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Candy For the Parents: Sexy Witches!!
Four flicks to watch when you realize the Craft chicks are now the same age as your kids.
While we’ve got only adults in the room, I’d like to introduce you to TBP’s new sister project, the Spread. The Spread is a weekly compendium of the best of women’s media—stories for/by/about women from magazines, websites, podcasts, documentaries, et al.—that also includes context and thoughts (and feelings!) from my former Elle work wife Maggie and yours truly. Like TBP, the Spread is fun and weird and (I hope!) helpful. Unlike TBP, the Spread is not family-friendly. It’s more of a put-the-kids-to-bed-then-scroll-like-crazy-until-suddenly-it’s-2 a.m. kind of treat. And it’s free. Please consider signing up here!
OK, back to the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky stuff1.
Happy Halloween Eve Eve Eve! Have you procured your pumpkins yet? We have not! Your candy? We’ve got about a third of what we’ll need! Your case of house wine for any grownups the black cat might drag in? That, we’ve got! Anyway. We’re here to talk about movies and, in a rare twist for TBP, adult movies involving appealing witches at that. Still, I should start with a disclaimer: I’m not saying these movies are great. In fact, none of them are great. (I rewatched them all—and several others that did not make the cut—for you this week, in hopes that this time one of them would register as great. Yes, I take the honor of being welcomed into your inbox that seriously!) But they’re still good and can hit the spot for this particular weekend, especially if you plan to stream amid doorbell ding-dongs or while you otherwise entertain. In other words, the category is… FESTIVE!
The Witches of Eastwick (1987; HBO Max):
This four-headed monster—starring Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher, and, as the devil himself, Jack Nicholson—lives up to tonight’s theme with come-hither tendrils and period-perfect lamé to spare. While the story of three female friends who all end up falling for Satan isn’t exactly feminist, we’ll wave it through owing to the bonkers, scorched-earth third act…and because it’s irresistible to watch young Sarandon, Pfeiffer, and Cher play off each other in this clever-ish, madcap horror show. Have y’all read the Updike novel upon which Eastwick is based? It’s on my list right after all those pumpkins and candy errands.
Practical Magic (1998; rent for $3.99 via Amazon Prime et al.):
The Bigger Picture often laments the end of the rom-com era, in which this flick starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock as sister enchantresses firmly sits. Though the movie’s not the cream of the candy corn crop—the plot is raggedy, overstuffed, and at times full-on cringey—this is Bullock and Kidman doing what they do well: Charm. It’s also really fun to reacquaint oneself with the Kidman of 20+ years back, when even in the role of an otherworldly creature, she looks far more human than the Nicole we now know. Also, her bangs are spectacular.
The Love Witch (2016; free on Vudu, Crackle, and Pluto):
I like an arty film as much as the next former Video Librarian, but try as I might, I couldn’t lose myself in this trippy horror-comedy. But perhaps it’s right up your alley! Especially if you dig groovy duds, far-out plotting, lots of s-e-x, and not having to pay to watch.
Beautiful Creatures (2013, rent from $3.99 via Amazon Prime)
Where was I when this movie hit theaters on Valentine’s Day 2013?! (According to my Google calendar I was feting my mother on her birthday at my apartment on the Lower East Side with a take-out feast from my dearly departed favorite restaurant, Mission Chinese. Not that I meant this question literally…) The should-be camp classic2 that I magically discovered while researching this newsletter follows a South Carol-ah-nah boy as he meets and then falls into infatuation with a new-to-town witch. The story is familiar, yes, but the Bible Belt backdrop (including ah-may-zin accents3) and over-the-top supporting performances from Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, and Emma Freakin’ Thompson may just make it worth a few of your hard-earned bucks this Halloween weekend. One note: This movie sort of stretches the theme of this list given that the lead is a high-school kid. (And it’s not the Grease or even Friday Night Lights situation where consenting 20- and 30-somethings play teenagers; these actors look young because they were young.) On the other hand, it’s the one pick in this special edition of TBP that you could conceivably watch with your own high-school spawn or stepspawn without perishing from embarrassment.
Slightly misleading since we’re saving the actual Addams Family movie for another day—it’s too rich and, I believe, too much fun NOT to show the kids despite its macabre edges (by which I mean pretty much the entire 1:40 runtime) to include in a grownups-only post. As I learned this week in the New York Times’s parenting newsletter, I’m not the only one who is onto this seminal film as a family watch!
Maybe this is a classic among some generations? Just admitting that, at 37, it’s new to me.
As a person with a very noticeable Southern accent, I can do this bit. Thanks.