Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

As we zoom into the holiday season, I find I want to watch those movies that are comforting and familiar.

Youve-Got-Mail-movie-posterThis past week I watched You’ve Got Mail for the umpteenth time. One child shook his head and asked if I hadn’t watched this movie too many times. Another child wondered why I was watching the movie without her.

I found myself reading quotes from the movie on IMDb.com and knew where each one came from. Okay, maybe not right down to the minute but I recognized where each one fit in the movie.

I know the movie well despite hating the ending which I will talk about later.

I find that this movie has a wonderful mix of the sentimental and the modern. In this movie the characters meet in an online discussion group, something very modern in the late 90s as AOL and the internet takes off. They meet at Starbucks, which was beginning to be everywhere.

youve got mail coffee shopAnd yet it is filled with memories from the music by Harry Nilsson and Roy Orbison. Each song seems perfectly fitted for the emotional moment of each scene. The most modern song comes from The Cranberries at the beginning of the movie which set the tone of the busy-iness of New York City, of the people walking to work at a quick and excited pace.

There are all of these charming moments throughout the movie with lovely incidental music that has a slight jazzy tone that romances us and reminds us of an earlier citified age.

All of these elements allow me to forgive the ending in which I think Kathleen should have slapped Joe in the face for his deception. She should have told him off before admitting she hoped it would be him all along. Maybe that would have been trite, maybe not the right payoff. But I always felt that she accepted Joe too easily.

You've Got Mail book storeWe all have that kind of movie that makes us happy, where all of the pieces come together perfectly and tell a story the right way. I have wonderful friends who love horror movies, my mother could watch Humphrey Bogart movies all day. My sons are happy with movies that have explosions and chase scenes.

These are the movies we all turn to when life needs to stay on the other side of the door, when we just need a break from the world for a little while. In the next month and a half, life will get crazy for some of us with holiday events and concerts and family gatherings. For some of us the holiday season is a simple reminder of all the things and people we are missing.

Comfort movies help us get through, maybe they allow us to cry or feel exhilarated. We know how everything will move through the story, we know the dialogue, and the various underlying themes that we may or may not think about.

Maybe for you that movie is Godzilla in whatever iteration but for me it is You’ve Got Mail. And the only other thing I need besides a box of kleenex is a bowl of popcorn with cinnamon sprinkled about.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.