Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Nostalgia On Film: You Got Mail
Remember the movie You Got Mail? You do? Good for you. I've never seen it until this weekend. I'm a bit behind the times. By, like, a lot. I don't know why I never watched it before. Maybe it was the title.
You Got Mail is Pride and Prejudice only in New York...and with bookstores. Meg owns a little bookshop called The Shop Around the Corner (aw!) and Tom Hanks's family are the big mean book box store Fox Books opening a store in Meg's neighbourhood. But they are unknowingly having an internet romance. They have pride and prejudice every time they meet IRL. I wonder if they knew what IRL meant in 1998?
Yes, 1998. This discussion is going to get spoilery now, but you, like me, should have seen this movie in 1998, so why should I warn you about SPOILERS? Really. Oh and the boat sank at the end of Titanic. Next week I'll ruin the ending of Sixth Sense for you.
So, they end up together in the end. Or at least it was heading that way right before I feel asleep. I assume that happened because this is a Meg/Tom movie. But for all I know they were incinerated by aliens at the end. What I found funny about the movie was how it was both dated and relevant at the same time.
The More Things Change...
Meg and Tom have a romance through long email messages. So modern 12 years ago, now it seems so quaint. They did not text each other nonsensical messages like r u there? and brb on their Blackberries. Tom was not Meg's facebook friend. Meg wasn't a follower of Tom's Twitter stream. Both Meg and Tom are in the book selling business and yet neither mentions internet book sales. And ebooks? Yeah, right. Both Meg and Tom would be shaking in their boots over Amazon in 2010. In 1998, not so much.
...The More Things Stay the Same
Meg's shop is a independent children's book store. She has 3 employees who all work there at the same time. Unsurprisingly, she is in big financial trouble when Fox Books opens up. Maybe it's those 3 employees working in her tiny shop at the same time all day. And you know Meg is the type to pay for health benefits. Meg calls Fox Books a soulless corporation and Tom admits that they lure customers with discounts. Sounds very familiar. Just check out Trish (Hey Lady)'s post about Amazon. The comments vary but the things said about Amazon are said about Fox Books in the movie.
Meg puts up a good fight. She enlists the media, including her technology hating boyfriend, but it's too late. Meg's knowledge and good taste are no match for Fox's discounts and cappuccinos, even though the service is terrible. Meg goes out of business.
Now Tom is conflicted about this because Meg is smart, good with kids and his Secret Internet Girlfriend, even though she doesn't know it.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Toms fell in love with all the Megs and wanted them to be successful too? Sure. But I doubt it.
I wonder how many other movies about bookstores I missed? Do you know of any?