Check out this survey. Apparently, Star Wars tops men's most-watched movies list. Natch.
Whaddya think it is for women? Dirty Dancing. Of course it is. (Most) women love this movie. (Most) women want to marry this movie. (Most) women want to have ten thousand of its babies. Listen to a conversation among a gaggle of the fairer sex; they will quote from this movie like a bunch of conventioneers quoting Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Simpsons. Need some evidence? Well, these items are up for sale. Seriously, screen Dirty Dancing, and women will stop mid-sentence to stare slack-jawed at the screen.
My favorite moment of the film is the expression on Penny's face (in the background) when Baby's father whips a javelin of a needle out of his big black doctor's bag. Right. A woman who's just endured a botched abortion administered by "a guy with a folding table and a dirty knife" is frightened by the prospect of a shot? Class A acting.
Per the article, most of the rest of the movies exclusive to the men's list are pretty violent magnum opera (Alien, Godfather, Diehard, Terminator 2, Bladerunner, etc.). Interestingly, there are a few movies that popped up on both lists...these were Star Wars, The Terminator, Jaws, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I'm guessing that this is a direct result of women not being able to coerce their boyfriends, husbands, neighbors, brothers, fathers, cousins, landscapers to turn the channel when the credits start rolling on these flicks.
But most of the movies that show up just on the women's list are just way too saccharine for my tastes. In addition to the saga of Johnny and Baby (née Frances), here's what the double-X chromosome collective thumbs-upped: The Sound of Music, It's a Wonderful Life, Pretty Woman, Grease, and (here's your wha-huh? moment) The Matrix.
The exclusively-favored-by-women movies all share a thread of emotional rescue. You can argue with me about The Matrix, but really, wasn't Trinity "rescued" from the grittiness of her renegade life by hooking up with the One?
Oof. Sorry, didn't mean to veer into a cultural studies essay. But...I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you. (My second favorite part of Dirty Dancing? When Johnny puts the needle on a 45 rpm piece of vinyl, and a very 1980's sounding duet blares from the speakers. If it were my movie, Dr. Who would bungee jump en scène and explain that Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes time-warped into 1962 to record this song on some futuristic material that provided crystal clarity. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Hollywood isn't knocking down my door for screenplays.)