I’m writing a guest blog post for the lovely Duds and, surprise, it’s not about Glee. I know, I know, huge shock. But since I’m one of maybe five people I know who watch it, I’ll go ahead and spare you the knowledge you’re missing out on awesome things like SJP throwing a kiki with drag queens and an all-boys accapella show choir singing about blow jobs. And just when you thought Glee couldn’t out-gay actual gay sex. . .
No, today I will discuss another really important topic: pre 2000’s romantic films starring Meg Ryan. Otherwise known as “What I Learned from Meg Ryan Before She Ruined Her Face.”
First and foremost, in the World According to Meg, stranger danger is practically a nonexistent threat. It’s an excellent thing these films existed in a pre-“Criminal Minds,” pre-Taken, pre-Human Centipede, pre-Catfish universe because holy shit, does this lady like spending time with complete strangers. Hell, even when she’s an animated Russian princess she has a tendency to follow random men into the abyss. Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, Addicted to Love, City of Angels, You’ve Got Mail; doesn’t sweet Miss Ryan think for one second that maybe one of these dudes could possibly be a psychopath?
I know some of you are thinking: Kevin Kline with a porn ‘stache? Maybe. Nicolas Cage? Definitely. But Tom Hanks? And while this is a valid observation, you have to admit he was kind of a dickwad in The Polar Express.
But thank god for fake orgasms, right? I’ve never faked an orgasm in a restaurant but it should be noted that as someone who has pulled the “I’ll have what she’s having” line from When Harry Met Sally at a McCallister’s Deli without so much of a blip of acknowledgement from the cashier (kids these days); I’d recommend not doing this in public. Especially not in a McCallister’s, which seems to be perpetually overstaffed. Side thought: I love good service as much as the next person, but eating at a McCallister’s is kind of like menstruating in a shark tank. Except scarier because there’s way more khaki.
Speaking of khaki, it’s also now legitimate science that no one will ever be able to look as chic as Lady Meg did donning that short hair and homely wardrobe. Obviously my perception of nineties fashion is unreliable seeing as how at that time I really loved my Doc Martens sandals, biking shorts, and Old Navy American flag tee. But let’s be honest, her You’ve Got Mail wardrobe was verging on “Maria Von Trapp-when-she-was-still-a-nun-dealing-with-impure-thoughts” territory. Yet, in true America’s Sweetheart fashion, she wore it proudly and still got laid by Tom Hanks, so. . .
Case and point:
Also learned from Saving Private Meg Ryan is her complete lack of saving anything private. Never before has stalking been so adorably endearing. Nothing says “I’m a totally balanced and sane human being” like randomly flying to Seattle and creepily staring at a depressed widower and his kid from across the street with zero explanation. But maybe she was just temporarily entranced by the mystery and glory of Tom’s strange 90’s mullet. “That's why his hair is so big. It’s full of secrets."
Crossover epiphany: what if when Meg almost gets hit by that car when she’s stalking Tom Hanks, she actually gets hit and dies, and angel Nicolas Cage shows up and escorts her to heaven. Then they both become human again, and unite to go steal the Declaration of Independence? Just…consider it. [Update: Nic Cage has already signed on for this hypothetical terrible movie].
At the root of it, these films are all a constant and beautiful reminder that even though you’re sitting at home eating your second bowl of cereal for dinner, the world of Meg Ryan's fictional romance will always be there to save the day. I would say it’s always there to make you feel happy, but I think we all know how City of Angels ends.
So the next time one of these movies is on cable (which will probably be tomorrow) take a moment to pop a squat and appreciate what they’ve taught us. There’s so much to take away from the magic of these films; so much cynicism to eliminate, so many lines to quote, so much Harry Connick Jr. to hear, so much hair on Tom Hanks’ head, and most importantly, so much less lip on Meg Ryan’s face.