Five Ways Something Ruined My Life

Five Ways ‘The First Wives Club' Ruined My Life

After Now and Then and before The Craft, this was the movie where my friends and I chose roles. I was Diane Keaton in The First Wives Club (which put me in a perfect position to be obsessed with her over the years) for numerous reasons including but not limited to, my shyness at that time (middle school was hard for me…I grew out of it), my goody two shoes attitude (grew out of that too) and just general place in the group of three friends of the one who won’t stand up for herself and gets bullied by her friends (fun times). Much like Diane Keaton’s character in this movie, I came into my own and now I think I’d probably be Bette Midler in this movie.

One of the great things about The First Wives Club is that people I was already super into and people I would come to know better in later things are all hanging out in this movie. This includes: Dan Hedaya, Bronson Pinchot, Sarah Jessica Parker (I’m – gasp – not a fan of Sex in the City but I LOVE The Family Stone), MAGGIE.SMITH., Stockard Channing, Victor Garber, Marcia Gay Harden, Elizabeth Berkley, Stephen Collins, etc.

And, I mean…

The five ways The First Wives Club ruined my life are as follows:

1. Started the Precedent of Me Being Obsessed with Movies for Middle-Aged Women

The First Wives Club came out when I was starting 7th grade and was 12. You might think, “hmm, Erin probably didn’t like this movie since it’s about middle-aged women going through problems she’d never think about in a million years.” But you would be wrong.

I was OBSESSED with this movie. My two best friends and I (p.s. it’s really difficult to be in a three-way best friendship…someone always gets left out), went and saw this movie as soon as it came out. We took photo booth pictures at the mall beforehand and had an awesome time.

I don’t know what we got out of this movie at that time. I know I thought it was hilarious and I know I wanted to be all of them as a result. But considering the movie opens with a suicide it’s a pretty dark movie for a 12-year-old.

But this is something that has plagued me for years. I LOVE It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give and though I never saw it I was obsessed with the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack so I just feel like being into movies that were NOT aimed at me is something that has followed me for my whole life.

2. Still Looking For a Group of Friends to Share Necklaces With and Dance in All-White Outfits to “You Don’t Own Me”

I mean, how awesome is their friend stuff? Firstly the “back then” casting was so good and much like A League of Their Own they had the ladies dub over with their voices so it takes on a whole other level of awesomeness.

But I think my whole adolescence was spent trying desperately to have this friendship. To have this group of friends who shared pearl necklaces and who had so much life ahead of them and then, you know, lost touch until the funeral of their other friend…

Okay, maybe I didn’t want that but I definitely wanted the dancing to “You Don’t Own Me” part. For sure.

3. Made Me Assume I’d Be Rich Like They All Are

I mean, how much of a bummer is this one?

Okay, Bette Midler is having money troubles when Dan Hedaya leaves her for Sarah Jessica Parker. I get that. And Goldie Hawn is just a famous actress (life imitating art, am I right?) so she’s loaded. And then like, Diane Keaton is pretty rich too. So I’m 12 and kind of like, well, New York City looks AWESOME. Everyone is wealthy!

My favorite bit of her performance

Duh, everyone has this delusion with movies and TV shows (Friends anyone?) but I definitely remember thinking, “this is all so easy! They just have money to do this and now Kathie Lee is interviewing them and I love her!”

But watching this movie now I find myself getting stressed out about the logistics (and not just the breaking and entering they do). How did you design the center so quickly? How much did that REALLY cost? How will you do it all? And like, how did Goldie Hawn get to go back and accept the part of Monique’s mom from Timothy Olyphant after so much time had passed??

4. Sometimes I Legit Think Stockard Channing is Dead

This is a really morbid one and I understand that but I actually had the thought not too long ago of, “man, I miss Stockard Channing.”

Let’s not make a big thing of this but I haven’t seen The West Wing yet.

I know, I know. I’m mad at myself too. But I kind of missed the boat on it and by the time everyone was obsessed I couldn’t start it and it’s on my list of stuff to watch and just lay off, okay?

Poor Stockard...I mean, Cynthia

But because of this I think of Stockard Channing in Grease and this movie. So in my head, something tragic happened in NYC in a movie and real life in 1996. And sometimes I have to remind myself she did not actually die and her name isn’t Cynthia Swann Griffin and there isn’t a center named after her.

5. Glamorizes the Whole Idea of Being a “First Wife” And the 90’s Of It All

I mean, no one wants to be a “first wife” obviously. You want to get married and be done with it. You want to have made the right choice and have everything work out.

But sometimes that doesn’t happen and The First Wives Club is a movie that I saw as a pre-teen and was kind of like, “oh, cool, everything will work out in the end.” You know what I mean?

It totally sucks at the beginning and everyone is separated from their husbands but then they band together. I mean, how 90’s is that?! It’s total Girl Power and bonding and that sounds awesome. I wanted that so desperately. I mean, I was also that girl YELLING along to No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” and eating up Murphy Brown with a spoon so I was really into anything related to girl power and the 90’s.

Don’t even get me started on the Spice Girls.


(Main image via, all others screengrabbed by me)

  • Karen Valenzuela

    Holy crap. This is my life. My “First Wives Club” VHS is no longer watchable because it gets those ugly lines in some of my favorite parts because I’d rewind it 100 times to watch it over again. 1. When Diane Keaton beats her therapist in the face with that foam bat. 2. When they’re on the window cleaning thing and it breaks and they’re all screaming and wigging out. “First Wives Club” has done one thing to my life that you haven’t mentioned though–it’s become my template for girl power movies and nothing ever seems to stack up to its brilliance. Thanks SO MUCH for writing this! It’s fantastic and funny and just thank you.

    • Erin Long

      Thanks so much! Yeah, that’s definitely it for me too. Precursor to the Spice Girls, etc for me. :)

  • Colleen Sweeney

    I am particularly fond of the scenes where Goldie Hawn’s character repossesses all the assets she had from her marriage from her husband. The lawyer never clearly stated how she was supposed to get rid of them. I also feel for Annie. I actually am Annie in many ways (except I do have a backbone, and I don’t hate my mom).

    • Erin Long

      SUCH a good scene. “Fine – take it all”

  • Michelle Carlson

    I read this article based on the title. I was flabbergasted; I had to find out how one of my all-time favorite movies ruined your life! I was pleasantly surprised and loved every word of your post, Erin. I, too, was obsessed with movies that were inappropriate for my age. I blame and thank the 90s all at the same time. If you’re ever in Nebraska, I will gladly don a white pant suit and dance and sing “You Don’t Own Me” with you.

    • Erin Long

      Yeah, it’s a tongue-in-cheek “ruined” – glad you liked it!

  • Julianne McFadd

    Dear Erin,

    Thank you for putting your face in all of the pictures you post on this blog. When I first looked at ths one I thought to myself “I don’t remember that actress. Where is Diane Keaton?”

    You are a creative genuis!

    • Erin Long

      I am always in favor of others liking my narcissism. :)

  • Lara Paquette

    As usual, you’re spot on. I also have an obsession with movies that were not made for me, specifically It’s Complicated. I used to force my friend to watch First Wives Club with me all the time in high school. well done!

    • Erin Long

      It’s Complicated is SO GOOD!

  • Jac Sanchez

    Erin, I love middle-aged women comedies too. Stop reading my mind. Ok, don’t stop because it’s creepy in a good way. Several ideas for your next post: “Walter Matthau and other grumpy old men that ruined my life”, “Lisa Kudrow (Friends, PS I love you, Hanging Up…hello she’s awesome?!)
    Anyway, keep up the good work, mind reading and all.

    • Erin Long

      LOVE Lisa Kudrow!

  • Regan Coomer

    The Family Stone is the BEST. THE BEST. I think it’s the line when Diane Keaton looks at Rachael McAdams and says (pointing to the photo of herself pregnant), “That’s me and you kid. Me and you.” And I CRY.

    • Erin Long

      I can’t read what you’re saying because I’m crying thinking about that.

  • Charlotte Orzel

    The Love Letter is s pretty good 90’s old lady movie, one of my fav’s. It has Kate Capshaw, Ellen Degeneres and Tom Everett Scott

  • Cat Thomas

    Love, love, love this movie… meanwhile how baby is Timothy Olyphant in this movie?! Way cute! I honestly can’t name a fav part I love so much of this movie, I do LOVE when she cracks it after busting her therapist with her hubby… still pretty sure she should have sued over that! But anyway…
    I thought Goldie didn’t end up doing Monique’s mother, but a play. If you think back the girl that was supposed to play Monique was in the audience cheering for her.

  • Stephanie Davidson

    Haha! I swear this is exactly how i felt with this movie! Ill get a white outfit and sing with you! I know all the words and cheoragraphy!! This was my favorite movie when i was little, ok i still love it! When i was 12 i thought id have a husband that looked like Tom Sellack, my other fav movie growing up was three men and a little lady. My parents say i was born middle aged.

  • Erin Borger

    This movie came out when I was 13 – and I was IN love. I have a solid collection of Leslie Gore songs on my iPod because of The First Wives Club. I have totally and always been in love with all things baby boom generation. Glad (and relieved) to know I’m not alone. <3 Great article!

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