It was 4 am. I was awakened by a call from The Roose.
“What are you doing,” he asked.
“Nora Ephron has passed away. You should do something about it.”
“You are the creator of Chick Flicks and Beer, are you not,” he questioned.
“Chick Flicks and Beer is over.”
“Why? Why is it over?”
“It’s over because it’s 4 am. It’s over because Hollywood, the industry, the biz, all refuse to make a quality
chick flick. They have no respect for romance, or romantic comedy.”
“So you quit?”
“I’m burned out. Besides, who cares about chick flicks?”
“Who cares? Who cares? What about Nora Ephron? Her movies were great? Did you not go see You’ve Got Mail (1998) with a friend after you were both stood up on a date? Two single, viral males enjoying the bliss of a Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks reunion?”
There is not but,” he interrupted, “there only is. Now, get up and get going on Chick Flicks and Beer! Nora Ephron is the entire reason for a blog about chick flicks. Her films are the best!”
“They are great, but-”
“No, buts! I’m going to write a piece about Nora Ephron. You work on the blog!”
I sat up on the bed. The Roose was right. I was time to write! Nora Ephron is the reason to have a blog about Chick Flicks and Beer. Right, there, at 4 am, Chick Flicks and Beer was reborn!
NORA EPHRON, A REQUIEM: WHEN HARRY AND SALLY LAMENTED by Tim Rousseau (aka The Roose)
I don't want to say it's difficult to write about this subject. It's not. This vehicle, she runs on levity and anything less...or more, may seem like we've lost our thread. Fair enough but today we've lost someone very important not only as a great purveyor of the CHIFLI (short for chick flick), but an educator to those of us who study the art of storytelling.
Nora Ephron may not be a name you know well but her work is iconic to say the very least. When Harry Met Sally (1989) is probably the first romantic comedy I can remember seeing. Two neurotic New Yorkers talking through the years about life and love. It's a film that, in my mind, redefined the genre while paying homage to its predecessors. The dialogue was quick and self-centered. The idea of the "transitional" or rebound person was introduced along with the very honest question: can men and women truly be friends? Her use of pop culture references didn't exactly break new ground but paired with her humor and wit. It was a breath of fresh air from a writer with a truly distinctive voice.
Sidenote: Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith have certainly benefited from feeding film goers scraps from her table. Smith more than most. His popularity along with JNCO jeans has become one of those things I've chalked up to that old phrase, "It was the 90's." Actually I have no regrets with the JNCO jeans, which proved to be infinitely more useful than wondering how many contractors died building the death star (Star Wars reference).
My Blue Heaven (1990) proved that Steve Martin can play anything, even a former mobster in witness relocation in California. Allegedly, Ephron worked on the script from the same research her husband, Nick Pileggi did for the book that would become GOODFELLAS. It's become a cult classic after years and continues to make converts with its run on cable.
Sleepless In Seattle (1993) is, quite simply, the gold standard. It's the movie that you've seen a hundred times. It's the movie that you watch a hundred more every time it's on TV. Whether it's the beginning (it never is) or the middle you just can't help seeing it. It's the movie where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan became Tracey and Hepburn, Gable and Lombard, Bogey and Bacall, etc. It's the film those hipsters make fun of in their bs screenplays when they laugh at the "Meg Ryan movie with the songs sung by Louis Armstrong." They're right, but they're making fun of themselves because as cute as they think they're being it only reveals one thing: how much they love that freaking movie. It makes you want to move to Seattle and fall in love in New York. Don't forget, it's about a widower who is left to raise his son alone. It's about connections we have we thought we'd lost. Life goes on living and you should cherish everyday. Laugh, because it's funny, it really is. Nora knew that.
She's written and directed other really great films. Like Silkwood (1983), You've Got Mail (1998), the little known but very adorable Mixed Nuts (1994), Bewitched (2005) which I thought was clever and funny. But, what do I know? I know a lot. Her movies make me happy. She makes me happy. I am not a lover, a friend or a relative of Miss Nora. Simply a fan, of her writing and her movies. In a lot of ways this site owes everything to Nora Ephron and her ability to make us feel joy. So, with that, we pay homage to the Queen of CHIFLI, may there always be laughter in our hearts and Louis Armstrong in our heads.