I’d like to dedicate this list to my mother who was/is a huge Nora Ephron fan and was very emotional when she passed. I’d like to thank her for exposing me to the words of Nora Ephron both on and off screen. When Ephron passed last week at the age of 71, we all lost a huge talent. Not all of her films hit it out of the park but they managed to maintain a unique and enjoyable voice that was one of a kind. When they did fire on all cylinders, you’d be hard pressed to find many films that could hold a candle to her work.
For this list, I’m going to focus on her screenwriting credits because she only had about eight directing credits. Let’s do it:
5. YOU’VE GOT MAIL.
The least popular of the Ephron and Meg Ryan trilogy, and Hanks duology, is still a solid film. I feel a little bad for it. This was meant to be a look at dating and the Internet which was pretty fresh at the time. Unfortunately, I feel like the film came out about five years before it ideally should have. The film came out in 1998 which was a turning point in Internet history (Pun! ZING!). To give you some perspective, Google was just 2 years old, Craigslist didn’t expand outside San Francisco until 2000, Facebook was created in 2004 and YouTube in 2005. Now, no one even uses AOL, do they? I don’t get those CDs in the mail any more. Unfortunately, the phrase “You’ve got Mail” is now nothing more than a nostalgic catch phrase like “Where’s the Beef?”
I’ve said enough about this film but our Horror writer (Jason Soto) has one of my favorite gripes with this film and I had to include it. In his own words:
“*inhale* Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan hate each other in real life, but go online to find love. They talk to each other online but don’t realize who they’re talking to. So one day, IRL, Tom Hanks quotes “The Godfather”, saying “We’re gonna take this to the mattresses!”. Later THAT SAME NIGHT, while talking online, Tom Hanks uses it AGAIN and Meg Ryan is like “Duh, men sure love using that line today!” and I’m like “BITCH, how do you not figure that shit out?!?!” It just irritated me.”
Still, our Horror guy watched it so that’s saying something. It’s a good damn film.
Silkwood is actually one of my favorite Meryl Streep films and a hidden gem in the catalogue of Mike Nichols. It’s also a glaring standout on her resume. It’s a rare (I believe sole) departure from the comedy genre. The fact that she can jump head first into a serious drama shows her range as a writer. The fact that the film is so damn good is a credit to her talent.
3. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.
Nora Ephron has written a few films that could be classified as “Chick Flicks”. This one is hands down the Chick Flickiest of them all. Being the manly man that I am, I tend to go into these types of films hesitantly. However, being a film fan/geek/critic/ enthusiast that I am, I try to watch them all with an open mind. This one didn’t take too much effort. It’s not hard to get sucked into this story about a sweet sap of a father and widow who finds love after appearing on a radio talk show. It’s a very similar film to You’ve Got Mail but it’s got a little more heart and charm.
2. MY BLUE HEAVEN.
If you think about it, this film is almost like a comedy sequel to Goodfellas. Go on… THINK ABOUT IT! …sorry.
There are a dozen things about this film that should keep it from succeeding. Like say, for instance, Steve Martin playing an Italian mobster. Right? It’s a testimony to Martin’s charm that those thoughts fade away about five minutes into the film. I have always loved this film. I’m not sure how well people may think it holds up but, if you’re a child of the 80s, you probably have a soft spot for this film. I was obsessed with SCTV and SNL (Martin being the first honorary cast member) growing up so any film with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis is hard not to like. Sprinkle that Ephron touch on top and you have a really fun film.
1. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.
I’ve said this a lot in the last week and I’ll say it again. When Harry Met Sally is my favorite Romantic Comedy (or Chick Flick) of all time. Yet it’s also so much more. It’s also as close as you can get to a perfect Comedy. Hell, I’d go so far as to say perfect film. It’s one of the most honest looks you can get at a real life relationship while still performing within the confines of it’s given genres. It also features the direction of Rob Reiner, a ridiculously underrated director, who was in the midst of a streak of great films when this film came his way.
Before I end this, I just want to say, I’ve watched a lot of films over the years and it’s strange which artists manage to strike a chord with you. Nor Ephron was one for me. I don’t know why… I also don’t really care. I’m just grateful. R.I.P. Nora!!!
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.