Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'll Have What She's Having

I took a trip down Memory Lane for the sake of supporting the Byrd Theater Foundation.

The fifth in their series of "Contemporary Classics," today's showing featured "When Harry Met Sally," a film I had seen only once and that was a very long time ago.

And while I could quibble with the use of  "contemporary," the movie gets props for its cultural impact, so evident from a vantage point of 22 years.

We're talking about the film that introduced the concept of high and low maintenance women. Surely both types have always existed, but what did they used to call them? I have no idea.

Another contribution we now take for granted was the notion of a "transitional person" for segueing from relationship to relationship. Could it be just an updated term for a "rebound relationship?" I wondered.

The period details stood out as strikingly as if it had been a 1950s film. Sally's big hair and masculine business suits, all the land lines, the blue CRT screens, a diner meal with dessert for $6.90. Definitely the Reagan years.

One good thing that was obvious was that while the script was primarily written by Nora Ephron, both director Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal clearly had input into the dialog, making for realistic viewpoints from both sexes on the difficulty of male/female friendships as well as love.

"How long do you like to be held after sex? All night, right? See, that's your problem. Somewhere between 30 seconds and all night is your problem."

Over the years, I have had many discussions with male friends about friendship issues and most have acknowledged that even in the most circumspect friendships, the sexual part is always simmering somewhere just below the surface.

It hasn't stopped me from having mostly male friends and even a few who have never, ever tried to cross that line with me, usually because they're happy in their love life. But they're in the minority.

But in the movie, the two friends eventually end up in love and that's when the romantic dialogue kicks into high gear.

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want  to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

Lines like that are why language geeks go to romantic comedies in the first place.

That and we dearly want to save the Byrd Theater.

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