Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

When Harry Met Sally …


Have you ever been to a restaurant where one person takes about half an hour to order? Someone who questions each ingredient in each menu item, wanting to know if it was cage-free, free-range, gluten-free, mercury-free, organic, and all the spices it will be cooked with? Then tells the waited to eliminate half those spices? Who wants three references from the waiter to be sure he or she is up to taking the order and needs to know if he or she is a dog person or a cat person, and if so, what breed? Who wants to know where the chef went to school, and demands to see his report card and diploma? And after all that, is really barely getting started?

Maybe you are a person like that, and if so, that’s fine with me, it’s a free country and I’m pro-choice in matters of abortion and eating, but remind me to never go to a restaurant with you. I’m trying to think of a time when I did more than point to a menu item and say, “I’ll have that.” All I come up with is requesting that my bacon be cooked crispy.

Nora Ephron, the writer of this movie, admits that she has never ordered off the menu in her life. I’m a big fan of her work and I’m so sad that she’s dead, but I would have happily tipped my soup into her lap had I been across a table from her. But, being like that, she had no trouble at all in depicting Sally’s (Meg Ryan) most annoying characteristic.

As for Harry (Billy Crystal) … almost everything about him was annoying. I didn’t notice this so much the first time around, but I was younger then, and maybe a little more tolerant of assholes. Now, I have very little time for them. It’s a romantic comedy and yes, I laughed quite a bit, but that didn’t stop me from knowing that this marriage was going to be a disaster, and it would be 99% his fault.

No review of WHMS would be complete without mentioning the one scene that basically sold the whole movie: The fake orgasm in Katz’s Deli. While it’s pretty improbable (I hadn’t seen any real indication that Sally had that much exhibitionism in her) it is still funny as hell, and a real credit to Meg Ryan’s talent. And of course the capper, “I’ll have what she’s having,” was delivered by Rob Reiner’s mother. It was also fun to see a lot of famous NYC locations, like Washington Square Park, the Temple of Dendur at the Met, and Coney Island.