Image via IMDB
The Romance of NYC
When I was a kid, I watched movie after movie featuring quirky heroines (usually Meg Ryan) falling in love with Tom Hanks-types (usually played by Tom Hanks) against the idyllic backdrop of NYC. They wore roomy pantsuits and sensible sweater sets, exchanged witty musings about city life, and dwelled in enormous apartments with walls of built-ins, despite their part-time jobs. Oh, and there was always jazz music playing.
I often talk about my childish assumptions that this would someday be my life too, and how I ended up living in Wisconsin instead, but re-watching these rom-coms of yore just adds salt to the wound. Also, I visited New York last year and there were too many people and garbage everywhere and it was nothing like the movies. And you'd figuratively have to be a Kardashian to afford housing there. So I'm grieving the loss of something I never truly got to have, which is basically Meg Ryan's life.
Image via Hey Natalie Jean
If I lived in NYC, I'd sit on benches all the time.
The movie also reminded me how much the world has changed in the 15 years since its release. For instance, when's the last time you went online and spilled your guts to a complete stranger? You can't because you have to log in to everything with your Facebook account, and even if you don't have to, people have black magic/voodoo they use for discovering your IP address and therefore identity. This article opened my eyes to just how nonexistent internet anonymity is. (And in the context of the article, obviously that's a good thing. If you don't have 3 hours ahead of you to read the whole thing, I'm referring to the fact that the cops can find and prosecute anonymous twitter users who tweet death threats. Which is obviously preferable to internet anonymity.)
Screenshot via YouTube
Now, thanks to Zuckerberg, my days of IMDB forum trolling are over. Yes, I was literally an internet troll back in the day, but only on IMDB, specifically the Harry Potter forums. I'm ashamed. Today, I would never be an internet troll, no matter how badly I want to fit in on YouTube, because Big Brother is watching.
Email and Chat Rooms
AOL is on life support, dial-up can't possibly still exist, and "you've got mail" should be added to the list of things said by nobody ever. Nowadays, I barely know anyone's email address and I feel awkward emailing someone in case they don't actually check their account anymore. Texting and Facebook messaging have almost replaced email, which is being kept alive almost solely by businesses and marketing emails--if it weren't for inter-office communication and Groupon, I'd never need an email address either. In the movie, Meg and Tom communicate via email and the occasional IM after meeting in a chat room. Today, anyone you meet in a chat room is either a rapist or Chris Hansen.
Screenshot via YouTube
The main tension in the film is that Tom Hanks's big box book store, basically Borders, is threatening to put Meg Ryan's independent book shop out of business. The sad truth in 2014 is that both book shops have gone the way of the dodo, the rent-controlled apartment, and Meg Ryan's career/face. Seriously, what happened to Waldenbooks and Crown Books? What will become of Barnes and Noble? Why doesn't anyone read real books anymore?? I should stop; I'm starting to sound like Meg Ryan's boyfriend, played by Greg Kinnear. He literally brings home a new typewriter during the movie and fawns over the "new technology." Today, his character would be one of those annoying old people who says things like "the tweeter" and wonders why things can't be "like they used to be."
But seriously, why can't they? I would like to live in a rent-controlled Manhattan apartment with Meg Ryan's hair please and thank you.