Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So Many Somethings: Farewell, Nora Ephron

I have been a cinema fan my entire life. One of my first memories of watching a movie for adults is Mermaids when I was 3. We saw Curly Sue and then went to Fazoli's for spaghetti. I cried when MacCauley Caulkin's character died in My Girl. Movies were a huge part of my formative years and that love of film has continued to this day. My tastes are extremely diverse and I have no qualms in going to see an action movie one day, a science fiction film the next, and follow it all up with a great Rom-Com. I can safely say, however, that the latter will always be my favorite genre and there are very few filmmakers who have been able to do with romantic comedy what Nora Ephron achieved.

Nora Ephron, who created my favorite movie of all time You've Got Mail, passed away this evening from complications with pneumonia. She had leukemia and kept her health issues out of the public eye. Tonight I mourn the loss of an amazing filmmaker and the creator of some of my all-time favorite characters. Her wit and charm will sorely be missed and the world is a better place for having Nora Ephron in it.

I remember watching When Harry Met Sally when I was very young, but was unable to appreciate much of the humor in the film. Sleepless in Seattle was one of the first movies I ever remember truly loving and I've seen it too many times to count at this point. However, it was You've Got Mail that really did it for me. It was created at the beginning of an age when the internet and computers were becoming mainstream; my family had just gotten our first computer when it came out. The story was simple enough, two people strike up an internet friendship and it's revealed (to the viewer of course) that they are actual rival bookstore owners. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have this wonderful chemistry and I think it was that coupled with Nora Ephron's brilliant script and direction that made both Sleepless and Seattle and You've Got Mail possible. 

Watching her movies, You've Got Mail especially, ellicits so many emotions from me. When I cry at the end of the movie, I want Joe to wipe my tears away and say, "Don't cry, Shopgirl." There are just so many subtle nuances about the movie that are so wonderful. You've Got Mail helps make the darkest days brighter and it's one of the few movies that I could watch every day and not be bored with it. It also instilled in me the desire to own my own bookstore and it's been a not-so-secret dream of mine since I was 11 years old. I was just so inspired by the character of Kathleen Kelly and the fact that her entire life was shaped by books. 

Michael is probably my favorite John Travolta film. I remember wanting to review it for my elementary school newspaper, but my teachers not letting me because it wasn't a kids movie. (As an aside, all movies were kids movies to me just because I liked them. I guess my bar was set really high.) I cannot forget Julie & Julia, which was her last film. She captured the essence of Julia Child so brilliantly in that film. She has has the best way of bringing her stories to life and the way that she works with her actors and actresses is phenomenal.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Nora Ephron's movies. She has left such an amazing legacy and I am forever changed by her films. 

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void."

"Look, Annie... I love you. But let's leave that out of this. I don't want to be someone that you're settling for. I don't want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it, isn't it?"

"Annie, when you're attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. So what we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match."

"Caviar is a garnish!"

 "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

"Hey, how about... oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie... for as long as we both shall live?"

"People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... has happened. My store is closing this week. I own a store, did I ever tell you that? It's a lovely store, and in a week it'll be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap. Soon, it'll be just a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it's a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is... I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again, and no one can ever make it right."

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