Pop Culture Blind Spot: Practical Magic

I have never seen Practical Magic. This, despite my love for Sandra Bullock (a love so deep I call her Sandy), comfy 90s movies where people wear sweaters, and witchy things. Most of my knowledge about Practical Magic comes from surfing past it on HBO during my childhood, and commercials for Charmed, a TV show about sister witches that is a different thing entirely from Practical Magic. Anyway, it feels like fall here in upstate New York, which means it feels like time for a fall movie… which I assume Practical Magic is, based on the witches.

The Netflix blurb:

Thanks to their powers, things come easy to these sisters… except keeping a man. Alive, that is.

First of all, this is some of the Netflix copy writers’ best work. Second, hard same.

We learn that the women in the Owens family have been witches since puritan New England. Oh, I love this already. If you haven’t gone down a Salem Witch Trials documentary spiral yet, I suggest it. Your YouTube suggestions will get a bit weird for a while but it will be worth it.

There’s a Victorian house, too! [Profiled here on my fav, Hooked on Houses]

The girls move there with their aunts after their dad falls victim to a centuries-old curse. Everyone wears draped, lacy dresses and florals with scarfs and floppy hats and statement earrings, exactly how you’d want witches in a Victorian house to dress. [I already feel a Practical Magic Is My Aesthetic post coming on.]

 

Work those April Cornell catalog vibes, ladies.

Child Sandy Bullock (Sally) looks like adult Sandy Bullock. Child Nicole Kidman (Gillian) does not really look like adult Nicole Kidman, but even casting directors are victims of All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome.

Child Sally, by the way? None other than little Camilla Belle, who actually DOES resemble adult Sandra Bullock these days, now that you mention it.

Adult Camilla

We’ve circled back to the late ’90s, fashion wise, and I like Sally’s straight-leg jeans. She also has one of those sweaters with the big stripe across the middle. REAL thing 90s kids remember: those sweaters with one big stripe across the middle.

IMPORTANT: There’s a scene where This Kiss by Faith Hill plays as Sally falls in love with a handsome man and, over time, marries him and has two kids. Practical Magic and This Kiss have definitely lived in the same mental file folder in my brain for these two decades. Meanwhile, Gillian leaves New England and dances whitely by a pool. Just watch it, it’s the best of comfy ‘normcore’ 90s romcom montages:

Like all of us, Gillian sings the soprano parts of Case Of You while driving and feeling some feelings.

On one hand, Gillian and Sally have a horrible curse wherein every man they love is doomed (RIP Gillian’s husband, Minute 5 – Minute 7, roughly). On the other, they have gorgeous, full blowouts and a bedroom fireplace.

If you didn’t get enough Practical Magic interiors from Hooked on Houses, click on this pic. I’m obsessed.

Whoopsie! The sisters killed a man by accident. He was Jimmy, Gillian’s garbage love interest who she drugged and brought cross country, but don’t feel too bad because he was secretly a killer as well . The gals take a real ad-hoc, non-Hogwarts-approved method of resurrecting him, doing the spell on their ample kitchen island. It doesn’t go great, so now they have to cover up his death. It’s a drag.

It’s not a movie about ‘strong female characters’ (TM Netflix) without a scene where they dance around the kitchen. Just ask Hidden Figures (a movie I loved, for the record).

A longer stretch of this movie than I expected is centered on covering up an accidental death. It’s fine but not what I was expecting. Aidan Quinn arrives to investigate Jimmy’s disappearance but also to fall in love with Sally. He is unusually handsome for someone named Gary. He’s ALSO the dream man Sally described as a child.

The reanimated corpse of Jimmy confronts Hot Gary  in the beautiful attic. I don’t know if witches need money, but they could rent that thing out for some serious bucks.

This is not an attack on anybody named Kylie or who named their daughter Kylie, but man, Kylie is NOT something a witch would name a child. [:Your Kris Jenner joke goes here:] I guess she was born during Sally’s trying-not-to-be-witchy phase.

The witch sisters need to expel Jimmy’s spirit and to do that they need a coven, which is basically like a quorum. Sally does what any small-town single mom would do: activates the school phone tree.

PS guess who Kylie is? A baby Evan Rachel Wood. I had no idea, this whole time. Along with All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome is the related Red Hair Renders You Instantly Unrecognizable Syndrome (hers is dyed, to perpetuate the one brown haired kid/one ginger kid thing her family has going).

She looks exactly like she does now, just with red hair.

In case you were worried, there’s a great witches-with-brooms scene. They just sweep with them, but still. They sweep OUT an evil spirit. The family curse is broken and now Gillian and Sally can fall in love without casualties.

The witches dress up as witches (but stereotypical ones) and fly from their roof on Halloween. The neighbors EAT IT UP. Just as I did this movie. It was cute.

 

P.S.: Not all of the music was by Bonnie Raitt and Mary Chapin Carpenter but it was all LIKE that.

 

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ICYMI: Two Lies & a Truth with Ben Affleck

Ever since Ben started dating Gwyneth Paltrow, he’s been at the center of the tabloids. And recently, there were new rumors that Jennifer Garner is preggo with their fourth child, which she has denied (and previously stated that she’s done having kids). Whether she’s telling the truth or not, here are some things about her hubby that we’re more willing to believe than Jen with child.

Things I’m Willing To Believe About Ben Affleck

Well, friends, we’ve cycled back into that biennial rumor that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are having another baby. Frankly, I just don’t know why this is a concern. Is it because people are worried about overpopulation? Because it’s not like the world is overpopulated with charming, well-dressed children who are genetically suited to star in romantic comedies and movies where they avenge the deaths of their blue-collar family members. If there even is a quota on that, we haven’t hit it.

The worst thing about these rumors is they usually say that Affleck is a massive jerk, and Garner is having another kid to “hold onto him.” I have a very specific, mostly baseless mental concept of Ben Affleck, and that just doesn’t fit with it. My Mental Ben Affleck could best be described as a “classy Masshole.” He has a heart of gold, or maybe the outside is gold and the inside is some kind of craft beer.

There are some fictional facts I’m willing to believe about Ben Affleck, but they’re more like this:

  • Ben Affleck’s first swear as a child was “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”
  • All of Ben Affleck’s high school girl friends had names that ended in “een”: Maureen, Colleen, Eileen, etc.
  •  The city of Boston has issued Ben Affleck a platinum Charlie Card.

On the regular CharlieCard, Ben Affleck is also the artist’s model for the guy in the ball cap blocking the door.

  • Ben Affleck lost his virginity at Fenway (it was closed), at whichever age you, personally, consider neither too young nor too old.
  • Every year, Ben Affleck makes a “Good Will Hunting” pun at his annual hunting weekend with the boys. Nobody thinks it’s funny, ever.
  • Whenever you see Ben Affleck carrying a Starbucks cup, don’t be fooled: it’s actually Dunkin’ Donuts inside.
  • Ben Affleck’s confirmation name is Matt. Matt Damon’s confirmation name is Ben. (Imaginary Ben Affleck is Catholic, although Real Ben Affleck is, evidently, not).
  • When they’re making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow, the Garner-Afflecks use an affected British accent. Violet’s is particularly good.
  • Ben Affleck is constantly scheming to become best bros with Bradley Cooper.

    Can you blame the man?


Pop quiz: Ben Affleck is fluent in Spanish – Si o another thing I’m willing to believe about him but is actually false? If you picked, ‘Si’, you win! Ben spent a summer in Mexico and can speak espanol list a lot of Los Angeles. Here are some other actors who can speak more than one languge – including his ex Gwyneth and future BFF Bradley Cooper.


Bilingual Actors Who Don’t Need Rosetta Stone

I recently came across this gem on Tumblr, in which RDJ & Gwyneth Paltrow are at a press conference for Iron Man 3 in France, and Pepper Potts was a show off and answered all the questions in French.

Turns out Gwyneth spent a summer in Paris, which explains her flunecy.

And she also speaks Spanish, since she also spent a lot of time in Toledo, Spain as a teen. Unfortunately she’s doing an interview about Contagion – the worst movie I will never see – so it’s probably good that I can only understand about 75% of this.

Speaking of Spanish and Gwyneth, her former boyfriend Ben Affleck also speaks Spanish, since both he and his bro Casey spent time in Mexico as teens. Also, re this vid: Ben Affleck + The Town + Ben talking about Juan Hamm being handsome = Traci needing an inhaler

And more hot guys speaking languages I don’t understand:

Bradley Cooper speaking French **SWOOON** He’s so friggin good. And all I know is that he mentions Leonardo DiCaprio, but says his name in a very French accent.

A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt also speaking French and channelling his bud Heath Ledger

We know Colin Firth can put together a sentence in Portugese per Love Actually, but IRL, he’s much better at Italian.

The daughter of a German opera singer, Sandra Bullock lived in Deutschland for most of her childhood. I really hope she’s teaching little Louie German too. I mean, how cute would that be?

Natalie Portman is known for staying strong with her Jewish roots, so naturally, Hebrew is among one of her many talents.

Ugh. Charlize Theron is not only gorgeous but she speaks Afrikaans, her native language from South Africa. Whatever. I used to be able to speak Pig Latin and that made up language from Zoom.

Mila Kunis moved to West Hollywood from Ukraine with her family, and still speaks fluent Russian. My favorite part of this interview is watching Justin Timberlake clearly have no idea what she’s saying.

Bilingual Actors Who Don’t Need Rosetta Stone

I recently came across this gem on Tumblr, in which RDJ & Gwyneth Paltrow are at a press conference for Iron Man 3 in France, and Pepper Potts was a show off and answered all the questions in French.

Turns out Gwyneth spent a summer in Paris, which explains her flunecy.

And she also speaks Spanish, since she also spent a lot of time in Toledo, Spain as a teen. Unfortunately she’s doing an interview about Contagion – the worst movie I will never see – so it’s probably good that I can only understand about 75% of this.

Speaking of Spanish and Gwyneth, her former boyfriend Ben Affleck also speaks Spanish, since both he and his bro Casey spent time in Mexico as teens. Also, re this vid: Ben Affleck + The Town + Ben talking about Juan Hamm being handsome = Traci needing an inhaler

And more hot guys speaking languages I don’t understand:

Bradley Cooper speaking French **SWOOON** He’s so friggin good. And all I know is that he mentions Leonardo DiCaprio, but says his name in a very French accent.

A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt also speaking French and channelling his bud Heath Ledger

We know Colin Firth can put together a sentence in Portugese per Love Actually, but IRL, he’s much better at Italian.

The daughter of a German opera singer, Sandra Bullock lived in Deutschland for most of her childhood. I really hope she’s teaching little Louie German too. I mean, how cute would that be?

Natalie Portman is known for staying strong with her Jewish roots, so naturally, Hebrew is among one of her many talents.

Ugh. Charlize Theron is not only gorgeous but she speaks Afrikaans, her native language from South Africa. Whatever. I used to be able to speak Pig Latin and that made up language from Zoom.

Mila Kunis moved to West Hollywood from Ukraine with her family, and still speaks fluent Russian. My favorite part of this interview is watching Justin Timberlake clearly have no idea what she’s saying.

Academy Awards 2013: Best and Worst Dressed

Here are our picks for the Best and Worst Dressed from the Oscars. And in case you missed it, check out our live blog from last night. Entertaining commentary and gifs galore!

Best Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

Oh J Law. I just adore you so much. You look like a cloud, and I mean that in a good way. Who knows if it was the dress, or your stunned look when you won, but you’re the only person that could trip up the stairs and still make it look cool. You win.

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

From the moment I saw her, I knew she would be one of the best dressed of the night. She said she wanted to look old Hollywood-esque and she absolutely nailed it. This is the best thing I’ve seen her in all season. Perfect Oscar dress.

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton

This dress is kind of reminiscent of J Law’s from the Globes, but I love this blue color and the black accents at the top and sides. Apparently Reese’s daughter Ava helped pick out the dress, and the only reason that is disconcerting is because Ava is 13 years old. 13!!!!

Stacy Keibler in Naeem Kahn

George Clooney’s girl legit looks like a Greek godess. Life is unfair.

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta

Amy looks like a princess in this dress, an older, more mature, Oscar-nominated version of Princess Giselle, if you will. And she looks fantastic.

Honorable mentions: Halle Berry redeeming herself from the Golden Globes disaster in Versace, Sally Field looking stunning in Valentino, and really, the winner of best dressed, and life overall First Lady Michelle Obama in Naeem Kahn.

Flawless First Lady is Flawless.

Molly’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

I hate when people are like, “Jennifer Lawrence is just pretending to be cool, but she’s probably just really fake.” Do you mean that she’s actually unfunny and had someone piping things into her ear in the post-Oscars press conference? Or that she’s secretly ugly when we’re not looking? Traci’s right, she DOES look like a cloud. A beautiful cloud who is on my top 10 list of Celebrities It Would Be Fun To Be Seated Next To On An Airplane.

Jessica Chastain in Giorgio Armani

Good color. Good cut. I might be imagining things but I think she looks happier in this than in the Golden Globes number. And like almost all humans, she really does look better with a side part.

Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab

Almost all of my best dressed picks involve a journey from dislike or confusion to love, and this is no exception. I didn’t notice the semi-sheer effect on the lower part of the skirt at first. Then I noticed and disliked it. Then I thought the effect of floating beadwork at the hem was gorgeous. But tie your hair up, Sandy. Or give me the number of whomever did your keratin treatment.

Kerry Washington in Miu Miu

I still think she looks like Oscars Barbie in this. At first I wasn’t sure about the gold tones in the textured bodice with the coral/pink skirt, but now I am sure. I like it.

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

Usually keyhole neckline situations remind me of how skanky ladies dressed up fancy in the early 90s. But this doesn’t read that way. Someone said this was gray but it reads as a really soft lavender with fantastic gold beading. Bonus points for her hair which looks like the perfect messy updo — I think a lot of ladies either overdo the messy or overdo the updo, so that it looks like slept-on prom hair. But not Karen Smith.

Honorable Mentions: Michelle Obama because she is flawless and everything I wish I could be; Quvenzhane Wallis because she’s so stinkin’ cute; Bradley Cooper because his little VEST and his little MOM, oh my goodness.

Worst Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

Nipplegate 2013. It’s a shame, because as soon as I saw her on the red carpet, I was shaking my head knowing this would forever be the dress she won her first Oscar in.

Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille Couture

If Zoe was trying to impress her ex Bradley Cooper in this dress, it didn’t work. Plus he was the one nominated for an Oscar. Kbye.

Daryl Hannah

Look who swam up to the shore for the Oscars. Someone get Daryl a dinglehopper, because I don’t think she had time to do her hair on the way from Santa Monica.

Brandi Glanville in BrandB

If you don’t know who this is, good for you. But in case you were wondering, she’s on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, most well known for being Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife and trash talker of LeAnn Rimes. First off, why are you at the Oscars. SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE. Second, she looks HORRENDOUS in this dress. I mean, her boobs. hello?? (insert Seth’s Boobs song here) And guess who designed it? She did. Also I’m pretty sure she got a fresh injection of botox right before the show.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

Here’s the thing about dressing for the Oscars, or any awards show, or LIFE, really. You have to make sure whatever you’re wearing is the right fit for you, physically and mentally. K Stew just looks so so awkward and uncomfy in this. Given she had a messed up ankle and crutches, but still, you have to work with what you got. She just looks like an imposter.

Molly’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

I didn’t think about Anne Hathaway’s nipples this much when I was looking at her actual nipples in Brokeback Mountain. Late 90s Gwyneth + Early 2000s prom dress + world’s worst dart placement.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

I don’t understand this because I don’t want to understand it. K Stew doesn’t understand it either, because she is very, very high.

Melissa McCarthy in David Meister Signature

I’m pretty sure this is jersey, which I don’t think lends itself to formalwear. I don’t understand the black thing that comes out near her leg. And it doesn’t seem to drape well, like there’s too much fabric. Just moving the ruching up to her waist would make a world of difference. I feel like I’m looking at a whole lot of jersey material and I’d rather look at Melissa.

Halle Berry in Versace

I am pleased that Halle wore an entire, intact dress, unlike at the Golden Globes. But as I said in the liveblog, this looks like something my grandmother would have worn on her trips to Vegas in the early 90s. I can’t really put my finger on the problem but I think it’s the overly structured shoulders. Like, Oscar gown meets power suit.

Marcia Gay Harden in David Meister

This is too red and the sleeves are too weird. Doesn’t work.

Dishonorable mentions: Jennifer Hudson (I know I’m coming down on the wrong side of history with this one; Jennifer herself looked beautiful but I was not feeling the snakeskin situation), Jennifer Garner (pretty, except the butt ruffle), Amy Adams, maybe (half the time I loved it, half the time I felt like she looked like a feather duster).