Exactly twenty years ago this week, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock acted in a little film called Practical Magic. After watching the trailer back in 1998, I remember thinking, “Yes! A romantic comedy with a Halloween twist! Sandra and Nicole negotiate their wacky love lives set to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s sister anthem. And look! There’s Rizzo from Grease! Where do I sign up?”
I was working at Disney World at the time and lived with my roommate/dear friend Jill. I’m so glad I didn’t have to sleep in my bedroom by myself after watching the flick because I was straight up scared. That trailer is a great example of false advertising. It’s not fun. It’s not wacky. It’s dark and twisty.
For those of you who may not know, I am a scaredy cat weenie. Remember when I confessed that Hocus Pocus creeps me out? Much like that Disney Channel classic, I was ready and willing to give Practical Magic another turn. Why, I was a baby child at twenty-three when I settled into my movie theater chair, popcorn in hand, ready to watch Sandy B. find love again back in the day. Because I am a responsible blogger, I decided to give the show another chance now that I am older, wiser, and less skittish.
Y’all, the scare factor holds up for me. It must be watched in the daytime. With all the lights on. Preferably with someone else in the room.
First of all, the entire movie revolves around the fact that the women in this family are cursed and will never find love. If they do find love, that person dies. Not once have I ever seen this scenario in one of my Hallmark Christmas movies.
Sandra Bullock is devastated for the majority of the movie. If she’s not sad that the husband of her children just died, she’s upset that her beloved sister is off doing no telling what, her kids are considered freaks, and the townsfolk think she’s a witch.
Guess what? She is a witch. And her wayward sister is one, too. When Nicole Kidman has to kill her horrible boyfriend out of self defense, the witches decide they should bring him back to life. So they do and then they kill him again (because he tried to kill them again) and bury him under the rose bush out back.
Remember when Sandra used to fall in love with people while they were sleeping? Let’s bring that girl back.
Of course the bad boyfriend dude refuses to stay dead and Sandra’s daughter can see his ghost outside, but no one else can. Let the record show that I was still waiting for Aretha’s anthem to lighten the mood any moment. Instead we are introduced to a new love interest (yay!) who is looking for the missing guy (unfortunate…) but clearly has feelings for Sandra (yay!) but she can’t date him because the only reason he loves her is because she worked up a spell (boo…) and sad face, he will probably die (double boo…)
And don’t get me started on how Nicole is eventually possessed by the bad guy. Or how he must be exorcised. These are the times when I’m thankful for It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
But with every “blood on the moon” and haunting rendition of “You Were Always On My Mind,” there were one or two moments that didn’t make me hide under a blanket. The sisters and the aunts’ midnight margaritas dance party celebrating putting the lime in the coconut was fun. And Sandra’s quick thinking to call the women on the phone tree to help her break the spell holding Nicole captive was entertaining. Especially the woman who brought her dust buster because she didn’t have a broom.
If we add those scenes up, we’re looking at about ten minutes worth of moments that didn’t make me squirm. Am I the only one who feels this way? Should I just stay away from Halloween genre movies all together? Unless, you know, they are animated and fifty-years-old?