Since we love Halloween movies so much, we are doing another comfort rewatch. This week it’s Practical Magic, directed by Griffin Dunne and starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Plus, we are doing our book report on Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.
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Aunt’s house – The perfect house because:
- It’s by the ocean
- Has a white picket fence
- Black fencing on roof
- Big beautiful cozy kitchen with an island that leads to a greenroom
- Rose bushes outside
- Cozy unfinished attic with beds
Other cozy inspiration (fashion, food, drink or anything?)-
Chocolate Tipsy Cake
Rate the Movie from 0-5 Whip Cream Cans
Elsie – 5
Emma – 5 or 6
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Episode 205 Transcript:
Emma: You’re listening to the Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. Since we love Halloween movies so much, we are doing another comfort rewatch. And this week, it’s Practical Magic, directed by Griffin Dunn and starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Plus, we are doing our book report on Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. A whole Practical magic show!
Elsie: I am so excited about this. Yeah, I just finished my Practical Magic, all the books, four in a row. So I feel like I’m in my Practical Magic era right now. And it’s coming at a very good time.
Emma: Yeah, I’ve only read the Practical Magic first one. It’s in the book club. But yeah, it has two sequels.
Elsie: It has two prequels and a sequel.
Emma: Two prequels and a sequel. That’s crazy.
Elsie: So before we jump in, I thought you might want to tell me about your first flight overseas with a toddler since that’s an experience that you’ve just conquered.
Emma: Yes, it was on my Halloween bucket list, or maybe it was an autumn bucket list. I guess not Halloween. It’s autumn bucket list was we were going to Costa Rica as a family, and it’s the first time Oscar used his passport. The first time he went on a flight, his little baby picture, and the first time he went to the beach. So tell you about the flight. So to Costa Rica from where we live is two flights, and the first one’s like an hour and a half, and then the second one’s like two and a half hours. And we had a fairly short layover, kind of the perfect amount where, like, sweating a tiny bit to catch the plane, you know, you’re like, we have no time to get a snack or go to the bathroom. But also, that kind of worked, because I feel like a lot of time in an airport with a kid is kind of tough, because they just want to touch everything and buy everything in all the shops, because I did that on the way home. Anyway, his first flight was really cute. I like, filmed his reaction as the plane was taking off. He was like, sitting in my lap. He had his own seat. He’s like, at an age where it’s like, he does sit in my lap a lot, but we did buy his own seat. Cause he’s like, at an age where you could do a lap kid. Anyway, he was sitting in my lap by the window and he was watching the plane take off. And I feel like he just had his usual Oscar reaction, which is just kind of frowning, which I think is just him thinking and like really observing. He’s a very observing kid and sometimes you think he doesn’t really know what’s going on and then he’ll repeat something later where you’re like, Oh wow, you really like were tuned in on that. I didn’t realize it.
Elsie: That’s a very cute, like serious face, like a concentrating face. It’s kind of his default setting.
Emma: Yeah, it is his default setting. So, he did that, and it was really cute, and he was just really great for the flights. I actually had, on the way there, we had two, like, random strangers tell us how great he was on the flight, and one of them was like, you guys are great parents, he was so great, or, you know, just, just being nice. And on the way home, I had one of those too, where they were like, he did so good, he didn’t really fuss at all. And, of course, it’s really not a metric of goodness. I think if you do fuss on a flight when you’re a kid, that’s also normal and fine. But I think that they were just trying to be encouraging, which I think was nice. And, you know, I was anxious about him having a meltdown, and he didn’t. And also, if he had, that would have been okay too, but it wouldn’t have been fun for me. But yeah, he was really good. He did get to watch more Paw Patrol than we normally let him watch, but that’s okay. It was a travel day, but he also had these reusable stickers that were like pumpkins and bats and he put them all over the seat, but they were like the reusable kinds of, they peel off really easy. So there’s no like ruining the seat or anything. And he would stick them on me. I had my emergency box of band-aids, as you told me, but we didn’t end up needing them. But I had them stuffed way down in his backpack and I was like, if things hit the wall, get those band-aids out. But things went pretty well. So it was really cute to watch him just observe everything. And he really was a delight and easy and I got really lucky.
Elsie: Oh, that’s good. That’s the universe being like, book more travel. That is great.
Emma: When I got home, I told Elsie, I was like, I feel like I might have used up a lot of karma, so I need to be looking around for opportunities to like to do good things because I feel like the universe was like, No delays, no problems at all. Your bags didn’t get, you know, like all the little things that happen when you travel, like nothing bad happened. Everything was no diarrhea for him or him. And it was just great. So I was like, okay, I feel like I used up some karma. I need to be looking for opportunities. That’s what this is. So yeah, it was a good time though. It was very special and sweet. And of course, as all parents know, there are hard moments traveling with a kid, a toddler. And there was all that too, but honestly, all of that is already fading from my memory, and I’m just like, oh, he was so cute on the plane. Oh, he was so cute at the beach. Like, you know how you do, you just like, turn the whole thing into rose-colored memories, which I think is a good way to like, go through life. I’m like, I’m not going to remember any of the tough parts. Forget that part.
Elsie: I think it’s a necessary part of like, how our parenting brains work.
Emma: I think so too. It’s a very survival. You know, otherwise, I don’t know if people would have second or third kids, you know, because you’d be like, no, no can do. But anyway, so that was great.
Elsie: Yay. Well, I’m happy for you. That is wonderful. So we’re talking about practical magic, the movie in this episode, and then we will also talk about the books and even the book series, it is its own little universe, and I am so happy to be a part of it. So, for those of you who haven’t seen Practical Magic, it is a movie from 1998. We definitely recommend it, it’s a great movie to watch during the spooky season. So this is the premise. Two witch sisters raised by their eccentric aunts in a small town face closed-minded prejudice and a curse that threatens to prevent them from ever finding lasting love. It’s so good. It’s definitely my favorite witch story that I’ve read, and the movie is so cozy. So we’ll talk a lot about the house. Okay, so memories from when you first watched the movie. My first time to watch it was actually pretty recently, it was a time when I lived in Nashville and Emma came to visit. And I remember that it wasn’t Halloween at all. It was like a different time of year, but you were like, you haven’t seen practical magic. Let’s watch it right now.
Emma: Yeah, I was so surprised you hadn’t seen it. And so I was excited to show you something. Cause I feel like you’ve always like seen everything, you know? So I was excited.
Elsie: So it was very recently for me. And then I’ve definitely watched it every year since it’s one of my kitchen movies. Cozy vibes, and movies, definitely fit into that. Do you remember your first time to watch it?
Emma: I don’t. It was probably high school or college. I am a big Sandra Bullock fan. Like, I think she’s hilarious and I also love romantic comedies and she’s in a lot of romantic comedies. Her and Jennifer Aniston to me are kind of like similar vibes as actresses where they’re really funny and really beautiful and often they have like love interest stories. So anyway, I feel like I’ve seen most of her movies. Like if I’m just by myself or trying to find a movie and I don’t want to like it. Scroll through everything or I just want something that’s like easy and light. I don’t want to watch the latest art thing. You know, then I am like, what Sandra Bullock movie have I not seen? So at this point, I feel like I’ve seen them all, but that’s probably how I discovered it was just like, Oh, a Sandra Bullock movie. Oh, it’s witches. Interesting.
Elsie: In the era of Blockbuster videos, Emma was walking through. Scanning for Sandra Bullock’s face.
Emma: Yeah, I’m like, excuse me, kid behind the counter, where’s your Sandra Bullock movies?
Elsie: And this, I’ve seen the movie cover, like the picture, is like a really cute portrait of Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman with like a candle or something?
Emma: Yeah, I feel like it’s trying, it almost makes it seem like it’s going to be scary, but it’s actually not a scary movie really at all, I wouldn’t say.
Elsie: The title Practical Magic makes, you know, it’s going to be like a little bit sweet. Like, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like a spooky.
Emma: And there was this whole era where things were coming out with witches. Like, I feel like the craft was a big one, which is more of like a high school drama. And this one’s more like adults. It’s not really about high school or anything. They are kids in the movie and then they grow up, but mostly I think it takes place in their twenties or thirties. So anyway, yeah, of all the like, which movies of that time of the nineties, this was easily my favorite and it’s very high on the list as far as like movies that I have rewatched many times. This one’s probably up there, like right under the Harry Potter. Which is also about magic now that I’m thinking about it. Maybe I just like magic. I don’t know.
Elsie: For sure. Okay, so the house in this movie is one of the ultimate movie houses of all time. I know that we’ve mentioned it on the podcast probably more than 100 times in our 200 episodes or whatever. But yeah, I was reading a little bit about this morning and So this sometimes happens, and it is hard to accept, but this is one of the heartbreakers, just like the house from the holiday, the cottage, where it is not and was never a real house. It was a prop. It was a, like, shell of a house where they built the exterior, they filmed the movie and then they immediately tore it down in the nineties. So, I have seen people post online the floor plan of the house and sort of try to like to make it, like form it into a real, I think it would be the ultimate dollhouse if you’re if anyone’s a dollhouse person and they want to do a tiny recreation.
Emma: Oh, it would be a beautiful dollhouse. It could have a little rosebush on the outside.
Elsie: But yeah, it was a little heartbreaking to me. I think that the design of it though, was still a real house that was designed, I mean, even though it’s for a movie, it was really built as, we can look at pictures, we can appreciate it. So they say that it was designed as like a cross between a Victorian home, obviously, and then also a lighthouse because it’s a coastal house. It’s right on the water and it does have very unique, kind of lighthouse coming up like a unicorn horn, it has unicorn horn. Yeah, so I love that about it. I think it’s definitely a gorgeous home. If any of our listeners, is I’m a billionaire and you’re looking to recreate something. I think that this would be the one to recreate. I would definitely come and spend the weekend with you, have some midnight margaritas, and someone please do it. Can we not all create a GoFundMe and make this into an Airbnb or something?
Emma: I know. Yeah, I think what makes it like partially so romantic is it is right by the water. So I think any house that, like, you can see water, whether it’s a huge lake or the ocean, that to me just feels so serene, like, so peaceful and calm. It’s very romantic to me. Maybe that’s because I’m from Missouri and we’re landlocked. We do have big lakes, but I don’t live on the lake. I love It. At one point the kids like steal this syrup that’s been kind of like poisoned and they run down just not very far from the house and there’s like rocky, rocky, it’s not really like a beach like sand but like rocks where the waves hit up on it and they pour the syrup into the ocean and it’s just like right there.
Elsie: Yeah, it’s supposed to be New England.
Emma: You could go drink your coffee out there in the morning, you know, that’s the dream, but yeah, the house looks very kind of like a lighthouse, but definitely just like a house. I think part of the story in the movie and I think it’s also in the book is that one of the elders which’s is from generations ago was banished and so she was on this kind of small island area by herself. And so this was like where she settled and the house over time got built. So it’s in this kind of special spot because she got banished away from everybody else because she was a witch, but yeah, I think maybe my favorite part is the kitchen which seems to kind of spill out into this almost like greenhouse room of all these plants. Which is again so romantic in that you think like, oh you could just walk into that little Sunroom And pick your herbs and then walk back into the kitchen and finish making your spaghetti sauce with fresh basil or whatever, you know, like it just seems so special and fun and like near civilization but also tucked away. But yeah, the kitchen has this really interesting hood. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like fairly big over the, like, stove range. And there are elements to the kitchen that feel very witchy, like at one point they’re stirring this giant pot because they are making some kind of spell because they’re trying to banish this bad spirit. And there’s just a lot of things that feel like, not like a commercial kitchen, but like an old-timey kitchen where maybe they used to entertain or they didn’t have the technology that we have now. You know, like it feels like a very mix of high, and low, like old houses have.
Elsie: I think it feels very much like a 1990s Martha Stewart slash Ingar kitchen. Like it’s functional, but it’s also professional.
Emma: But it still feels cozy and like in a home, not like a restaurant. ’cause there’s not like a ton of stainless steel everywhere or anything like that. It’s not the Jurassic Park kitchen.
Elsie: No, it’s a beautiful, cozy kitchen with an island, I think has a lot of cabinetry and it has kind of this cool, I don’t know what you call it, like an arched opening from the dining room to the kitchen that is kind of just like a, I don’t know, watch when you’re watching the movie, it’s a decorative feature that’s kind of like integrated with the cabinetry. That is really pretty, and it’s very unique. I think it would be a great replica kitchen. Somewhere in the world, there’s a person whose remodel would fit this perfectly.
Emma: Yeah, and then other parts of the house, other than just the beautiful kitchen, they have this like, attic room that is where I think both women stay whenever like, Jillian comes back to town. And it just has bedrooms in there, like beds in there. But it looks like, kind of like an open attic. So it almost feels in a way like unfinished, but it also feels very cozy in the way of like there are rugs and there’s kind of like I think some like kind of those wall tapestries are kind of like hung. So it’s a very like, again, I feel like the house feels very lived in. These set designers did such a great job. It felt like a real place, but it also didn’t feel too polished. It didn’t feel like, oh yeah, this is a bedroom and it’s a perfect catalog bedroom. It’s like, it doesn’t feel like that at all.
Elsie: It feels very lived in and like a real house. I agree. Okay, some of my favorite moments of the house. I mean, I love the garden. I love that it has a picket fence right by the ocean. Cause that’s just very unique, and it fits this house perfectly. Okay, so a big thing from the books is there is a portrait of Maria Owens on the stairway and when you are watching the movie, you’ll see there’s like a ton of witch portraits on the stairways, which is super cool. I love old portraits and I think it’s just such a cool collection. Every old home should have some Victorian portraits.
Emma: I mean, one can dream. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Bonus points if it’s relatives. But, you know, I’ll take anything.
Elsie: And I obviously like the greenhouse is everything. It is like the most gorgeous Harry Potter little greenhouse.
Emma: Greenhouses are always, I think, very photogenic looking because they usually have so much glass and so much light. So I feel like they’re always a great place for like a setting in a movie or in a photo because they just are really pretty. One of the kind of characters in this movie is a man who’s been half killed, but then they kind of half bring him back to life. It’s magic gone awry, but he sort of like becomes a spirit. He kind of embodies a lot of different elements, including this sort of rosebush that keeps growing up and they like cut it back and cut it back, but it’s still growing up. And I don’t know this movie to me like the Rose Bush is almost like a character in the movie where it’s like menacing, but also kind of beautiful, which I think was kind of what that man was like when he was alive because she was in love with him, but he was an ass and beat her. Yeah, his boots kind of come up out of the ground after they bury him.
Elsie: He won’t stay dead.
Emma: Ugh. Just won’t leave you alone.
Elsie: Wanting to haunt you. My favorite thing from the book that I want to make this for the blog is that it’s like in all the books, a lot, I don’t know if it’s in the movie, is the chocolate tipsy cake. Have you heard of that?
Emma: Yeah. I Googled it immediately after cause I was like, and it’s really not like a famous recipe.
Elsie: I think it’s a movie recipe because rum cake is a famous recipe. This is specifically a chocolate cake with a ton of rum in it. So it’s its own category of cake I think and I was thinking I want to make one maybe for Thanksgiving or for Christmas or like make it a family tradition in our family because I think it’s so cute.
Emma: Maybe we should have a dinner party that’s like all movie food and drinks. You know what I mean? That would be fun, right? Come on. And we could have like, you know, some photos up or posters up of the different movies or I don’t know. But this would obviously be the dessert.
Elsie: An idea is born. That is a great party idea. I like it.
Emma: A movie dinner party.
Elsie: And then also in the movie she has a shop, right? So it’s a cozy little shop. And it kind of reminds me of David Rose’s, Schitt’s Creek shop, you know?
Emma: It does. Right? I feel like he saw the movie, his character, and was like, that’s what this town needs.
Elsie: I mean I could watch this movie every autumn until I die, and I probably will.
Emma: The town is really cute, too. And I don’t know if it’s a real town, I assume it probably is. They probably didn’t build the whole town. But it looks very small town, but really cute. And it feels very coastal, and very, like, northeast, even though I’m not an expert on the northeast. Oh, and also, we didn’t mention this about the house, on the top of their roof they have this like kind of black fencing, it’s like kind of spiky looking, and at the end of the movie they’re all dressed as witches, like with the witch hats, classic witch looking, and they all jump off and fly. But they kind of just float down, but it’s definitely like they’re flying because they’re literally floating off of a roof. And it’s just really cute because the fencing there is like very menacing looking, but it’s this kind of cute moment where the town has accepted them as witches in the movie. That’s probably why witch stories are so good is just because it’s like, what the easiest way to highlight prejudice, which is like, you know, present in kind of like all of our lives all the time. But it’s like but in a more fun way.
Elsie: Yeah, I think a lot of times, which is the lore of it or whatever, you know, the fantasy of it is used to highlight the power of like female friendships and relying on people who are not your romantic partner, but they’re your partner in other ways. The sisters and a lot of fantasy books, like not just this one, but many other, you know, fables about them is that they can’t fall in love, their husbands always die. Not every single book has this, but there are a lot where that’s sort of a thing. So it makes it so that the witches have to rely on each other. That always has to be their family because they’re not really able to keep romantic partners. Not that every witch is straight, but in a lot of books that I’ve read, that’s been the lore in the past. And yeah, I think that’s kind of an interesting device to use, and I think it makes you examine love and family in a different way, which I like. I think it’s a good exercise.
Emma: So any other cozy inspiration? I said the chocolate tipsy cake and midnight margaritas are for sure the greenhouse. We had done the ant’s outfits, in the movie are pretty epic. It’s everything you want in an ant.
Elsie: It really is. I’m like, at what age should we start dressing like this? Pretty soon, right? Like 50? I don’t know.
Emma: I think it just looks comfy too. It’s like a different version of yoga pants. It’s got a better version. A lot of scarves. A lot of big sun hats, which I’m like, yeah, you don’t want the sun when you’re outside in the garden all day.
Elsie: It’s wonderful. I love how the end of the book, Practical Magic, is the exact same monologue that the movie opens with, where she says the thing about like, growing rosemary and throwing salt. It’s so cute. It’s adorable.
Emma: Yeah, because I feel like too, this is in the book as well, but they are kind of trying to escape their identity which is like, I think it kind of haunts them as Children because their town doesn’t accept them. They get picked on because they’re which is or because they’re different in the book. I think it’s less explicit that they’re what are than in the movie. And then by the end, it’s like they’ve found that people have accepted them. They’ve come together and done magic with them to banish that abusive boyfriend. And I think they’ve also come to accept themselves and kind of celebrate this part of themselves that they used to detest, which I also think, again is a great device for us to kind of learn about accepting the things about us that scare us, that make us different that might scare other people. And it actually can be, those can be our strengths. Those can be like some of the most beautiful parts of ourselves, you know, but it takes sometimes time and life and circumstances to help us see that. Yeah, and that’s what happens in this story.
Elsie: Being normal is boring, mother fucker.
Emma: Normal sucks. No, if you’re normal, that’s cool, but none of us really are.
Elsie: Okay, so let’s do some trivia. Practical magic trivia. So the first one is the entire house was a specially built architectural shell that was torn down after filming. It was built on rented land and even the blossoms and the trees are fake made of silk. I don’t want to know, erasing that fact from my mind, never thinking of it again. It’s a real house in my mind.
Emma: It does speak again to the set designer’s talent though, because you just want to live in this house. You want to go to this place and it feels real, like I don’t even remember thinking like, oh that looks fake. That looks like a silk flower I really don’t remember I have seen this movie a lot. So I’m like these set designers and like the cinematographers and whoever else, you know brought this to life did a great job. So I’m like you totally fooled me. I’m like in the world and this is real to me.
Elsie: Oh, wait, I should probably say this. This is that kind of trivia, but the production designer’s name is Robin Standifer, and I read this beautiful little article from when the movie first came out, I think, where Alice Hoffman says that when she visited the sets, she felt like the set designer was a novelist just as much as she was because of how much they brought it to life. It was very beautiful.
Emma: She could see she was storytelling her version of art. Yeah. That’s beautiful. That’s a beautiful thing to say about someone else’s work. I also love the name Robin. I think it’s a great name. For a boy or a girl. But, yeah. Okay, next trivia. Aunt Frances and Aunt Jett frequently wear clothing and styles that were popular in the early 20th century, suggesting that they were really much older than they appear. The cast said they felt supernatural elements of the house started to affect them. Both the cast and crew claimed they heard supernatural noises while filming the coven scene at the end of the film. I feel like this kind of thing comes up a lot in movies that are about witches or the supernatural or horror movies. I feel like there’s always something that happens on the set that’s like, well, that was weird. You know?
Elsie: I love it. I mean, it does sound like they were filming at least the exterior of the home in a very remote place. So I mean I could see it. Okay, so a big part from the books is like the black soap like they’re always making this black soap and using it that like keeps you looking young. I want it to be real so bad. I’m so mad. If anyone knows where you can buy some real witch black soap, send it to me for my Christmas gift. That’s the only thing I want.
Emma: I mean, there is black soap, but does it have magic? I don’t know.
Elsie: I don’t want charcoal, I want magic. Like, there is a difference, right? Anyway, I think it’s really cute, like, all the stuff, but yeah, they’re wearing old clothing because they’re.
From that time or maybe even like things could be passed down. You know how families like just keep things like the portraits in the house.
That’s true, too. I mean since the house has been passed down through many generations then that also makes sense. That, you know, they kind of have a revolving wardrobe in there.
Emma: You have our grandmother’s like a swimsuit from her honeymoon. There are things that can last a long time, but I do feel like the clothes they’re wearing them like a lot, you know, like a wedding dress I feel like is easier to pass down because it doesn’t get worn constantly.
Elsie: For sure. Okay. After the movie came out, production got a call from Barbra Streisand. Oh, I love Barbara, okay, who wanted to buy the house, don’t we all? Because the house was built on parkland and had Native American heritage. No digging was allowed, which was the real reason that the home was only a shelf. This was also the reason that the house, which was only a set, was torn down as soon as they finished filming. So first of all, it’s a tragedy. But second of all, Barbara, you have the cash. Build it. If you build it, they will come. Like, I want it to be real so bad. I will beg.
Emma: I thought too, like, when I first read this, that she was calling to be like, Why wasn’t I in this movie?
Elsie: Honestly, good question also.
Emma: Could there be a third aunt? I don’t know how old she would have been when this came out. Maybe she’d be just one of the sisters. I don’t know.
Elsie: The aunts do have a brother. Okay, I desperately want them to make a sequel of Practical Magic. One of the little girls Emma pointed out was Evan Rachel Wood or Evan Rachel Wood.
Emma: She was then and she is now.
Elsie: And yeah, there is a whole nother book. There’s so much more story for all of these characters. It would be amazing if they would make another one soon, sooner than later. Put that on my wish list, too, with a lot of stuff.
Emma: Dear universe, please, please, please. Yeah, I agree. For the final scene with all the townspeople at the Owens home, the entire population of the town where filming took place was invited to show up in costume and appear as townsfolk.
Elsie: I love that.
Emma: Yeah, I love it so much.
Elsie: That’s the dream.
Emma: Yeah, plus, like, can you imagine getting some call that’s like, Hey, we’re filming a movie around here with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. If you want to show up dressed for Halloween, come on down. I’d be like, yes, what time do we need to be there?
Elsie: Yeah. Emma has been extra before in real movies and TV shows and stuff. I’ve never done it and I have a chip on my shoulder about it and I want to do it so bad. Like so bad. Especially Hocus Pocus 3.
Emma: Oh yeah. I feel like though, a lot of times when you’re doing it when you live there, you don’t get to be in movies that you’re necessarily excited about. It’s just random, so it’s like you might get to be in something that you’re excited to watch over and over, but you might just be in, who knows? You know? Anyway, that would’ve been fun, and that’s really cute.
Elsie: Yeah, I know. It’s not the point of being an extra.
Emma: Well, hopefully, they paid them, but I mean, whatever. I don’t really know what happened with that.
Elsie: Okay. The black dog that followed Sally’s husband, Michael, to the day of his death, was no accident, according to several cultural traditions, mainly those of the British Isles and Latin America, a sign of impending death can take the form of black dots. They also have, in the books, a death watch beetle.
Emma: That’s in the movies, for sure.
Elsie: It’s awesome. It’s like always coming around, like one week before you die, making a bunch of noise.
Emma: Which in a way, there is a part of me that’s like, You know, I wouldn’t mind getting a heads up the week that I was gonna die. I also kind of wouldn’t mind just knowing generally.
Elsie: That’s true.
Emma: Because then I feel like you could plan so well.
Elsie: It doesn’t tell you who it’s for in the home though, which is kind of stressful.
Emma: Yeah, because you’d be like, is it my kid?
Elsie: Because it’s not always obvious.
Emma: Yeah, if someone was sick, you would probably think, oh, okay, it’s probably them. But if like no one’s sick, you’d be like, oh no, someone’s about to die. I don’t know who it is.
Elsie: I’m glad they’re not real.
Emma: Oh, I had a thing for this. So we’re rating the movie, and I was like, let’s rate it from zero to five whipped cream cans.
Elsie: What’s, wait, what’s that from?
Emma: Well, in the movie, they, when they’re trying to bring the guy back to life because they’ve accidentally killed him, they have to make, draw a star on his chest. That’s part of the spell. And they’re like, oh, what do we use? What do we use? And they’re just like looking around in the kitchen and they just pull out a whipped cream can. Spray this with the star on it. And then she, like, takes a bite of it because she’s just hungry.
Elsie: Oh my gosh.
Emma: It’s a funny scene. I feel like there’s a lot of memes out there now that’s like, you know, everyone talks about girl dinner, which just means, like, a bunch of snacks, I guess. And it’s like, here’s a girl dinner, and it just shows a photo of them with the whipped cream and they’re doing their spell, you know? Anyway.
Elsie: That’s cute. Okay. Five for sure.
Emma: Yeah. Five or six. Love this movie so much. Okay, well, let’s talk about the book Practical Magic. We’ve talked about it a little bit throughout this episode, but now we will dive a little deeper into just the book itself. And you can talk about the whole series if you like, because I know you just read them all and it probably is hard to keep them separate once you’ve seen the whole, you know, story unfold.
Elsie: Yeah. Okay. Let me explain what they all are and what the premises are. One of the main questions that I’ve heard people ask is like, what order is it best to read them in? So now that I’m an experienced professional, I will tell you. I honestly think they can be read in any order. I don’t think it matters. It’s just not that sort of thing. There are no spoilers. And the order I read them in was from prequel one, prequel two, Practical Magic, and then the sequel, which should be the perfect order, but I kind of, in the end, I was like, it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered at all. Anyway, okay, so the prequel one is called Magic Lesson, and it is the story of Maria Owen, so the like, original witch who makes the curse that no one in the Owens family can be in love, or her lover is doomed.
Emma: She’s the one who almost gets hanged, but then the rope breaks, and they just banish her.
Elsie: Yes. So that is her story, and then prequel two, It’s called The Rules of Magic, and it is pretty much the aunt’s origin story, and they have a brother, a magical brother. It’s like, very cute gay brother, very lovable character, and, yeah, it’s really good, I would say it was one of my top, and then Practical Magic, we all know, is the main book, what the movie is named after. And then the sequel is called The Book of Magic. And most people in my DMS said that that is the very best one. I kind of honestly thought they were all pretty equal. I thought they were all good. I would say like the worst one, maybe it was practical magic, even though it’s so good. It was probably just because it was the first one and the other ones have way more history and crossover and stuff, which is kind of nice. But yeah, they’re all winners.
Emma: I’ve only read Practical Magic. I’ve read other Alice Hoffman books, but nothing else from the series. So yeah, the other Alice Hoffman I’ve read is Here on Earth, which was really good. But it was a long time ago that I read it. But yeah, she’s one of those authors who’s written a lot and I feel like her stuff is often well known or on a bestseller or it’ll be in like Oprah’s book club or things like that. So she’s pretty well known and I do think her writing is really lovely. I loved Practical Magic. I listened to it as an audiobook and it was a delight for those days that I was listening to it. It’s not super long either. I want to say it was a fairly quick, listen to a fairly quick read, and as far as like if you’ve seen the movie and you’re like, will I still enjoy the book? I do think it’s pretty different as far as the things they focus on and it’s also obviously a lot longer, you have a lot more time to get to know characters and to see things happen in a book versus a movie. They have much less time to tell you a story in a movie. And I just feel like they focus on different things. There’s a lot more about Sally’s kids in the book like what they’re up to and what their life is like. And I really enjoyed getting to learn more about them because they’re not huge characters in the movies. And what else? I also feel like, okay, so this, I want to know what you think about this. I feel like in the book, and I didn’t read the whole story, so just Practical Magic, I feel like it’s not as explicit as the movie about magic. I feel like you do know that they’re witches and you know that they do magic and you get that the town is kind of uncomfortable with them for this reason, but they also come to them with their love problems because the ants kind of have the side business where they will help you with your love problems through magic. It is in there, but I felt like in the book, it’s much more like, almost like how people talk about essential oils. Like it’s just much more like myths and like, what do they call them? Like old wives’ tales or like that type of like, Oh, I went to the doctor and that didn’t work. So now I’m going to ask my grandma for what spices she would put in her soup. You know what I mean? Like, it’s more like that kind of vibe. It’s not quite like Harry Potter. I’m going to cast a spell with a wand. Like I don’t feel like that happens in the book as much at all.
Elsie: Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. I think it’s because the ants are like legit witches. And Sally and Jillian are more like, Sally is denying, like, her place as a witch, she’s kind of like, I’d rather be normal, and Jillian is like, not finding her power yet. So I think that that’s probably part of it, but I like that, I like that they’re not just like simply, you know, abracadabra, I think it’s really nice. Like lots of human stories, they’re definitely comfort reads. We were talking about Sally’s love interest, the one that happens with, like, the police or the detective man in the movie, how she was saying by the end of, this is a spoiler, big time.
Emma: Yeah, I think it’s okay. It’s been a long time.
Elsie: She was like saying, you know, they were kind of just getting to know each other. And I was like, okay, well, I hate to tell you this, but in the next book after that, he’s just like instantly dead. Like Alice Hoffman is not into love scenes. Like those sex scenes are so tiny. There’s nothing, it’s not romantic. It’s honestly more about the sisters and the aunts and the female relationship with the daughters, which I love too. So that’s definitely her vibe.
Emma: Yeah, I don’t feel like I expect romance from Alice Hoffman. It’s just not what she’s writing.
Elsie: On the newer witch books, you kind of expect it to always be just like a basic romantic like enemies to lovers with witches, and this is very different from that. So I guess that’s what I’m trying to say is like, I appreciate how different it is. I’ve been trying to read every book I can get my hands on for two years and a lot of them are not that fun top for me. Pretty boring and this was like very interesting. It’s its own whole world You can go down. I’m definitely a super fan now I bought red shoes. I bought I planted a magnolia tree in my yard nice, and I’m definitely making the chocolate tipsy cakes.
Emma: Oh yeah, we’re gonna have the dinner party. Yeah, I think too, I like the treatment of magic in the book a lot because I think it feels more like real life. Because when you do read a witch book or a magical book where you can cast spells with a wand and everything’s fixed, It kind of makes it, I think, harder, at least for the author, to create tension. Because you’re like, why don’t you just wave your wand? Whereas, in this book, I feel like Alice Hoffman made a world where magic can’t do everything. In fact, it can do a number of pretty fantastical things, but there’s a lot it can’t do. And especially for the characters who are denied.
Elsie: And sometimes it messes things up worse. And it can’t be changed back. So, like, a lot of times that’s what the spells end up doing. Yeah. It’s worse than originally.
Emma: They have consequences and trade-offs, which again, feels very much like life, you know? Like, you make a choice, and you get something that you wanted, and something else happens that you didn’t necessarily want, but that’s just kind of, you know, the choices that you have. So, yeah, I think it’s really pretty. And, yeah, as we were talking about earlier, there’s not a lot of, romantic sexual love. It’s a lot more about women relying on each other, which I think is really fun and makes you think about family in a different way and it’s just really beautiful. It made me think a lot about you and like us getting older together, and how much I’ve relied on you in my life so far and how much I will probably continue to rely on you, and obviously we don’t have a romantic love, we have a sister love, you know, we’re sisters. And I think other people have that with a good friend. You don’t have to be sisters, but we are. And yeah, I just think that kind of love is special because it’s something that I know about. It’s something from my life. So when I see it in literature or movies, I guess I feel kind of seen and it makes me feel grateful for the things that I have in my life, like you.
Elsie: Aww. Love you.
Emma: I wish I could do magic, but alas.
Elsie: Me too. Maybe one day.
Emma: You never know.
Elsie: Yeah. Okay. Well, let’s go now to our spooky joke and a fact with Nova.
Elsie: Hey Nova, what do you have for us this week?
Nova: I have a meditation.
Elsie: What kind of meditation?
Nova:A halloween spooky meditation.
Elsie: Oh, perfect. Okay, I’m closing my eyes.
Nova: Imagine you were walking down a street looking for candy. Then suddenly, come to a spooky house. The door creaks open. You go inside. Then you meet a cheerful skeleton. And then, you say hi, you walk on. Then you see a light flash. You go into the room and you see a witch making spells. You say, wow, maybe I could try. And so you try. And then you go on to the top, to the balcony, and you can see everything. Then you spot a ghost needing help. You go and help him. He says thank you. Then you see a vampire. He says greetings. Hello. Then you stay for a few minutes, talking and drinking, and having a fun time. But then, you see it’s time to go. So you hop onto a bus and it takes you home. Then you spotted something. You spotted that the witch, the ghost, and all your other friends gave you a present. You were quick to grab it. Then you showed your mom and dad. They said wow. And then they said time for bed. And so you hop in bed and dream about your friends. Now open your eyes and before it’s done, take deep breaths in, and deep breaths out, and feel how your body feels. Do you feel good? Do you feel relaxed? Okay. Bye!
Elsie: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Please continue to send us your comfort rewatches. We will be back again next week with my Halloween favorite movie, Rosemary’s Baby. It was Emma’s first time to watch it, so yeah, we’ll see you next week.