63. Sleepless in Seattle

Movie: Sleepless in Seattle

Release Date: June 25, 1993

Director: Nora Ephron

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Gabby Hoffman, Rob Reiner.

Tag Lines: “What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?”

Relevance: In June of 1993, I had just graduated from college and moved to my temporary home in an upstate New York city to prepare for my impending attendance in Graduate school. I was in a serious relationship, had great friends and was really excited for my new adventure. Overall, my existence was pretty good. At twenty-two, I had generally lived a privileged life so there was really no room for complaints. During that period of time, I felt as though I was living in a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film. So why not go see one.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were already household names at the time and considered America’s sweethearts, so there pairing in a romantic comedy was pretty big news. (It was actually their second film together.) ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ was released at the end of June in 1993 to critical praise. It was a big summer box office success and eventually became the eighth highest grossing film of that year. I went to see the film its opening weekend and it was the first movie I saw in my “temporary” new hometown.

Of course, I absolutely loved the movie. It was a very cute, funny, romantic film with great performances by its leads. It was warm and gentle and the perfect date movie as well as the antithesis of the action packed summer flare that gets forced down our throats every year. I became an even bigger fan of Tom Hanks, who was already on the top of my favorite actors’ list, a place that he still proudly sits atop. This is Mr. Hanks eleventh out of fourteen films to appear on my list of most influential movies of all time. (For the others, check out 314. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, 275. Apollo 13, 256. The Green Mile, 234. Saving Private Ryan, 224. Joe Versus the Volcano, 186. Toy Story, 167. Splash, 160. Bachelor Party, 145. Big and 101. The Money Pit).

I loved the film so much that after going to the theater to see it, I immediately went to the record store adjacent to it to grab the soundtrack. Little did I know that the record store I shopped in that night would be the company I worked at for twenty-five years of my life. But I digress. The soundtrack to the film was just as light and romantic as the movie. Its big selling point was the Celine Dion and Clive Griffin remake of “When I Fall in Love,” which was becoming a top forty hit on the Billboard charts in the United States. The soundtrack became one of my favorites to listen to that entire summer.

After seeing the movie, I recommended it to everyone. When it was released as a rental later that year, I did so with many different family and friends. It was watched quite a bit over that holiday season. The more I saw the film, the more I fell in love. My mom, being a huge romantic comedy fan, loved it even more than I did. It eventually became a part of her movie collection and one that she watched over and over again. Anytime ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ was playing, I was usually watching. Generally speaking, I am not as big a fan of romantic comedies like my mom, but it was really so well written and produced, it was difficult not to be a fan.

‘Sleepless in Seattle’ has remained one of my favorite Tom Hanks films and one that I reference and quote quite a bit. Every time my boss would say “shut up,” whether to me or someone in my ear shot, I would yell, “Shut up. Shut up. Mom never said shut up.” It always garnered a chuckle from him. But the references and repeated lines didn’t end there. The script is filled with great moments and one-liners and it was no surprise that it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay. ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ will always be one of those movies that I can wrap myself in when the world gets to harsh or cold to warm myself up.

Today’s Thoughts: “Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.”

My life doesn’t necessarily feel like a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film these days. But whose does? Watching ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ was the perfect warm blanket I needed on this cold, snowy Halloween Eve.

I watched the movie alone via Netflix as I don’t own this film, something that will be remedied one day soon. The movie is still as funny and charming as it was way back in 1993. It is hard to imagine that this film is close to thirty years old. Good movies are just good movies, regardless of how old they get. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan barely spend any screen time together, yet their chemistry is absolutely beautiful. The entire cast is actually quite remarkable. Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Gabby Hoffman, Rob Reiner, Rosie O’Donnell and Rita Wilson are all fantastic. I smiled from beginning to end and sang along to all of those familiar songs throughout.

Nora Ephron was a fantastic writer and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ has to be one of, if not the favorite screenplay of mine that she wrote over her fantastic career. I will never not watch it when it is playing. I will never not love it. It comes very highly recommended film and I urge all people, romantics or not, to commit to the one hundred, five minutes of joy this movie emits.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, Jeff Arch (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “A Wink and a Smile,” Marc Shaiman, Ramsay McLean (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Meg Ryan (nomination), Golden Globe f, or Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Tom Hanks (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Original, Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, Jeff Arch (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Score, Marc Shaiman (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, Jeff Arch (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, DVD Availability.

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