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Cary Grant vs Robert Pattinson and Jack Nicholson vs a robot

By Melinda Mawdsley

Chick flicks are my favorite genre. They make me happy. They are easy to watch. The stories are predictable, and the characters are usually likeable.

My personal interest in chick flicks and sports gave me the idea to combine the two into this mega bracket to be released at about the same time as the NCAA Tournament brackets come out. I assumed the 64-team bracket of chick flicks would be easy to put together because I just figured Rachel would like the same 64 movies I did. Um, no.

We watched dozens of movies, discovering new ones — "Indiscreet" — and realizing the Drew Barrymore movies we previously liked were not so good anymore. We spent months putting this bracket together, compromising to narrow the field to 64. Chick flicks are emotional things. People have their favorites. This was hard.

Rachel and I agreed on about 50 percent of the Round 1 match-ups. Here’s where we differed and why.

Melinda: In the top bracket, we agreed on every movie until “Wedding Date” and “Bed of Roses.” Here’s my take: I freakin’ love “Wedding Date.” I watch this movie all the time. Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney were lovely.

Why did you pick "Bed of Roses?"

Rachel: Well, I think my choice was based on fond nostalgia for how hot I used to think Christian Slater was and on "Independent Love Song" by British indie/pop duo Scarlet (thanks, Wikipedia!), which is on the soundtrack. Revisiting "Bed of Roses" years after initially seeing it, I was struck by the oiliness of Christian Slater's hair and his overall twitchiness, but I liked the flowers, and I liked his character's apartment. Plus, I haven't seen "Wedding Date," but I know, from watching exactly two episodes of "Will & Grace," that I don't want to watch Debra Messing do anything besides walk away from me.

This brings up an interesting point, because regardless of how unrealistic or unbelievable a movie's plot is, I have to want to see the two people get together. If I do, then I can get swept up and carried along. And I wanted Christian Slater's and Mary Stuart Masterson's characters to get together. Just like I really wanted things to work out for Adam and Millie in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

But in that bracket, "Say Anything" was your choice. Explain, please.

Melinda: Lloyd Dobler.

(Rachel interrupting in italics: Lloyd Dobler outside the bedroom window with boombox raised, sun setting, "In Your Eyes" playing? Iconic. I could watch that over and over, and have. But I watch the dancing at the barn raising scene in "Seven Brides" over and over even more.)

Actually, this quarter of the bracket is where the proverbial wheels fell off. We agreed on just two of eight match-ups. Let's explain quick-fire:

Melinda: "Something's Gotta Give" made me cry far less than "WALL-E."

Rachel: WALL-E and EVE's love story touched me more than the love stories of most humans. When they dance together through the Milky Way, or when WALL-E calls for her with a metallic, "EVE!" — I love that so much.

"It Happened One Night" is possibly my favorite movie ever, or at least in the top three. The dialogue sparkles, it's hilarious, Clark Gable is a Stone Cold Fox, and I really, really wanted his and Claudette Colbert's characters to get together in the end. Which they did! And the Walls of Jericho came down. Love it, love it, love it!

Melinda: I wanted Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert to get together, too, but just so the movie would end. As far as "Catch and Release," well, I wanted Jennifer Garner to end up happy. I was invested in her character. Ultimately, however, the reason I love this movie so much is because the soundtrack introduced me to one of my two music crushes: Joshua Radin.

Rachel: I haven't actually seen "Catch and Release," and I don't need to because NO WAY would it ever triumph over "A Room with a View," I don't care how good you say it is. I watch "A Room with a View" a lot — for the Italy, for that kiss in the field of barley, for the passion and the Puccini. I love this movie. As for the next movie, I'm not saying "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" isn't cute and charming; it absolutely is. Plus, that sassy exclamation mark. But Doris Day and Cary Grant is, to me, like peanut butter and Nutella. Which is to say, gimme the sandwich.

Melinda: Get used to reading about "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" because I. Love. This. Movie. It's so pink and sparkly. I don't care if it's got the dialogue and acting depth of a kiddie pool. This movie deserves an exclamation point. You'll be hearing more about this movie, me thinks. Our next disagreement actually shocked me. Although I don't totally buy Meg Ryan's and Billy Crystal's romanship — a term for romance blossoming from friendship that I just made up — "When Harry Met Sally" is classic.

Rachel: I know, I know, "When Harry Met Sally" is a modern classic (allegedly). I have zero interest in seeing Billy Crystal fall in love, though. Agent Mulder — fine, David Duchovny — on the other hand... I just think "Return to Me" is sweet.

Melinda: Moving on to the next bracket, we wasted little time disagreeing, but I don't really want to talk about why I took "American Dreamer" out of my DVD player after 30 minutes, or why I'm still annoyed this movie's in this bracket. I think it'd be better for you to explain your love of "American Dreamer."

Rachel: It's so funny! And the way it spoofs romantic thriller novels is really clever! Plus, Tom Conti! Yowza! I just think this movie is hilarious and unexpected, and I stand by it — obviously, since I chose it over "Jane Eyre," for Pete's sake. I LOVE "Jane Eyre," so that's how dedicated I am to "American Dreamer." I accuse you of being anti-amnesia, at least as a plot point.

But we can't succumb to infighting, because we need to shore ourselves against the reaction to how we voted in the "Moonstruck"/"Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" match-up, as well as the "Twilight"/"Indiscreet" shocker. Defend us, Melinda! Because the readers LOVED themselves some "Moonstruck" and "Twilight."

Melinda: Well, my defense might be lame because I've never seen "Moonstruck," but Cher does nothing for me. I just love "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist." I liked Kat Dennings and Michael Cera, and I really liked the story. It was fun. As for the other match-up, hold on, I need to put on my Caps Lock key...CARY GRANT AND INGRID BERGMAN against ROBERT PATTINSON AND KRISTIN STEWART? ARE YOU JOKING?!? "Indiscreet" is, arguably, the greatest find of this project. Cary Grant sizzles. Kristin Stewart makes me want to comfort eat. Not just in "Twilight" but always.

Rachel, what are your thoughts on "Twilight" and "Moonstruck" in ten words or less? Then, we're moving on.

Rachel: "Twilight" = barf. Majorly. "Moonstruck" = great. "Nick and Norah" soundtrack = better.

Moving on! We have to talk about "Leap Year." The thing I came away with was that I liked the dress Amy Adams was wearing at the end, and Matthew Goode is super hot. What do you love about this movie, Melinda?

Melinda: Everything! I may or may not have purchased this movie after seeing it for the first time. I think Amy Adams and Matthew Goode destroy in the best way possible. I love it! The story is great. The shots of Ireland are magical. What I really liked, and, honestly, it was about time, was that this 2010 chick flick wasn't full of swearing, nakedness, and idiot people having a bunch of sex because the writers were too lazy to write anything else.

Now, on to the final bracket, where we disagreed on half the winners. Here are the highlights from my perspective: "Life As We Know It" is sweet, which was surprising considering I don't watch Katherine Heigl. I own "Must Love Dogs"  on a double feature DVD with "You've Got Mail." I consider this one of the greatest DVDs of all time. "Sweet Home Alabama" has the incomparable Josh Lucas and Reese Witherspoon in one of the sweetest chick flicks out there. And last, but not least, The Cutting Edge is about Olympic figure skating. I'll watch just about anything involving the Olympics and figure skating. Besides, I've never seen "Some Kind of Wonderful."

Wrap up your thoughts on Round 1, Rachel.

Rachel: It's inconceivable that you didn't vote for "The Princess Bride." See what I did there? I quoted it, because it's awesome and romantic and "as you wish."

I absolutely can't explain why I like "The Prince & Me." I just do. Probably for the same reason you love "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" As for "Can't Buy Me Love," it has a nerd riding off into the sunset on a lawnmower with the most popular girl in school. That, to me, is catnip. And "Some Kind of Wonderful" is just great, even though it drives me absolutely up the wall that he doesn't return those diamond earrings and go to art school after all. Still, artsy guy goes for the tomboy outcast: I will always want to watch that scenario.

So, it was a tense and emotionally fraught first round! We made some tough choices, and it's only going to get harder from here. Bring on Round 2!


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