Sunday, July 01, 2012

Greatest Hit

It was somewhere around the middle of "Sleepless In Seattle" that my wife and I began to roll our eyes. This reaction escalated into the third act of this remake of "An Affair To Remember," until we began to pantomime the screenwriter of this tripe hammering away at her typewriter wearing boxing gloves. Nothing clever of subtle, just a ticking clock and two star-crossed lovers: America's Sweethearts, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. This was sad, since we had been quite enamored of both of them up until that point. Until they had been swallowed whole by Nora Ephron.
Was this always the way I felt about Ms. Ephron? No. As a matter of fact, there was a shining moment when she was elevated to private cult status with a little flick entitled "When Harry Met Sally." Meg Ryan was in that one too, but her cute quotient hadn't run its course and Billy Crystal was just the right amount of a wiseacre to carry off being a leading man. It was sweet. It was funny. It was swunny. I watched it over and over, savoring the notion that my wife would later describe thus: "You marry the one you can't get rid of."
For us, that was the high water mark for Nora Ephron and us. We got tired of the formula, but we kept showing up to her movies because we were hooked on the possibility that her next one might be another home run. We waited through "Michael" and "You've Got Mail." We should have been tipped off by the presence of Hanks and Ryan, who by this time were phoning in their romantic comedies. Who could blame them?
My wife and I could. We finally learned our lesson and started staying home. Sometimes we caught bits and pieces of her later films on television. We inevitably wanted the time we spent back. We had hoped for more Harry and Sally. It never came. And now it never will again. I will miss Nora Ephron for what she gave to me in that one story of two young people who discover over a decade or two that they belong together. The Hollywood story of my life with my wife. Thank you for that, Nora. Sleep well. Aloha.

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