Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breaking Down the Term "Chick Flick"

Chick Flicks.

The fact that this post starts off with that phrase may cause thousands of males to not read the rest of it. After all, "Chick Flick" is one of those terms like "menstrual," or "neutered," or "minivan" that make men cringe at the mere mention of it (I've now just lost more male readership). But what, exactly, is a Chick Flick? It's an umbrella term that covers pretty much any film that is geared toward a female audience. But there are actually a number of different types of films within this realm - some more accessible to men than others.

Let me put it in terms that males will understand: Meat. "Chick flick" = "BBQ." BBQ is a general term that covers a range of delicious meats, but included in that group you can have brisket, pulled pork, ribs, steak, chicken and other stuff like that. Chick Flicks ain't so different.

So let me present to you what I've found to be the four categories included in the term "Chick Flick." Here they are in order from most accessible to least accessible to males:

1. The Romantic Comedy - Man Meter = Green

This is the most accessible type of Chick Flick to men because it is, still, a comedy and there are, usually, funny parts that work for both men and women. Sure, they have their annoying cliched moments, but they usually have an entertaining storyline and enough eye candy to keep men entertained. Plus, if you suggest watching these films when with a girl, you'll gain bonus points.

Other examples: Return to Me, Serendipity

2. The Tearjerker - Man Meter = Yellow

This category of Chick Flick is pretty much what it sounds like. The sole purpose of these kind of movies is to make people weep and weep openly. Maybe that's why women drag men to these kind of movies - so they can see them open up, emotionally, but usually they just get a lot of eye rolling. Lost loves, sudden tragic deaths and cancer abound in these plotlines. These types of films will do anything they can to make your eyes well up. However, sometimes these films get nominated for Academy Awards and that leads me to believe that some men will still watch them.

Other examples: Love Story, Steel Magnolias

3. The Period Piece - Man Meter = Orange

Even though we're sliding down the scale, believe it or not, this is NOT the least accessible to men. Many of these types of films, generally set in the Victorian era, are based on well-written literature and so they are, usually, not completely horrible. And I think that if males give these period pieces a chance, then they will not regret it as much as they think they will. Heck, I once watched/was forced to watch the entire BBC Pride and Prejudice TV serial and I didn't want to gouge my eyes out, for the most part. But still, men are weary of movies where bonnets are a regularly occurring piece of clothing and the word "Gables" is used in any way, shape or form.

Other examples: Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre

4. The Men-Hater - Man Meter = RED

Now when men watch one of these, they WILL regret it. In these types of movies, men are the bad guys. During one of these films you will discover that males are nothing more than antagonistic, chauvinistic, disgusting pigs and you should be ashamed if you have that abominable Y chromosome. How DARE you be male!! Even if these movies entice you in with the likes of Ashley Judd or Demi Moore, trust me, these are NOT films you want to take a date to.

Other examples: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Now and Then

So there you have it. Some films may be included in two categories at the same time, but the majority of films geared toward women will fall into one of these four categories. And Hollywood is going to keep making films like this because Chick Flicks are cheaper to make than the big blockbuster special effect movies and they bring in more money in relation to their cost because people going to see it are usually on a date and/or in a large group. Cha-ching!

So the next time someone suggests that you watch a "Chick Flick" you can ask them to specify which one of the four categories it falls into, refer them to this blog when they look at you funny and say that they have no idea what you're talking about, and then make an educated decision as to whether you really want to watch it or not.

Happy viewing!


Peter said...

Agreed, although I would put the Tearjerker at orange and the Period Piece at yellow. And there are a lot of plenty manly movie genres that could qualify as period pieces, like pirate movies or Master and Commander-type movies or war films.

I regrettably saw the Ya-Ya Sisterhood on TV once, and it had virtually no redeeming qualities, even with James Garner on hand for wry commentary.

--jeff * said...

well, i made it past the first mention of "chick flick", but, by the time "minivan" came up, my masculine limit (my "masculimit") was spent, and i stopped reading.

but i'm sure this post was clever, that i look forward to going back and following your delightful links, and that i wonder if you came up with this scale yourself.

p.s. just between me and you, i quite like "sleepless in seattle" and "sense and sensibility" (but then i'm just a sucker for rom-coms with two "s" words in the titles).

The Former 786 said...

Yes, Peter, those kind of films could also be called "period pieces," but those kind of films don't spend the majority of their time sipping tea and strolling in gardens. Maybe I should have gone with my original category name, "Bonnet Flicks." :)

And jeff, when your "masculimit" renews (love that word, btw) I look forward to seeing the rest of your insights.

And this scale was created by long discussions with film friends, such as yourself.

Jaime said...

so, i realize by "period piece" you meant the time era, but... maybe you should call it something else. cause i IMMEDIATELY thought you were going to reference something about women's menstral cycles.. like, "when girls are on their periods, they watch shows like this. If you see one of these one, STAY, AWAY." but, it's not what you said, at all... ha ha.

Sara Ann said...

That scene from Sleepless in Seattle is one of my favorites of all time! haha