Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'll Have What She's Having

I will miss Nora Ephron. She made my porn. For me, half the fun of going to the movies is to see the set decoration.  I have always wanted to sip a sloe gin fizz in the bar owned by Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca." I have dreamed about whipping up a vat of spaghetti Bolognese in the kitchen at the ranch owned by Brian Keith in "Parent Trap." If anyone knows where I can get my hands on the bathrobe that Kathryn Hepburn wore in "Adam's Rib", for Heaven's sake, let me know immediately.

Nora Ephron never disappointed me with the window dressing in her films. I have watched "Julie & Julia" more than a dozen times -- not just because I love Meryl Streep, but also because I loved the places she lived and the clothes she wore and the food that she ate -- all that had been lovingly selected for me by Nora Ephron, the writer and filmmaking goddess.

When I went to film school I was often in screenwriting classes where the guys would pitch these elaborate sci-fi stories that I didn't understand but seemed wildly creative -- and at the end of a half hour of pontificating about the wonders of the universe they had invented, they would say, "Oh, and I'm going to give him a love interest." That was the female character in the film -- no attention would be paid to her character development. She would be petite and busty and wear glasses. No doubt she would be in the same class as Denise Richards who played the most unbelievable role of Dr. Christmas Jones, astrophysicist in one of the more horrendous offerings in the James Bond series. Denise Richards, seriously?

The screenplays I attempted to write always started with the female character. It was all about her conflict and her inability to find love. So it was inevitable that I would find my way to the worship of Nora Ephron. She defined romantic comedies for a generation.  And now that she's no longer working -- it seems fitting that the romantic comedy is no longer working at the movies either. 

Will women have to put up with just being a "love interest" in the movies for the next generation? I know everyone loves "Girls" on HBO and the writer is supposed to be the voice of the new female generation.  She shows love as it is in reality -- and it ain't pretty.

But what about the Nora Ephron generation?

We need someone who will tell us stories about romance while also taking us on a fantasy tour of locations that we will never be able to see in person, but will always love from afar because Nora Ephron took me to visit there once. I've never been to Katz's Deli in NYC, but I know I'd love it and the pastrami is probably the best in the world. How do I know? Nora Ephron told me so.

In conclusion, I hope that somewhere out there beneath the star-filled sky, there lurks a female filmmaker who, of course, won't be able to fill Nora Ephron's shoes, but will at least pays homage to her and her style. And please make it happen soon.