“There are some things I know for certain: always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”
It’s spooky season, and what am I doing? I’m going to watch Practical Magic for the millionth time as part of my yearly October tradition.👻
Despite having a rotten rating of 23% on Rotten Tomatoes (73% audience score), I think we can all agree that the following this movie has built has catapulted it into minor cult classic stardom in the last couple decades.
Few films check the boxes of girl power and entertaining for me, but this movie is super special. It’s more than just a “tonally confused rom-com” and actually resonates as a story of women’s resilience more than 20 years later.
Audiences felt indifferent toward the movie when it premiered in 1998, and it even failed to break even at the box office.
Roger Ebert called it “too scary for children and too childish for adults,” accusing the film of “veering uncertainly from horror to laughs to romance.” Angie Errigo wrote for Empire that “Practical Magic is a chick movie with multiple personality disorder” while also calling it “a run-of-the-mill rom-com with magic bells on.”
What do they know though, right?
“It seems, in hindsight, that critics didn’t know what to do with a movie that mixed genres so brazenly, and that — though the story happened to be about witches — reflected both the dark and the light that often sit side by side in real life. Practical Magic’s blend of tones is not its downfall: It is the film’s biggest strength.” via Buzzfeed News
I don’t understand why this movie was such a dud in the witchy 90s landscape. It fell alongside classics like The Craft, Charmed (debuted the same week as Practical Magic), and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
But apparently, the fun, feel-good movie could have been a lot darker. According to co-writer Akiva Goldsman, the original cut was a darker, different, and “stunningly beautiful” take on the material. Wait…there’s another cut!??!
“It was more of a ghost story. It was really beautiful. It was weird… It got caught up in a sort of marketing thing at Warner Bros. as it moved forward in a way that I think didn’t serve it ultimately.” via Collider
Pre-Covid had also green-lit a prequel series with HBO set in the 1960s following the lives of the two aunts. Sad to say…save your midnight margaritas, because the prequel never saw the light of day.
Here’s the summary full press release of the series, per Variety:
“Set in 1960s New York City, the series follows three troubled siblings—Franny, Jet, and Vincent Owens—who wrestle with “abnormalities that have kept them isolated. But the tumultuous times unearth the extraordinary discovery that they are, in fact, descendants of a bloodline of witches. The two sisters will become the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in ‘Practical Magic,’ while their brother will leave an unexpected legacy.”
While it’s sometimes corny and flawed, if Practical Magic teaches us anything, it’s that movies can amount to more than initial reception.
“Practical Magic is not interested in showing us the pain without also showing us that, complicated as the journey may be, there is still life left to be lived on the other side of that hurt.” via BuzzFeed News