Thursday, October 16, 2014

Getting to Know Nora: A Project

When people used to ask me what my favorite movie was, I had a hard time picking. There was my "Black Stallion" phase, my "Lord of the Rings" obsession, and my "Never Been Kissed" addiction. There are so many good films, it's difficult to pick just one favorite. But lately, I think I've got it pretty narrowed down.

My favorite movie is "You've Got Mail," hands down. It hasn't always been the top favorite, but it's grown on me over time as I've come to appreciate its excellence in casting, setting, and most of all, in its writing.

"You've Got Mail" was written and directed by the late, talented Nora Ephron, who I am convinced was a writing genius. The dialogue in the movie is perfect--witty, quotable, thoughtful, melodious, and carefully crafted. I've always sort of marveled at it because writing dialogue is, at times, a struggle for me. At least dialogue that flows and feels natural. Nora makes it seem easy and at the same time, it feels like she spent time carefully choosing each word.

So the other night I was watching a different Nora Ephron film, "Julie and Julia," and I got to thinking about a couple things. First, I was thinking about Nora's writing skills again and how I have seen a shamefully small number of her movies. I decided I needed to work on that. Then, I got an idea from the premise of the movie, in which the main character Julie blogs about her experiences in cooking her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook.

I decided I should blog my way through each of the movies Nora wrote and/or directed. This will force me to do more than sit there and think about her writing, but to also write about it. I want to look for her style, what makes her writing memorable, and what we as a movie-loving culture lost when she passed away. I won't be looking to review the movies themselves as none are new. (I also cannot vouch for or be held responsible for the content or ratings of the movies.)

If this project sounds utterly ridiculous, feel free to skip these entries. But if it sounds interesting, or if you share an appreciation for Nora Ephron flicks, I would love it if you joined me. I'll be watching each of the movies from the list below in no particular order because I don't know how long it will take me to acquire some of them. (Others I own, bet you can guess at least one!) For the films I've seen, or practically memorized, I will be re-watching them with the intent of pulling new observations from them.

I'll be starting off with "My Blue Heaven," which Nick rented for me after I shared this idea with him. When I post my response to it, I'll share the next movie I'll be watching. That way if you're really excited and want to watch along, you'll have some forewarning. ;)

Films I'll be watching include the following [check mark indicates the film has been viewed/blogged about]:

When Harry Met Sally
This is My Life
Sleepless in Seattle
Mixed Nuts
You've Got Mail
Hanging Up
Lucky Numbers
Julie and Julia

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, now or in the future. Lame idea? Kind of cool? Agree Nora's kind of a genius? Or maybe just think I'm crazy? Whatever it is, leave it in the comments and I'll get back with you. :)

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