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You've Got Mail

You've Got Mail poster
Directed by Nora Ephron
Produced by Nora Ephron
Lauren Shuler Donner
Written by Nora Ephron
Delia Ephron
Starring Tom Hanks
Meg Ryan
Parker Posey
Greg Kinnear
Dave Chappelle
Steve Zahn
Jean Stapleton
Dabney Coleman
Editing by Richard Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 18, 1998
Running time 119 min.
Language English
Budget $65,000,000
Gross revenue North America
$115,821,495
International
$135,000,000
Worldwide
$250,821,495 [1]

You've Got Mail is an American romantic comedy released in 1998 by Warner Bros. It is a remake of the film The Shop Around the Corner (1940), in which two letter-writing lovers are completely unaware that their sweetheart is in fact the co-worker with whom they share a certain degree of animosity. There was also a 1949 musical remake (In the Good Old Summertime) starring Judy Garland. You've Got Mail updates that concept to the use of e-mail. Influences from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice can also be seen in the relationship between Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly - a reference pointed out by these characters actually discussing Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet in the movie.

The name of the film is an example of product placement, based on the trademark greeting that AOL users hear when they receive new e-mail.

The film received significant media coverage leading up to its release in anticipation of the romantic coupling of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who had appeared together previously in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

Contents

Background

You've Got Mail was directed by Nora Ephron and is set in the Upper West Side of New York City. Ephron insists that You've Got Mail was as much about the Upper West Side itself as the characters, highlighting the 'small town community' feel that pervades the Upper West Side.

The script was written by Ephron and her sister Delia Ephron (with a credit given to Miklós László, the writer of the original play). The production team included Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron (who worked with Nora on films such as Michael and Sleepless in Seattle), and Lauren Shuler Donner. The supporting cast included David Chappelle, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns and Dabney Coleman. The film is accompanied by a score written by George Fenton.

Plot summary

Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is involved with Frank Navasky (Greg Kinnear), a leftist postmodernist newspaper writer for the New York Observer who's always in search of rooting for the underdog. While Frank is devoted to his typewriter, Kathleen prefers her laptop and logging into her AOL e-mail account. There, using the screen name "Shopgirl", Kathleen communicates with "NY152". This is the screen name for Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). Joe belongs to the Fox family which runs Fox Books — a chain of "mega" bookstores similar to Borders or Barnes & Noble. Kathleen, on the other hand, runs the independent bookstore The Shop Around The Corner, that her mother ran before her. The central conflict of the film revolves around the ability of Kathleen and Joe to interact well in virtual reality while they are business competitors in the "real world." A persistent mode of dramatic irony appears when Kathleen and Joe read each other's emails.

The movie begins with Kathleen logging on to her AOL account to read an email from "NY152" (Joe). In her reading of the e-mail, she reveals the boundaries of the online relationship; no specifics. The two then pass each other on their respective ways to work, unbeknownst to either one. Joe arrives at work, overseeing the opening of a new Fox Books in New York with the help of his friend and assistant Kevin (Dave Chappelle). Meanwhile, Kathleen and her three store assistants, George (Steve Zahn), Birdie (Jean Stapleton), and Christina (Heather Burns) open up shop.

Following a day on the town with his eleven-year-old aunt Annabel and four-year-old brother Matthew (the children of his frequently divorced grandfather and father, respectively), Joe enters Kathleen's store to let his younger relatives experience storytime. The two have a friendly conversation that reveals Kathleen's fears about the Fox Books store opening around the corner, shocking Joe. He introduces himself as "Joe. Just call me Joe", omitting his last name of Fox and makes an abrupt exit with the children. However, at a publishing party later in the week, Joe and Kathleen meet again, both of them being in the "book business," where Kathleen discovers Joe's true identity.

All the while, "NY152" and "Shopgirl" continue their courtship, to the point where "NY152" asks "Shopgirl" to meet. Too embarrassed to go alone, Joe brings Kevin along for moral support. He insists that "Shopgirl" may be the love of his life. Meanwhile Kevin, looking in a cafe window at the behest of Joe, discovers the true identity of "Shopgirl". When Joe discovers that it is actually Kathleen behind the name, he confronts her as Joe (concealing his "NY152" alter ego). The two exchange words and Joe leaves the cafe hurt.

Following invitations from Frank and Joe via "NY152", Kathleen begins a media war, including both a boycott of Fox Books and an interview on the local news. Despite all efforts, The Shop Around the Corner slowly goes under. In a somber moment Kathleen enters Fox Books to discover the true nature of the store is one of friendliness and relaxation, yet not as personal as her independent shop. Eventually, the employees move on to other jobs as Christina goes job hunting, George gets a job at the children's department at a Fox Books store (Joe later compares George's knowledge to a PhD) and a gleeful Birdie retires off the riches of her investments: "I bought Intel at six!"

Allowing time for their electronic relationship to convalesce, Joe visits Kathleen while she is sick, and for the first time makes a favorable impression. Joe discovers that Kathleen has broken up with Frank, who moved in with a talk show host that interviewed him (Jane Adams), predated one week by Joe and his uptight girlfriend, Patricia (Parker Posey), who broke up in their apartment building while stuck in the elevator. The two develop a tentative friendship that blossoms over the course of a few weeks and they eventually fall for one another.

At the same time, "NY152" and "Shopgirl" agree to meet one more time. Joe and his dog Brinkley (the topic of numerous e-mails) meet Kathleen at Riverside Park. The two kiss as Kathleen cries and Over the Rainbow takes the movie out.

Cast

Soundtrack

A successful soundtrack was released in December of 1998, and featured a mixture of classics from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the work of Harry Nilsson, as well as new original recordings and covers.

Box office

The film was a financial success, grossing more than three times its $65m budget. It grossed $115,821,495 from the domestic market and $135,000,000 from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $250,821,495.[1]

Trivia

  • Sara Ramírez of Grey's Anatomy fame can be spotted as Rose the Zabar's cashier.
  • Michael Palin's part was cut out of the final movie.
  • The character of Joe Fox was named after a former boyfriend of Nora Ephron who was an editor at Random House for authors such as John Irving and Truman Capote. His son Logan Fox ran an independent bookstore that succumbed to the pressure of big-box book retailers in 2007.[2]
  • During the "storytime" scene, Kathleen reads a section from Roald Dahl's celebrated autobiography Boy, describing "The Great Mouse Plot of 1923".
  • Jean Stapleton's character name, "Birdie Conrad" is a spoof of the title character in the musical Bye Bye Birdie: "Conrad Birdie".
  • Meg Ryan's character uses a "Kanga" Apple PowerBook G3 notebook computer.
  • Tom Hanks' character uses an IBM ThinkPad computer with a Pentium II processor.
  • AOL and Time Warner (parent of Warner Bros.) would merge in 2000.
  • The above listed companies engaged in product placement agreements with the producers of the film.

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

You've Got Mail is a 1998 romantic comedy about two rival book shop owners who meet in a chat room and begin communicating via e-mail, unaware of each other's true identities.

Directed by Nora Ephron and written by Nora Ephron and her sister Delia Ephron.

Contents

Joe Fox

  • [to Kathleen Kelly] I would have asked for your phone number and I wouldn't have been able to wait 24 hours before calling and asking, "How about coffee, drinks, dinner, a movie, for as long as we both shall live?"
  • [to Kathleen Kelly about her internet friend NY152] Maybe he is fat. Yup. He's fat. He's a fatty.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly] Timing is everything. He waited until you were primed. Until you knew there was no other man you could ever love.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly (Shopgirl) in email] Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly (Shopgirl) in email] Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could pass all my zingers to you and then I would never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time and we'd both be happy? On the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly (Shopgirl) in instant message] The Godfather is the I Ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? 'Leave the gun, take the cannoli.' What day of the week is it? 'Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.' And the answer to your question is 'Go to the mattresses.' You're at war. 'It's not personal, it's business. It's not personal it's business.' Recite that to yourself every time you feel you're losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death.
  • [to Kevin] I love Patricia. Patricia's amazing. Patricia makes coffee nervous.
  • [to Kevin] I said we were a goddamn piazza where people could mingle and mix and be.…I was eloquent. Shit.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly] I met a man in an elevator today who knew exactly what he wanted. And I found myself wishing I were as lucky as he.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly (Shopgirl) in email] The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!
  • [to Kathleen Kelly at bookstore] '(Balloons get caught in the door)' Good thing it wasn't the fish!

Kathleen Kelly

  • [to Joe Fox, after first meeting him in "The Shop Around the Corner"] I started helping my mother here after school when I was six years old. I used to watch her, and it wasn't that she was selling books, it was that she was helping people become whoever they were going to turn out to be. When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does.
  • [to Joe Fox] You were spying on me, weren't you? You probably rented those children.
  • [to Joe Fox] 'Joe. Just call me Joe.' As if you were one of those stupid 22-year-old girls with no last name. 'Hi, I'm Kimberley.' 'Hi, I'm Janice.' What's wrong with them? Don't they know you're supposed to have a last name? It's like they're a whole generation of cocktail waitresses.
  • [to Joe Fox (NY152) in email] The odd thing about this form of communication is that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.
  • [to Joe Fox (NY152) in email] Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void.
  • [to Joe Fox (NY152) in email] Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today I saw one. I couldn't believe it. It got on at 42nd -- and got off at 59th, where I assume it was going to Bloomindale's to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake. As almost all hats are.
  • [to Christina] It will be really easy to stop seeing him, because .... I'm not.
  • [to Joe Fox] I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.

Frank Navasky

  • [to Kathleen Kelly] Listen to this -- the entire work force of the state of Virginia had to have solitaire removed from their computers -- because they hadn't done any work in six weeks.… You know what this is, you know what we're seeing here? We're seeing the end of Western civilization as we know it.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly]The Olympia Report deluxe Electric. Report…as in gunshot.
  • [to Kathleen Kelly, typing]You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly, in the corrupt sands of commerce.
  • [to Sidney-Ann Strongin on television] Technologically speaking, the world's out of hand. Take the VCR. The whole idea of a VCR is that it makes it possible for you to tape what's on television while you're out of the house. But the whole point of being out of the house is so you can miss what's on television. Radio. Now there's a medium I can get behind.
  • [to Sidney-Ann Strongin on television] Thank your.

Patricia Eden

  • [to Joe Fox] I'm late. Random House fired Dick Atkins. Good riddance. Murray Chilton died. Which makes one less person I'm not speaking to -- (she drains a cup of espresso as a second starts to come out of the machine) Vince got a great review. He'll be insufferable. Tonight, PEN dinner…
  • [to Frank Navasky, at dinner party] You know, what's always fascinated me about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg is how old they looked when they were really just our age.

George Papas

  • [to Christina and Kathleen Kelly] As far as I'm concerned, the Internet is just another way to be rejected by a woman.
  • [to Christina and Kathleen Kelly] This place is a tomb. I'm going to the nutshop where it's fun.

Dialogue

Kathleen Kelly: I'm not nothing, I have a little money saved.
Birdie Conrad: If you need more, ask me. I'm very rich, I bought Intel at 6!

Kevin: The electrical contractor called, his truck hit a deer last night, so he's not gonna be here until tomorrow. And the upstairs shelves are delayed because the shipment of pine we ordered has beetles.
Joe Fox: Very good, *very* good.
Kevin: And we got a 50,000 dollar ticket for construction workers peeing off the roof.
Joe Fox: Great, that is great. Is the electrician here today?

Joe Fox: I'm sure you must be late for something - volunteering at the Henry Street Settlement, or rolling bandages for Bosnian Refugees.
Gillian Quinn: Actually, I'm having my eggs harvested.
Joe Fox: And getting those eggs harvested.

Nelson Fox: Perfect. Keep those West Side, liberal, nuts, pseudo- intellectuals...
Joe Fox: Readers, Dad, they're called readers.
Nelson Fox: Don't do that son, don't romanticize them.

Kathleen Kelly: The truth is, he was the one who made me start thinking about writing --
Joe Fox: Mister 152 Felony Indictments --
Kathleen Kelly: Mister 152... insights into my soul.
Joe Fox: Yeah. Well. Can't compete with that.
Kathleen Kelly: Well. I keep bumping into you. Hope your mango's ripe.
Joe Fox: I think it is.

Frank Navasky: Technology! Name me one thing, one that we've gained from technology.
Kathleen Kelly: Electricity.
Frank Navasky: That's one. You think this machine's your friend, but it's not.

Frank Navasky: She fell in love with Generalissimo Franco?!
Kathleen Kelly: Don't say that...really, we don't know that.
Frank Navasky: Who else could it have been?! It was probably around 1960 --
Kathleen Kelly: Do you want some popcorn?
Frank Navasky: I can't believe this! I mean it's not like he was something normal like a socialist or an anarchist or something...
Kathleen Kelly: It happened in Spain. People do really stupid things in foreign countries.
Frank Navasky: Absolutely! They buy leather jackets for much more than they’re worth, but they don't fall in love with fascist dictators.

Christina: You are so lucky.
George: You could be dead.
Kathleen Kelly: Are you crazy? This man couldn't possibly be the rooftop killer.
Christina: Remember when you thought Frank might be the Unabomber?
Kathleen Kelly: That was different.

Cast

External links

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