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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 6, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Some little-known types of movie magic

Last night, while watching “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding” (not a must-see), I saw an example of something I’ve seen in the movies before, and which I’ll call Magical Movie Drunkenness. This is when a character (in this case, played by Catherine Keener) gets very, very drunk (in this case, on tequila shots), to the extent that she’s staggering around and slurring her words and acting like she’s about to pass out, and then she receives news of an Important Plot Development (in this case, one that everybody watching the movie had already guessed), and just like that, she sobers right up. I don’t need to tell you that real life doesn’t work this way, but it got me thinking about other forms of movie magic . . .
— Magical Movie Illness. Popularized by “Love Story,” this is when a main character (usually female) is struck by one of those terrible maladies that makes you more beautiful before it kills you.
— Magical Movie Luggage. Recently demonstrated in “Eat Pray Love,” when Julia Roberts headed off to tour the world with just one bag — which somehow contained dozens of cute and regionally appropriate outfits and accessories.
— Magical Movie Parking. All urban dwellers in the movies are always able to park right in front of their houses. I don’t always get to park right outside my house, even in my quiet Seattle neighborhood. Then again, I’m not in a movie.
— Magical Movie Hygiene. Most notable in romantic comedies featuring teenagers, this is when the main characters always, even when they are the star quarterback who has just finished the Big Game, look freshly showered.
— Magical Movie Makeup; a related concept. Real women are generally not able to maintain perfect lip gloss during moments of extreme emotional crisis; movie women, particularly Jennifer Lopez, have this ability.
Any others?

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