Sleepless in Seattle

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Review Haiku

Penultimate film

Was good, now we can gear up

For the finale

Rating: 4/5

Meg Ryan can’t find love like a normal person

Oh, poor Meg Ryan. On top of inexplicably running a tractor over her formerly beautiful face, her characters cannot find The One without resorting to stalking or being stalked.

When Harry Met SallyMeg Ryan is stalked by Billy Crystal, an obsessive balding man who would be cause for alarm in any realistic situation.

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You’ve Got MailMeg Ryan relentlessly pursues a mystery man from a chat room and can’t get enough of him, even though she’s never seen his face or actually talked to him in person.

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Sleepless in SeattleMeg Ryan develops an strange attraction to a man she hears by chance on the radio and becomes enraptured, to the point where she calls off her marriage to maybe meet him in a movie-style encounter on top of the Empire State Building.

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She’s almost like the female version of Hugh Grant, doing the same things over and over again in her movies. The thing is, Meg Ryan has earned a cumulative 12.5/15 over the course of the Challenge and I believe that may be the most impressive stat of the entire project. I’ve been notoriously tough with my grading (again, I’m learning), and she has evaded my ire from day one. Good on you, Meg!

But enough about Meg Ryan. Let’s talk about the real star of this movie. This little dude right here:

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It took me 29 movies to get here, but I finally found one where a kid steals the show. Not some sexually frustrated teenager or whiny middle schooler, an actual kid, a little kid, a child of such gumption that you couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Here is a story about a widower named Sam (Tom Hanks) and his son Jonah, a boy desperate for his father to find love and happiness more than a year after his wife’s death. Little Jonah calls up a popular radio show to reveal his dad’s problems and soon after, the mail starts pouring in offering support. When Jonah’s father won’t respond to a letter from Annie (Ryan), Jonah takes it upon himself to fly to New York to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building. This kid is a fucking boss.

Not to mention one of the best scenes in the movie: Sam walks into Jonah’s room to find him snuggled up with his apparent girlfriend. Sam asks who this is and Jonah responds “It’s my girlfriend” in the most matter-of-fact tone ever put to screen. Sam, somewhat taken aback, simply says “oh, okay,” and closes the door. #KidGoals

Fairy tales and 15-movies-ago me

We’ve established quite clearly up to this point that I know almost nothing about anything. So don’t even try asking me about the following statement: prior to starting this challenge, I believed that Sleepless in Seattle was a genre classic in the way that Nightmare on Elm Street is a masterpiece of horror. Without prior knowledge, I assumed that the title was so well known that it must have meant this movie was one of those unanimous 98%-on-Rotten-Tomatoes, can’t-miss, four-thumbs-up pillars of romantic comedy.

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Upon further review, I’m not going to admit those preconceived notions were wrong – Sleepless in Seattle is certainly a genre staple and a large pop culture hit – but I think I oversold it. To be clear: I really enjoyed this movie, evidenced by the 4/5 rating. But I get the sense that many other people, particularly movie reviewers (big surprise) don’t hold it in high esteem. It’s too much “like a fairy tale,” it’s “contrived” and “unrealistic” – in short, all of the reasons I seem to dislike movies. It’s not the powerhouse I built it up to be.

Then again, neither is Rocky Horror Picture Show. Terrible movie, huge cultural impact. The reviewers may not think Sleepless in Seattle is all it’s cracked up to be, but I think I differ. It’s easy to see why it is so well-known.

Here we are again with another review where David questions himself. This is a movie with all sorts of quirks that would have led 15-movies-ago David to label it a farce. It’s amazingly unrealistic, depending on wild coincidences to move the plot, and it involves a love interest with no pragmatic approach to her actions whatsoever. Would 15-movies-ago David have panned this? I don’t know. The saving grace is that there are many scenes expressly devoted to Annie voicing how crazy she must be for even considering leaving her fiancee to meet this stranger. Perhaps 15-movies-ago David would have taken that into account. Current David doesn’t care. It was a fine movie with good characters, and the plot holes and contrivances were charming.

Final thoughts

Everywhere but Seattle: This obviously has no impact on the movie whatsoever, especially since “sleepless in Seattle” is just one of those Dear Amy monikers used to label a desperate inquirer. Still, I found it funny that a movie with “Seattle” in the title had an opening scene in Chicago and a closing scene in New York. And not just any closing scene in New York. A scene where the camera pans around the Empire State Building numerous times and displays the entire city in a grand final establishing shot. Interesting.

Rosie O’Donnell? Hey look, it’s Rosie O’Donnell!

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A list of Tom Hanks puns I just thought of because I don’t care that you’ll groan:

If Tom Hanks was a hot dog, he’d be Tom Franks

If he built wooden decks, he’d be Tom Planks

If he was a war vehicle, he’d be Tom Tanks

If he was born on April Fools’ Day, he’d be Tom Pranks

If he was excessively polite, he’d be Tom Thanks

If he was always sad, he’d be Tom Angst

If he had billions of dollars, he’d be Tom Banks

If he turned gears all day, he’d be Tom Cranks

If he was drunk, he’d be Tom Dranks

If he was a serial masturbator, he’d be Tom Wanks

Hahahaha jokes

Conclusion

We’re almost there, folks. There’s one more movie left. One final excursion into the depths of movie hell. For tonight, I finally come face to face with From Justin to Kelly. I know you’re all on the edge of your seat. I know I’m not.

 

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