WHEN A MOVIE IS MADE about an incredibly talented female athlete (skater, gymnast, dancer come to mind) who somehow hurts herself in a manner so tragic that it ends her promising/active career, but through perseverance, hard work, and the love and support of family and friends, she makes a remarkable comeback and is even more amazing as a damaged athlete than she was as a psychically perfect athlete, etcetera, it’s called a chick-flick.
But when a movie is made about an incredibly talented male athlete (baseball player, football player, boxer come to mind) who somehow hurts himself in a manner so tragic that it ends his promising/active career, but through perseverance, hard work, and the love and support of family and friends, he makes a remarkable comeback and is even more amazing as a damaged athlete than he was as a psychically perfect athlete, etcetera, it’s called a drama.
Postscript: Chick-flicks vs buddy-flicks
Type “chick flicks” into Google and you’ll see a page of sites offering their version of the best chick flicks of all time. I chose the Filmsite list not because it was the best—in fact, I wouldn’t even recommend it: start with Glamour’s “The Best Chick Flicks of All Time; Movies Like Mean Girls” first and then try a few of the others. But I selected Filmsite here because its introduction (below) is so condescending, telling us that the site’s editor only put it together as an afterthought! How bloody appropriate given Filmsite is a guy’s site …
“After examining Filmsite’s own Greatest ‘Guy’ Movies of All-Time or the 100 Greatest Guy Movies Ever Made and the 50 Best Guy Movies of All Time, it only seemed fair to put together a list of gal films or chick flicks (a demeaning and damning term, however, since this sub-genre of film was traditionally known as the “woman’s films - melodramas ” in the ’30s and ’40s).
It is not supposed to be an all-inclusive and comprehensive collection of all ‘chick flicks’ ever made—that would be impossible. Familiar quotes or taglines from each film have been included in this compilation.
Chick flicks have often been put down as trite, sappy, emotional, soap-opera-ish, cliched, melodramatic, weepy, and trivial. Often considered an all-encompassing sub-genre, they mostly include dialogue-laden, formulated romantic comedies (with mis-matched lovers or female relationships), tearjerkers and gal-pal films, movies about family crises and emotional catharsis, some traditional weepies and fantasy-action adventures, sometimes with foul-mouthed and empowered females, and female bonding situations involving families, mothers, daughters and children.
Basic themes of chick flicks include self-discovery, efforts to find the right man (although often misguided or attracting the wrong one), mistaken identity complications, various love triangles, Cinderella or ugly-duckling tales, and lots of female bonding.
From the following list, it appears that ‘chick’ flicks have become a prominent staple of films beginning in the mid-1980s and forever since. Compared to the earlier ‘woman’s film,’ film critic Molly Haskell has written that the:
[The] chick flick, chirrupy and upbeat, sings a different tune, more defiant and ironic, postmodern and post-feminist, like the growling braggadocio of grrrl power. Where grrrl power says ‘I can be cute and assertive too,’ chick flick says, ‘I’m emancipated but it’s OK to long for romance, to get hung up on a guy, to obsess about mothers or children.’ ”