As cold arrives keep warm with ‘chick flicks’ and ‘rom coms’

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 12:24
  • Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster are shown in a scene from the 1953 Columbia Pictures film, “From Here To Eternity,” which is ranked by the Los Angeles Times as the No. 2 romantic film of all time. Regal Tikahtnu on North Muldoon Road and Century 16 on East 36th Avenue in Anchorage have upcoming limited engagements of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in November, and From Here to Eternity in December. (Associated Press Photo)

Don’t give chick flicks the cold shoulder; they provide warmth, inside and out. Although the term “chick flick” describes any film marketed to female audiences, box offices confirm widespread popularity.

An oft-quoted study in the Journal of Consumer Research argues “physical coldness may activate the motivation for psychological warmth.” When people feel physically cold, they look for ways to think sunny and warm thoughts.

Hollywood wised up to this. Researchers Jiewen Hong and Yacheng Sun found that romantic comedies released in the winter season did much better than the same genre released in the summer months.

It’s not because these films are released around the holidays they are successful, but that they are released when weather is cold. Millennials coined a new word to describe this time of year: cuffing season.

Urban Dictionary defines this simply as colder months, when singles prefer being tied or “cuffed” to serious relationships. (This season has probably also led to the term “Netflix and chill” which the company probably appreciates, considering it boasts 100 million members globally.)

Combined with low temps, and the one-two punch of less sunlight, Alaskans enjoy perfect conditions for romantic film viewing.

On cue, Anchorage theatres have scheduled some special in-theatre screenings of two classics. Regal Tikahtnu on North Muldoon Road and Century 16 Anchorage on East 36th Avenue have upcoming limited engagements of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in November, and From Here to Eternity in December.

The Los Angeles Times lists these as its No. 1 and No. 2 romantic classics, and IMDB and Netflix show both films, which first debuted in 1961 and 1953 respectively, remain top picks.

According to the manager at Century 16, there is a demand for older movies, so the theater hosts a “Classics” series three times per year.

However, there is also a new crop of romances on the verge of premiering:

• Nov. 11: Loving, based on the historic, real-life Loving v. Virginia interracial marriage case, comes to theatres. Focus Features summarizes its plot: Richard and Mildred Loving married then spent nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 ruled in their favor.

• Nov. 23: Paramount Pictures releases Allied, starring Brad Pitt. Paramount summarizes Allied as the “story of intelligence officer Max Vatan, who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.”

• Sony Pictures will release Passengers on Dec. 21, a sci-fi romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. According to Sony, two passengers in suspended animation on their way to colonize a new planet “are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions.” As they face living the rest of their lives on board, “with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, ...until they discover the ship in grave danger ...”

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, winter in Southcentral Alaska will have its usual prolonged cold. Most snow will fall in mid-November, mid-December, and in the weeks following the New Year.

With these romances including elements of civil rights, international espionage, and sci-fi, there’s a cure for nearly any Alaskan bout of cabin fever.

A.E. Weisgerber is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New Jersey Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @aeweisgerber.

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