Archive for New York

Something Borrowed

(Image: Warner Bros)

DVD (2011)  Written by Jennie Snyder/Directed by Luke Greenfield    STARRING: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski

Beautiful, self-absorbed Darcy and meek and mild Rachel have been BFFs since childhood. Despite Darcy’s relentless attention-seeking dramatics (often at Rachel’s expense), there is a strong bond between the two women, sealed by the fact that they can break it down 80’s style to Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It. But everything’s called into question when Darcy announces she is engaged to Dex — a man Rachel has been secretly in love with since her college days. When Rachel discovers that the handsome and good-hearted Dex (Tom Cruise-esque Colin Egglesfield) has always had feelings for her too, she and Dex start down a path that can only lead to someone getting hurt. The question is: who will that someone be?

It’s a 7.5  Something Borrowed fulfills most of my rom-com needs: twists and turns, a rich cast of characters, and several trips to a beach house in the Hamptons. The lustrous Kate Hudson is always fun, and only she could make you care about a heinous little minx like Darcy. If you like romantic comedies, you will have a good time with this one. Though I felt unsatisfied with the ending, it was realistic and I can appreciate that.

Sweet extras  The supporting cast is pretty fab: John Krasinski plays Ethan, Rachel’s long-time pal and a reluctant member of the group of friends. Ashley Williams (known to me as the lovely “Cupcake” from How I Met Your Mother) is hilarious as a straight-up crazy girl.  We also have the funny Steve Howie within the circle of friends, though I thought the actor was Brian Austin Green until just five minutes ago.

Good for who?  This is a great movie for a GNO (perhaps followed by a little badminton?). This will make a super rental one day — great for having the girls over on a summer evening for supper and a movie.  Something Borrowed is rated PG for sexual references and a bit of language. Too much dirty talk for the Baptist minister’s wife, I’m afraid.

Something Borrowed is based on the 2005 best-seller of the same name, written by Emily Giffin.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! badfriend-minton: let’s make it a thing!

Wanting to out the secrets being kept by members of the group, the ever-bitter Ethan turns a friendly game of beach badminton into a vendetta. When a team scores a point, he says, someone on that team is permitted to tell a secret about someone else. This is a great game for angry and self-destructive sorts. If badminton is not available to you, try ping pong or shooting baskets from the free-throw line. It doesn’t matter which game you play, as long as you’re hurting someone!

“But Paula,” you say, “I have a badminton set and I like games but I’m not 100% sold on the idea of destroying any of my current friendships. What do I do?” Try a friendlier version of the game: turn it into a game of Truth or Dare, with the point scorers asking their opponents to either accept a dare or reveal a harmless truth about themselves.  Badminton doesn’t have to hurt, people, but the great news is that it can if you want it to!

Paula Jane

(image of Kate Hudson: celebsinstyle.com)
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Sleepless in Seattle

DVD (1993)  Written and directed by Nora Ephron                     STARRING  Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Bill Pullman, Rosie O’Donnell

Are there any rom-com lovers out there who haven’t seen Sleepless in Seattle? I suppose not. That would be like an art history student who wants nothing to do with the Louvre, or a Los Angeles police officer never spending time with Charlie Sheen. Sleepless in Seattle is required viewing. What’s unique about this movie as a romantic comedy is that the would-be lovers don’t say more than a few words to each other throughout the film. We don’t even see them kiss. It’s magical and romantic to the Nth degree. If you love love and want to believe there is a man out there who will remain lovesick and devoted to you long after you’re dead, then hurry off to the video store and indulge in this rom-com gem once again.

Tom Hanks stars as Sam Baldwin, a Seattle architect whose wife has died.  It’s a year and a half later and he is unable to move on. Out of concern, Sam’s 8-year-old son Jonah calls a radio talk-show on Christmas eve and tricks his dad into getting on the phone with the radio psychologist — where Sam eventually begins sharing about his wife and his grief. Across the country  is Annie, engaged to be married to a very nice man played by Bill Pullman (does Pullman ever not play a nice man?).  Annie listens to Sam’s story on the radio that evening and feels an immediate connection with him. She soon discovers that she can’t get Sam out of her mind and sets out to find him. Even dressed as a stylish bag lady (this was cute in 1993), Meg is adorable and a perfect match for Tom Hanks who is a true sweetheart.

Sweet extras  Watching this movie sent me back to a happier time, when Rosie O’Donnell was funny and elastic-cuff sweatpants were acceptable cozywear.  Also look for Tom Hank’s real-life wife Rita Wilson as Tom’s sister Suzy.

Good for who?  If you have a boyfriend or a husband who relentlessly mutters about hating “chickflicks” (a term I detest), then this movie is not for him. But it’s perfect for a girls night or a night alone.  For those concerned about content, it’s a rather clean movie but has a few scenes with words and phrases like “get laid” and “orgasm” chucked in to take away the movie’s sugary sweetness and bump it to a PG rating.

If you liked this movie you’ll also probably like You’ve Got Mail (which once again pairs up Tom and Meg).

 

Love this movie? Live this movie! Bringing back sweatpants and a warning to Zac Efron

“You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.”  This is what Rosie O’Donnell’s character says to her best friend Annie, and Annie knows it’s true.  Watching the super romantic film An Affair to Remember, Annie is inspired and decides to pursue Sam.  In essense, what Annie is doing is loving the movies and then living the movies. So if I were to tell you to live this movie, I could suggest that you live this movie by living this movie by living this movie. It could be a never-ending chain that blows the mindhole, but in all fairness to the exercise, of course, Annie didn’t live this movie, but rather she lived An Affair to Remember.  So you would live this movie by living that movie by perhaps meeting a lover at a secret location in 6 months time, or, if you’re adventurous, getting yourself struck by a car and nearly killed. Although, technically, to live Sleepless in Seattle, you could choose any of your favourite movies to re-live — you wouldn’t have to live that one. But be careful which one you choose because if you pick a movie like Groundhog Day, you will end up living this movie by living that movie by re-living that movie, over and over, until you learn to love unselfishly. As you can see, the levels of this exercise could go deeper and deeper until the more weak-minded of you spiral to your psychological deaths.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Zac Efron said he lives out his fantasies through the movie roles he plays. So, in playing a role,  Zac Efron is simultaneously living his life. So if he chose to live this movie, he might live one of his own movies in which he is already living his life, therefore creating a rift in the space-time continuum and either creating a duplicate version of himself or negateing himself and ceasing to exist! This is not bogus science. Zac Efron, don’t live this movie!

If this whole thing frightens you, dear reader, how about you just live this movie by renting An Affair to Remember and watching it with a girlfriend? (Don’t forget the baggy elastic-cuff sweatpants — there’s nothing comfier!) 

Paula Jane

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Something’s Gotta Give

DVD (2003)  Written by Nancy Meyers / Directed by Nancy Meyers     STARRING: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Frances McDormand, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet

(McDormand, Keaton, and Peet in “Something’s Gotta Give.”   Image: Columbia)

We first see the house of our dreams as the male lead and a female secondary character pull into the driveway. “The perfect beachhouse,” he says, in awe of the expansive cedar-shingled oceanfront home. We too are in awe, and giddily await the architectural delights beyond the front doors. The characters say a few more things — things that are probably pertinent to the plot — and then enter the “fabulous two-storey livingroom” which oozes both comfort and New York chic. We ooo, we ahhh, we don’t notice that the female character is removing her pants. 

Okay, yes, we do notice she’s removing her pants, but I just wanted to stress how gorgeous this beach house is. Just being able to admire the film’s set and settings for 128 minutes was, for me, worth the theatre ticket price for Something’s Gotta Give.  The script and the cast in this sophisticated romantic comedy by Nancy Meyers are unbeatable to begin with, and the addition of such a glorious set is like warm caramel sauce on an already delicious bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s borderline indulgent, but I love it.

This Hamptons beach house belongs to divorced 50-something playwright Erica Barry (Diane Keaton).  Erica and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand) had hoped to spend a quiet weekend at the beach, but that plan goes out the window with the unexpected arrival of Erica’s daughter Marin (Amanda Peet) and her 63-year-old boyfriend Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson).  Erica is put off by the age difference between her 30-ish daughter and the new boyfriend, and she and Harry clash. Things get weird when Marin and Zoe must return to the city, leaving Erica to spend a few days alone in the house with the cigar-smoking rap-pushing girl-chasing Harry. The situation is so tailor-made for laughs and romantic encounters that only a couple of chumps like  J-Lo and Alex O’Loughlin could screw it up.  The fact that Jack Nicholson’s charm is in the mix makes Something’s Gotta Give my top-of-the-heap romantic comedy favourite.

My friend J. says she doesn’t usually like Keaton because she is just so over the top when she’s acting. Yes, Keaton has really rubbed me the wrong way a few times, like in 2007’s  Because I said So, but in Something’s Gotta Give she seems to be in the zone. Keaton is at her best when she seems to be playing herself, and it’s been said by critics that she’s doing that here. I’m not suggesting Diane Keaton should be a one-trick pony, but if the saddle fits…

Anyway never mind all that. Did you get a load of Erica’s freaking kitchen? And her office. My lord, her office.

Sweet extras  Two words: Keanu Reeves. He appears throughout the movie as Dr. Julian Mercer, and as a love interest for Diane Keaton. Also to note is Frances McDormand: she’s the coolest romantic comedy sidekick, and I wish there had been more of her in the film, but alas, more time given to her would have probably meant less time for Keanu, and that is unthinkable.

If you liked this movie, you’ll probably  like  It’s Complicated, also written and directed by Nancy Meyers.

Good for who?  If you’re any kind of adult and you don’t enjoy Something’s Gotta Give, then you should have your head examined by the handsome Dr. Julian Mercer. I will just note that sexual references and scenes are numerous although not graphic, and the f-bomb drops two or three times. I know these things bother a few women who frequent this blog (no matter how artfully placed the cussin’ is), so I’m just issuing a little warning for you, ladies.

 

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Late night pajama-and-pancake party

(Keaton and Nicholson, sharing a late night snack.  Image: Columbia Pictures)

Erica and Harry are night owls and meet up in the beach house kitchen one evening for pancakes and conversation. It’s here in the smiles and looks they exchange that we realize these two really are attracted to each other. Before it can amount to anything (not even the pancakes come to fruition), Marin returns from New York and her lively presence and attention to Harry has a disappointed Erica saying she’s going back to her bedroom to write.  “You don’t want pancakes anymore?”  Harry asks — perhaps the saddest and most sweetly pathetic question ever uttered in rom-com history.  “No,” replies Erica quietly. “I don’t.”  Ouch. Shot through the heart.

Well, Erica Barry may not want pancakes anymore, but I do!  The movie gave me new appreciation for the idea of pancakes as a late-night snack. They’re delicious, filling and easy — plus the world is quiet after midnight and a little cooking and chatting is a great way for you to get to know or re-connect with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, roommate, child, neighbour, or anyone you might find  hanging around your yard at that time of night.  Keep the work to a minimum by using a good pancake mix instead of cooking from scratch. I use Aunt Jemima  buttermilk mix.

If pancakes seem too cheap and low-brow for your bourgeois tastes, don’t knock it until you try it. Hey,  Erica and Harry shunned leftover coq au vin for pancakes. Plus some toppings can turn pancakes into more of a highfalutin dessert than a breakfast staple.  Here are some quick and easy topping suggestions that require minimal effort (there are lots of fancy homemade syrups and sauces you can make, but the idea is to make it easy — no intensive cooking and boiling and fussing. It’s freaking midnight, afterall). Have the toppings alone, or mix and match with others from the list:

  • Maple syrup, of course
  • Blueberries (that’s what Erica was planning to use)
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Whip cream
  • Milk chocolate chips (on top or cooked right into the batter)
  • Chocolate or butterscotch syrup
  • Sugar with lemon juice (recommended on several sites online)
  • Applesauce
  • Jam (spread cold with a knife or warm in the microwave)
  • Yogurt
  • Powdered sugar
  • Peanut butter (cold or warmed and melted over the pancakes)
  • Ice cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Caramel
  • Honey
  • Bacon (quickly cook in the microwave and then crumble either on top of the pancake with syrup, or sprinkle the bacon pieces into the uncooked side of your pancakes while they’re in the pan. Top with a little maple syrup afterward.)

Do you have a favourite quick-and-easy pancake topping that I haven’t listed here? Let me know and I’ll include it in the list.

Paula Jane

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Moonstruck

DVD (1987)  Written by John Patrick Shanley / Directed by Norman Jewison

(image: MGM)

You should never love  the man you’re going to marry. “When you love them, they drive you crazy,” says Italian mama Rose Castorini to her Italian daughter Loretta. The 30-something Loretta (Cher) is going to marry mild-mannered Italian Johnny Cammareri — not because she loves him (she doesn’t) but because he’s nice and sweet and why not? She was married once before, to a man she did love, but he died after being hit by a bus (Italian?). Now she just wants practical and easy — and that’s Johnny.  But things get messy for Loretta when Johnny has to fly to Sicily to attend the deathbed of his ranting, Italian mother. He asks Loretta to call his estranged brother Ronny (Nicholas Cage) and invite him to the wedding. Loretta does and, much to her dismay, she and Ronny connect on the deepest of levels.

Cher as Loretta is part girl-next-door, part Roman goddess, part Rocky Balboa. She offers up some deadpan brilliance and I like her character’s practical approach to all aspects of life: “I’m in love with you!” confesses Ronny. “Snap out of it!” Loretta instructs.  One of my favourite scenes has Loretta at the kitchen table with her father (Vincent Gardenia) as she tells him she’s getting married again. I love their timing, animated gestures, and the real sense of relationship.

As for Nicholas Cage, have you ever watched an ultra-weird acting performance and wondered “Wow, was that on purpose?”  A young Cage gives one of those here as Ronny, a tormented soul whose life experiences are the stuff operas are made of.  He works in the ovens at a New York bakery and stokes the fires like he’s fueling his hatred and bitterness. “I have no life! My brother Johnny took my life from me! And now he’s getting married!” he stews.  Moonstruck is my favourite all-time Nicholas Cage performance and he delivers two  priceless monologues, the kind that would seem so old-school and out of place in  21st-century film and television.  Ronny “ain’t no freakin’ monument to justice,” and you gotta love it.

As well as being a story about love and  transformation, Moonstruck  describes the joys and pains of being a part of a close-knit family. You can see the many ways in which My Big Fat Greek Wedding must have been inspired by this earlier film.  Greek Wedding,  however, is a light-weight compared to the more sincere and tension-driven Moonstruck. The film has a beautiful simplicity and if you like romantic comedies but doubt it’s a genre that can produce anything truly worthwhile, you should watch this.  The film won several Oscars: lead actress (Cher), supporting actress (Olympia Dukakis as Rose), and screenplay (John Patrick Shanley). It was also nominated for best picture and best director.

Sweet extras   The opening shot features the New York City skyline, with the twin towers as a prominent feature. It’s cool to see the city that way again, although it’s also a little startling, even nine years after they came down.

Good for who?  Moonstruck is great for couples, a night with girlfriends, or just watching alone. It’s inappropriate for kids (there’s mild sexytime scenes and conversation), and might be a little too daring  for the Baptist minister’s wife.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Opera and eggs

Ronny Cammareri, the sexy bread-baking drama king, loves to brood and suffer to the sounds of his favourite arias. His apartment is a shrine to opera, with framed posters,  an album collection, and musical scores affixed to the wall.  The opera featured in Moonstruck is Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 work La Bohème — the story of a poet and a seamstress brought together by chance in 1830’s Paris. They fall in love but, in the end, the seamstress falls ill with tuberculosis and dies in the poet’s arms. La Bohème is one of the most frequently performed (and most romantic) operas ever put into production. The poster for La Bohème shown on Ronny’s wall (and seen here) is a vintage Metropolitan opera poster from 1978, created by artist Jamie Wyeth. This poster pops up on various internet auction sites, selling for between $150-$350.

If, after watching Moonstruck, you are craving Puccini,  there are plenty of options to satisfy you. (If, instead, you are just craving “Eggs in a Nest,” see two paragraphs below.) I recommend working yourself into opera gently with a CD for the car or kitchen. Jumping too quickly into a full three or four-hour production on DVD or in person might ruin your opera buzz, or even kill you.  The Moonstruck soundtrack contains a contemporary film score plus two beautiful arias from La Bohème: Che Gelida Manina and O Soave Fanciulla. I suggest you go beyond the soundtrack and buy a CD completely devoted to operatic arias.  One that I enjoy very much as an opera newbie is Puccini Gold, recorded in 2008. It highlights pieces from an assortment of Puccini operas including La Bohème, Turandot, Tosca, and  Madama Butterfly and features opera house superstars such as Luciano Pavarotti, Montserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, and Anna Netrebko.

Most classical operas will be in a language you probably don’t understand — like Italian or German. If that bothers you, you can google translations of your favourite vocal pieces. What I prefer to do is not look up a translation of the libretto but rather read an English synopsis of the entire opera (just a quick summary). It makes listening to the aria more like looking at a painting — a bit of background helps me appreciate the movement and emotion of the piece without my imagination being restricted by too much information.

Rose cooks up some special toast and eggs for Loretta one morning while they sit and chat in their big New York kitchen. Eggs made this way are often referred to as “Eggs in a Nest,”  “Italian Eggs,” or, yes, even “Moonstruck Eggs.”  I made them for myself this morning and, wow, they were so good I refused to share them with my dog Chach. (I always share my breakfast with Chach, so he wasn’t happy. I think he wailed out the entire last act of La Bohème while I ate).  I believe this was one of the first times in my life when I didn’t miss bacon with my eggs.  I can imagine that having some bacon with this — like having too much opera too soon — would just knock a person unconscious.

I need to stress that the key to this little breakfast delight is the fresh Italian bread and the olive oil. Using regular sliced bread and butter just won’t cut it. Many of the recipes online varied and so I took the elements I liked most and put together my own recipe. You’ll need: a pan, olive oil, fresh Italian bread, eggs, a green onion, and a red bell pepper.

1. Slice your Italian bread, about  a quarter-inch to one-inch thick. Make a hole in the center of the bread with whatever will work (I used the end of a little cylindrical grater). The hole should go clear through the bread. I made the hole while the bread was untoasted, and that squished the bread a little. It might work best to make the hole after step four.

2. Chop up a green onion, and cut long thin strips of red pepper.

3.  Heat olive oil in a pan and begin to stir fry the red pepper and green onions until the pepper is softening and browning a little around the edges. THEN:

4. Put bread slice(s) into pan and toast side 1, making sure there is enough olive oil still in the pan to absorb a little into the bread.

5. When side 1 is toasted, flip the bread over to toast side 2. Crack an egg and drop it into the hole to cook.

6. Keep stirring the peppers and green onions around the pan so they don’t burn.

7. For eggs over-hard: once side 2 is toasted, flip onto side 1 again for two or three minutes until the egg is cooked, then serve. For eggs sunnyside up with a soft yolk: do not flip onto side 2 again. Instead, cover the pan and the egg will cook to your desired consistency.

8. Remove toast from pan; put onions and peppers on top or on the side.

9. Salt and pepper to taste. Then let me know what you think!

Paula Jane

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Enchanted

DVD (2007)  Written by Bill Kelly/Directed by Kevin Lima                                   STARRING: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden

I think Enchanted is a test of the viewer’s ‘goodness’ level. If you watch this movie in its entirety and the absolute sweetness of it doesn’t touch you – even just a little — then clearly you and your heart were forged in the fires at Mount Doom. I am always secretly teary-eyed at the end of this movie. Is it because of the happy endings for all? Is it Jon McLaughlin singing So Close as the lead characters dance together? Is it that the hapless chipmunk finally returns to Andalasia, regaining his voice and perhaps even his status as a woodland sex symbol? I don’t know, but this is such a funny and friendly movie that casting ill feelings toward it in any way would be like running over a box of puppies or strangling the life out of Maria von Trapp.

What I really like about Enchanted is that it pokes fun at itself and of the whole fairytale genre, yet at the same time it embraces the beauty of seeing the world in an innocent, positive way. True love, the movie concludes, really is magical. (Starting to tear up again, people. Talk amongst yourselves …)

Amy Adams plays Giselle, a cartoon fairytale princess who is just moments away from marrying her prince. Worrying that the marriage will end her reign as queen, the prince’s stepmother (she’s wicked, you see) must stop the pair from sharing “true love’s kiss.”  Giselle is then shoved down a wishing well, and sent to a place where “there are no happily ever afters”—a.k.a New York City. The movie begins as animation, but as Giselle crawls up through a manhole in the middle of  Times Square, the film switches to live action and it is here in this bizarre unfamiliar world of the living that Giselle meets her second love interest—Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey). Robert is a divorce lawyer who doesn’t believe in happy endings and doesn’t want his daughter to waste her time believing in them either. Patrick Dempsey’s cynical and serious character is the perfect contrast to the goofball innocence of Amy Adams who skips through the movie with a perpetual deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. Other cast members include Susan Sarandon as the evil Queen Narissa, and the handsome multi-talented James Marsden as the loveable narcissist Prince Edward. He fights ogres and slays New York City transit busses to rescue Giselle.

Enchanted is usually listed as a kids movie, but the movie is very much for adults too. This film has been in my top romantic comedy favourites since I first saw it in the theatre in 2007. If you like Patrick Dempsey, or Amy Adams, this one shouldn’t be missed.

Sweet extras The movie has several musical numbers, and Amy Adams sings three of them. James Marsden sings as well.

Good for who? This is a great pick for families, or for moms looking to watch a romantic comedy without having to worry about content should the kids pop into the room.

My 12-year-old daughter Mei says: I like this movie a lot. It is a fairy tale with a twist of reality (which I really like). It’s really funny and romantic and I think any kid would like it.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Sing a happy working song

And they cleaned happily ever after My favourite scene in the movie comes when Giselle wakes and decides she must clean Robert’s messy apartment.  With a melodic call from the window of Robert’s highrise apartment, she summons an assortment of New York City “wildlife” to help her in the task — including flies, roaches, and filthy rats licking their wee wees. What follows is a musical number called Happy Working Song, and without a word of a lie, I do sing this quite a bit while cleaning. Granted, I don’t usually remember most of the words in order, and end up mixing real lyrics with made up stuff like “…cleaning crud up in the kitchen,  la la la I’m Robert Mitchum…”  But it’s the spirit of the exercise that counts, and the song does put me into a happier mood as I straighten up. The entire soundtrack is actually quite fun to listen to during an afternoon of  housework. So put on your wedding dress or tuxedo, grab a broom, and sing along with me (or the soundtrack), won’t you?  Here are  the words:

Happy Working Song

Composed by Alan Menken/Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Come my little friends
As we all sing a happy little working song
Merry little voices clear and strong
Come and roll your sleeves up,
So to speak, and pitch in
Cleaning crud up in the kitchen
As we sing along

Trill a cheery tune in the tub
As we scrub a stubborn mildew stain
Pluck a hairball from the shower drain
To that gay refrain
Of a happy working song

We’ll keep singing without fail
Otherwise we’d spoil it
Hosing down the garbage pail
And scrubbing up the toilet
Ooh!

How we all enjoy letting loose with a little
“La-da-dum-dum-dum”
While we’re emptying the vacu-um
It’s such fun to hum
A happy working song
Hmmm
A happy working song

Oh, how strange a place to be
Till Edward comes for me
My heart is sighing
Still, as long as I am here
I guess a new experience
Could be worth trying
Hey! Keep drying!

You can do a lot when you’ve got
Such a happy working tune to hum
While you’re sponging up the soapy scum
We adore each filthy chore
That we determine
So, friends, even though you’re vermin
We’re a happy working throng

Singing as we fetch the detergent box
For the smelly shirts and the stinky socks
Sing along
If you can not sing then hum along
As we’re finishing our happy working song!

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When Harry Met Sally…

DVD  (1989)  Written by Nora Ephron/Directed by Rob Reiner                 STARRING: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal

Back in the days when Farrah hair was sexy and grapes still had seeds, Harry Burns meets Sally Albright. It’s 1977 and these  so-opposite strangers (played by Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal) are sharing a drive from the University of Chicago to New York City, where both are starting new lives after college. The film describes the 12-year journey of their relationship, and central to the plot is this dilemma: can a man and woman truly ever just be friends? Given that this is a romantic comedy, I think we know what the answer will be for Harry and Sally—but the fun is in the journey, and in the developing friendship and love between the two.  Truly, this is the movie most other romantic comedies wish they were but, sadly, will never be.  The film is structural perfection, with great dialogue and two of the most charming  characters any New York love story has ever offered. Their priceless conversations in the opening 10 minutes set the stage for the rest of the movie.

Harry: Can’t a man say a woman is attractive without it being a come-on? Alright, alright. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that it WAS a come-on? What do you want me to do about it? I take it back. Okay?  I take it back.
 
 
 
Sally: You can’t take it back.
 
 
 
 
Harry: Why not?
 
 
 
      
Sally: Because it’s already out there!
 
 
 
     
Harry: Oh jeeze, what are we supposed to do? Call the cops. It’s already out there!
 
 
 
   
Sally: Just let it lie. Okay?
 
 
 
    
Harry: Great. Let it lie. That’s MY policy. That’s what I always say. Let it lie. Want to spend the night in a motel? See what I did? I didn’t let it lie.
 
 
 
    
Sally: Harry…
 
 
 
    
Harry: I said I would but I didn’t. I went the other way.
 
 
 
   
Sally: Harry…
 
 
 
     
Harry: What?
 
 
 
    
Sally: We are just going to be friends. Okay?
 
 
 
  
Harry: Great. Friends. It’s the best thing.
 
 
 
   
<beat>
 
 
 
   
Harry: Of course you realize we can never be friends…

Also a treat is Meg Ryan’s famous “faking it” diner scene, which is a must-see for any self-respecting movie lover.  For me, there are just two other romantic comedies that even come close to  rivaling this one: Something’s Gotta Give (2003), and the Katherine Hepburn classic The Philadelphia Story (1959).  For those who don’t watch movies pre-1999, I imagine it’s hard for you to picture Billy Crystal as someone’s romantic love interest, but give this movie a shot. He’s terrific, as is Meg Ryan who is in her romantic-comedy prime here.

Sweet extras:  The film’s soundtrack features Harry Connick Jr.

Loved this movie? Live this movie!  

If you’re visiting  New York City, say Yes! Yes! YES! to Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E  Houston Street.  The hilarious diner scene from the movie was shot there, and, says the Katz’s website:  “After dining here, you’ll understand why they chose this setting for the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally…”   Visit their website:  www.katzdeli.com/presentation.html .

Also, have your photo taken under the 77-foot-high  Washington Arch, at the entrance to Washington Square Park in Greenwich village (5th Avenue and Waverly Place).  This is where Sally drops off  Harry when they first arrive in New York.  (“Well, it was nice knowing you,” Harry says.  “Yeah,”  Sally replies awkwardly. “It was … interesting.”)  The Washington Arch was originally constructed in the late 1800s to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration, and is modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

If you loved  Sally’s quilt, you’re not alone — it’s a re-occuring query on quilting blogs and websites. The pattern on this yellow, green, and white applique quilt is called “windblown tulips” and is a design of early 20th-century American quilt designer and historian Marie Webster.   If you love to sew and you’re looking for a project (or if you’ve got a lovely shut-in granny or a talented friend with no social life who’d love  to sew it for you), the pattern for the quilt can be found in the book Mountain Mist Quilt Favorites and is available online through Amazon. 

Take it to the extreme:  Make a man your platonic BFF and see how long it takes before the whole thing blows up in your face.

Paula Jane

 

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