(!…try to do a blog on “chick flicks” and they all bail on you.  What can you do?….)  AHEM!  ok, looks like I’m talking to the ladies here.  (flashes winning smile)
I’ve come to believe that women love to be appreciated(feel free to dispute this ladies if you’re inclined)  I’ve observed that women want to feel beautiful, and how we look at them helps to give them affirmation that they’re beautiful(again, ladies, if I’m misinformed about this, I’m willing to learn differently).
In the movies, there exists a genre where a so called “ugly duckling” is transformed into a “beautiful swan.” Today, I’m going to count down the 12 most amazing makeover movie transformations.  Why 12?  Because I like to go one step beyond one step beyond(with respect to the Nostalgia Critic).
So, sit in the salon chair, and prepare to unlock the beauty that is yearning to emerge.
“I feel pretty” is playing in the background.
Warning:  Spoilers and FABULOUS beauties ahead….. 
#12.  Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope-1977  
This one’s a minor change, but really noticeable!  Princess Leia(Carrie Fisher)spends 95% of this film in a ridiculous hairstyle that many have commented resemble cinnamon rolls on the side of her head.  Her face is pretty(In fact it’s worth noting that even though she’s nabbed by the Imperial forces and placed in a prison cell, she still looks like she spent a couple of hours in the makeup chair), but her hair is so ridiculous looking, you feel a little sorry for her for reasons that have nothing to do with her incarceration.
Then, HALELUJEAH! the Rebels are triumphant, there’s a big awards ceremony, and mercifully, Leia has a gorgeous new “do.”  WHEW! that’s more like it Leia!
#11.  Romancing the Stone-1984.  
You would think it would be difficult for Kathleen Turner in the 1980s to appear “dumpy” on the silver screen, but as this film begins, there’s no other way to describe her character.  As Joan Wilder, the author of popular romance novels, she lives alone with her cat, Romeo.  Her appearance is below par:  ratty hair, pasty complexion, bloodshot eyes from crying over the last page she’s just written.  She has on no makeup and it shows.
When her sister is kidnapped in Cartagena, Columbia, she goes down to try and pay the ransom of a treasure map that she mailed to her.  Due to several accidents a militant thief, and a gung-ho treasure hunter played by Michael Douglass colliding with her, she finds herself traveling through the jungle without any amenities of civilization, and the most incredible transformation occurs.
The sunshine brings out the color in her skin.  Her hair develops a bouncy curl.  The thrill of the treasure hunt brings a glow to her face and she’s smiling with a gleam in her eyes that’s striking.  By the end of the film, she looks like the attractive starlet we expect when she graces a movie screen.
#10.  Grease-1978.  
Olivia Newton John plays Sandy Ollson, a transfer student from Australia.  She has the “Sandra Dee” complex.  She’s a typical wholesome girl in the 1950s very proper.  Simple dress, simple hair, little makeup-clean cut cute.
She’s fallen for Danny Zucko(John Travolta), a “greaser” with an image.  He wants her, but has trouble cleaning up his image.  She wants him, but doesn’t know how to be, for lack of a better word, dirtier.  It’s fun to watch the 2 of them in their attempts to fit in with each other.
Danny gets a letterman’s jacket for Track, and Sandy has her friend Frenchie(Didi Cohn), the beauty school dropout, give her a makeover.  Hair, makeup, earrings, black leather suit and stiletto heels turn her into a very sexy woman.  Now, technically this look could be described as “slutty” biker chick-but Sandy pulls it off, being alluring and exciting, but still good somehow!  It’s amazing.
#9.  The Mirror Has Two Faces-1996.  
Barbara Streisand plays Rose Morgan, a shy middle-aged English Literature professor who lives with her mother Hannah(Lauren Bacall) and envies her sister Claire(Mimi Rogers) a vixen who’s about to get married.  Her look is very “professor” like.  Hair tied back, glasses and turtleneck sweaters with no makeup, she’s not unattractive, but not ravishing, either.
She marries Gregory Larkin(Jeff Bridges), a fellow teacher who offers her love based on mutual friendship and respect, without a physical relationship to complicate the good thing(insane, but still better than living with mother).  Soon, however, she needs the physical relationship and starts changing her “look”
She changes her wardrobe, exercises, she gets her hair done and uses makeup for the first time in her life and WOW!  The change is stunning.  There’s no other way to say it.  She’s hot now.  After she leaves him, Gregory realizes that he’s been denying his physical needs and realizes he loves Rose completely and the two reunite and look great together.
#8.  The Princess Bride-1987.  
Robin Wright plays a peasant farm-girl named Buttercup.  Like Sandy in Grease, she’s a wholesome beauty.  However, she lacks grooming and is stuck in peasant clothing.  In the story, she loves the farmboy Westley(Cary Elwess) but he’s captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, and she believes him dead.
When Humperdinck(Chris Sarandon), the Prince of Florin, selects her to become his princess bride, she’s whisked away to the castle and treated like royalty.  She’s cleaned up, groomed up, made up and dressed up.  When she appears before the kingdom for the first time as their princess her transformation is magical.  Like Cinderella, she shines a pure beauty dressed in white with jewels and a regal manner.  Yet, she’s sad at the loss of her true love.
After kidnappings, chases, shrieking eels, nasty Sicilians, deadly journeys through fire swamps betrayals, and suicide attempts, she’s reunited with her beloved Westley, and now she’s beautiful AND glowing in love, and that completes her amazing makeover.  This one’s a classic.
#7.  Kill Bill-2003.  
OK, this one’s a bit of a cheat.  Uma Thurman starts out the picture lying on the ground having just gotten the shit beaten out of her.  Her eyes are black, she’s bleeding everywhere and her mascara is running all down her face from crying in outrage over her ex-lover showing up at her wedding rehearsal with the assassination squad to kill her fiance and all the guests in attendance.  Bill, who’s offscreen then shoots her in the head and the screen blacks out to start the credits.
The next time we see her, she’s been in a coma for 4 years and she looks it.  Pale skinned(even more than Uma normally looks), unkempt hair, and sallow face from muscle atrophy.
After waking up, killing the perv who’s about to violate her, and the orderly who’s been selling her body for profit, she sets out to get revenge.  By the time she tracks down legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo(Sonny Chiba)and convinced him to make her a sword and trains hard during the creation of the weapon, she’s looking a lot better than she did at the start of the film.
There’s a fire in her eyes that makes her exciting and mysterious all at the same time.  She has a confidence in herself that generates an aura of danger and lethal beauty like a panther, lithe and poised to pounce. GRRRRRROWLLLLL!
#6.  The Incredibles-2004.  
In this animated film, a family of superheroes is living incognito by governmental decree.  Violet Parr(Sarah Vowell), the daughter of Mr. Incredible(Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl(Holly Hunter), is an unhappy sulky teenager who wears over-sized clothes and hides behind her hair.
During the course of the film, she’s forced to use her superpowers of invisibility and forcefields(Like Susan Reed of the Fantastic 4) and begins slowly gaining confidence in herself.  By the end of the film, when she’s her alter ego teenager self, she’s in clothes that work for her and she’s wearing her hair up and out of her face which is happy.  Two simple steps that transform her as effectively as putting on her mask and super-suit does.
#5.  Pretty Woman-1990.  
Vivian Ward(Julia Roberts) is pretty at the start of this film in a hard-working girl/next door L.A. hooker kind of way.  However her look is undeniably “slut” and that doesn’t really showcase her at her best.  Then she gets Edward Lewis(Richard Gere) for a client and he’s taken with her.  He’s also insanely rich and cultured, so he gives her a lot of money to go out and buy some nice clothes.  However, the stuck-up bitch behind the counter looks down her nose at Vivian and refuses to even serve her.
Next comes a scene that has become the standard for a character getting a makeover in a film.  Edward accompanies her to the very best salons and clothing establishments in Beverly hills, and thanks to his influence, and a hilarious outing by Larry Miller as the salon proprietor suck up, is transformed into a ravishing beauty.  By the time they’re done she resembles a gorgeous and proper “Lady” of sophistication and class.  It’s the classic “My fair Lady” story re-told with effective results.
#4.  The Princess Diaries-2001.  
Mia Thermopolis(Anne Hathaway) is a typical teenage social outcast.  She hides herself at every opportunity, and takes a twisted pride in being “invisible.”  Then her Grandmother Clarisse Rinaldi(Julie Andrews)visits her shortly before her 16th birthday with some surprising news.
It turns out that through bloodlines and some accidental deaths, Mia is the reigning princess of the small European country of Genovia.  “SHUT UP!” She exclaims.  To prepare her for accepting the title, if she chooses, Mia undertakes “princess” lessons.
There’s no denying that this film has the same production team as Pretty Woman had as the film re-creates the makeover scene Julia Roberts went through-down to using Larry Miller, again, as the Salon stylist Paolo(Who actually out-does his prior performance and steals the show here) The final “look” of Mia is stunning.  No one’s going to accuse her of being invisible now.
#3.  Miss. Pettigrew lives for a day-2008.  
Guinevere Pettigrew(Frances McDormand) is a down on her luck Nanny-temp in pre-WWII London, who just lost her 4th job.  She appears harried, poor, disheveled and dumpy with an almost permanent scowl on her filthy face.  She is miserable.  Desperate to work, she steals a job card at the temp agency and rushes off to get the job.
Delysia Fosse(Amy Adams) her new client, is a glamorous singer/actress who’s actually hired her as a social secretary, instead of as a Nanny, and desperately needs her to help to juggle the 3 men she’s seeing!  Inhabiting the world of high society, Delysia takes Guinevere to get a makeover and fashion shopping jaunt.  Fresh from having her hair and face done, dressed in classy ‘40s upper fashion, she unleashes the glamorous lady within herself.  The change is dramatic.  And it all takes place in 24 hours!
#2.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding-2002.  
Fotuola “Tuola” Protokalos(Nia Vardalos) is having a mid-life crisis.  As the story begins, she’s 30, and the only daughter in her large Greek family to not be married and producing children.  Naturally, she works in the family restaurant and doesn’t worry about her appearance-AT ALL.  Her character at the start of the film is frumpy and under-styled.
Then she meets Ian Miller(John Corbett), a school teacher who inspires her to go back to school to learn about computers.  Soon, she’s working in her aunt’s travel agency using her newfound skills, and a sudden interest in her own appearance, since she’s attracted to Ian.  It turns out, she’s been denying herself for years, as she’s quite beautiful when she tries to look her best.  Falling in love does the rest.  There’s a glow of confidence and happiness about her, and she bears no resemblance to her former self.
And the #1 film where the girl gets a makeover is…………
#1.  Strictly Ballroom-1992.  
This one is amazing.  Fran(Tara Morice) is a behind the scenes girl at a ballroom dancing studio in Australia.  She’s very non-descript in her ordinary clothes, hair loosely tossed and bookworm glasses(Actually I kind of like that, but I digress….)Surrounded by glamorous dancing ladies with their hair done and sporting incredible fashions and makeup applications.
When Dance superstar Scott Hastings(Paul Mercurio) loses his Dance Partner, Fran offers to dance with him instead.  He’s skeptical, but gives her a try.  Seeing potential in her PasoDoble style, he secretly begins training with her, and she starts transforming bit by bit into a confident, attractive and really sexy woman.
By the end of the film, she bears no resemblance whatsoever to the awkward ordinary girl she was at the start of the movie.  Great blossoming of beauty.
Honorable mentions:  My Fair Lady-1964, Annie-1992 TV movie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown-1964, Cinderella-1950, The House Bunny-2008, and Legally Blonde-2001.
That’s my list.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you have a film I missed let me know.  I’d like to know what films you loved.  Peace.

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