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Along the way Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron's fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairy-tale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separately balked at playing Mail's Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless' Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing...in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of one of America's most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I'll Have What She's Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.
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By Maine Colonial 🌲 on 09-04-17
Good story, bad reading
I so enjoyed the insider stories about the making of these movies and about the development of Nora Ephron’s filmmaking career that I was willing to overlook some elements that grated. In particular, I was often taken aback by Erin Carlson’s seeming assumption that the book’s readers are all millennials who need to have everybody born before about 1960 explained to them and in their terms. Nora Ephron is like Taylor Swift, really?
Much as I admire Nora Ephron, I seriously question Carlson’s premise that she saved the romantic comedy movie. She doesn’t even really try to make her case, so I guess it’s just a provocative subtitle to grab readers. Finally, I just don’t see You’ve Got Mail as being in the same league as When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle. Maybe other people feel differently. After reading the book, I think I will now need to see the movie again. I admit I only watched it once and have never felt any urge to stop and watch it again if I happen to come across it while channel surfing—unlike the other two movies.
Despite my criticisms, I enjoyed the book because it’s an anecdote-fest about interesting people. I always enjoy reading about the details of how scripts, casting and production came together, and that’s here in spades. Lots of stories about the big names, Ephron, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but many more about other names in the business from Rob Reiner down to Ephron’s regular prop guy, assistant and her friends and family. And a ton of stories about sets and location filming, especially in New York. Carlson does a very good job with this, so that you feel like you’re in the production.
I listened to the Audible version of the book. Amy Tallmadge’s reading is so-so, except when it comes to pronunciation, where I was just astonished at how often she mispronounces. Occasionally dictionary words (decor becomes deecor, outre becomes out tray), but it’s the constant mispronouncing of names, including a lot of famous names, that is a real annoyance. How can it be that anyone in media doesn’t know how to pronounce these names and how did the producers let this pass? Perfectionist Nora Ephron would be pulling her hair out.
It’s one thing to not be able to pronounce Abramowitz correctly, but to pronounce Jacques Tati’s last name as totty? How about pronouncing Charles Boyer as if he’s not French, but some guy from Kansas City? And here are some of the others that I remember: Warren BEEty, HasKELL Wexler, Sophie KINzulluh (Kinsella), Carole LomBARD, Suhlynn (Celine) Dion, William Sa-roh-ee-an (Saroyan). The thing is, I would be so amazed at these mispronunciations that I’d lose track of what came after and would have to back up. Note to Ms. Tallmadge: In the future, at least check the pronunciation of the names.
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