Wednesday, June 27, 2012

“She was an expert in all the departments of living well.”


Sad to say Hollywood lost one of it's greatest yesterday. Nora Ephron gave us a lot of reasons to love her--her creation of characters with funny, but very real (& perhaps relatable) quirks; movie quotes that can't quite seem to get themselves out of our heads; and romantic pairings whose love might have been delayed, but never lost.

I love her for Sally Albright & Harry Burns' rendition of "Surrey With the Fringe On Top" in The Sharper Image; I love her for Annie Reed's hiding herself in the kitchen closet, where her fiance Walter finds her, exclaiming "Miss Scarlet, in the broom closet, with the radio!" (the tall white socks & nightgown didn't hurt either); and I love her for "Shopgirl" & "NY152" & The Shop Around the Corner.

I didn't discover When Harry Met Sally until later in life (thankfully), but Sleepless in Seattle & You've Got Mail have always been household names. When we visit my family in Ohio every year, we deem one night of our stay as "Girls Night!" Which translated means, "We're-watching-Sleepless-in-Seattle-and-eating-snickerdoodle-cookies-so-do-not-interrupt" Night. You've Got Mail is watched every fall, when my mom & I plop down on the sofa and recite the entire script back & forth to each other. Tis a wonderful thing.

I find myself reading almost every article I can find about Ephron's passing--I want to know just a little bit more about her. And I've found some interesting things, like how she graduated from Wellesley College, but later berated them for turning out a generation of "docile women" (very Mona Lisa Smile, no?) Or how she was an intern for the Kennedy Administration in 1962. 

I have to say I'm partial, however, to the things I'd learned about her before she was gone. Like how Sally Albright's crazy eating habits were put in the movie after Director Rob Reiner saw Ephron ordering her food in the same way. When Reiner brought it up, she responded "I just like it the way I like it," which was put into the movie.

How, years later, Ephron was on a plane & ordered something very precise. The stewardess looked at her & asked, "Have you ever seen the movie, 'When Harry Met Sally'?"

How she never actually liked the title 'When Harry Met Sally'!

How in Sleepless in Seattle, when Annie Reed is listening to the 'best of' radio callers, the Disappointed in Denver caller is voiced by Ephron herself! She keeps getting better, right?

And finally, when Joe Bennett closes the door on the balloons at Kathleen's shop (unscripted, I might add) & ad libs "Good thing it wasn't the fish," Ephron found it so funny that she kept it in the movie.

But I can't do all this talking without having something to show you! My favorite scenes from truly my all-time favorite movies (actually, replace When Harry Met Sally with My Best Friend's Wedding, but for the sake of this post...); and I can almost quote them word-for-word!

My favorite scene from the movie because my dad orders things the same way and, without fail, it is NEVER right. Honestly! It's laughable.

I know it doesn't have Meg Ryan in it but that's okay! My mom can mimic Rita Wilson in this scene PER-FECT-LY. Sometimes I'll yell, "It's like that movie!" and my mom finishes the rest of the scene. Truly my favorite person in the world. Funny how I love these scenes because of my parents. Weird. 
(Tom Hanks & Victor Garber's crying over The Dirty Dozen was completely improvised. I love spontaneity!) 

*BONUS: Did you know that Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan only share approximately 2 minutes of screen time in this movie? Crazy! Less of a movie about love, more about love in the movies.

"I love daisies. They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" (You have to say it with a stuffy nose or it doesn't count. Another scene my mom is really good at, although sometimes she ends up sounding like Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann from Laugh In.)

If someone were to tell me I could have lunch with any one woman, I might never have said that Nora Ephron would be my choice. Until now. I read in the New York Times article, Nora Ephron, Writer and Filmmaker With a Genius for Humor, that Sally Quinn said “Sitting at a table with Nora was like being in a Nora Ephron movie.” What more could you possibly want?

I was serious when I tweeted last night about how I was going to watch Sleepless in Seattle & You've Got Mail on a loop for the next week. I never get tired of them. Ephron really was responsible for some of the best of the best. And I love her for it.

From the bottom of our now great-romantic-comedy-starved hearts, Nora Ephron, we salute you!

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