Old Lady Movie NightOld Lady Movie Night: "Practical Magic"Anne T. Donahue

It’s International Women’s Day! A day in which we celebrate the women of our lives and of the world, and we talk about the work that’s been done and the accomplishments made and the work we all still need to do.

So naturally, we’ve got to watch a movie that celebrates strong women and sisterhood, and what better movie than Practical Magic? I will be honest: it is my favourite. It is my favourite movie in all of the land, and regardless of its bad CGI and certain plot holes, I can and will watch it for hours and love it just as much EVERY SINGLE TIME. Hopefully I’m not alone. Hopefully we can all gather on our respective couches and bask in the warm glow of a Stevie Nicks-oriented soundtrack. Either way, I wish you THE best International Women’s Day and want to thank you for reading the articles I write. (You are the best.)

So remember, positivity is powerful, sisterhood is powerful, and YOU GUYS are powerful. And in the spirit of love and power and super-strong women, let’s get movie-watching. YES.

1) That opening theme!

Sometimes it’s just best to begin things simply. So I’ll just explain that when the theme goes from quiet to loud, my best friend and I ALWAYS break into “DO. DO DO DO DO DO. DO DO DO. DO DO DO,” and usually in a public place, regardless of whether or not we’re watching it. And now that I’ve said it, you’ve gotten in on it too. WE ARE ALL FRIENDS.

2) Could you ask for two better actresses than Stockard Channing and Dianne Weist?

The answer is no, so I don’t even know why I framed that as a question.

And if I don’t grow up to be like one of them, I don’t even know. Guys, I’ll have failed us all.

3) Bursting into tears during the opening scene is important

Maybe this is GENUINELY an old-lady thing, but the older I get, the sadder it becomes that Maria got banished and was pregnant and alone and was crying, and then that Sally and Gillian’s parents died, and then they get TEASED. (The kids, not the parents. Oh my God, could you imagine?) And then Gillian says, “Mommy died of a broken heart, didn’t she?” and I am basically that SNL sketch where everybody cries to Adele.

4) Amas Veritas (!!!)

So then just when you think – at six minutes in – that this movie COULD NOT be better than it already is, little Sally Owens comes up with the greatest true love spell OF ALL TIME, and you just KNOW it’s going to come back into play at some point before this movie ends. (Spoiler alert: OH AND DOES IT EVER.) And then the music plays and the flowers float up in the air and it’s MAGIC. Just like that song that goes, “Woah-oh-oah, it’s MAGIC!” (But nothing like that Swiffer commercial or whatever brand included that song recently.)

5) But maybe don’t slice your hand open and touch it with someone else’s bleeding hand

It pains me to say this because I basically condone almost everything that happens in this movie (minus the stuff that we’ll get to IN A MINUTE), but things that are healthy do not include “your blood, my blood, our blood” unless “blood” is code for a friendship necklace or a friendship bracelet which this is not. Maybe a tattoo would be a better route. But I get it: this is symbolism, and it is important. But just don’t do it, okay? (By the way, I’m Coach Carr from Mean Girls now.)

6) Jimmy Angelov is a massive babe

Well, it’s time to be serious. He is. He may be a bad man and completely unhinged, but if we can all agree on one thing, it is that he is a mega knock-out, and I was right to have a crush on him when I was 13 (despite being told that I should like Gary, the “nice” man). And I do! I do like Gary. But JIMMY, right? With his vest and his weirdness and his accent and THOSE EYES. Obviously, I am probably in love with the actor who PLAYS Jimmy, but let me have this. Or let me feel like I’m not insane. I mean, I love Gary too, okay? I love them all. It’s not like this movie is not hurting for good-looking gentlemen, you know? I’ll tell you that much for free.

7) RIP Handsome Husband

It really was great while it lasted :(

8 ) The soundtrack of this movie is magical, too

HEY-O, get it? Magic? For the movie about magic? LOL, right? Okay, but seriously (and thank you for still reading despite what just happened), THIS SOUNDTRACK FOR LYFE. Like, we’ve got Joni Mitchell, we’ve got Bran Van 3000, we’ve got STEVIE NICKS, we’ve got the whole gang here to remind us why 1998 was the greatest year for movies, obviously. (And once again, for the seats in the back: DO. DO DO DO DO DO. DO DO DO. DO DO DO.)

9) Imagine having to give your boyfriend bella donna, though

I think most of us have aaaallll been through some “crazy times,”  but I think the craziest of those times would probably be if we had to “drug our boyfriends to get a little shut eye.” WOOF. Now THAT is a problem. That is a sign that not everything might be okay. I really hope none of us ever have to look back on our lives and say, “And THAT was when I had to drug my boyfriend.”

Also, Jimmy: “I’m just kidding, eh?” LOL, you terrifying specimen.

10) “We stay up all night worshiping each other . . . like bats.”

So DUH, everyone, I love this movie. But no matter how much I love this movie, this line always confuses me because I don’t think bats do that. Do we have any bat doctors/scientists in the house? Can we confirm whether or not bats actually do this? Do bats actually stay up all night worshiping each other? Somebody report back to me, we’ll hop in a time machine back to the mid-to-late ’90s and warn Nicole Kidman that she should protest saying that line because SOME OF US fly into a rage every time we hear it.

11) But seriously, how and why are the kids still using that line?!

“Witch! Witch! You’re a bitch!” is probably a terrible line on it’s own, but after 300 YEARS? Have the parents taught it to their children? “Now kids,” the parents would begin. “You’re going to run into the Owen sisters. And when you do, torment them with this terrible rhyme. We know it’s bad, but it’s tradition, so let’s just honour the family legacy, okay?”

Meanwhile, at the Owens’ residence:

12) And speaking of the Owens’ residence WHAT A HOUSE

Woah, am I right? You may love the city and you may love apartments and you may love high rises and you may love the decor used in American Psycho, but no matter who you are or where you’re from, you can join your fellow watchers in unison and declare, “THIS IS THE GREATEST HOUSE IN THE WORLD.” Just look at it! It truly puts everyone else’s houses to shame IN THE WORLD. Yes, even The Queen watches this movie and thinks, “I bloody well wish.” (Read that in an English accent. It helps me.)

13) 14 years later and I still freak out about “blood on the moon”

And maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe when I see “blood on the moon” I should celebrate that Mars’ dust is all up in the moon’s grill. BUT I won’t, because that takes the magic away from this movie and from life in general, and none of us should live life magic-free. And then there’s the circle around it: “Sign of trouble not far behind.” ALWAYS GETS/WORRIES ME. (Also, the letter. But I think if I/we talk about it, we’re going to forget just how amazing that letter is. FRIENDS FOREVER, SANDRA BULLOCK.) (And please everybody enjoy the worst possible photo of the moon scene to ever surface on the internet.)

14) DO NOT GO BACK FOR THE TIGER’S EYE

Here are some words to live by: if you are trying to escape your abusive boyfriend, even if you left behind the only possession that ever mattered, YOU LEAVE IT BEHIND. “Never go back for the tiger’s eye!” should be your life creed. Never go back for it! Just go. Just like in that episode of Friends where Phoebe helps people escape from Monica’s party. “Leave and don’t look back.”

15) Okay, but could they have just claimed self defense?

So if you’re still reading this, you have obviously seen Practical Magic and you know what I’m talking about, so let’s just address the fact that maaaaybeeee the Owens sister could have said that Gillian took Bella Donna to go to sleep sometimes, and when Jimmy kidnapped them, they poured a bunch in his liquor for self-defense. Would that have been possible? I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer (obviously). BUT then Sally wouldn’t have met Gary Howlett who is ONLY HER TRUE LOVE*.

*I really have ruined the movie for you if you haven’t seen it yet, and for that I am sorry. But truth be told I am even more sorry if you haven’t seen it yet, because WHY ARE YOU DEPRIVING YOURSELF, you deserve better than a Practical Magic-free life.

16) The “bringing him back” scene is actually scarier than words can describe

Alright, so I’ve seen Practical Magic so many times I could stand up on a table and recite it all for you as a one-woman play (I AM COOL, RIGHT GUYS?), but when they resurrect Jimmy it’s STILL like, WHY WHY I HATE IT HIS EYES. It’s the worst! He’s so disturbing and I hate it and HIS EYES. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s definitely not to resurrect people from the dead. Do not bring dead people back to life, no matter how long your prison sentence will be.

17) Are phone trees real?

If they are real, I think I hate them. All of that popularity-based stuff is THE WORST, and these women – aside from when they all band together and it’s sisterhood and it’s beautiful – seem like elementary and high school’s worst nightmare combined. Like, LADIES. COME ON. It’s a phone tree! You know what that means to anybody outside of the phone tree? Nothing. Because I do not know what a phone tree is. At my elementary school, we just had parents. We had “emergency contacts.” We trusted no one to do anything, I’m pretty sure, because HELLO, maybe the most popular parent was the devil and just wanted to see the unpopular kid fail? Either way, congrats to Sally on topping the phone tree!

18) MIDNIGHT MARGARITAS!

AND THAT IS THAT.

19) HELLO, Gary Howlett

Well, we can all agree that Jimmy Angelov is 110% the cat’s pajamas. But we can also agree that with his accent and his green and blue eyes and his suit and his “riding a pony backwards” skillz, Gary is actually pretty wicked, too. Also, the fact that his name is Gary is adorable, so everything you learned about the name Gary from, say, reruns of Teen Mom (not that I’m admitting anything) (yes I am), FORGET IT because HELLO, NURSE (Gary Howlett).

20) This movie gets DARK

So we go from the love spell to the “forever alone” fear to the murder scene, and it’s like YIKES. But then all of a sudden Jimmy starts “rising” and you see his ghost and then he possesses Gillian and you know how traumatizing that is for a bunch of 13-year-old girls who just wanted to watch a movie about love and magic? NOT THAT IT CHANGES ANYTHING, mind you. Because at the end of the day this movie is about love and magic conquering all – even murder charges. (Especially murder charges.) (Just please don’t kill anyone and try to use magic to make it okay.)

21) Shout-out to Evan Rachel Wood!

As if I was going to write a thing about Practical Magic and then NOT say hello to Evan Rachel Wood. (HI EVAN RACHEL WOOD!)

22) “I wished for you too.”

Now, I had a choice. I could either lead us down the path of going on and on about Jimmy and his spirit and the possession and the bad CGI, but I will not, and I will instead take us down the path of Gary “One Green Eye and One Blue” Howlett (whose name I haven’t spell-checked because I don’t want to be wrong) and his kind, beautiful heart. So kind! So beautiful! And he reads and he re-reads the letter, and then after ALL OF THAT, he listens to Sally’s spell story and ends with “I WISHED FOR YOU TOO.” Holy mother of all that is good. DAMN IT, Gary. Heart, thy name is pancake flip.

23) SISTERHOOD CONQUERS ALL

Also, let’s talk about another incredible theme: SISTERHOOD CONQUERS EVERYTHING. They break the spell! They just want Sally and Gillian and the Aunts and the kids to be happy and to be free from Jimmy’s spirit and if you’re crying right now at that part, that is absolutely normal and LET’S ALL CRY TOGETHER. (But I’m not crying right now, I have to admit. BUT I could! If I was really tired, I could easily watch this part and just weep. So let’s re-watch Practical Magic together at 1 in the morning when we have a lot of work to do, and we can just be a giant cauldron of tears and emotion.)

24) And then she uses the leaf to call him and everything is beautiful and our hearts sing

But just when you think this movie could not get more heart-warming, Stevie Nicks begins to play, and Sally uses a leaf to call Gary Howlett, and then arrives he does, as the aunts smile, and Nicole Kidman holds a cat, and the kids play in a tree and – wait for it – IT IS MAGIC. Actually. Not even PRACTICALLY magic (see what I did there?). MAGIC FOR REAL. Which I would actually name the movie if I made it because it’s important that everybody knows how magical this cinematic delight truly is. MAGIC.

25) HALLOWEEN

And then it ends like this: putting all of our own Halloween celebrations to shame, celebrating magic and sisterhood and true love spells and Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest and HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, EVERYONE.

comments

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  1. Hello. Yes! This movie is soooo gooood!

  2. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock’s hair!!! Soo pretty in this movie!!!

  3. This movie is great but in the end it is all about the soundtrack. The best song is the Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow duet.

  4. I freaking LOVE this movie! Practical Magic and The Craft got me interested in Paganism and Wicca when I was 1o years old, and now (after much studying) I’m a “real” witch.

  5. this post (and downton abbey paper dolls) just made me day!!

  6. I cannot express how much I LOVE this movie! The line from Sally’s letter to Gillian? “I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for” I die. One of my favorite scenes is the on in the classroom with the moms & the phone tree. “Hang on to your husbands girls!”

  7. Oh my gosh, this has been one of my absolute favorite movies ever since I was a kid. At first I wanted to be a Jillian, but now that I’ve grown up, I’m very happy with being a Sally. And my life would be COMPLETE if I had that house. It’s what dreams are made of.

  8. Dont forget Camilla Bell! Evan and Camilla=perfection!

  9. “Heart, thy name is pancake flip” Heck yes! This is one of my favourite movies of all time! (Also, I just call Jimmy Dr. Kovac at all times so that I won’t feel guilty for thinking he is hot;)

  10. One of my absolute favorite movies!! Time to go home and bust out the DVD! And the MARGARITAS!

  11. I love everything about this post. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I often wish I could wake up and have midnight margaritas and dance around my kitchen singing “The Lime in the Coconut”. And I always, ALWAYS cry when all the school ladies come to help Gilly and Sally breaks the circle to save her. “My blood, your blood, our blood” then POOF the curse is broken and I’m sobbing like a 5 year old who just saw Mufasa die in the Lion King and wishing I had a cool witch sister.