice and give thanks for our female friendships.  As such, I decided to present to my readers a list of ELEVEN (I couldn't cut it to ten) films that celebrate the true meaning of Galentines: female bonding.

THELMA & LOUISE - Road trips with your bestie are always fun...but apparently it's more fun when you flee a crime scene. The lesson learned here? It's okay to become a felon so long as you have a dependable gal pal by your side. Unfortunately both sides of this pair are not created equal, and more often than not Louise (Susan Sarandon) is cleaning up all the messes that Thelma (Geena Davis) stupidly makes/ But hey at least she joins you for the ride....and through time she catches up.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS - If you're in the mood to watch something that portrays men as weak idiots while women are shown as these pillars of strength this is the movie for you. It's almost impossible to find a movie more estrogen filled than this. It's got a beauty parlor (where the women all get together and talk,) a wedding AND it has its fair share of weepy moments to boot. My favorite gal relationship in this one is hands down the relationship between Shirley MacLaine's crotchety Ouisa and Olympia Dukakis's hilariously sharp Clairee. Without them, the film wouldn't be nearly as fun. Without Daryl Hannah, on the other hand, no one would have noticed.

BEACHES - Once upon a time there were two little girls who met, and shortly became pen pals afterlife separated them. They keep their correspondence going for years and years....and soon we are to understand they mean the WORLD to each other (though I'm not sure I ever SAW that when they actually interacted..) Sometimes you often wonder why they stay friends.... especially when they're so awful to each other. But I suppose when one of them is the fabulous Bette Midler that's enough to make it work! At times, they seem better suited to frenemies, but you gotta hand it to them for staying true even to the bitter end.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES - I'm not sure why so many of these female bonding movies take place in the South and involve crimes or death...but this film seems to be the complete embodiment of various tropes. I've learned that filmmakers would have us believe that tomboy gal pals are the way to go and Mary Stuart Masterson's Idgie is the shining example of this. She teaches everyone the importance of female empowerment and if anyone crosses her friends....let's just say a BBQ might be involved. A [SPOILER] murderous [/SPOILER] BBQ. But not in a horrifying way apparently...more of an endearing way that will cause Kathy Bates to chuckle about it in the future.

9 TO 5 - Once again we see that nothing brings women together quite like plotting the murder of the man. Even better when the man is your boss whom you all detest. You could be completely different in temperament and personality....and you may even have previously judged each other. But once you find the common ground of hating an egotistical man? That cures all differences.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB - The best kind of friends help you get even. Together with all their combined wits, talents and power they are able to destroy the lives of the men who destroyed them first.....but BONUS: they get to do all that AND bond at the same time. Aww. Nothing brings people closer together than revenge. It's clear from this and Beaches (and perhaps Seinfeld as well...) that having Bette Midler on your side is a must. She, like Dolly Parton apparently will be there for you through thick and thin.


FROZEN - Here we have the first Disney movie that I can recall that really shines the light on sisterly love. You don't always need some prince to come and save you... sometimes all you need is the love and support of your sister (the truest of true gal pals) to save you. The ending of this movie particularly gave me the warm fuzzies and made me pretty thankful for my own sisters.

MURIEL'S WEDDING - There's nothing more wonderful than finding a friend who loves you for exactly who you are....even if you're somewhat of a freak. You know they're a keeper when not only do they accept you, but they also embrace your interests and are willing to be a freak with you. They're not fair weather and would be there for you through anything (even if they didn't agree with or support your decision.) The gal pal friendship at the center of Muriel's Wedding is simply fabulous and the best part of the movie even if [SPOILER] I found her love interest too hot to pass up. Seriously Muriel get it together. You can LEARN to love a man with a face like that.You made a huge mistake Haha. [/SPOILERS] True moral of the story? Real friends like ABBA.

BRIDESMAIDS - Even though your bestie gets married, it doesn't mean your friendship has to end! Unless, in the case of Bridesmaids, you allow another scheming friend to drive a wedge between you then that might indeed cause trouble. Luckily true friendship will prevail if it's meant to be and if you allow yourself to be open enough perhaps you can make more friends along the way. If you play your cards right (and the bride has a moment of clarity as well,) you can still have your wonderful platonic duet moment at the wedding and far into the future.

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS - Here's the story of four girls whose friendship was held together as they grew up and grew apart by a magical pair of pants (that SOMEHOW fits all of these girls of differing body types.) Does this plot sound stupid to you? That's because it is...but if you're in a particularly estrogen-y sentimental mood it will do the trick just fine. Even if none of these friendships in this film are particularly good or strong I suppose the idea is nice right? And if all else fails there are nice shots of Greece you can stare at.

ROMY & MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION - If you ever wondered what a female version of Dumb & Dumber might be like, Romy & Michele's High School Reunion might be worth checking out. These two personify the dumb blonde....but in a delightful way. They march to the beat of their own drums and are certainly in their own world, but whatever world that might be it sounds like a pretty fun and entertaining one. Though it might take them a bit to realize it, they know that in the end as long as they still have the other in their lives they'll be okay.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: DICK, CLUELESS, MEAN GIRLS, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, NOW AND THEN, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, SENSE & SENSIBILITY.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Good list! It's easy to forget how many gal pal movies there are out there...and then you see a list like this and realize there are actually quite a few! 9 to 5 is one of my favorites. :)

Joey said...

Check out The Turning Point sometime. Excellent friend movie and how hard it is when you grow apart.

Personally, I hate Beaches because if felt so manipulative.

The Barbecue made me hate everything about Fried Green Tomatoes. And I think the tomboy gal thing is still saying that we need a manly girl to compliment us....which brings me to both Romi/Michelle and Muriel's wedding where they are not anti men at all, but just the best of friends. And they all have to learn it.

Finally Sally Field is so amazing in that scene at the cemetery that I forgive a lot of really dumb parts of that movie. She blows you away. 20 years ago I thought I would be Clairee and it turns out I'm Ouisa. :(

Emily said...

Hahaha yeah I think I'm Ouisa too. I agree with all of your points. I just tried to find the film that best represented the theme...even though they weren't all my favorites.