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Steel Magnolias

April 3, 2013

I love the movie Steel Magnolias. I can still remember the first time I saw… I was probably 9 or so and it had come out on video (back in the day when we had VHS folks). Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have been watching it as a nine year old, it has a lot of things in it that I definitely didn’t understand until I was older. As a rule I generally hate movies where the main characters die in the end… I don’t like movies that make me sad. But for some reason I love Beaches and Steel Magnolias. So a couple of weeks ago, the day my Aunt died, I was feeling a little blue and decided at midnight that I needed to watch Steel Magnolias. Because you know, I hadn’t cried enough that day. So there I am curled up on the couch late one night crying my eyes out to Steel Magnolias and I made the following observations… some that I had realized before and some that I hadn’t.

  • How can you not love the over-the-top, all-in, in-your-face 80’s hair and clothes? Oh, those bridesmaid dressed and those hats. Don’t even get me started on the hair!
  • If I didn’t know it was set in the South, all of the extras at the wedding dressed as Confederate soldiers would be a sure give away. I must have seen this movie a hundred times by now, but I just now noticed this! All of Jackson’s male friends in the background of the reception scene and then when they bring the car around are in grey Confederate soldier uniforms.
  • The grooms cake… I had always thought it was funny that it was an armadillo and red velvet, so it looked like it was bleeding. I just now picked up the line the Drum makes about liking a good piece of ass .
  • At one point Ouiser comes into the beauty salon and starts giving out tomatoes and points out there are things she is supposed to do because she is an old Southern woman… like grow plants in the dirt. True!
  • At another point Ouiser says the following when someone says she is not been religious in her life: “Now that is not true. When I was in school, a bunch of my friends and I would dress up as nuns and go bar-hoppin’.” I so didn’t even hear that line until this time. Hilarious!
  • I finally put together all the comments about whoever the Ms. Christmas was. I just realized she is the same one who makes a snippy comment at the wedding reception, then she is the Ms. Christmas, and then later on the women are dishing up the gossip and are talking about how she got in trouble with a married man or something. Never picked up on that connection before. But the best part is how polite they are about… even as they are giving a dig, they do it with charm. So Southern.
  • Early on  when they are talking about the wedding and Shelby is talking about how pink is her signature color, M’Lynn mentions that the church looks like it has been hosed down in Pepto-Bismol. Everyone laughed and found it funny. As a side story, when the Bestie got married back in 201o I made the comment about how my bright pink maid of honor dress made me look like I was a bottle of Pepto-Bismol she was not amused. Clearly I can’t pull off a line like Sally Field can. So my advice to all future bridesmaids out there- don’t compare anything in the wedding to Pepto-Bismol. (Bestie- are you still mad about that?)
  • I also didn’t get the line about skinny dipping and things that would scare fishes until I was older. Funny as an adult… over my head as a nine year old.
  • The whole scene where Anelle has everyone stop because she had a contact pop out…. doesn’t happen in the 21st century. If you loose one you just grab another disposable one!
  • When making pithy commentary about the other women at the wedding, Truvy mentions how a good southerner woman is raised to never go outside without a girdle on from being a teenager on.  So spot on! Folks- we call them spanx now and any woman who says she hasn’t used one is lying.
  • I have for years wanted to try that “Cuppa” recipe they Truvy and Clairee are talking about in the first group scene in the beauty shop… has anyone ever done that?
  • Finally. To this day I feel that the entire scene that takes place in the cemetery is one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen about grief in a film. All of those actresses are just wonderful and that is still the scene that gets me every time. From the anger and sadness that M’Lynn shows in the loss of her daughter, to the comic relief of Clairee and Ouiser, to the compassion of Anelle and Truvy. Wonderfully written and wonderfully acted. I cry and laugh every time.

Overall,  even though it is over twenty year old, it is just a great movie with amazing characters that was well written and well acted. Most of you probably know this already, but it was based on a true story and it started as a play written by Robert Harling, who was the younger brother of the real Shelby, whose name was actually Susan. In my opinion it truly does an amazing job showcasing Southern life, real friendship and how strong the friendship between women can be. Anyone have opinions on Steel Magnolias?

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