Tag Archives: clothes

Beauty in the Movies: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead is one of the best movies ever, please don’t be misled by the title. Sure, if you like super serious movies where you get knocked over the head by meaning and intense emotion and all that, then fine, you might not agree, but if you were a girl who was growing up in the 90s, you probably love this film—and there’s no shame in that, only pride!

DTMTBD is like Working Girl for the 90s teen set, only kind of better because the fashion is way more fun. When Sue Ellen (or “Swell” for short) Crandell’s mom decides to jet off to Australia with her new boyfriend leaving her five children alone for the summer, at first they think they’re going to have the time of their lives. So it comes as quite a surprise when an old woman shows up at the door proclaiming to be their babysitter. It’s even more of a surprise when she drops dead leaving the kids with no money.

Sue Ellen soon realizes that, being the oldest, she’s in charge of her ramshackle gang of siblings for the rest of the summer. She and her burn-out brother Kenny (Keith Coogan) toss a frozen pizza to decide who will get a job and who will stay home with the kids. Sue Ellen loses the pizza toss, and soon finds herself cleaning fat vats at fast food joint Clown Dog. She quits pretty quickly, but not before meeting Brian (Josh Charles), a cute delivery-guy.

As a result of copying her resume straight from a book, Sue Ellen lands a coveted position as Executive Administrative Assistant at General Apparel West, making an enemy of the original candidate for the position, bitchy receptionist Carolyn (Jayne Brook).

Swell’s killer interview outfit and fake resume may have won her the job, but now Carolyn and her boyfriend (a greasy pre-X-Files David Duchovny) are determined to take her down.

Luckily Sue Ellen has the best boss ever, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who not only can’t stand Carolyn but also gives us viewers the delightful phrase “I’m right on top of that Rose”, which to this day I still hear in my head when given an important task at work. Unfortunately 17-year-old Sue Ellen is in a bit over her head and things soon unravel, but not before an amazing work montage, beach romance, and some truly amazing 90s fashion.

DTMTBD has stuck around and remained in our hearts because it’s atypical for a teen movie. I love that Sue Ellen has a power-suit wearing female boss who is awesome and supportive instead of evil. It’s also great that while she gives herself her own “business” makeover, her younger brother is really the one who ends up going through a typical physical transformation—haircut, clean clothes, etc.

Swell was a fashion icon for me in my formative years, I still marvel at how she made harem pants and over-sized blazers look so effortlessly hip. Her awesome early 90s friends are also an inspiration, they remind me of the babysitters I had as a kid who I though were just the coolest. girls. ever. Side ponytails, teased hair, chunky jewelry, as far as I’m concerned they still look damn amazing.

Don’t be betrayed by the name, if for some reason you’ve never had the delight of watching DTMTBD, give it a try. It’s great this time of year if you’re working your butt off in business wear and feeling bitter about the tourists and day-trippers that surround you on your commute (I speak from very strong personal experience). It’s worth it alone to watch for the fashion show at the end, but really, whether she is wearing doc martens or shoulder-pads, Christina Applegate is just so damn wonderful. So crank up the AC, microwave some popcorn, and revisit a teen movie with style and charm that far exceed its title.

Beauty in the Movies: Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Maxi dress
$38 – topshop.com

Diane von Furstenberg sheer blouse
250 – net-a-porter.com

Off the shoulder shirt
$15 – alloy.com

Viktor Rolf slim fit blazer
$698 – lagarconne.com

Freda blue jacket
144 – matchesfashion.com

River Island long jacket
50 – riverisland.com

French Connection harem pants
women.fashionbeans.com

Forzieri black leather briefcase
$659 – forzieri.com

Dannijo silver cuff bracelet
238 – net-a-porter.com

Black earrings
$7.99 – amazon.com

NERIDA FRAIMAN vintage hat
259 – harrods.com

Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
€71 – my-wardrobe.com

Calvin Klein wide leather belt
$38 – zappos.com

Cuteberry floral scarve
$16 – yesstyle.com

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Beauty in the Movies: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite books ever, and thankfully this 2003 film adaptation actually gives Dodie Smith’s much-beloved novel its due respect.

Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) is an 18-year-old girl living with her eccentric family in a crumbling castle in 1930s England. Her father (Bill Nighy) wrote one incredibly successful and important novel, but has since produced nothing, leaving the family in utter poverty.

Cassandra’s beautiful-but-shallow older sister, Rose (Rose Byrne), is desperate to escape their hopeless existence, so when two American men show up on their doorstep having just inherited the land on which the castle resides, she finally sees her chance. With the encouragement of their nudist, muse-like, stepmother Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald), Rose sets about entrapping a wealthy husband.

Simon (Henry Thomas) and Neil (Marc Blucas) Cotton are rich, attractive, young men, and upon their arrival the Mortmain family is instantly thrown into turmoil. What follows is a story of class, family, coming-of-age, and romance. Cassandra is confused not only by her feelings for the Cottons but also for Stephen Colley (played by Henry Cavill, the new Superman). Stephen is the incredibly attractive son of the Mortmain’s former chef who acts as a handyman to the family and is deeply in love with Cassandra.

Isn’t he just way too handsome? Cassandra’s rejection of sweet, noble, gorgeous Stephen can be somewhat frustrating, but it serves to make her character much more interesting.

I Capture the Castle is a unique story, so don’t expect a typical romantic comedy or predictable characters. Cassandra is an unusually uncommon character. If I would make one criticism of this film as compared to the book it would be that she is even more of a creative, smart, young woman than the movie portrays, especially as compared to Rose whose main appeal is her beauty. In the book Rose is less likeable, and Cassandra’s relationship with her all the more complex because of it—as is often the case with family.

I Capture the Castle depicts perfectly what it feels like to be a confused teenage girl. The heartbreak of first love, the obsession of it, and the humor too, all make this a timeless tale. There is so much beneath the surface of this story, and in some ways it is a direct response to the novels of Jane Austen.

Rose seeks the traditional solution out of her impoverished life—a wealthy husband. Cassandra however, is of the first generation of women who could make their own destiny without a man by supporting themselves. Though some might find it lacking in romance, it was a very new idea for its time, and it holds an allure all its own.

This film is so beautifully shot, acted, and adapted I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s a story about growing up, finding inspiration, and living in a family that others might not understand. The Mortmains are unconventional to say the least, but they support each other’s choices and love one another in a way that transcends the drama they find themselves faced with.

Cassandra describes the characters around her with such wit and insight we can’t help but be drawn into her world. She is a modern woman, but she is only just coming to that realization, so the true pleasure is witnessing her figure that out for herself.

Flare dress
$1,308 – farfetch.com

Charles Anastase ivory ruffle dress
830 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Closed pencil top
249 EUR – stylebop.com

Nick Mo pencil top
$63 – modcloth.com

Paul Joe rabbit coat
1.240 EUR – stylebop.com

Norma Kamali ruched bathing suit
$350 – net-a-porter.com

MEI SILK GOWN
175 GBP – toast.co.uk

Cosabella
$51 – journelle.com

T bar shoes
6pm.com

Belle noel jewelry
$25 – endless.com

Cashmere hat
39 GBP – black.co.uk

Brixton browning hat
40 GBP – urbanexcess.com

Beach sun hat
15 GBP – mylabel.co.uk

Penhaligon’S Bluebell Bath Oil
36 GBP – harrods.com

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Beauty in the Movies: Clueless

This week for Beauty in the Movies I’m featuring the best ’90s teen film ever, Clueless, which in many ways defined a generation and proved that not all teen movies are created equal.

Clueless catapulted Alicia Silverstone to fame overnight (she was previously referred to as simply “Aerosmith girl”) in the role of Cher Horowitz, the wealthiest, most popular and prettiest airhead in her Beverly Hills high school. Cher is based on the title character in Jane Austen’s novel Emma, and while you can definitely enjoy Clueless without knowing the plot of Emma, it’s pretty fun to draw comparisons.

Cher, like Emma is well-intentioned but completely oblivious to the feelings of those around her—even her own. With the help of her best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash), Cher plays matchmaker to a pair of lonely teachers and then sets about making over new-girl Tai (Brittany Murphy), who is the equivalent of ugly duckling Harriet Smith in Emma.

It takes a while for Cher to realize you can’t force people to be something they’re not, and that in trying to help Tai, she has actually created a monster of sorts. The adaptation was pretty brilliant of Amy Heckerling since Emma really is a clueless teenage girl (ok, she’s 20, but still). Clueless proves the versatility and timelessness of Austen, but also that teen movies don’t all have to be about sex and stupid antics, they can be smart, funny and enjoyed by all ages. Clueless paved the way for films like Mean Girls and (another update of a literary classic) 10 Things I Hate About You.

I saw this film in theaters when it was released in the summer of 1995. I was 11 years old and not yet a teen myself, but the impact it had on all the girls my age (whether you were a popular girl or an outcast) was massive. I remember going back to school that September and suddenly all the girls were wearing knee socks and mini-skirts. Clueless changed fashion almost instantly.

It was the age of grunge, Nirvana, My-So-Called-Life and doc martens, but Clueless brought an infusion of color, of girlishness that was in total opposition to the style that was dominant. I myself, maintained Angela Chase as my role model, but secretly loved the ’60s revival that took hold in the mid ’90s—though at the time I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of knee socks.

The amazing thing about Heckerling’s writing is that she takes the stereotype of the rich, spoiled, popular girl and instead of making her a bitch (like we expect) she makes her endearing and likable, even if she’s shallow at times.

As much as costume designer Mona May deserves credit for changing the face of ’90s fashion, Heckerling has to be praised for the effect she had on ’90s language—specifically slang. “Whatever”, “as if”, “not even”, “I’m Audi”, Heckerling didn’t come up with these phrases (she hung out with teens at Beverly High to get an idea of the language they used) but featuring them in Clueless made them part of American teenage (and general) vernacular.

Hidden among the snappy dialogue and the colorful outfits, Clueless has a pretty important message about acceptance, self-awareness and peer pressure. Not pressure in relation to sex or drugs, but the pressure to be a certain way, to hang out with the right people (even if they’re jerks) and to wear the right clothes. Clueless is as relevant today as ever, the kids who were born the year it came out are exactly the age of these characters now, which makes me feel really old, but I hope they’ve all seen this movie, it’s a modern classic that remains as funny and honest today as it did 16 years ago.

Also, RIP Brittany Murphy, and may you forever be rollin’ with the homies.

Clueless

Clueless by justinez featuring cotton blouses

Dolce Gabbana white cut out dress
875 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Calvin Klein spaghetti strap dress
314 GBP – farfetch.com

Clemens en August cotton blouse
$98 – theoutnet.com

Sheer top
$65 – modcloth.com

H by Henry Holland yellow cardigan
18 GBP – debenhams.com

Petite Collection cotton cardigan
18 GBP – debenhams.com

Dolce Gabbana plaid skirt
$361 – theoutnet.com

D G pleated skirt
329 GBP – profilebrighton.co.uk

Acne ripped jeans
172 GBP – net-a-porter.com

Vanessa bruno
26 GBP – theoutnet.com

A P C Madras mini skirt
$68 – lagarconne.com

Fogal cashmere tight
80 EUR – pret-a-beaute.com

Plaid skirt
$35 – modcloth.com

Mini skirt
$26 – chloelovescharlie.com

Knee high socks
$15 – topshop.com

Over the knee socks
$13 – delias.com

Old Navy plaid skirt
$9.97 – oldnavy.gap.com

Delighter
6.90 GBP – irregularchoice.com

Ernesto Esposito mary jane pumps
208 EUR – luisaviaroma.com

Biviel t strap pumps
$99 – endless.com

Christian Dior fur handbag
bagborroworsteal.com

Aspinal of London vintage handbag
495 GBP – johnlewis.com

Leatherbay leather bag
$130 – endless.com

Tarina Tarantino lucite necklace
$70 – tarinatarantino.com

Forever21 flower necklace
$7.80 – canada.forever21.com

Jewelry
$4.99 – debshops.com

John Lewis Women black hat
29 GBP – johnlewis.com

Gucci Classic Logo Rucksack
570 GBP – profilebrighton.co.uk

Ivy & Moon Long Camisole (Big Girls)
$12 – nordstrom.com

Hair Scrunchie (optional)
3.95 GBP – harrods.com

MARLENA GREY+SILVER -ARMOR LAMPER
$120 – dmusastore.com

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Guest Post: Maria’s 5 Fashionable Female Leads in Film

In place of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ this week I present to you a guest post in which the lovely and talented Maria Rainier shares her ‘top five favorite fashionable films’—now that’s a mouthful! Enjoy, and many thanks to Maria.

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Disclaimer: I am no expert on fashion.  In fact, one of the last things I notice in a movie—after cinematography, script, acting, editing, what other movies the actors and actresses were in—is what said actors and actresses are wearing.  If their acting is impressive and they have nice smiles, that’s usually as deep as I’ll go.

See, that’s what makes the following list special: I don’t pay much attention to fashion, but the following actresses had something going on strong enough to make me remember to look at my own closet after the movie was done.

Marion Cotillard in Public Enemies

Marion plays Billie Frechette, who, until meeting the dangerous and dashing John Dillinger, hasn’t had much opportunity to wear anything nice.  She pulls off Depression Era glam like few actresses could.

I find myself envying her circa 1930s bob and fur-lined coats because a) I could never get my hair to look like that and b) I’m an animal lover and even prefer not to wear faux fur.  So much for that.

Audrey Tautou in Amélie

A girl as sweet, childlike, and silly as Amélie could only wear light, delicate, feminine fabrics.  She’s the girl who can effortlessly pull off polka-dots or stripes, lots of red and green, and a (circa 5th grade) my-mom-cut-my-hair trim without looking like, well, a 5th grader.

Everything she wears is endearing and simple—old-fashioned camisoles, mandarin collars, a-line skirts, and a simple retro flair.

Much of it says that Amélie doesn’t really care how she looks as long as it’s comfortable and fits—she’s too busy trying to make the world a nicer place, anyway.

Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

If I have a girl-crush on anyone, it’s Angie, if nothing for the fact that she can pull off a leather S&M outfit, a classy black dress, and a suit jacket in the same movie.  Anyone would agree that although Angelina’s perfect bone structure and pouty lips are her claim to fame, it’s her confidence that really screams, “I’ll wear what I want.”

I mean, what does she have to be insecure about (besides her failing marriage, of course)?  She’s a successful spy, she works in a skyscraper with high-tech computers and pressed suits, and she can escape a sticky situation with a zipline and a handgun.

Okay, most of us don’t have these things or the kind of confidence that goes with them.  Still, if all of us were half as comfortable in our own skins as Angelina appears to be, at least in this film as Mrs. Smith, the world would be a much sexier place.

Mila Kunis in Book of Eli

No, I don’t think we should all stop washing our clothes and wear overalls everywhere.

If anyone convinced me to buy a pair of Oakleys, though, it was Mila Kunis (and everyone else in Book of Eli).

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

If you ever wondered where the idea of the “little black dress” came from, you’re looking at her now.

Lovely Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly embodies timeless glam in this Hollywood classic, complete with huge pearls, thick sunglasses, and simple makeup choices.

 

 

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees, and what it takes to succeed as a student getting an online associates degree remotely from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

 

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A Journey into the World of Anna Sui

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday craziness my very lovely friend Annie (thanks Annie!) sent me the amazing Anna Sui book which was just released in November. I meant to post about it a while ago, but I didn’t, so here for you today is a look at some beautiful Anna Sui magic.

Inside the pages of this book are images that span Anna’s career from her first runway show in 1991 to her 2009 Autumn/Winter collection. The book is loaded with gorgeous pictures that endlessly entertain as you flip your way through two decades of Sui’s unique fashions. Check out this spread from her first collection which was inspired by the teen magazines she read in her youth. These must have influenced the costumes in the film Clueless right?

(click any image to enlarge)

It’s even fun to look at her less successful pieces, like these 1993 grunge-era gems which were relevant in their time, but now seem very dated (but still in a good way).  I especially like the look on the inside lower right, parachute pants and cropped vest over a striped bodysuit? Totally 90s Awesome.

There are also pages and pages of Sui’s fantastical, feminine, timeless looks which have become her signature. She isn’t a designer who has to be “of-the-moment” rather, she creates her own world and takes inspiration from many different times and places.

While a majority of the book is filled with runway shots, there’s also a number of posed images in which the surroundings are as inviting and interesting as the clothes.

In addition to Sui’s fashions, the book features many of her stunning cosmetics ads as well. These are so pretty, and so different from any other beauty ads out there.

My favorite part of the whole book though, has got to be the inclusion of some of Sui’s inspiration boards. It’s fascinating to see all the different things she pulls from to create the ideas for her collections. Interior design, textile swatches, art, graphic design, vintage scarves, all sorts of diverse pieces that add up to a whole idea—it’s amazing to see her process.

There is also a great preface by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson has long been one of Sui’s favorite models), an intro by photographer Steven Meisel, and a forward by Sui herself.

If you love Anna Sui, or just fashion in general, this book is a must-have. I could look through it over and over and keep finding new inspiration in the pages of stunning patterns, unusual combinations and whimsical characters that make up Sui’s dream-like, fantastical world.

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Beauty in the Movies: The Devil Wears Prada

I had a job interview this week, and on my way I couldn’t help thinking of The Devil Wears Prada. That might sound silly, but it was reassuring to know that even if the interview went badly, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as finding Miranda Priestly (or Anna Wintour) sitting at that desk across from you.

The Devil Wears Prada is the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Midwesterner in New York, fresh out of college and desperate for experience. Andy wants to be a journalist, but she finds herself at the world’s top fashion magazine, Runway, interviewing to be the assistant of Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a job a thousand girls would kill for. Miranda isn’t just an editor at a fashion magazine, she is the voice of fashion. Her word is the last word, and all other opinions be damned. She is cold, brutal, and unsympathetic, but also elegant, successful and respected beyond compare.

Miranda hires Andy despite her “frumpy” (ahem, I have the j. crew coat she wears in the opening sequence—it’s cute, ok?) appearance in the hopes that she is different from the fashion obsessed girls who usually land the job. While Andy is up for the challenge, the demands of her new position put her relationship with her family, best friend (Tracie Thoms), and boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) into jeopardy. Andy has to choose what’s important to her, but in the process of self discovery there’s also a bunch of montages, a few Madonna songs, a makeover, and some great designer clothes.

This is not the most unpredictable film, but it certainly has its charms, most specifically Meryl Streep’s perfectly frightening portrayal of Miranda. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, everything from the way she enunciates her words, to the cruel flicker in her eyes while torturing Andy with impossible tasks, further propels the believability of her character. Miranda Priestly makes Working Girl‘s Catherine Parker look like a whiny, disheveled brat. Rumor has it the character was based on Anna Wintour, the notoriously steely editor-in-chief of American Vogue, but Streep creates her own Miranda and delivers a woman who is both vicious and awe-inspiring in her approach to life and business.

Emily Blunt is fantastic and funny as Miranda’s other assistant (the 1st assistant), she is the stand-out among the supporting cast and steals all her scenes right out from under Anne Hathaway. Stanley Tucci is also charming, while stereotypical as Nigel Runway’s Art director who is adored by both Miranda and Andy. Simon Baker plays a roguish writer and Valentino and Giselle (proving she shouldn’t quit her day job) make appearances as well.


Most people have had a boss or supervisor whom they’ve found less than pleasing, but this film takes it to new levels. Miranda’s treatment of Andy could be seen as character building—a tough love of sorts, after all she does learn a lot and come out on top in many ways. Unfortunately the ugly side of that coin is that her sadistic treatment virtually ruins Andy’s life, and as we learn, Miranda’s personal life isn’t all roses and sunshine either, leading the viewer to believe that great success comes only with great sacrifice. It’s an issue I wish the movie explored a bit more, because it feels like we’re meant to believe Miranda must be evil in order to be respected, which forgives her cruelty just a tad too much. There is too much of a shine put on everything in this film and the minute you think you might get to look deeper, you’re placated by pretty clothes, which is fine and can be really enjoyable, but it doesn’t make you think too hard either.

The Devil Wear Prada is a fun, entertaining, possibly unrealistic look at the fashion world. It’s also a coming of age film, and a film about figuring out who you want to be as a professional and as a person—but most of all it’s about really pretty clothes, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and Patricia Field’s beautiful styling. I’d take a film like this over a bland rom-com with Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl any day, because while it might not be groundbreaking, it’s about something other than just men and cliches. Don’t expect to be surprised by the twisting plot or unconventional characters, just get lost in the brilliance of Meryl Streep and the beauty of Chanel while you sit back and wish you could afford designer clothes.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by justinez featuring peep toe shoes

PAUW SS10/42330 009 COTTON –
172 GBP – farfetch.com
Wrap blouses »

Trimmed Cardigan by D&G Dolce&Gabbana
153 GBP – my-wardrobe.com
Knit cardigans »

Whyred Pasca pleated mini skirt
145 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated mini skirts »

Lanvin T-Strap Sandal
$955 – barneys.com
Peep toe shoes »

Bianca Patent Platform Pump
$735 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Christian louboutin pump »

Christian louboutin shoes BLACK
535 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Peep toe shoes »

Gepa Vitello Daino Tote
$1,650 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Prada handbags »

Marc by marc jacobs bags DARK BLUE
440 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Leather totes »

Susan caplan vintage jewellery GOLD
475 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Gold jewelries »

CA & LOU Bracelet
315 EUR – colette.fr
Couture bracelets »

Chanel Gold Medallion Chain Belt
$900 – cmadeleines.com
Chanel belts »

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Beauty in the Movies: Mystic Pizza

I’d planned to feature this movie three weeks ago when it would have been more seasonally apropos, but sometimes Netflix disks malfunction and you just have to deal with it. It’s technically still Fall though, so I ask you to hold off on your holiday mood for a moment (I promise a more seasonally appropriate film next week, barring any Netflix complications) while you celebrate the last of the fallen leaves with a 1980s classic, Mystic Pizza.

Mystic Pizza is one of the few coming of age stories about women, and despite being a “chick flick” (god I’m sick of that label) it doesn’t follow the typical formula. Although many critics falsely state that Mystic Pizza is about three high school girls, or three girls who’ve just graduated from high school, it actually takes place during that limbo period after high school, in your late teens and early twenties, where you’re trying to figure out your place in the world as an adult.


The story centers on three women in the port town of Mystic Connecticut where they work at a pizza parlor known for it’s mysteriously delicious sauce and owned by mother figure Leona (Conchata Ferrell). Daisy Arujo (Julia Roberts) is a free spirit, she is sexy and sassy and looking for a way out of Mystic, any way she can. Her younger sister Kat (Annabeth Gish) is slinging pizzas to save money for tuition at Yale, where she has recently been accepted. Kat is bookish and lacks the big hair and chunky jewelry of her peers—that’s how you know she’s smart. She also likes astronomy and wears pleated pants. Jojo Barboza (Lili Taylor), is practically a third sister, and just as confused about her future as Daisy, especially after fainting at her wedding, much to the surprise of her fiancée (Vincent D’Onofrio).

The three girls, and most of the town, are Portuguese, which plays largely into the story. During the off-season Mystic is blissfully free of the wealthy folks who “summer” in the quaint seaside town. So when Charles Gordon Windsor, Jr. (Adam Storke) shows up at a local bar having been exiled to his parents beach house after getting kicked out of law school, Daisy can’t help but take notice. The two then embark on a whirlwind romance, despite the hindrance of their economic and class differences. The relationship is a far more convincing portrayal of cross-class love than has been explored in other films (ahem, Pretty in Pink, ahem).

At the same time, Kat finds herself in a seemingly doomed relationship of her own. In an effort to score more tuition money she takes a babysitting job watching the child of Yale-educated, ginger-haired architect Tim Travers (William R. Moses). From the minute he steps on-screen you know this pairing is a bad idea, but Kat is naive enough to think a babysitter-employer romance can turn out well.  Although it’s a clichéd situation, it is acted with such conviction by Gish that your heart goes out to her. After all, the reason clichés exist is because they happen often in real life. Everyone likes to think they’re the exception, but rarely is it true. It’s an incredibly common disappointment which requires a willing blindness that so many of us have been guilty of—but it’s learning from our mistakes and experiences which signifies a coming-of-age.

Unlike the others, Jojo and her fisherman fiancée Bill’s relationship, is a cliché turned on its head. Jojo loves Bill but would rather have sex than talk about marriage. When Bill renames his boat “nympho” after her, Jojo screams at him from the dock “you can’t force me to do something I’m not ready to do…and until I am, if I am, the answer is NO!”. It’s an empowering moment, and one that should be equally noted by men who are hesitant to walk down the aisle. Forcing anyone to get married is a bad idea, and if it comes to that, it’s probably best that both parties step back and think about what they’re willing to compromise for the happiness of the person they love, sometimes it’s worth the compromise, and sometimes it’s not—yet another major life lesson thrown into this atypical “chick flick”.

Based on the reviews on IMDB (an fascinating way to see how differently people see the world) a lot of men seem utterly confused by Jojo’s character, as if the idea of a woman who didn’t want to get married but wanted to have sex was entirely fictional. What that says to me is that some men really don’t know women at all, maybe that’s why we keep getting the same tired “chick flicks”. It’s also pretty enlightened that, despite being called a nympho by her fiancée, Jojo isn’t slut-shamed, or made into a caricature of a sex-crazed women (à la Samantha in SATC).

I have to point out Matt Damon’s brief film debut in which he plays a preppy rich kid by the name of “steamer” whose only line is “mom, do you want my green stuff?”. When Roger Ebert reviewed this film in 1988, he said “I have a feeling that “Mystic Pizza” may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars”. I don’t think he was talking about Matt Damon, but Ebert was correct in predicting a lot of big talent would get its start in this film. Obviously Julia Roberts, but also Lili Taylor, Vincent D’Onofrio and even the lesser known Gish (who has continued to work steadily) got their first leading roles in this film.

While Mystic Pizza might not be the most unpredictable or solidly written film, it has endured because of its honesty, which at times may seem saccharine (youth is often sweet as well as sour though isn’t it?). For a lighthearted romantic film, it deals with some big issues; racism, classism, sex, friendship, and figuring out who you are and who you want to be with. If the acting weren’t so earnest, if the clichés weren’t present, the story wouldn’t ring as true, because the most charming part of the film is its smallness. It sucks that when this movie is mentioned it’s emphasized that the characters are blue-collar, hard workers, blah, blah, blah, because what does that say about most films out there? Everyone is inexplicably rich, and how they came to be that way is casually thrown aside (especially in the “chick flick” genre). It’s sad that we don’t see more films about people like the rest of us, because there are just as many interesting stories to be told about everyday people living and working through their “little” lives.

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