Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.
starch factory maine 1280x720
Picture of sippicancottage


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Chick Flick

I’m not subjected to chick flicks much. My wife is a perfectly sensible person, and is not in need of much “Sisters Gettin Their Groove Of The Ya Ya Yanni Ripped Bodice You’ve Got E-Mail You’ve Got She-Male Altar of Andie MacDowell A River And A Spotted Liver Runs Through It.” She’s not much interested in westerns either, whether they’re of the John Wayne variety or the more recent cuddlin’ cowboys. Thank the lord.

But then again, she’s not all that interested in watching “Lawrence of Arabia” or “The Godfather” over and over again either. Chicks are like that. I guess. What the hell do I know about it?

But if I had to point out a chick flick, and say convincingly it’s both good and estrogeny, could I do it? No fair saying “Groundhog Day.” Everybody likes that one. It’s like saying your favorite book is the Bible during a presidential debate. Yeah, sure it is. I bet you read it when you’re in the bathroom and at the beach, too. Yeah, guys like “Groundhog Day” too, but all in all, we’d rather watch Sonny Corleone hit his brother-in-law with a garbage can lid. Again.

OK, so you hold a gun– or perhaps, a curling iron –to my head: pick a chick flick that’s good and chicks like.

That’s easy. “To Sir, With Love”. And the music’s good too:

You can make a lot of money making bar bets about who sang that one. Take action all night long on Petula Clark and Shirley Bassey, and then clean up when you tell them it’s Lulu. It’s the best kind of trivia question, too; everyone has a guess, and everyone that guesses wrong says: “Of course!” when you reveal the answer, not: “Who?”

Why is “To Sir, With Love” a chick movie you ought to watch, especially if you’re a chick? Because it’s about becoming a woman,and doing so by shedding all the infantile delusions young girls have about being an adult, and really being one. Let’s face it, if this movie was made today, the teenage girl Judy Geeson played would blossom as a woman by sleeping with the teacher, that handsome Sidney Poitier. That’s icky all around, and forty years ago, they knew that. Do you think you’d find this quote in a movie today:

I am tired of your impudence, rough behavior, and sluttish manner. There are certain things a decent woman keeps private. If you must play these disgusting games, DO THEM IN YOUR OWN HOME AND NOT IN MY CLASSROOM!”

It’s important that people barely grown don’t think they’re being adults by doing adult things in a childish way. Why chicks put up with movie after movie of old men trying to cadge one last blast of jerky adolescence out of the world at young girls’ expense, like vampires, and watching young women submit to such indignities as an entre to adult society, is beyond me. I don’t much care for the obverse of that seedy coin either– old broads trying to find one last landscaper to sleep with them before they swap the G string for Depends. Double ick.

Back when they made this movie, people could still write sophisticated lyrics with a sort of narrative in them– neither a sermon nor a simple exhortation to nihilism — and people still knew how to sing them. And as you watch little Lulu belt it out, you can hear her gratitude and admiration for the man that allowed her to be an adolescent while coaxing her into being a real, adult, woman. A woman person.

Yeah; it’s a chick flick. Chicks are people too, ain’t they?

13 Responses

  1. A damn fine song, and movie to boot. I hear it now but rarely.

    Your post encapsulates why I disliked American Beauty so much. Where To Sir With love had actual adults in it, American Beauty tries to simultaneously honor and warn about pedophilia. The whole effort simply made me mad.

    Whatever happened to the adults in movies? I miss those stories.

  2. It’s like saying your favorite book is the Bible during a presidential debate. Yeah, sure it is.

    What if you say it Homer Simpson style? “The Bible — the Practical Joker’s Bible….”

  3. See, that’s another reason why I’ll never be President. John 3:16 isn’t even my favorite Bible verse.

    And who would elect a guy whose favorite movie is “The Princess Bride”? You can bet that won’t sell in Iowa.

  4. I have a terrible soft spot for Christopher Guest – the Count in the Princess Bride.

    Pogo- Beats me. I didn’t bother even watching that movie. That story line is so worn out. Yeah, old guy mucks up everybody’s life with young girl. That’s fresh in Hollywood, huh?

    Icepick- I say everything Homer Simpson style. Saves time.

  5. I’m putting it on my NetFlix list. [Right after Deadwood, Sopranos and Carnivale].

    I have learned many great movie references by watching my husband’s guy flix–Cool Hand Luke, Reservoir Dogs, GodFather, Apocalypse Now, Lonesome Dove. He tolerates my chick flicks and edifies me with his selections.

    Pastor Jeff: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    As you wish.

  6. Hah! Make no mistake: I’ve ALWAYS known we’re talking Lulu here. I even paused, before entering my comment here, to dial up the song itself and have it serve as backdrop.

    And I love that movie …

    Always have …

    Ah, me own Sidney: the older I get, the more I appreciate my earliest crushes.

  7. Heck, I loved the book on which the movie was based, and I’m sure I still have my raggedy copy, which surely must have been from some garage sale, since, if I remember correctly, it’s an edition well preceding the movie’s advent, though I think I read the book around the same time as the release of the movie, which I didn’t see until a couple or so years later.

    Experienced the song in “real time,” though.

  8. Actually, now that I think about it, do people generally know that the experience of the (real) teacher was not a story of the ’60s, but earlier?

    Important to know that, it strikes me.

    vh: fenuu

    Not about fen-g-shui, but fen-h-uu-manity

    Heh. How about that.

  9. I also think the movie is about, ahem, a bit more than what you’ve outlined.

    And–so shoot me!–probably doesn’t really qualify as a true “chick flick.”

    But then, no one would ever refer to me as a chick anymore. I’m not even sure they ever did.

  10. Jackie Brown is my favorite semi-recent chick flick.

    (unless you are willing to accept that Kill Bill (1&2 combined) is also a chick flick, then that film wins out)

    (all Tarantino films are relationship dramas in one way or another, very chick flick-y if you ask me, despite all the guns, swearing and blood)

    Somehow never saw To Sir With Love. Poitier always struck me as too damn noble.

    Very scary and reproachful (and I loathe 60s message movies regarding race, which I’ve always assumed every film he’s ever been in was).

    I do find myself watching in detached horror when recent chick flicks show up on cable from time to time. Can’t explain why.

  11. marvelous comments from everybody.

    I like hearing about reader iam’s very real affection for the thing.

  12. This reminds me of an essay by Nick Hornby on how he noticed that he would quite literally fall in love with certain songs, engendering the same feelings and swings he might have in a schoolboy crush.

    Some loves stay forever, he said, and I agree, at least about this Lulu song. Man. It’s so sublime, it’s almost painful to listen to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.