ChickFlicking – A Reflection Brought on by Sci Fi (Nadia Sandhu)

The Monsters and Martians Science Fiction Film Festival recently showcased the festival sensation “Dimensions,” a film which has been wracking up Best Film and Best Director Awards from science fiction film aficionados the world over (Best Film at 2012 London Independent Film Festival, Boston International Science Fiction Film Festival, and Long Island Science Fiction Film Festival)

However, despite this pedigree my male blogging colleagues showed no interest in attending the screening or reviewing the film – even though most of these same gents were at Fan Expo this weekend, a convention that science fiction built.  So science fiction was clearly not the issue at hand.

What was it then, that kept these self-confessed film nerds from embracing this festival darling?  Was it the marketing emphasis on steampunk or was it the period costumes?  It couldn’t have been the time travel plot, because I know these guys speak glowingly of films like Back to the Future, The Terminator and even Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. (Watch the trailer and decide for yourself.)

As I mulled things over I kept coming back to the period costumes and the British accents.  I thought back to the screening I attended for Hysteria, which in retrospect was mostly female even though the film was an honest to goodness sex comedy.  That film too featured British accents and period costumes.  Then there was that whole The Social Network vs. The King’s Speech divide. Curiouser and curiouser.

Simplistic as this may sound then, British accents and period costumes are integral to the definition of a chick flick.  Armed with this evidence it has become clear to me that what we have here is a clear case of a Science Fiction Chick Flick that will require special handling for its inevitable release.

So while this summer we’ve been getting our feet wet, feeling our way around the boundaries of the chick flick before we plunge into more complex academic dissections, at this early stage it seems safe to categorize films that are largely the provenance of chicks thusly:

–       A plot concerned primarily with romance/romantic relationships

–       A comedic plot concerned primarily with romance/romantic relationships

–       A plot revolving around family dynamics

–       A plot revolving around a female protagonist

–       An adaptation of classic literature or chick lit

–       A period piece (British accents optional)

–       Musicals

These are the films we take/drag our significant others to.

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The Passing of a Chick Flick Auteur – Nora Ephron (Nadia Sandhu)

Nora Ephron hated the term “chick flick” per Pete Hammond at Deadline (click here for that great memorium)  but I don’t think she would mind the way that the much maligned, and ultimately unfair label, has been reclaimed here at chickflicking.

Ephron was a prolific writer but she will long be remembered for reviving and reinventing the rom com genre for a new generation.  Her screenplay for 1989′s “When Harry Met Sally” came on the heels of a testosterone soaked decade at the box office and addressed a complex modern dilemma that everyone could relate to: can a man and woman ever really be just friends?

On the heels of that success, Ephron went on to write and direct “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) and “Julie and Julia” (2009) amongst numerous other rom coms listed on her imdb page that will no doubt ring a bell with film fans everywhere. The secret to her success was crafting smart, funny, and morally confused heroines who dealt with real life issues in idealized rom com settings.  Everyone knew when they were watching a Nora Ephron film, and her work has become the gold standard against which other rom coms are compared.

Ephron received three Academy Award Nominations for Best Original Screenplay – for her first screenplay “Silkwood,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Sleepless in Seattle”.

In addition to being one of Hollywood’s most successful female filmmakers, Ephron was also a journalist, an essayist, a novelist, and a playwright.  Nora was 71 years of age.

NY Times Obituary

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