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Column: Kate Rice – ‘Practical Magic’

I know it’s the time of year that many of you invite Michael, Freddy and Jason into your homes (well, onto your screens, anyway,) but me? Not a big horror movie fan. I’m more about shows that evoke a nice autumnal feeling, like 1998’s Practical Magic.

Kate Rice

Just Another Gal from Casper – What I’m Watching Right Now Edition

I know it’s the time of year that many of you invite Michael, Freddy and Jason into your homes (well, onto your screens, anyway), but me? Not a big horror movie fan. I’m more about shows that evoke a nice autumnal feeling, like 1998’s Practical Magic.

The movie stars Sandra Bullock, who I like, Nicole Kidman, who I don’t always like but really love in this movie, Aiden Quinn, who’s super pretty here and under-appreciated in general, and Goran Visnjic, who’s sorta pretty and definitely brings the creep factor.

Bullock and Kidman are orphaned sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, who were raised by their eccentric, literal witch aunts. Shunned by the town for generations, the Owens women mostly keep to themselves. Gillian’s a free spirit who leaves their unconventional home as soon as she’s able. Sally, however, sticks around, falls in love and starts a family, finally achieving the normalcy she’s always craved. But the Owens women are cursed. Any man they fall in love with is doomed to die. Gillian’s solution has always been having fun but never falling in love. Sally, however…you guessed it. Widow Sally and her two daughters move back in with the aunts. 

Things take an even darker turn when Gillian reaps a few man troubles of her own. Sally comes to her rescue, but her “solution” only leads to further problems. The aunts, brilliantly played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest, insist their nieces “clean up your own mess.” The sisters are forced to rely on the townswomen, many of whom have utilized the aunts’ magical skills in private while snubbing them publicly, for help.

Is this the greatest movie ever made? No. But it’s one I’ll watch over and over every autumn. I love the aunts — snarky Frances (Channing) and sweet Jet (Wiest) who serve chocolate cake for breakfast and don’t care about mundane things like homework. I love the lighthearted, fun moments like Phone Tree Day, Midnight Margaritas (although that scene takes a bit of a turn), and Halloween. And I love that there’s a little romance, a little horror, and a fabulous soundtrack. 

You can rent or buy Practical Magic through Amazon Prime, or throw back to the good ol’ days and buy it on DVD. Now, excuse me while I crawl under a quilt with a cup of cider (thought I was gonna say pumpkin spice, didn’t ‘cha?) and enjoy the ‘Magic.

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