I saw Julie & Julia, which yes, haters, I greatly enjoyed. Meryl was amazing, should have been just a whole Julia biopic in my opinion, but whatever. That's not the embarrassing part (sadly, some of you might be thinking).
I knew that in addition to Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron wrote and directed several other movies, such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Michael. The movie that really struck me though was You've Got Mail.
I saw it in the theater in 8th grade with my best friend and a handful of times since thanks to cable, but it had been while. I'm not sure why (I called it a booger in the brain), but I just had to watch it right now. Eff Netflix- I was buying it.
Oh, if only it could be that easy.
Eleven stores (yes, I went all the way to eleven*), half-a-dozen strange looks from long-haired guys in various states of struffiness, a handful of lame excuses (everything from "Guilty pleasure" to "I'M A GIRL I'M ALLOWED TO LIKE IT"), more miles on my car than I'm willing to admit and $7.42 later, I was in possession of the movie.
Again, I'M A GIRL I'M ALLOWED TO LIKE IT. And no, everyone who is screaming "Sleepless in Seattle is the same thing!" it is not.
But believe it or not, it's very interesting to look at how the Internet was then and how it is now. Eleven years makes a huge difference. It's become quite dated for such a short span of time.
Points, I'm making them:
1. For all those who haven't seen it in a while, this was B.B. (before blogs), but not A.C. (after chat rooms), as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks's characters met in a chatroom. These were the days when everyone thought e-mail was just UNBELIEVABLY fast compared to snail mail (funny to note on the day Gmail died). Has our patience died that much or have we just become that more expectant for instant gratification? These are also in the pre-text message days kiddies, be-tee-double-you. OMG HOW DID WE DEAL?!
2. As I remember it, the general feeling of the Internet in those days was that you could be anyone you wanted. Using your real name was considered dangerous. Everyone lived under goofy screen names and avatars. I'm not sure if I would say that now people aren't as careful as so much the trend has changed. Instead of pretending you're a lion tamer in your offline life, you fess up to be a lion pooper scooper, but damn if you're not the best lion pooper scooper the world's ever seen. You're "you," but a better version of you. Think of Facebook profile pictures. If you don't look your best, you at least look hilarious, daring or awesome.
3. The other thing that struck me was how the two leads exchanged e-mails about "nothing" while not knowing anything about the person beforehand. That is the important part. Do two people who do not anything (and I mean nothing at all) about each other still able to have e-mail relationships like this? Blogs, Facebook, Twitter are all great, but I feel we know too much about each other to ever go back to these days. I know firsthand that a person is more likely to spill seemingly small secrets to strangers- it's the feeling of freedom that allows us to do this, because we feel we can't discuss these things with the people around us who "know" us. And I know as a blog writer, I'm aware that I can do this with the whole entire world. Yet, if someone were to contact me, they would be at the advantage- they "know" more about me than I them, unless they are a blogger/Twitterer/etc. that I follow, which even then, I only "know" the them that they wanted to present (see previous argument). Admit it- how many times have you Googled someone you just met or only heard of. "Knowing" takes away the suspense and intimacy of learning someone in bits and pieces. In gaining, we have lost. I honestly would love a penpal who knows nothing about me, like I had as a kid, but I don't think I ever will be able to again.
Other, more superficial observations:
4. Had a great chuckle at Greg Kinnear's character, the anti-Internet journalist. He would not survive until 2009.
5. Dial-up Internet! How quaint!
6. Do people still use AOL? You can tell me, I won't make fun of you too much.
7. Computers were so boxy.
8. One of the minor characters whines about possibly moving to Brooklyn. Now she'd be dying to get a place in Billyburg.
9. I had no idea who Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were then but as someone who has studied Angels In America and read The Bell Jar, I definitely know now.
10. They still made typewriters in 1998?
11. I never heard of Starbucks until this movie. Cappuccinos sounded so sophisticated. The county I grew up in didn't even get a Starbucks until 2006, in a Target. The prices are 75 cents more expensive than they are in the city. In case you were curious.
12. Parker Posey's character is just as annoying and funny now as she was then.
13. I totally forgot Dave Chappelle was in this movie. For everyone who is all, "WHAT?!", he's pretty forgettable, hence my surprise.
14. In the scene where The Shop Around the Corner is selling its last few items, someone can be heard in the background jokingly saying, "Let's bomb Fox Books." In the post-9/11 world, that joke wouldn't even leave the writer's head.
15. Even though it is sappy and predictable and cliche and etc. etc., I still really love the ending. Because ultimately that's the big difference between You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle- in the former, they already know and love each other, while in the latter, they just MEET for the first time at the end.
I think I've thought much more deeply about this movie than it ever was intended to be.
*Please tell you get this reference. Please.