1998; Rated PG-13; 103 Minutes
Sandra Bullock: Sally Owens
Nicole Kidman: Gilliam Owens
Dianne West: Aunt Jet
Stockard Channing: Aunt Frances
Adian Quinn: Fary Hallet
Goran Visnjic: Jimmy Angelov
Produced by Bruce Berman,
Denise Di Novi, Mary McLaglen and Robin Swicord; Directed
by Griffin Dunne; Screenwritten by Alice Hoffman, Robin
Swicord, Akira Goldsman and Adam Brooks
by DAVID KEYES
movies show up around this time of year. It’s that time
of year when Halloween approaches, and Hollywood still thinks
that something based on this supernatural stuff will be
a correct way to open up to October 31. It’s the movie that
attempts to bring comedy and fright into the same subject.
And what’s even more strange is that most of them are about
witches; teenage witches, dumb witches, blond witches; witches
that want to have sex—there are so many of these things
out there that, if I count my estimate, they show up every
year around this time. I’m sick of it.
year, “Practical Magic” held onto that notion. It’s a movie
of both childish and frightening aspects, though in different
forms than you might expect. The childish level is what
we as the adults think of the movie, and the fright is what
children will likely find when they attend it. So, with
both of those parties canceled out, what are we left with?
What audience will it be taken in by? What does that leave?
time around, the witch movie deals with witches either on
the verge of or wanting to fall in love or already in love.
In their family, such a thing is outlawed, and we get the
impression (okay they tell us) that love is a curse. Actually,
marriage is the curse. When a femal family member gets married
and she’s a witch, they hear this sound (sort of like a
beetle, I guess) that’s supposed to signify the death of
is where the fun stops—ten minutes after the movie starts.
In one scene, you see, we find Sandra Bullock’s character,
Sally, happily married. When she hears the sound of the
beetle (if it is a beetle) under the floor, she begins removing
the floor boards to find him. According to the movie, if
the beetle is killed, her husband will live.
sequence is the perfect example of the violation of unqualified
searches in the movies. When one has searched for something
in over half of the places available to look, and it still
hasn’t showed up, it’s best to stop right there, because
you’ll likely find it in the last place you look, and by
that point it may be already too late to save it. Sally
searches all of her boards, and this process takes minutes
of wasted time.
the movie makes more violations than that—they are too numerous
to count, in fact. I honestly don’t know what the points
to these movies are, other than to try and get people to
understand something involving witchcraft. The movie demonstrates
it a lot, but most of it looks fake and obviously, it is
nothing real. But of course, this is a childish sitcom-like
movie. Would film makers have it any other way?
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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