This week, we’re dissecting another favorite comfort watch movie for decor and home inspiration.
This is an ongoing series for us, and this week’s selection is You’ve Got Mail, a Nora Ephron film from 1998. This is definitely a millennial comfort movie to THE CORE.
You can find the podcast posts archive here.
A big thank you to our sponsors! Check out the offers from Ritual, Shopify, BetterHelp, and Kitsch.
And, if you’re looking for a specific code you heard on the podcast, you can see a full list on this page!
Our favorite design elements:
Kathleen’s brownstone apartment:
-Decorative daisy trim around the doors
-Hung plate collection
Kathleen’s bookstore “The Shop Around The Corner”:
Other cozy inspiration:
-Meg Ryan’s fairy hat
-Cozy outfits: cardigans, white tights with a skirt, sweaters
-’90s hair: small highlights and crisscrossed middle part
What aged well vs. what did not in this movie:
-Flirting online while in a relationship
Rate the movie from 0 to 5 bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils:
Elsie – 5
Emma – 5
Miss an Episode? Get Caught Up!
- Episode #173: The 12 Week Year
- Episode #172: Preparing For a Big Move!
- Episode #171: Elsie’s Moving Home to Missouri
Episode 174 Transcript:
Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. This week we’re dissecting a favorite comfort watch movie for decor and home inspiration. This is an ongoing series for us, and this week’s selection is You’ve Got Mail a Nora Efron film from 1998. This is definitely a millennial comfort movie to the core. I was so excited to rewatch this one.
Elsie: Yeah. I had such a wonderful time, we actually watched it on Valentine’s Day. It’s so cozy and magical, wonderful, all the things. Should we describe it a bit, I know there’s probably isn’t anyone who hasn’t watched, but just in case
Emma: Yeah, yeah. Go ahead. Just in case.
Elsie: Okay, so Joe Fox played by Tom Hanks, he’s pretty much a person who owns Barnes and Noble, who’s opening a Barnes and Noble in New York City. But they don’t call it Barnes and Noble.
Emma: They call it Fox Books.
Elsie: Kathleen Kelly played by Meg Ryan is the owner of a magical, beautiful little bookshop called the Shop Around the Corner, which is also right around the corner from the imposing Barnes and Noble. They have become sort of like online pin pals in the earliest, most primitive possible version of the internet. And so yeah, the movie is called You’ve Got Mail because it’s still in the era where the computer says you’ve got mail every time she opens her computer. It is very nostalgic from a technology standpoint, kind of shocking, kind of jarring, it makes the passage of time really clear. Tom Hanks is old, but he’s not that old, things have really changed in this amount of time, it’s stunning. Beyond that, it’s honestly a simple, cozy romantic comedy.
Emma: Yeah, that’s what I would say too. And if you’re a book lover, then it’s one of those movies where there’s two different bookstores in it and lots of, you know. So I feel like a lot of times when I read books, obviously, authors love reading because they’re writers. So there’s a lot of like bookstores and libraries tend to pop up as common things, so it’s fun to see them in movies too, because I am a book lover, as is Elsie, so that’s fun.
Elsie: Yeah. So now that I’m a literary person, I can make comments like this. Have you noticed that in every single book and movie, when there’s a literary female character, her favorite novel is always Pride and Prejudice. It’s always, always, always pride and prejudice every single time.
Emma: I wanted to talk about that too, because, I found it a little funny. Okay, so number one, I will say I love Pride and Prejudice, I really do. It is definitely in my top 10 or at least the top 20 books of all time. I Love Jane Austin, generally, Pride and Prejudice is probably one of my favorites, so I get it, man. It’s not like I’m hating, but I also felt like you own a bookstore and your listing is your favorite book, the most cliche pick of all time. I just found it kind of strange, because they were talking about their favorite books and I’m like, wouldn’t you wanna pick something a little bit different?
Elsie: Yeah, I agree because I know book-snob people now and they don’t name that as their favorite novel. So anyway, just an interesting thing that for some reason, even though it’s been about maybe 30 years almost since this movie was made, hasn’t changed at all. In the movies and books, everyone still just loves Pride and Prejudice and only has references from that. Anyway, so let’s talk. We’re gonna dissect the movie for cozy inspiration. So last time we did twilight and twilight, I will say it was low on the cozy inspiration meter. Not like zero, but it’s lower. This one is very, very, very high on the inspiration meter, I would call this movie like Eye Candy. I could enjoy watching it with the sound off. Like just looking at stills. So if you haven’t watched it or you haven’t watched it in years, Google, You’ve Got Mail, movie stills, or You’ve Got Mail, apartment and you will see all the things we’re talking about. So I wanted to first talk about Kathleen’s Brownstone apartment.
So this is one of the very, very Coziest movie sets, most iconic movie sets of, I would say, all romantic comedies. It is romantic comedy gold, so I love it. So let’s just dissect for a minute. So first of all, it has a window seat in the front living room and I just love a window seat. I feel like if you have a window, a big window, a bay window, and there’s nothing there, you were put on this planet to add a window seat to that window, right?
Emma: Yeah, you should. And at least once sit there and read a book, I know you’re probably gonna end up on the couch or in your bed. That’s what you know. It’s just like the romantic idea of where you wanna be sitting reading a book, which is in the window seat.
Elsie: Take a picture of yourself reading there and then move to the couch where it’s more comfortable, that’s fine, we have proof of that. Okay, and then the other thing I’m obsessed with from this apartment is that the trim around the doors has these little daisies, like carved wood, daisies, appliques, it’s just like really, really good decorative trim. Okay, so I wanna use this in my life. How about the pink house it’s the one thing I don’t like about the pink house is that it has a farmhouse, like modern farmhouse trim. They modernized it too much and they also put barn doors. That’s the two things that I would really change. So I was trying to think of a way that I could use the inspiration of this daisy trim on those doors. Maybe I could somehow add it so I didn’t even have to remove it somehow, just like spruce it up to make it look more historic.
But anyway, I will put either a picture or a note or a link, in the show notes this week so you can see this daisy trim up close because it is a very important detail. And for me, woodwork and molding, it’s one of my renovation obsessions, I love it. Don’t skip over it, if you have to put new trim up already, put cool trim, put special trim. This is a very good example of something that’s a small difference, but way more special.
Emma: Yeah. And generally, I would say her apartment feels a little bit like cottage vibes, but you also can very much tell that it’s a New York apartment and it’s supposed to be a New York apartment. And also her boyfriend at the beginning of the movie is a writer. He writes for the newspaper, I think the Washington poster, maybe the New York Times. I can’t remember which one they say in the movie, but he writes for a newspaper, so he’s a writer, so they’re both literary people. So I feel like it just has that vibe in their apartment, he has an old typewriter. There’s just the feeling of, this being a modern New York apartment, but the style isn’t modern, it’s more cottagey and cozy.
Elsie: From my experience, going down a New York house shopping rabbit hole, that is true. There are lots of homes where there’s lots and lots of original molding, like the best original molding I’ve ever seen anywhere, there are so many, and that’s a very common feature. Maybe it’s because that part of the country was built earlier. I don’t know why it’s so much better there.
Emma: I think it’s a combination of things being built earlier. You know, like if you have something that’s a hundred years old versus 20 years old, I feel like you’re more likely to keep the hundred-year-old thing just because. So that, and then I also wonder about some areas of the country, and I’m not a New York native, New York City native at all, never lived there. Don’t know. So it could be totally wrong, but my impression is it might be a little bit harder to renovate there. There are just not as many Home Depots and Lowe’s around like you’re in the Midwest, like anyone can walk in. It’s just a little bit easier to kind of change things. So I kind of wonder if maybe that’s part of it too, things get kept because it’s just more cumbersome to change out trim. So like why would you?
Elsie: Also, it’s a bigger renting culture. So it’s not so much gutting and renovating.
Emma: Yeah, that would be my guess.
Elsie: Then one more thing from Kathleen’s apartment was her hung plate collection. So every Nancy Meyers or Nora Efron movie has a hung plate collection. So just a collection of beautiful antique plates all hung in a little collection on a wall. I know that it is verifiably a grandma thing, but I also think it’s definitely, you know the style they call grand millennial? It’s very attracted to it and I’m very into it.
Emma: Someday we will be grandma, millennials, hopefully.
Elsie: Okay, and then next let’s talk about Kathleen’s bookstore, the shop around the corner. So it’s definitely the perfect antique shop, everything is old. It’s like wood trim, wood counter, everything looks like it’s a hundred years old. And there were a bunch of different businesses throughout history in that space. But it is a children’s bookstore. Is it just a children’s bookstore or is it a bookstore for everyone? I guess I’m not clear on that. It might be both, but it has a big children’s section, that’s a big emphasis on what they show on camera.
Emma: Yes, because she has story time where she reads books to children and sometimes there’s like children in the neighborhood who seem to know her, the lady from the next door. So it definitely is heavy on kid stuff, but I can’t remember in the movie if they have adult books and things too. I feel like Yes, but I really can’t remember now.
Elsie: I think so too, I don’t know. The shop is very, very cute and my favorite detail from it is that there’s a scene where they’re hanging twinkle lights and she is talking about how she thinks there should always be twinkle lights and like it’s not just Christmas thing, everything just needs twinkle lights, which is how I feel. I completely agree. Just get the twinkle lights out any time of year, any day, any time I support it. Is there anything else about her, the shop around the corner that stuck out to you as cozy and cute?
Emma: Maybe I’ll bring this up now, but it’s in a bunch of sets in the movie or spaces in the movie, there were so many checkered floors like there were tile checkered floors. The bookshop’s, one of ’em, Tom Hank’s character, his apartment had one of ’em, and there was at least one more, and I can’t remember now, maybe it was in the Fox Bookstore. But I loved it. I only have one little space in my house that has checkered floors in my laundry room. But I just love that look, it’s so classic. They had different ones, I feel like one was black and white, one was like two tones of brown, kind of an off-white and a darker brown, that might have been the bookstore. And I just kept seeing it in the movie and I was like, checkered floors. Checkered floors, checkered floors.
Elsie: That is inspiring, how many times do you think you can have a checkered floor in one house, like three or four? Is that too many?
Emma: I mean, how big is your house?
Elsie: In a big house. In a big house? Yeah.
Emma: Yeah. Definitely three or four. Is it beauty and the beast? Like you got a West Wing or like what’s happening? ,
Elsie: I dunno. No, a regular house. I’m talking about my house. My new house.
Emma: Yeah. Your current house? Oh, your new house. Yeah, you could probably have three or four. I could have had more, I thought about putting it in the entryway too, but I don’t know. I really love just having one floor in most of the house. But in spaces that have water, like the laundry room in case the washer and dryer are over floors, it feels nice to have tile in there, and then we have tile in the bathrooms. But even my kitchen has wood floors.
Elsie: I love wood floors in the kitchen.
Emma: Yeah. Opposite of you, the boring version of you, that’s me. I’m like, keep it simple.
Elsie: That’s not true at all. One of my favorite moments from the entire movie is when she’s doing story time and she’s wearing that fairy hat, like a fairytale hat. It’s just so cute, that’s the still from the movie that I think shows up most often on the internet and it’s everything. So yeah, like maybe we need to get hats like that so we can just like read to our kids and feel like we’re in a Nora Efron movie.
Emma: Honestly, if you wanted to become like we read books at the library, I would totally do it with you. It would be very fun.
Elsie: Okay, yeah, no I would definitely love to do that, that’s fun. Where are any other cozy interiors you noticed? I know we just talked about the floors. I thought the little coffee shop where they had their meetup, where she had the roses on the table was very charming, and the grocery store. There was a grocery store too.
Emma: The grocery store felt very New York, I loved it. It felt very big bodega feeling in there. Yeah, and I also feel like it’s an unassuming movie in that you can kind of feel like a lot of the spaces just feel brown, but when you really look, they’re actually really pretty. You would be wrong. It’s not just all brown, there’s a lot more to it. But I think if you were like squinting at this movie, that would be the vibe. We didn’t really talk about Tom Hanks’ character’s apartment. To me, that’s the one I would want out of the two. And I really wish there was a sequel to the movie where we see them cohabitate, I’m assuming they stay together.
Elsie: So what features did you like about his apartment specifically?
Emma: I just thought it felt modern but cool and it has that, I feel like people call this style masculine. I don’t really love the gendering decor, it doesn’t really make sense to me. But the idea is I think it has like black metal and kind of sharper edges and it tends to be a little bit more modern. And I just like modern style, not ultra-modern, but his felt like that. There was even some kind of fancy espresso machine, I feel like that’s like out on his countertop. It just felt like a very, I’m a business person, but this still has style, which I was interested in. I’m a business person, but I still have style.
Elsie: The rich dad of a Nora Efron movie vibe. Yeah. I could see that being like your dream house, That makes sense.
Emma: Yeah, out of the two apartments, I loved hers too, but I was like, I would wanna live in his if I had to live in one of the two. Which is funny cause I think you’d live in hers and so then we could visit each other and it’d be great.
Elsie: That’s true. Yeah. We would love to have our own separate romcom houses. Okay, this is on my notes and I don’t think it’s gonna come into play anywhere. But I have two funny things about Joe Fox. First of all, I think Joe Fox is a very fake-sounding movie name. Do you think that I just can’t get over the name Joe Fox. It’s trying so hard to be casual that it sounds completely made up to me.
Emma: Yeah, and for whatever reason, and there probably is someone in the world named Joe Fox, but they just sound separate from each other, which to me is always like a, oh, this is just a name in a book, you know, or whatever because they don’t feel they are a real person and they go together. I don’t know why though. It doesn’t really make sense. Maybe because they’re both so short, I don’t know. He does spend part of the movie, not saying his name or trying to omit it. I don’t think he’s really lying. He’s just kind of not saying he’s his name.
Elsie: He’s lying, he’s trying to not tell her who he is, for sure.
Emma: Yeah. He realizes she’s not gonna be happy with who he is because he realizes she owns the small bookstore and his bookstore is probably gonna put her outta business. So he kind of is like hiding his name a lot. So maybe that’s part of it is we are meant to not know his name for part of the movie or we know that it’s being hidden.
Elsie: Okay, the other thing is, this is like my favorite moment of the movie quote or whatever, like a funny quote, and Jeremy and I have been saying it constantly as a joke, but I feel like this is very like quintessential 1990s in a way that it doesn’t exist anymore. But when they’re in the coffee shop together, he like puts up his finger and orders a mocha decaf non-fat, like that is his coffee order, it is so crazy and like random, and also it doesn’t make sense. It’s like you’re ordering a decaf non-fat frappuccino, it is insane.
Emma: Yeah, it’s like, okay, you want a chocolate milkshake but no fat, that’s terrible.
Elsie: Yeah, I feel like in the olden days, it was like the beginning of Starbucks culture when Starbucks and only grand millennials or grandma, millennials can remember this, but like when Starbucks was actually so cool. There was a moment where it was like, I’m going to Starbucks and in You’ve Got Mail has this because in one of the opening scenes, it shows New York City, and then it shows a Starbucks, it is when Starbucks was so cool, it was not common. It was pretentious or fancy. I think that people used to enjoy having the longest possible coffee orders.
Emma: Yeah. I think it was a status symbol in a way, and maybe this shows my age cuz I was early twenties and super broke. So the idea of ordering a $6 drink at Starbucks was like, oh no I cannot do that, I have no money for that. So when you heard someone kind of get some kind of grande or venti, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you’re like, wow, you must be a rich person. You have this signature drink thing that you’re into, which Joe Fox is obviously rich because of Young’s Barnes and Noble.
Elsie: I love it. I love it, his character’s so great. Okay, so fashion, I think that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are the icons of the 1990s, especially in romcoms and their outfit outfits are very cozy. She’s wearing a cardigan and a dress with a cardigan. There’s one where she has white tights and a skirt and it’s so cute. Sweaters, it feels very fall time.
Emma: Yeah, also, Meg Ryan is gorgeous, but she also has that very nineties hair to me, where it has the very small highlights and then she does her middle part where it’s like back and forth, crisscross. The crisscross middle part, which is just so nineties, like very high school to me, which I actually graduated in 2004, so I guess middle school for me, whatever, you get it.
Elsie: I did the crisscross part in the nineties though, I’m not ashamed to say it.
Emma: Everyone did it. If you weren’t doing it, it’s like you didn’t know.
Elsie: It’s true, everyone wanted to have hair like that in the nineties. But yeah, as far as their style, I don’t know if there’s like anything they were wearing. I think I would wear maybe the thing with the tights. I just think it’s like a general vibe more than an actual outfit to replicate.
Emma: I also think this is an era where Tom Hanks’, Joe Fox, suits are not quite as fitted. Things are more baggy, which has actually come back around. I feel like we’re seeing a lot of that now In the last five years, it’s a lot more baggy clothes and bagger things, people aren’t doing the super tight fitted as much. But yeah, that’s definitely in this movie, which is funny because some years after this, I feel like all men’s suits were very tailored. It’s not that they were necessarily tight, but they were very like, they had a fit.
Elsie: Oh, they got tight, they got very tight in some recent decades.
Emma: Yeah, but his felt baggy, not fitted, not tailored in that way yet. Even though clearly his character’s high-end, it’s not like these are cheap suits. You don’t have that impression. It’s just sort of a different era for fashion.
Elsie: Yeah, it’s definitely a different era for fashion. Yeah. Okay, so we always do this. What aged well and what did not age well in the movie? I didn’t take any notes of anything that made me cringe. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but I guess the technology is stunning, it’s shocking. How different the early internet was from what it is now. I actually wrote down a quote that someone said in the movie and said, I tried to have cyber sex, but I kept getting the busy signal like they are just so primitive. It’s so early internet and I think that everyone, I was gonna say You’ve Got Mail should be a movie that plays in schools as a way to teach people that it wasn’t that long ago, like to teach kids like our niece’s age, who’s 13. It wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t have internet or that it was brand new to them and this is how it looked. And this is how computers looked and like they didn’t have phones. Just all these things like that I think would be kind of fascinating for kids to see.
Emma: Yeah, and I mean, the idea of meeting someone in a chat room and then becoming kind of internet pen pals to me sounds kind of like, Ooh, I don’t know about that.
Elsie: It doesn’t sound cute anymore.
Emma: Yeah, it doesn’t sound cute anymore but meeting someone through a dating app sounds really normal to me. This is like the version that they had of that basically. But anyway, yeah, so there’s that. I’ve always felt a little weird about, I don’t know if this is an aging thing, like did it age well, but at least watching this when I was younger and now, I don’t love that they’re kind of both in relationships and then they’re sort of flirting with somebody else online. But I also think they kind of address it throughout the movie in different ways. I know they really do, like when Meg Ryan’s character has her breakup, which I actually really like that scene. I feel like it’s a very adult breakup where both people are very respectful and it kind of showcases that breakups sometimes happen just because this just has run its course and that’s okay. And we can still respectfully part and be honest with each other about it. And I actually think it’s a good breakup scene. Yeah, I’ve always felt a little weird about that, but I get it relationships are messy and I do think they kind of address it in places. But yeah, I don’t know, it’s kind of weird.
Elsie: Yeah, I would agree with that. But I honestly didn’t give it much thought when I was watching it.
Emma: You were just like, show me more interiors.
Elsie: I guess for me, I wanted to see her at the end, I think she’s starting to write a book maybe, it’s like she’s starting to get a new dream because her store does end up closing and he does end up winning and it’s like Barnes and Noble, whatever. I think it’s funny how much the reputation of Barnes and Noble has changed as well because now I think it’s like an endangered species to be protected and in the nineties, it was like a monster to be stopped and now there’s a different monster now. Anyway, I thought about her character, I would’ve loved for her to either win or find a solution, find a pivot or like some kind of solution for it, or find a new dream that was bigger and better. That she expressed she was very passionate about it. They kind of alluded to it, but it didn’t quite, so that’s probably the thing I would change for her. It could have been a good part too, though.
Emma: Yeah, I do think the sequel to this would be really interesting and fun. Yeah, but I also, know it’s a remake and there isn’t another, so it’s like, okay, that’s cool too.
Elsie: There’s not gonna be a remake.
Emma: Yeah, there’s not gonna be a sequel unless other than fan fiction.
Elsie: I cried at the end. Did you cry a little? Did you get a little tear?
Emma: No, but I do like their love story. I do like the idea that they’ve gotten to know one another through letters, and she mentions that Pride and Prejudice is her favorite book, and it kind of vibes that way in that she misunderstands him and they somewhat misunderstand each other. Like, Mr. Darcy, you don’t know why he’s doing some of the things he’s doing. When she meets him at the coffee shop and he has his ridiculous mochaccino order, she thinks he’s just teasing her and antagonizing her and she doesn’t recognize that he is the person she was waiting for, he’s the person on the computer. So, that’s really fun and I think they did a nice job with that and it’s enjoyable.
Elsie: No, I mean it’s cute like you want them to be together, they have to be, there’s no other ending for this movie. So we’re gonna go into trivia time now. So this is all, actually, I don’t know where I grabbed this from, probably I M D B or something. Yeah, I like love trivia about actors, movies, movie sets, like where was films, like all types of stuff, so we’re just gonna geek out for a bit. The casting of Dave Chappelle as Kevin Joe’s friend and confidant came about because four years previously, Chappelle was offered the role of Bubba in Forrest Gump, which is in 1994, hank’s big blockbuster movie, which came as a worldwide phenomenon. Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba because he felt Forrest Gump would flop at the box office, which gave me the biggest miniature tear for him. That’s a sad one. I’m sure Dave Chappelle is doing just fine, but you have to live with that. That’s probably the funny thing about being an actor you have to judge each script by just your own impression and what you’ve seen before it, and you just never know, right?
Emma: Yeah. Well, and there could be a great script and then like the director just takes a weird turn or vice versa, and the script’s kind of weak, you never know. And Forest Gump is a weird movie, so I could kind of see reading the script and being like, I don’t know if I wanna play this role. This seems like a really strange movie, I’m not sure because quite the movie.
Elsie: Yeah, no, no. I think it’s somewhat not acceptable by today’s standards, but at the time it was Blockbuster. Okay, let’s go to the next one.
Emma: All right, the children’s bookstore scenes were filmed at Maya Shaper’s cheese and Antique Shop. I’m not sure if I’m saying that correctly, but there it is and it’s at 106 West 69th Street. The filmmakers wanted to use the antique shop because it had a quaint, homey feel that they were going, and they were right, and they sent the owner of the antique shop on vacation for a few weeks, and while she was gone, they turned it into a children’s bookshop. After the filming was finished, they put everything back the way that it was. I wonder if the stores smelled like cheese the whole time they were filming. I’m like, cheese and antique shop.
Elsie: Okay. First of all, I don’t know if this is still a New York City establishment, but if it knows is I would love to go to a cheese and antique shop. There is this one place in Nashville that it’s like a gift store, and they have this little cheese fridge it’s like champagne and cheese and I love it every single time. It’s like kind of like you can get a little charcuterie to go, it’s so sweet. Anyway, I think that they definitely found the perfect location. So whoever did the scouting, I think they should make miniature, Oscars for whatever awards I think people should get.
Emma: I think there are more awards than we see on the show. I think that they have another for more technical areas. So maybe there is one for finding the perfect spot.
Elsie: Yeah, like scouting locations I think is an art and it’s very appealing to me. I would love to be if anyone’s scouting a location for a Nora Efron esque movie, and you need to hire an inexperienced, highly-paid, blogger. Okay, Nora Efron arranged for Meg Ryan and Heather Burns to work in real New York City bookstores in preparation for their roles before filming. The store was Books of Wonder in Manhattan and the jobs lasted for about a week. I think that would be helpful actually. I always say that I wanna write a novel someday. So I always say that one of my lapses in judgment is that I’ve never worked in a restaurant and it’s such a big part of stories. I think that having experiences like that would be, that make so much sense. I think working in a bookstore for a week also would just be fun.
Emma: Yeah, I think so too.
Elsie: I bet they were so excited to have Meg Ryan in their bookstore.
Emma: I wonder if they put her in the back or something because I feel like she would probably not get much done if she was on the floor, everyone would be like, excuse me, are you, Meg Ryan? But yeah. And I also think I’m not an actor, but I would feel like I would wanna know, even something simple like that, like how do you read stock books? I wanna learn that from someone who’s done it. If I was gonna do a scene where I was a librarian, I’d wanna go work with a librarian so I understand like how are you doing this? And what’s the most efficient way? Because someone’s gonna see this, who is a librarian, and I want them to feel like they’re seen, I got it I know what you’re doing. I know the little tricks because there are always little things that someone in an industry knows that, other people probably don’t know because why would you?
Elsie: Yes, I think that’s a great idea. And knowing like what you do between, you know, when you’re not checking someone out and you’re not putting books on a shelf, what other things are you like walking around doing?
Emma: The next one is pretty funny. I think the location of Fox Books in the movie is the location of Real life, Barnes and Noble. It’s at Broadway and 83rd Street on the upper West side. You can really tell, yeah, that Barnes and Noble generated considerable neighborhood opposition when it opened in the early 1990s. So very true to the film.
Elsie: Yeah, I feel like in our lifetime we have seen such a shift in people’s perception because I remember when Barnes and Noble were considered like almost boycottable because of small bookstores and all of that. But it’s just so different now. I’m just happy that it exists, I’m happy I can take my kids there. I also am glad that like 30 years in the future we still have small bookstores as well, in our towns. So it’s like we’re all still coexisting, no one was, fully extinct, which is good.
Emma: Yeah, over the weekend, just funny enough, I literally went to our Barnes and Noble and one of our local bookstores here in Springfield. I took my son, Trey, and I went with Oscar to Barnes and Noble, and he picked out some books then the next day while Oscar’s napping, Trey stayed home and I went to the local bookstore, Pation Bookstore, the one I took you to. I got some things for myself, it’s a little me time.
Elsie: I can’t wait to go to that bookstore all the time. I actually think, though, here’s my production. Actually, this is obvious, but I think that eventually Barnes and Noble won’t exist anymore, but local bookstores will still always be around. I think that local bookstores, there will always be a place for that, right? Hopefully Barnes and Noble will last as long as it can too.
Emma: Yeah, I literally went to both this weekend, so it’s working for me.
Elsie: Yeah, my kids love it, they call it the bookstore with a stage, they like the stage, I get it. It just has way more character books than the local bookstore which is what they want.
Emma: Yeah. Oscar got, what did he get? He got a book that’s shaped like a car and it has wheels on it. He loves cars and then has a different car throughout the book. And then we also got Lama Lama Red pajamas because he didn’t own that one yet.
Elsie: Oh, the Lama Lama series and the phase of parenting are some of the top, best memories of my whole life. Whenever you’re ready, I have all the Yodo card too. Okay, so Meg Ryan got her very first computer during the filming of this movie, that has got to be my favorite fact. And yeah, it really was, this was the time. What year did it say this movie came out? 1998, so they were filming it probably in like 1997 or six. And people were still getting home computers. We have to watch this with Penny, let’s try to do that. Watch it with Penny and Bella someday and just see their reactions because we were in high school or I was in high school when this movie came out. To me, it’s an old movie, but it was not really old.
Emma: It’s pretty old. We’re old man.
Elsie: No, yeah, it’s old, but I mean, I wasn’t a little kid when it came out. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. It’s so interesting, I like the technology time capsule element of it is unmatched.
Emma: Okay, next trivia is one of Nora Efron’s signature filmmaking quirks was her use of songs to accentuate plot points. So one of the chief elements that led her films to be termed chick flicks. When Meg Ryan and Tom Hank’s characters finally meet in person both knowing that they’ve been emailing each other, the song over the rainbow plays on the film soundtrack and the duo shared a scene with the same song in Sleepless in Seattle.
Elsie: That’s cute. I haven’t watched Sleepless in Seattle in recent history, so maybe we’ll have to do that one over time, that’s really sweet. I think that they’re like a good movie couple for sure. Okay, the next one is Kathleen’s Bookstore is the shop around the corner an homage to a movie? The movie was based on 1940. I actually read about that a couple of times. So that’s cute, right? It’s named after a movie.
Emma: Yeah. I’ve never seen the original of You’ve Got Mail, I haven’t seen. This is the remake and I have never seen the original one.
Elsie: They’re saying the movie was called The Shopper on the Corner, not You’ve Got Mail.
Emma: Yeah, so isn’t You’ve Got Mail a remake of another movie I think it’s called Shop Around the Corner and the technology’s different. The other one is letter writing but this one is like the internet, very different technology, but it’s like the same movie.
Elsie: Oh, okay, nevermind. I just learned something new. That’s awesome. Then we should watch that, that’s cool. I thought it was just the name, that’s so interesting. I don’t watch a lot of movies before the fifties and I would like to, I would want to, and even like movies from like the 20s, 30s, and forties, it’s pretty rare to find them streaming and also to find them being recommended or know what they’re about. They don’t have trailers so you can’t check them mountain that way. So yeah, if anyone has sort of a primer for old movies before 1950, where it’s like top three, something like that, that’s manageable. I would love to hear it because I think that’s something I’d like to get into, but I have not watched hardly any, mostly just horror.
Emma: Yeah, I was gonna say, I feel like you must have seen some old horror. I know you guys have seen the seventies, but there’s gotta be some old ones, you know, Hitchcock-era stuff. Should we give this a rating?
Elsie: So the rating is from zero to five bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. I just think there’s no way it’s getting a five. Actually, I wanna give you mine. I want mine to be, mine is five Mochaccinos decaf, non-fat. Yeah, I loved it. I think I’ve watched it actually twice in the last two years, which I think is a little too much, but once every three to four years I think is a good amount. If you haven’t watched it in five years, watch it like immediately. It’s completely wonderful and iconic and I don’t know, I feel like it’s a fall movie and a spring movie too, so that’s hard to say cuz it has both.
Emma: Yeah, it has all seasons, and Yeah. And maybe we mentioned this in one of the other rewatch episodes, I can’t remember, but I feel like they’re not making as many romcoms that are big as in theaters. I think they’re more like Netflix has its own, or HBO Max has its own which is still cool and I still like watching those, but I feel like there are not as many romcoms were like everybody revisits those. I think it’s really fun to see what was the thing that was in the movie theaters and everybody went with their mom.
Elsie: Do you think there was a Romcom era?
Emma: Yeah. I feel like now it’s like, things that are in movie theaters tend to be more, it feels like action and like family-friendly things. Which is cool, I like both of those. But I feel like I don’t see as many romcoms that are like everybody saw in the theaters, not that everyone even goes to the theaters anymore. I kind of missed that era, I like revisiting all those.
Elsie: Yeah, we’ll keep doing romcoms, we will dig for the gold because there are so many and I feel like we’ll probably do comfort re-watches for at least a couple of years because there are so many movies on our list. We’re not gonna get to them quickly.
Emma: Oh yeah, people email us new ones every week.
Elsie: So it’s true, I love those emails. Okay, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of our show, A joker, a fact with Nova, and I think this week we have a joke.
Nova: This week the joke is, what is Santa when he stops?
Elsie: What is he?
Nova: Santa Pause. Get it, he pauses for a second.
Elsie: That’s really good, I like that one. You wanna say bye.
Nova: See you soon and have a great day.
Elsie: If you have a comfort re-watch request, we would love to hear it. Our whole list is just a request. So email us anytime at podcast@ beautiful mess.com. And yeah, we’ll be back next week with our spring bucket list episode.
You’ve Got Mail is also one of my favourite romcoms and I watch it at least once a year. I agree that it’s a multi-seasonal movie; I always thought of it as mostly a fall movie, but this year I watched it on Christmas and it worked too 😆
As for older movies, one of my favourites is Bringing Up Baby. I think a good place to start is with screwball comedies anyway and Cary Grant + Katharine Hepburn have great chemistry! You have got to watch some Marilyn Monroe movies too!
Btw, there are a lot of old movies for free on YouTube these days.
You guys have to watch The Shop Around The Corner! Its the best. A few other great romance films from pre-1950 are The Clock, Brief Encounter, and Now Voyager.
You should definitely watch the original The Shop Around The Corner! It takes place at Christmastime and has become a tradition to watch at the holidays for my husband and me. Regarding pre-50’s, obviously Hitchcock is usually a safe bet, but I’d also recommend The Thin Man series (1 & 2 are great, but there are more) about a married couple who solve mysteries.
Oh my ladies – if you thought Tom Hanks’ coffee order was wild you have to watch L.A. STORY – haha – as a native Los-Angelean that movie (ft Steve Martin) was 100 percent on point for LA in the 90s haha. Highly Recommend if you haven’t seen it yet!
Overall, the home design elements in “You’ve Got Mail” are understated but stylish, reflecting the characters’ sophisticated tastes and lifestyles. The interiors feel lived-in and personal, with a mix of vintage and modern pieces that create a timeless and inviting atmosphere.
Thank you for the inspo! My favourite pre-1950s film is Little Women, starring Janet Leigh of Psycho fame and Elizabeth Taylor among others. I believe it won best Oscar for something like best art/set decoration!
There were also two musicals based on “The Shop Around the Corner”. One was “In the Good Old Summertime” featuring Judy Garland from 1949, so there’s one for the old movie list!
I love In The Good Old Summertime too! So many good adaptations of this story
I am a “book snob” person. I have a degree in literature, I write book reviews, etc. And ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is 100% my favorite book! (Give me 10 minutes to organize my thoughts, and I could deliver a 3-hour lecture on why Mr. Bennet is secretly Austen’s biggest villain.) So I don’t object to that aspect of this movie… but I do get irrationally angry when movies or stories feature someone receiving a first edition of P&P as a present, like that’s something anyone who isn’t, like, Bill Gates could afford to do.
Speaking of book lovers 😉 I watched A Storied Life of AJ Fikry this weekend and it was so good. Both of you need to watch <3 (this "emoji" ages me quite perfectly)