Weekend Binge: Dear Veere Di Wedding gang, chick flicks aren’t inferior, maybe you should watch these
Every week, we will curate a collection of titles -- movies, TV, general miscellanea -- for you to watch (and in some cases, read, or listen to), in a series we call Weekend Binge. The selection will be based on a theme which binds the picks - which could be extremely blunt in certain instances, or confusingly abstract in some. No rules apply, other than the end goal being getting some great entertainment to watch.
While the idea is to base the theme on the week’s major events - it could be the release of a new movie, or show - we could also use this opportunity to comment on our world in general, and turn to art to wrap our heads around some of the more difficult stories of the past seven days.
In a recent interview, the cast of this week’s Veere Di Wedding - actors Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania - took the opportunity to discuss feminism. Many have tried to hit that elusive sweet spot when it comes to tackling this topic, but more often than not, they’ve ended up offending someone or the other.
The high point of this entire 25-minute conversation, conducted by journalist Anupama Chopra, could be boiled down to one point, made by Kareena. She said without an ounce of irony, “I am not a feminist, I am a woman. Above all I believe in equality.”
Kareena chose the worst possible moment to say this - she was promoting a film starring four women in lead roles, an almost unheard of occurrence in mainstream Bollywood. In the same interview, the actors expressedly said Veere Di Wedding is not a chick flick. An opinion they have reiterated time and again.
The only reason the four stars of Veere Di Wedding were walking around wearing ‘#NotAChickFlick’ T-shirts was because it made commercial sense to not exclude dudes from the audience. Not for any other reason. Instead of proudly owning the reality of the movie they’d made, they played the holier than thou card. This would not have happened had they just appreciated the brilliance of these 5 incredible chick flicks or read the dictionary definition of chick flicks (‘a film which appeals to young women’).
Clearly, the biggest influence on Veere - besides Sex and the City - is the 2011 comedy, Bridesmaids, starring some of the brightest minds in modern comedy. The film was a bit of an anomaly even in the famously progressive (but not when it comes to women) Hollywood. We’ve come a long way since then, or at least that’s what I’d like to believe. Statements like ‘women aren’t funny’ are becoming more infrequent, which is a positive sign. And we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Annie Mumolo, Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. Interestingly, Bridesmaids - unlike Veere - wore its chick flick title with pride - the poster carried a blurb in large pink font that declared, ‘Chick flicks don’t have to suck!’.
Technically, any film by the great Nancy Meyers (or Nora Ephron) could be included on this list - I briefly considered adding her most recent, The Intern, here instead - but The Holiday is a special movie. It has all the elements one would associate with a chick flick - breakups, solo travels, gorgeous food, and charm for days. To watch The Holiday is like eating a bowl of hot soup (I’m being generic because taste) on a cold winter day - it’s the ultimate comfort food, featuring four of the most charming stars - Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz - working at the peak of their powers.
The Fault in our Stars/Paper Towns
These two John Green adaptations are better than all the Nicholas Sparks movies put together. Apologies to the legions of Sparks fans, but you have to admit that both The Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns are splendid movies, featuring well-written female (and male) characters. Not to mention the wonderful soundtracks that add to the films’ unique tone, instead of being just another means of making money. And tone is what sets both these films apart from their more sappy cousins. Interestingly, there is a male version of chick flicks, too. They’re called guy-cry movies and The Shawshank Redemption is probably the best example.
No other films have defined the American high school experience (from a female perspective) as euphorically as these two movies. And through them, we see how the high school comedy subgenre evolved over 20 years. We got some of the most memorable lines of dialogue (‘As if!’) and characters thanks to these films, which, like school, are a fittingly bittersweet mishmash of emotions - anger, jealousy, first love, uninhibited rage and heartbreak. They’re both on Netflix.
She’s the Man
Of all the movies Amada Bynes did when she was still sane, She’s the Man is definitely the best. It told the story of a teenager who pretends to be a boy because she has the hots for a very young Channing Tatum. Before you begin questioning the progressiveness of this premise - there isn’t any, you’re right - consider this: What would you do?
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