Pop Culture Academy 2

What I Learned from Rom Coms Part 2
by Alison Bruce

Classic movies are the ones that stay with you over time. They have impact on our lives, even if that impact is just to tickle our funny bones remembering certain scenes. I was recently reminded of one of those scenes in one of those movies...

When Harry Met Sally

Remember the part when Sally fakes an orgasm in a diner? There are people who can reference that scene who haven't seen the movie. It's a Rom Com meme now. For those of us who love the extra features on the DVD, I love the fact that the woman at the next table who says "I'll have what she's having" is the director Rob Reiner's mother and that you can actually visit the place where the scene was shot.

You've Got Mail
“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly.”
―Robert A. Heinlein
Of the many lessons I took away from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long by Robert Heinlein, this is has been one of the most useful in my day to day life. You've got Mail is a wonderful illustration of the principle.

Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox are business rivals. Kelly is fighting for the life of her independent book store against the big chain that can undercut her prices and serve coffee at the same time. Meanwhile, as "Shopgirl" she is getting to know the equally anonymous Fox via the internet. He even gives her business advice, not knowing it will be used against him.

It's easy for Kelly to vilify Fox. He's a threat, not only to her business, but to the culture of her neighbourhood. I was rooting for her to win even though I'm as guilty as anyone of looking for cheap books and good coffee. Since killing isn't an option, Fox tries to make friends. The results are emotionally satisfying and very romantic.

Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed You've got Mail, and wrote When Harry Met Sally, also authored several of my other favourite comedies including Sleepless in Seattle and Mixed Nuts -- which Rob Reiner directed. With books you can have favourite authors. With movies, I have favourite writers and directors. Rob Reiner is one of the latter. If I had a book turned into a movie, he's who I'd want to direct it. Him or Jensen Ackles... but that's another story.


  1. I haven't seen Mixed Nuts! So glad you brought that to our attention here. Now I have something to look forward to. And I didn't know Rob Reiner's mother delivered that iconic line.


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