I came of age in the early aughts. We always had a computer in my houses because Dad worked at Apple in the eighties (calm down, he sold the stock in ‘89) and Mom’s job always issued her three laptops at any given time. We did not have internet. As early computer users, my parents didn’t really jump on the internet bandwagon because that wasn’t what computers were for. All of my friends got bulbous desktop computers at the same time they got internet. They had the good internet too. You know what I’m talking about: AOL. We, the poor chumps with an Apple laptop and CorelDRAW, had no access to the delights of AIM. It wasn’t until ninth grade that we got the sweet, sweet joy of dial-up. We probably had it earlier than that. I’m sure Mom’s house had it long before Dad’s. Regardless, neither of them ever got AOL. Which is why, dear reader, I was deprived of the singular joy Meg Ryan introduces us to in You’ve Got Mail. Namely, saying “you’ve got mail” as the dial-up connects to electronic mail. I also never experienced the joy of Meg Ryan saying “you’ve got mail” in a time when that would have been anything but nostalgic. Because I just watched it three nights ago.
The opening credits of You’ve Got Mail are tragic and hilarious. It was not made for a 2019 audience. The plot, likewise.
It’s Aurora Rey’s fault I watched the damn movie. And Netflix/Amazon/Hulu, I suppose. I wanted to watch Practical Magic, but that wasn’t available to stream. So I decided to fulfill a promise I made centuries ago.
The movie was okay. I mean, Meg Ryan is adorbs. Tom Hanks, also adorbs. I like a good rom-com. I even like the combination of those three factors! Joe Versus the Volcano is fantastic (Sleepless in Seattle not so much).
“Long ago/the delicate tangles of his hair/covered the emptiness of my hand. Would you like to hear it again? Long ago/the delicate tangles of his hair/covered the emptiness of my hand.”
That, friends, is poetic gold.
At two in the morning as I irreverently texted a sleeping Aurora Rey GIFs of Patrick Swayze to accompany my “Point Break is way more romantic” text, I ineloquently listed the reasons You’ve Got Mail wasn’t my jam. “It’s a love letter to capitalism.” “The fundamental dishonesty of Joe crafting their relationship when Kathleen doesn’t know the truth is skeevy.” And, of course, “Dabbing away someone’s tears is fucking creepy.” From my high horse, I claimed to struggle to overlook the lack of wokeness in pre-2010 movies.
Again, I said all of this with a GIF of Point Break. A movie about bank robbing surfers and the FBI agent trying to take their charismatic leader down. Bank robbing is anti-capitalist, sure. But the elevation of violence and recklessness, the vapidity disguised by philosophical discussion, the inability to decide between LEO and bank robber (equally corrupt positions) as a worthy hero all coalesce to undermine any moral high ground.
Maybe I am simply drawn to explosions. Maybe I just didn’t like You’ve Got Mail and want to intellectualize my dislike to make up for not loving a classic. Or maybe my internalized misogyny allows me to overlook patriarchal media while holding feminized media to a higher standard. Who’s to say, really?