I don’t watch TV, nor do I go to or watch a lot of movies. I don’t even remember the last movie I went to. Where the Wild Things Are is coming to mind but that would’ve been Pandagirl’s 9th birthday party which was over a year ago…that couldn’t be it…I hope that’s not it.
Anwyay, I’ve never tried to coherently explain my cinematic aversion. I don’t know why when Jeeps suggests we go out to a movie, or rent one, or stream one on Netflix…something in me just squirms in reluctance. Not fear, not phobia, just an overall sense of “Eh?”
But why not go to a movie? Well…
1) There are just…other…things…I’d rather be doing.
2) If I have the opportunity to get away from the kids and the house and go out with my husband, sitting in a dark room watching some other couple’s story seems to defeat the purpose. There are exceptions…one very memorable date involved us going to a movie but having an hour to kill before it started; we ended up getting Wendy’s and sitting in the car, eating and listening to “A Prairie Home Companion” on the radio. This was spontaneous and goofy and fun. Really. And I think the movie was Fellowship of the Ring. Which was great. [Editor’s Note – be careful when you google “couple eating in car,” looking for an image. Just saying.]
3) I hate doing nothing. I must have some weird, Puritan streak because when I’m sitting idle with my hands doing nothing, I go crazy. The best solution is to knit while I watch a movie but this presents a problem in a movie theatre, and also at home because certain people who live here have to watch a movie in complete darkness. Don’t ask me why, that’s their post.
4) Movies are water, and I am a sponge. I am a radar dish. I pick up everything and I internalize everything. If it is a horror flick or thriller or some truly intense subject matter, I emerge from the theatre or living room a neurotic, anxious mess. I’m not kidding. I do not deal well with disconnection. I have to take half a clonopin after parties to unwind. After a movie like Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List, I need a full tablet and therapy.
5) If it is lite, romantic fare, it’s a different kind of neurotic mess: I come out of the theatre a complete sap. I am either in the throes of infatuation, or knee-deep in a girl crush, suffering acute house envy, or have just assumed the persona of one of the characters and go around living his/her life for weeks.
Case in point: You’ve Got Mail.
[Editor’s Note – there’s no food in this post. Move on if you want.]
The Ephrons. I love Nora, I love Delia, I even love Amy, I love all things Ephron
I’ve had a thing for Tom Hanks since Bosom Buddies
Meg Ryan. (*facepalm*) Meg Ryan. Not the present Meg Ryan – I don’t know what she’s done to her face or her lips – she looks terrible – but the Meg Ryan of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle and especially the Meg Ryan of You’ve Got Mail. She is so beautiful and charming in this movie, I want to kill myself. Cinematically speaking.
Rather, Meg Ryan is beautiful in this movie, and she makes her character charming. Let’s talk about that. Let’s bullet-point that, shall we?
- Her name. Now, “Swain” is not my real name. Swain is one of the myriad mis-pronunciations of my real name. My real name is an uncommon spelling of an uncommon name. Nobody gets it right. Nobody spells it right, nobody says it right. I would never change it…I was named after my mother’s college friend who warned them, pleaded, begged them not to name me that. But they did. So it’s my name and I’m 43 and why would I change it now and it just seems sooooooo hurtful to my parents. But sometimes I do fantasize about what it would be like to be named Sara or Michelle or…(sigh)…Katherine. In You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s character is named Kathleen Kelly. Do I need to go on? I didn’t think so.
- Her style. That short little blonde flip, so casually messy: to die for. Her clothes: the schoolgirl, Talbots chic; the cardigans, crisp white shirts, pleated plaid skirts, tweed pencil skirts, a jumper over black turtleneck, opaque black tights, a classic trenchcoat, etc – it sounds dowdy in writing but it is adorable. She doesn’t wear high heels once in this movie! And her pajamas…(sigh)…it’s really not fair that somebody over the age of ten can look so cute in pajamas.
- Her apartment. That upper west side brownstone with the parquet floors, the crown moldings, the built-in bookshelves, the bit of stained glass, the window seat, the chintz, the flowers in vases, the patchwork quilt on her bed…(head on desk in puddle of self-indulgent despair)…Apartments like these do not exist in real life. OK, maybe they do, but nobody I know lives in a place like that. I will never live in a place like that. And it seriously is not f**king fair.
- Her shop. The Shop Around the Corner. A children’s bookshop. Exposed brick, red-and-white striped curtains, pendant lighting, posters and pictures of books, shelves and shelves of books, Christmas lights festooned. The very first scene of her opening her shop in the morning and entering – what does she do? She changes the water in the vase of roses. During the weekly story hour, she perches on a child-sized chair and reads to the group wearing a peaked princess cap. That is my shop, dammit, and it sucks that it closed down in the movie and sucks that little shops like that continue to close down everywhere. That’s a different post.
- The tea party. I searched and searched but could not find a clip from this particular scene of Meg Ryan, Jean Stapleton and another actress having a sumptuous cream tea together…but you can just imagine that it is near and dear to my heart. [Editor’s Note – can I just insert one small political rant here? If for no other reason, the so called Tea Party can go f**k itself because they are making it very difficult for me to search the Internet about MY idea of a tea party!! Thank you.]
- Her handkerchiefs. Rather than tissues, Kathleen carries a handkerchief that her mother embroidered with daisies and her initials.
- Her love of daisies. “They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”
So all these things, plus Starbucks and email and bouquets of freshly-sharpened pencils and a happy ending in Riverside Park…all contrive to make You’ve Got Mail one of my favorite vices because I just want to crawl inside the damn thing and live it.
That’s all I’ve got.
[Many many many thanks to Julia at Hooked on Houses, a fabulous blog about beautiful houses, AND beautiful houses you may have lusted over in the movies. All the You’ve Got Mail images came from her beautiful post about the movie. A similar but equally yummy blog is Sweet Sunday Mornings, dedicated to production design at the movies, so you get costumes, hair-styles and props as well as set design.]