Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus 7What started out as a Disney Channel Original Movie would be viewed by executives as a goldmine and turned into a theatrical release that is now shown on ABC Family’s Thirteen Nights of Halloween every single year.

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Hocus Pocus 9Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are the Sanderson Sisters (Winifred, Mary, and Sarah specifically) and are finally revealed to be witches who must eat children every once in a while to maintain their power and beauty. Unfortunately, after kidnapping Emily Binx one year her brother Thackery (Sean Murray of NCIS fame) refuses to let them have her and goes to save her. But while he is too late to save his sister his sacrifice is what leads the sisters to being hanged by the townspeople. Of course, since they’re actual witches, they cast a spell that prophesies a virgin lighting a candle that resurrects them at some point in the future.

Hocus Pocus 2Rather than burn the house down, no doubt because they might have a virgin do it of course, the house is left standing in Salem, Massachusetts as a museum commemorating the Salem Witch Trials. Smart. Thackery (Voiced by Jason Marsden) sits over the house for all time, having been cursed into the form of a black cat and unable to die and rejoin his sister in heaven. One day, the Dennison Family move to Salem Dave, the dad (Charles Rocket) and Jenny, the mom (Stephanie Faracy) are hoping that getting away from Los Angeles will do something for their teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and their young daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Because that always works out so well.

(GERMANY OUT) Hocus Pocus Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler Auch Dani (Thora Birch,m), die Schwester von Max, brauchen die Hexen Mary (Kathy Majimy,l), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) und Winifred (Bette Midler,r) zum Leben. (Photo by United Archives/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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Its Halloween in Salem and as Max finds himself crushing hard on Allison (Vinessa Shaw) in class and, after randomly accidentally ending up in her house while taking his sister trick or treating, he tries to impress her with his nonbelief in the Sanderson Sister myth. Funnily enough, from a Disney film, Max is revealed to be a virgin after lighting the candle and resurrecting the three witches who now must complete their goal or be left for dead for real this time. Hocus Pocus is a Halloween-theme movie and it takes great pleasure in this aspect of itself. With an ensemble cast consisting of three actresses most everyone knows and a few names who would go on to do important things, this film was an instant cult classic.

Hocus Pocus 5One other standout cast member who shows up partway through the film is the undead Billy Butcherson (played by Doug Jones). As Winifred’s ex-lover, caught in a tryst with Sarah of course, his death and subsequent loyalty to Winifred play out as one would expect.

The movie takes jabs at Christianity, somewhat subtly, and it truly plays up the belief that witches are servants of the devil for all that it is worth. Because it’s a comedy, it has the ability to do so and still take itself seriously when it needs to, and while it’s a children’s film it has elements of horror that are surprising for a children’s film, as well as a Disney film.

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The First Wives Club

Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn are three wonderful actresses and this movie features an all-star ensemble of the nineties and actors who would grow further in their career over the decades. The First Wives Club tells you not to get even but to get everything.

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The husbands are, much like everyone else, played by established actors Victor Garber, Dan Hedaya, and Stephen Collins and each of them have left their first wives for new, younger models played by Elizabeth Berkley, Marcia Gay Harden, and Sarah Jessica Parker (who worked with Midler just a few years prior in Hocus Pocus). Their lives are plagued by this seemingly rash, abrupt decision as it was predicated by the suicide of their friend (played by Stockard Channing in a bit role) who was betrayed and abandoned by her husband.

Add in a little bit of Dame Maggie Smith, Heather Locklear, and a young Timothy Olyphant and you have yourself a smash that has withstood the test of time.

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The plot of the movie is the three wives Annie (Keaton), Brenda (Midler), and Elise (Hawn) deciding to get back at their husbands for their betrayal and destroy everything that they have ever dreamed of having. While possibly a little insane, this is a film and it’s absolutely hilarious. In true comedy fashion the women put their husbands through the ringer, but the emotional toll of it all is a heavy one and as they go on they begin to question whether or not this will make anything better.

first-wives-club-husbandsI have often said that a movie is only as good as its characters, often times its extensive supporting cast which can serve to make the main characters feel more real than they are. The First Wives Club focuses on its main characters, as a film and television series should do, but the supporting cast is there to help them feel like well-rounded characters with actual lives that are being thrown into upheaval by their husbands leaving them.

The chemistry between the characters is palpable. You can feel the strain in their relationships with one another before things even start to blow up in their faces. These aren’t old friends who got back together and all of a sudden became great friends again. These are old friends who drifted apart over the years and came back together something fierce because of a tragedy, but the reasons they drifted still remain. It is rare for a film to not take shortcuts, and I’m truly glad that this one showcases just how difficult it is to reclaim a friendship after it has drifted.

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The First Wives Club is a beautiful movie, and while you may have already seen it, it’s time to see it again!