Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Inspiration: The Witches of Eastwick

When I was growing up, I had a friend who was named after Cher because her mother had been obsessed with the singer. This meant that watching Cher movies became a regular pastime for us. Most kids our age were obsessed with Hocus Pocus and Harriet the Spy; the object of my 8-year-old adoration was the really-not-child-appropriate The Witches of Eastwick. In fact, when my friend had another playmate over, we'd pick our favorite witch and pretend we could make our enemies projectile vomit cherries. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should definitely watch this movie. The "have another cherry" scene is infamous.)

Even as an adult, I love The Witches of Eastwick. I wasn't a fan of the John Updike book it's based on, partially because I don't care for Updike and also because punishing an innocent female character for the indiscretions of a male character is never my favorite trope. But the movie? It's very different from the book, less complex and a little sillier, and somehow, that works for me. I'm weirdly warmed by three friends choosing each other over all others.

Beyond the fact that Susan Sarandon, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer were some of the biggest names in the late 80s, they were clearly picked to create striking visuals. Red-headed Susan Sarandon (Jane) is a buttoned-up school marm stereotype at the beginning, then a fiery-haired sex kitten in the second half of the movie, Cher (Alexandra) is dark-haired and dresses as rock-and-roll as you'd expect, and Michelle Pfeiffer (Sukie) is blonde and sweet.

In terms of makeup, these women are strikingly similar. The Witches of Eastwick was released in 1987, but to me, they were already switching over to 90s makeup, with natural-and-neutral being the name of the game. The one main difference is their lipsticks. Jane wears a saturated red in several scenes, but for the most part, each character has one soft shade they stick to: rosey brown for Sukie, beige pink for Alexandra, watermelon pink for Jane.

Cher was the main draw to this movie for my friend's mom, and in terms of plain ol' appearances, she's mine, too. I always thought Cher was strikingly gorgeous, and damn if I didn't want hair like that! (I still do, but I've come to accept the limitations of my fine, floppy mane.) Also, her clothes throughout the movies are 100% my thing; I especially love how she looks a little like Louis XIV in that bottom right picture.

See it?

My favorite character, though, was always Jane. She's the only one who undergoes a complete personality 180, morphing from uptight music teacher to horny maestro in an instant. I know some people dislike the transformation, and I understand why: it seems like she needed the leading man's magical penis to better understand herself. But I always felt like it was more about Jane realizing she is, in fact, a super sexy woman who had every right to her own personal pleasures, society gossip be damned. (This could be partially because I'm also a teacher, and I relate to the expectation that teachers should maintain a certain "morally pure" image...and I teach college!)

Also, I don't know if Sarandon ever looked more gorgeous than she did in The Witches of Eastwick. To paraphrase a comment Daniel Radcliffe once made about Brody Dalle, "She's hot in that 'I haven't slept in days' way." This is especially true after her "transformation," when they make her wear some of the most effortlessly sexy clothes and puff out her hair in that super-curly, soft-and-frizzy way I love.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the most traditionally attractive woman in the movie, but I think they sort of did her a disservice. Her character often comes off as painfully naive and passive, and she gets whammied by the antagonists in the film more than her two friends. Maybe that's the point of picking somebody so sweet and doe-eyed for the part, though, because I felt pangs of sympathy for her throughout. And that rosey lipstick they chose for her really looks wonderful in the scene pictured at the bottom.

Oh, and this wouldn't be an inspiration post without a shout-out to the very 90s glasses designs we see! Big, round frames like this look outright moronic on me, but I know they're coming back in style and I think they're a great accessory for different face shapes, so!

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