Yep, there has been a void. Previous columns have concentrated on testosterone-laden films proclaimed best in show (apologies to AKC ). There is a need to fill a niche.
So, cinch up your saddle, buckaroo and, more to the point, buckarette, 'cause we are going where few men dare (or care) to dwell.
“Chick flicks” is a definition of films that probably offends, but has been embraced as descriptive. No doubt its origins were established during the Sinatra era, when dames and dolls existed. What follows is a list of arguably the best.
This is not a war story. It is a love story. Ingrid Bergman — for my money, one of the world's most beautiful women — endures a war-ravaged experience by first learning her resistance leader husband is dead, then falling in love with Humphrey Bogart, then learning that her husband is above ground. The torment of two loves provides the backdrop to a timeless triangle playing out in war time occupation.
9. “When Harry Met Sally"
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play a cat-and-mouse game, sorting out feelings in a long-term relationship of hit and miss. Both grapple with the "let's be friends" concept. The outcome is predictable, but the story line and dialogue resonate with sadness and humor.
This movie proved that Cher is a better actress than a singer. The Italian flavor of this film exceeds "Lovers and Other Strangers." The cast is superb, especially Vincent Gardenia as the wayward patriarch. The seduction scene between Cher and Nicholas Cage is priceless.
7. "Pretty Woman"
Any movie with Roy Orbison background music is a winner. It is a preposterous plot, but Richard Gere, the tycoon, and Julia Roberts, the hooker, make it work. Jason Alexander (George of “Seinfeld”) does a bang-up job as the sleazy lawyer. Roberts' character interaction with the hotel manager (actor Hector Elizondo) is great.
6. "Driving Miss Daisy"
Although not a love story, it has feminine appeal. Jessica Tandy is terrific as the aging southern Jewish matriarch holding the fort in her kingdom. Her hired black driver, played by Morgan Freeman, delivers a timepiece characterization that bends her will and give her a clearer understanding of the world and the aging process..
5. "Dirty Dancing"
A classic about respect and barriers, not to mention some really good dance moves. With the backdrop of the "Jewish Alps" (Catskill Mountains in NY), Jennifer Grey plays a girl transcending into womanhood, while summer vacationing with her doctor father and family. Patrick Swayze is the dance instructor from a lesser venue that becomes her mentor, and her student, as they learn about life. The ending is very special.
4. "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
This 1961 film explores the eccentric quality of Manhattan dwellers. Audrey Hepburn is Holly Golightly, a hustling socialite whose past hides an escape from a Texas marriage to an older man. Capote's story is well enhanced by Henry Mancini's musical score that included the iconic "Moon River."
3. “Steel Magnolias"
Six women, bonded by friendship, deal with their world. The story revolves around a small southern town beauty shop, where they share laughs and losses. Sally Field is at her best. The bantering between characters played by Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine stands out.
2. "Sleepless in Seattle"
This is the ultimate feel-good movie. Widower Tom Hanks reluctantly enters the dating scene. He gets some unwanted help from his young son, who has his own plans on securing a new mother by contacting a radio talk show. His intervention produces a deluge of letters, and he finds one compelling. Dad rejects the idea, but the boy acts upon it, even traveling to NYC. Meg Ryan provides the answer. The ending is the best ever.
1. "Fried Green Tomatoes"
Jessica Tandy (again) plays an old southern woman who enthralls a young woman, Kathy Bates, with her stories from the distant Georgia past. Bates' character slowly develops a confidence that emerges into an alter ego, Towanda, that bedevils her couch-potato husband. The story weaves
back and forth, chronicling Ms. Threadgoode's past (Tandy). Mary Stuart Masterson's acting is riveting as she plays the young Idgie, a 1920s rural tom boy.
A cross breed of genres produced the popular movie "Ghost." It combined Patrick Swayze's eerie with Demi Moore's teary.
I tried valiantly to convince my wife that the Kevin Costner/Robert Duvall western "Open Range" was a love story. She saw some merit to it, but the 50 fired rounds gunfight was a final disclaimer.
Scott Dyke is a Wyatt Earp historian, Western writer, lecturer and researcher. He belongs to Western Writers of America. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org