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Monday, November 30, 2015


I wanted to do one more non-Christmas classic before we dive into four straight weeks of Christmas reviews and the movie I chose is Steel Magnolias. Yeah, yeah, I know. Chick flick, right? Except that this chick flick is one that all guys should give a chance because the chicks in this flick are harder edge than most guys in those adventure movies, and the story here is extremely compelling.

I found myself, one day many years ago, sitting on my couch (back when I had a couch) wondering what I should watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I caught the very beginning of this movie that had a very funny exchange between Tom Skerritt and Shirley MacLaine. I didn’t really pay attention to the movie title as I was flipping around and did not find out it was Steel Magnolias until the next commercial break. I have to admit, I was hooked and I could not stop watching.

It didn’t take me long to realize what the target market was for this movie, but none of that really mattered. There were so many funny little jokes running through the movie that worked so well that I couldn’t stop watching. But the one thing that really drags you into this movie is how it ratchets up the emotion until it gets to the emotional pinnacle towards the end. The whole movie is geared around how this group of lifelong friends handles the emotional peak in this movie, and it is done so well. The comedy intertwined within the pain is just perfect, and I have watched the movie several times since that first viewing . . . I am proud to say.

The other element of this movie that dragged me in is the way it celebrates small town life. Being a small town guy, I am always partial to movies that glorify the beauties of living in a small town. Back when I first saw this movie, Lockport was still the small town I wanted it to be. For a couple of decades, we lost our way and lost touch with each other. Maybe it is the resurgence of Lockport as that typical American small town that prompted me to write this review. As I sit in thought on the idea, I am almost positive that Lockport’s recent resurgence as a great little small town is what made me think of Steel Magnolias. That, my friends, is a strong emotional association.

In Lockport, people know each other. In Steel Magnolias, everyone knew each other. It was set in a small town that actually acted like a small town, and I could appreciate that. The small town gatherings reminded me of what we used to have, and what we have brought back again. I guess you could say that I saw a lot of Lockport in Steel Magnolias and that is one of the reasons this movie resonated with me.

While I usually agree with all of the casting in the classics I review, I have to disagree with Dolly Parton being cast as Truvy Jones. I get the idea that Truvy is supposed to be the “outsider” of the group until the new outsider Annelle (played by Daryl Hannah) shows up, but something about Parton’s acting just falls flat for me. This was a full nine years after she had done 9 To 5 and I just was not feeling the emotion from her performance. When compared to the job the other actresses in the ensemble did, Parton stands out as being particularly flat (Ha! Insert bad Dolly Parton joke here.).

Yes, it is a chick flick. But it is also an emotional roller coaster that gets you to really care about what is going on with all of the characters. From a guy’s perspective, Steel Magnolias is just a really good movie with an excellent cast. The comedy is really funny, and the emotion is thick. My wife loves this movie too, but she mostly gets into the sappy parts of it which I just tended to ignore. Why is this a classic? Because it is a chick flick with something for everyone, and that is hard to find.

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

 +George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic and noted hater of chick flicks, except Steel Magnolias. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.



East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.

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