'It's such an interesting mixture of poetry and meanness'

I hate You've Got Mail.

I don't want to hate it. I love romantic comedies. I feel like it's my duty to love this one, but I don't. Not only do I not love it, I hate it. I hate it for lost potential, for what it could have been but wasn't. I hate its long stretches of pointless dialogue. I hate Tom Hanks. I hate all of the characters in it. I hate it because it's not In the Good Old Summertime. I hate it for itself.

We watched In the Good Old Summertime followed by You've Got Mail last night. That was probably a mistake. You've Got Mail is never going to be good when it follows the far-superior 1949 film based on the same play. The later movie's main characters are annoying, their relationship is less believable, and Parker Posey's character is superfluous to any plot. What's more, neither Van Johnson nor Buster Keaton is in You've Got Mail, so it was cursed from the get-go.

I don't find Tom Hanks attractive or romantic. Nor do I find him a charming rogue. I'm starting to suspect that maybe he's not a very good actor. I think he plays the Tom Hanks in all of his characters. This character is supposed to be snarky and say what's on his mind. When Tom does it, he's either unbelievable or so mean that you hate his character for the rest of the movie.

Even Tom would have been able to pull off a nice romantic comedy if it hadn't been so loooooong. I don't know what the running time is, but it felt about twice that. The characters talked and talked and talked about nothing. They made observations on life that I'm sure would be very fascinating in real life, but which had no place being forced on me in a movie. I'm all for peeling apples in one long strip à la Sleepless in Seattle, but I don't need bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. Die, Nora Ephron, die.

Then there's the plot of the movie. Rather than being rivals, they're complete enemies and he's the Big Business bookstore destroying her life and driving her Independent one out of business. And what's more, we're supposed to side with her when I (sorry) would much rather shop at his huge commercial book warehouse with 35% discounts than her creepy little hole of a store. He has coffee and selection. She has a stupid hat.

If you like romantic comedies, don't settle for this crap. Go out and rent In the Good Old Summertime. You'll get a better, shorter, simpler story, "Cuddles" Sakall, the charmingly gruff, Van Johnson, and my beloved Buster.

srah - Tuesday, 26 August 2003 - 10:48 AM
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Comments (9)

gravatar EV - August 26, 2003 - 11:00 AM -

Janine Garafolo once commented that her least favorite people on earth are those couples who wear matching shirts and wish Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were the stars of every movie. That has always stuck with me. Meaning that it is totally ok to hate You've Got Mail.

gravatar Jez - August 26, 2003 - 11:21 AM -

I saw it a few months ago, and while I didn't think it was very good, I didn't find it offensively bad either. However, I think it is high time Meg Ryan chose another character to play. She's been the same one in her last dozen movies.

Although one of my favourite films is "When Harry Met Sally".

gravatar Mr. Hibbity Gibbity - August 26, 2003 - 11:34 AM -

Why don't you see the original? I believe it's called, 'The Shop Around the Corner' and I want to say that Jimmy Stewart is in it, though I couldn't say for certain.

*note* That's why the shop in 'You've Got Mail' is called 'The Shop Around the Corner' . . . it was the director's way of paying homage to the original film. : )

gravatar srah - August 26, 2003 - 11:44 AM -

I have. I thought it was better than YGM, but not as good as ITGOS. No one can play that role like Van Johnson can.

gravatar alfie - August 26, 2003 - 1:29 PM -

I love Van Johnson in that movie.

gravatar S-Train - August 26, 2003 - 3:14 PM -

You know what, Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks in Road To Perdition, and Tom Hanks in The Green Mile... wll... NO DIFFERENCE!

gravatar Justin - August 26, 2003 - 11:40 PM -

Personally, I love Tom Hanks but still...You've Got Mail does suck. Meg Ryan is thankfully about to get out of her rom-com slump and doing something (gasp!) daring -- a sexual thriller? Yeah, and her first nude scene.

In other related news, I named my dog after Buster Keaton.

gravatar Mer - August 28, 2003 - 9:45 PM -

Shop Around the Corner is recommended also by me... Though it's at least partially as random as YGM.

gravatar cristina - August 29, 2003 - 4:05 AM -

ok, ok. i'll be the sucker here, and fess up. after about the 10th time i saw it, i really liked it. that happened to me a lot in college when i would watch the same movies on the dorm movie channel. anyway, tom hanks in big, tom hanks in forrest gump and tom hanks in philadelphia - bam. gotcha! those are not anywhere near the same toms...not even tom in bosom buddies compares to the tom in YGM. hehehe

oh, and although parker posey's character might have been unnecessary, she is still parker posey after all. meaning, i will enjoy the very fact that she's in a hollwood movie after all of the indie dues she's paid. not that her indie films were bad, i'm just saying she deserves more recognition!

*nobody hit me* :)

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