Baby Boom Is Our Aesthetic

If Baby Boom (1987) isn’t on your pre-Valentine’s Day rom-com lineup, it should be. It is the romantic comedy for cozy, wintery-but-not-Christmas vibes. First of all, it’s a Nancy Meyers flick so you know the kitchen’s gonna be on point. Second, it’s from 1987 and lovingly skewers the aspirational yuppies of the era – including a wholesome, organic baby food business that would STILL draw the devotion of upper-class yummy mummies today. Third, it has all of the romcom features you’ve come to know and love: a career woman who doesn’t have time for love! Unexpectedly becoming the custodian of a baby! A handsome man with a romcom job! A charming old farmhouse with problems! I am the same age as Baby Elizabeth, so the sweet pastel baby clothes are like looking into an old family album. For some reason Baby Boom seldom comes up in conversation about ’80s romcoms, but give it a watch or rewatch … it just might be your February romcom aesthetic, too.

The opening new segment

Women have jobs! They’re doctors AND lawyers! Ladies having it all! It’s SO ’80s. The higher the shoulder pads, the more cushion busting through the glass ceiling?

J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) works 70-80 hours a week. I’d rather be middle-class.

J.C.’s menswear-y satin robe and tortoiseshell glasses

It’s like she might get called to a board meeting pajama party and she dressed for it just in case.

Spoiler: her robe gets more cozy when she inherits a baby and moves to New England

Elizabeth’s  and J.C.’s “Inheriting A Baby Outfits”

J.C. inherits a baby, which is truly my dream scenario – not having to be pregnant, go through all the steps of fostering or adoption, or make an affirmative decision about whether or not I want a baby. Elizabeth (Kristina and Michelle Kennedy) wears a classic baby coat and hat and J.C. wears my favorite of her businesswear outfits, with a floppy bow, Peter Pan collar and oversized belted jacket that has almost Edwardian vibes. The shoulderpad/belt combo makes her waist look tiny, so that’s why people used to do that. She changes back into it at the end to turn down the offer to buy her baby food company, because it’s her main outfit to do important things in.

Another great one. When did we stop wearing brooches?

P.S., I get that J.C. has never held a baby before, but she has presumably held an object before and this isn’t how you do that, either.

By the way, J.C. name-drops two local-for-me companies, reminding me of how awesome my city was doing in the ’80s, comparatively.

Elizabeth …. MUDGE?!

Elizabeth almost gets adopted by two dustbowl people who come straight out of the Fake Annie’s Parents lineup in the Warbucks mansion. J.C. can’t do it. Guess she has time for love after all.

These Spiky Moms

These moms are all live-action versions of Angelica’s mom from Rugrats. They go on at length about all of the activities their toddlers are enrolled in and the extensive intellectual standards their 3-year-olds have met. Hey baby boomers, if you don’t like millennials just remember that you made us this way.

Hadleyville, In General

J.C. and Elizabeth arrive in town during the fall because Nancy Meyers knows what’s up. There’s a general store and a church, and it looks like a living history museum.

I love that J.C.’s plan for what they’ll do in New England is “get into quilts,” which should be timeless but feels very 80s Businesswoman Who Has Had It.

J.C.’s Yellow Farmhouse, Exterior

J.C. buys a dollhouse-looking yellow clapboard farmhouse. I want it. It’s cheerful and sweet with tasteful landscaping. There are window boxes and real shutters! However, the plumbing is shot and will cost $7,000-8,000 which feels steep for 30 years ago? For reference I recently repiped only my basement (copper, because go big or go home) and it was maybe like $1,500. Oh, and she also needs a new roof and well. But it looks so nicely-maintained?

It’s even cuter in spring because this house was made to have tulips and rabbits around.

As usual, our __ Is Our Aesthetic posts feature movies with absolutely delightful houses. That’s why images of the Baby Boom house will take you to the Hooked On Houses post for this film. It’s one of my favorite blogs and they do a great job highlighting some of the most charming homes in TV and film.

J.C.’s House During The Snowstorm

Living in a snowy city, sometimes it takes seeing it onscreen to remember how pretty it is.

The Richies From NY

Some rich people go to the local general store and can’t get enough of the authentic boots, plaid shirts, and baby food that J.C. made. They’re exactly like the 2018 version of yuppies, honestly.

The whole movie feels really modern because the home business is so familiar today — but in a time before Pinterest/Etsy moms and Whole Foods in every city, J.C. was seriously cutting edge. When I was watching I was reminded of a later Nancy Meyers film, The Intern, and apparently that was no mistake. The kitchen from The Intern even echoes the muted blue cabinets from Baby Boom!

The Hadleyville maple festival

This small-town maple festival is exactly how I want my parties. All the ladies wear big Sloane Ranger dresses, there are twinkling lights, and everyone just kind of talks and has snacks. There’s a mural with a barn and some geese on it. Nobody’s suit fits right. Get into it.

J.C.’s Nancy Meyers Kitchen

Nancy was still new to the charming romcom kitchen game in 1987, but all her talent was there from the start. Vintage-style fridge, exposed ceiling beams, baskets, fireplace and clapboard. The cabinets are painted the exact powdery blue I keep seeing in chalk paint now. Windows everywhere. There’s enough space for a work table, an eating table, a couch, hutch and a rocking chair, plus space to tap dance around all of them if you’re so inclined.  The cabinet fronts are fitted with gingham. J.C. and the handsome vet have their first kiss in the kitchen because all any woman wants is to have a first kiss in a Nancy Meyers kitchen.

The Yellow Farmhouse, Interior

First of all, I love how the woodwork isn’t perfectly freshly painted, so it looks like someone actually has lived there a long time. Second, check out these wood floors, comfy Laura Ashley-looking furniture, natural light, and worn-in looking antiques.

 

 

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Pop Culture Blind Spot: First Wives Club

“What does it say? ‘I beat Meryl!'”

Those were the words Jennifer Lawrence said when she got on stage to accept her Golden Globe for Silver Linings Playbook back in 2013, and for people like me who had a certain pop culture blind spot, the joke went over their heads. Apparently it’s a quote from First Wives Club by Bette Midler’s character, and J Law being J Law, just assumed everyone would get that and not think it was a dig at the world’s best actress.

Well I can safely say that now, I understand the reference because I finally watched First Wives Club for the first time. First Time First Wives Club Club? No? Ok Fair. Read on for more pop culture refs and early celeb cameos from one of the best comedies in movie history.

My knowledge of First Wives Club: Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn are are recently divorced from their husbands. Probably rich husbands. Now on their second, much younger wives. Comedy and sisterhood ensues.

Netflix description: Following a friend’s suicide after her husband dumps her for a younger model, three women plot payback against their two-timing exes. 

… The club was started because of suicide? And this is a comedy???

The pop art title credits are giving me vibes I wasn’t expecting.

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MAGGIE SMITH? VICTOR GARBER? ELIZABETH BERKLEY? BRONSON PINCHOT/BALKI?! Truly had no idea these fine folks were in this movie.

And then Stockard Channing shows up straight from There Are Worse Things I Could Do… Oh God is she going to kill herself?

She killed herself :\

Diane Keaton’s kitchen got the Nancy Meyers treatment.

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Archaic 1996 item watch: Bette Midler’s son’s cassette tape

Does Bronson Pinchot ever get to use his real accent when he acts?

Diane Keaton wins Most Supportive Mother Award:

Prediction: Diane Keaton’s inability to get truly angry will finally come to a head when it matters the most. Like Cameron Diaz crying in The Holiday.

1996 was a really big year for Dan Hedaya, right?

Cameo Alert: SJP! Rob Reiner! Timothy Olyphant! Rev Cam! What a star-studded cast.

Speaking of star studded, the British bartender Goldie Hawn is complaining to about playing a mother looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. Naturally, he was in a singular episode of Gilmore Girls as the wedding planner hired by Emily to organize Lor and Christopher’s wedding. He had about 5 minutes of screen time (if that), but THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS.

Oh look, Diane Keaton’s anger is coming through at the perfect time – when she finds out her husband not only wants a divorce but is sleeping with her therapist. Good call, Trace.

Diane Keaton reading Stockard Channing’s final letter: “Perhaps Gil isn’t the problem. Perhaps loneliness is. Please take care of each other. Love, Cynthia.”

Diane Keaton’s mom: “And on such pretty stationery.”

I am the mom.

My new aesthetic is three ladies putting their wedding rings in the champagne glasses.

THEY’RE GOING TO A GAY BAR TO SUPPORT DIANE KEATON’S LESBIAN DAUGHTER. AND GOLDIE HAWN DANCING WITH THE GAYS IS EVERYTHING.

Cameo Alert: Lea Delaria as a *gasp* lesbian who hits on Goldie Hawn, who just loves attention, and Debra Monk is the drowning her sorrows at the bar because her girlfriend left her.

Bette Midler: He brought her (new wife). To my son’s Bar Mitzvah.

Diane Keaton: Is she a gift?

Cameo Alert: Elizabeth Berkley is Victor Garber’s new girl? And she’s an aspiring actress?! Her acting is horrible. Is this what she was like in Showgirls?

And here we have the famous “I beat Meryl!” scene:

Maggie Smith’s hair is the definition of “The higher the hair the closer to God”. Also this may be the first time I’ve ever seen Maggie Smith act without her British accent?

I just realized the magical reunion that is SJP’s boyfriend’s ex-wife is Bette Midler. Confession: I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus either.

One of my favorite things about movies from the ’90s is when people use computers, because it looks so extremely archaic compared to the handheld smartphones we have today. The ladies attempting to find Morty’s tax returns is like Julianne using Kimmy’s dad’s computer in My Best Friend’s Wedding.

I love the irony that these ladies almost died falling down the side of a building in scaffolding kind of like Stockard Channing.

This singing bit between the trio is adorable.

Cameo Alert: Kate Burton as the Goldie Hawn superfan who’s in bed when she and the girls are flying down the building.

THIS BLOW UP SCENE IS 100:

Cameo Alert: JK Simmons as the police officer/mobster(?) who handcuffs Morty

Also my new aesthetic: Bette Midler chastising/blackmailing Morty with hanging carcasses behind her.

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YASSS LADIES WORK THESE PANTSUITS. PANTSUIT NATION.

How is Morty signing a check to the “First Wives Club”? Are they a company LLC now? I feel like I missed something.

Cameo Alert: Kathie Lee Gifford as a local NY reporter. I miss Reege.

They started a crisis center in Cynthia’s name. I love this. What a great movie!

Cameo Alert: Gloria Steinem at their party! And Ivana Trump saying an iconic line. I CAN’T GET AWAY FROM ANY OF THE TRUMPS.

Ok the singing bit reprise is wonderful. And has me a little emo.

What a delightful film! I get why people love it so much. Yay ladies doing it for themselves! #NastyWomen! #WearWhite!

First Wives Club is now streaming on Amazon & Hulu