Steel Magnolias vs. White Zinfandel

“When it comes to suffering she’s right up there with Elizabeth Taylor”-Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias


(All of the spoilers)

(My) Wine Thoughts: Ahh boxed wine or rather wine of the sweet, boxed, cheap persuasion. Inexpensive, sweet and thoroughly mocked. But why? I’m gonna go right out and say it… I really liked this bottle. It’s easy to drink and has zero acid. I think like with most sweet drinks, I have my limits but who’s really going to hate on a drink that tastes good? To me, it tastes like an artificial strawberry popsicle think Otterpop, but no gross after taste. All in all, 4 Stars

(My) Movie Thoughts: I enjoy Steel Magnolias because it’s touching and about female friendships and bonding. Dolly Parton’s role in this definitely adds to it. Will will testify to the fact that I absolutely love Dolly Parton and seeing her play Trudy, the hairstylist whose husband neglects her, just makes her more lovable to me. I also appreciate that this film is women centered and passes the Bechdel test. It’s really about a group of multigenerational women and their enduring friendship in the deep South. Within the extreme sappiness and admittedly heavy handed plot, there’s some really great acting by Sally Fields, Shirley McLane and Olympia Dukakis. My favorite character other than Trudy has to be Shirley McLane’s Ouiser. Everyone loves to hate this character, but the more I age the more I see that Ouiser just keeps it real. She equips the film with some of the best one liners I think I’ve ever heard. 4 Stars 

Check out that 80s hair.

(My)Comparison: I’m a little ashamed to admit that I love both this White Zin. and Steel Magnolias. In exploring my shame, I have to think about why we peg these two pretty delightful or at the very least, banal things as “lame” and unworthy. True, both are so sugary they’ll give you a stomach ache… if you make both a regular habit. But both get a bad rep for no good reason. Both are things people make fun of for being simplistic, overly sweet and sentimental. Maybe I am a stereotype in that I enjoy Steel Magnolias when I’m pms’ing or fun-employed and need a good cry. But what’s wrong with that? Maybe we need to accept both of these for what they are, Steel Magnolias is a woman-centered drama and White Zin. is the non-wine drinkers wine. White Zin. will never be Pinot and Steel Magnolias will never be an action film. We should stop putting both down for not fitting into refined or “tough” roles. Let them be sweet and easy to be around. If you’re not into sweet wine or movies,  I  completely understand but if you’re not into them because they’re not “manly enough” then maybe you need to rethink what you’re trying to prove.. Also you have clearly not watched Steel Magnolias closely as Ouiser can probably outdrink me or any other male in my life and then knock your lights out. In my opinion, anyone who knocks Steel Magnolias or White Zin because they are viewed as stereotypically girly or feminine really needs to take their toxic masculinity and shove it.

(My)My Weekly Winner: This is a tie for me. I think White Zin needs Steel Magnolia’s and vice versa. Much like Ouiser needs Clairee to keep her from punching everyone in the face for being “too damn stupid”. Or I need Will to validate my anger but, keep me from yelling about the patriarchy to strangers.

(W’s) Wine Thoughts: I was once interviewed for a job by a gentleman who was wearing a shirt that read, “Friends don’t let friends drink White Zinfandel.” Like, culturally and socially I kind of understand what he was doing wearing that shirt. He was hiding!

Beringer White Zinfandel

He was living in denial and hiding his love for this cotton candy, bready booze scented treat. Right away after drinking the wine two things happened, I am immediately in love and immediately cheek blushingly inebriated. I am also a little terrified. This is a new discovery about myself. It tastes like kool-aid and melted jolly ranchers packed into a strawberry cannon! But how can this be? I’ve only ever made fun of people who drink White Zinfandel. “It’s what old ladies drink!” “It’s gonna rot your teeth!” “It’s not even real ‘Wine’!” I understand his shirt now. He too was living in fear. But I will be strong! I will live my truth: I like White Zinfandel. 3.5/5 stars

(W’s) Movie Thoughts: In short: Life in a tight southern community over the years seen through the eyes of a diabetic rebel (Julia Roberts), her worried mother (Sally Field) and her mother’s friends, a newcomer with the gift of hair dressing (Daryl Hannah), Dolly Parton and Dolly Parton’s breasts. Also seen in this film are the dumb husbands of the aforementioned women. This movie really caught me off guard. It begins sticky sweet with a wedding scene that rivals The Deer Hunter (1978) and Heaven’s Gate (1980). At least in the “Most pink wedding” category. It did not take long however for the horror of the characters lives to settle in our stomach and make us sick. Julia Roberts has Diabetes. She suffers a low blood sugar diabetic attack/seizure and we learn that it could possibly be the death of her if she ever bears children. Luckily Julia Roberts is a young up and coming actress and they’d never kill her off! Her character is too plucky to die!

Later she gives birth to a little boy, ends up needing a kidney transplant which her body subsequently rejects and she dies. All because she’ll be gosh darned if she listens to anything her mother says to her. Or anything Dr. Johnson and his stupid degrees have to say! But don’t worry, 13 minutes later after they bury her Sally Fields learns that the best cure for grief is laughter. Maybe a little bit of that southern sweet tea as well…as long as you splash a little White Zinfandel in there too. 2.5/5 stars

(W’s) Comparison: Both are incredibly sweet. Both certainly have their place. And both reminded me of my mom. On a serious note, Sally Field’s performance in this film hit so close to home that trying to find something to gripe about for comedies sake feels ALMOST impossible. She loved her daughter, cared so so deeply for her and wanted her daughter win and succeed and be smart and make good choices. But she was not overbearing. Sure she was protective but her daughter was a very fragile diabetic. All she wanted was for her kid to be happy and safe. Mom sometimes knows best. Please hug your Mom, and let your friends drink White Zinfandel.

(W’s) Weekly Winner: White Zinfandel

The weekly winner is White Zinfandel!


Beringer Main and Vine, California
Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias. New York: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 1988.Print.
Steel Magnolias. Dir. Herbert Ross. Tri-Star Pictures, 1989. Film.


2 thoughts on “Steel Magnolias vs. White Zinfandel

  1. artneila

    This was an interesting and engaging post! I too am prejudiced against white zin and sappy movies. In fact, i don’t think I have ever had white zin, but I have seen plenty of sappy movies. However, I sit here responding to your blog drinking peach prosceco that a friend left at my house. We tend to be wine snobs, living in Sonoma County and having access to so many high quality, low-priced wines. I would love to see a review for a heavy cult film, with a rich jammy wine! Nice work!


    • wineflixandwill

      Thank you for your comment! So glad you enjoyed it. Definitely, although I think I’m too much of a wine newbie (Will on the other hand has a more developed palate). A cult classic and a varietal sound like a great pair. if not during the duration of our class, sometime afterwards 🙂


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