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We HEART chick flicks, particularly ones with Tom Hanks and Colin Firth

By Melinda Mawdsley

As our Chick Flick March Madness project ends, it’s time for Rachel and I to address our favorites. After all, our love of these movies is the reason why we did this project.

First things first, here are my Final Four: “You’ve Got Mail” versus “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” and “Leap Year” against “An Affair to Remember.”

Rachel’s Final Four were “Pride & Prejudice” versus “It Happened One Night” and “Sixteen Candles” versus “An Affair to Remember.”

I’ll go first, starting with “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” and “An Affair to Remember.” Honestly, they couldn’t be more different, which sort of makes me laugh.

I love “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” because it’s sweet and easy to watch. I remember adding this movie to our list of re-watches at the beginning because I couldn't remember how much I liked it. Turns out, this was WAY better than I remembered. In fact, I talked about this movie so much after I saw it for the second time that my husband bought it for me for Valentine’s Day. (He also bought me "Duck Dynasty" Season 2.)

This movie makes me happy, which brings me to my next Final Four movie that didn’t quite make the finals: “An Affair to Remember.”

I can’t believe I hadn’t seen a Cary Grant movie until this project. It’s embarrassing. He’s brilliant, but I avoided “An Affair to Remember” for years because I knew there was an element of sadness based on what I heard about it from scenes in “Sleepless in Seattle.” (I’m a dork. I hear about chick flicks from other chick flicks.)

But I knew I needed to see this movie. It's such a classic: man and woman meet but can’t be together until they realize they can’t live without each other.

Rachel, you also chose “An Affair to Remember” for your Final Four but not for the final. Why?

Rachel: Well, I mean, Cary Grant. I would watch hours of him reading aloud from, say, the owner's manual to my car -- however long it takes him to finish it, in fact -- that's how wonderful I think he is. And he's especially wonderful in this movie: sophisticated but unaffectedly so, kind-eyed, thoughtful, romantic in a way that gets to me, witty, a good listener, capable, intelligent...pretty much everything I like in a man.

And the romance! Normally I would deem the emotions and situations of this movie completely overwrought and give them a dramatic eye roll, but I didn't find this movie over-the-top at all. It's just lovely, with the longing and misunderstanding, and I do love tragedy, so Terry's accident fits the bill. And obviously Terry and Nickie are just meant to be together happily forever. The end.

So, yes, I love "An Affair to Remember." But I'm not ashamed to admit that "Sixteen Candles" defeated it in the Final Four. How was it for you narrowing your Final Four down to two?

Melinda: I went with my heart. I watch “Leap Year” and “You’ve Got Mail” more than I watch any other movies. “Leap Year” was a surprise for me the first time I saw it in 2010 when it came out. I hadn’t even heard of it.

The love story between Amy Adams and Matthew Goode is set in majestic Ireland, which took it over the top. I am invested in their happiness every time I see this movie.

Anna is this super organized person, and, although it’s never stated, probably created a list in her head of the perfect guy based mostly on materialistic things even if she’d never admit it. (i.e. my 20s.). Anyway, that list gets blown out of the water when she truly meets “the one.” It always does.

I chose this over “An Affair to Remember” because, simply, it has more comedy and happiness.

Before we discuss our winners why don’t you discuss what you love so much about your other finalist?

Rachel: Honestly, I'm not entirely sure I can articulate why I love "Sixteen Candles." The acting is almost uniformly bad, the stereotypes are broad and blatant and yet... I love it. It's so awkward being a teenager, having a crush, feeling weird in your own skin, and "Sixteen Candles" captures that. Especially the crush part. Oh, the crushes I've suffered through! I watch "Sixteen Candles," and I feel that acute agony of having a crush and feeling bad about it because maybe he doesn't even know you exist, BUT JAKE RYAN DOES KNOW!!!!

When Jake shows up at the church after Samantha's sister's wedding and gives Sam that little wave? I die every time. So wonderful! Such a romantic dream fulfillment! And that ending scene of Jake and Sam kissing over a birthday cake is absolute perfection.

Plus, anything with high school nerds coming out on top, I'm going to watch.

Now, on to the finals! And your winner is...

Melinda: “You’ve Got Mail!” There aren’t enough exclamation points. I heart Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and this is my favorite of their films together. The dialogue is witty. (R.I.P. Nora Ephron.) The acting is believable. They are adults falling in love at the cusp of the Internet age and mega bookstores. It’s so dated...and so wonderful.

Plus, this is set in New York, where I’ve never been but dream of going. I think what I love most is Kathleen Kelly and Just Call Me Joe are truly adults — independent, successful, intelligent and wise. They don’t NEED love. They WANT love.

And now, the big reveal, what’s your winner? (FYI, Rachel talks about this movie all the time. You better write that, Rachel.)

Rachel: I will write with the dignity befitting my choice: "Pride and Prejudice" -- the 1995 BBC version starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy. It's the only version I acknowledge, in fact. So, obviously, it comes up naturally in conversation often BECAUSE IT IS SO, SO WONDERFUL!!!!

First, I must bow to Jane Austen, who understood the human heart. "Pride and Prejudice," her masterwork, acknowledges that love cannot just be about pheromones, or else it's not love. It must be about the meeting of equal minds and open hearts, most beautifully expressed in the relationship between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. Their hearts and minds aren't open to each other, not at first, but the joy of the story is to see that happening. They are equals, and that is beautiful.

Plus, I love "Pride and Prejudice" because it acknowledges that manners are important, because they're about showing respect to those around us, and that family is family, regardless of how exhausting or embarrassing.

Then there's Mr. Darcy. I could go on for days about him, but suffice it to say, he's everything a man should be. And Elizabeth Bennet is lovely, not just because of her fine eyes, but because of her brilliant mind and her good heart. Their love story is one for the ages, and I watch all six hours of this wonderful, charming, hilarious version of a story I love often. I mean, OFTEN. It makes me so very, very happy.

And, with that, dear readers, "The End."


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