Tag Archive: You’ve got mail

Comfort Movie

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.


Going with an Old Favorite

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


There are days when all one wants to do is watch a favorite movie or genre.


Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Image from IMDb.com

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Image from IMDb.com

The other day, I caught a snippet of You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. One of the kids came through and said “oh, it is that movie.” I was at first amazed that he could identify the movie. But then he commented that I am always renting this movie or the Mamma Mia! flick.


I admit that these are the two genres that I love the most and turn to when I am in need of comfort. We all have our favorites. That would explain why marathons happen all of the time on some TV channels. That might explain why the Godfather movies are constantly playing. Fans know them, love them, quote them.


Go to the Mattresses.


It’s not personal, it just business.


Perhaps one of the reasons why I love You’ve Got Mail is the discussions about The Godfather and how it fits into daily life – at least for some people. I like that Meg Ryan tries to live some of these phrases and then realizes how some of it does not fit for her. As she puts her life back together after her business is driven to failure by a big box book store, she tells the owner of the big box that at the very least business should be personal.


It is personal because it is your life’s work; your heart and soul goes into creating a business. For me that is the turning point of the movie when Ryan explains why business is personal.


Poster Image from IMBd.com

Poster Image from IMBd.com

I was thinking about that on Saturday as we watched The Avengers again. It has become a family favorite for the quick lines, the surprising depth of characters, and the great action scenes.  We love it for the scenes we have seen several times, for the moments that Hulk purposely hits Thor or Tony Stark baits Loki. We love the schawarma scene at the very end.


Favorite movies give us comfort because we know what is going to happen with each scene. We know the scary parts, the parts that make us happy. With favorite movies we know every line, every expression, and every song. With each viewing we are reminded why we love the movie and find something new that we have never noticed before.


That is why I watch certain holiday movies and why some of my friends watch horror/scary movies. The comfort we receive from the familiar also has something to do with the need for successful problem solving. Every movie sets up a problem of some sort –  trying a new romance, saving the world from evil domination, solving a mystery regarding a crime or supernatural forces – that must be solved.

At the end of the movie the world has been saved and we feel good. It all works out in the end, just as we wish for real life.




Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.