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Friday, June 29, 2012

Film Quote Friday



Nora Ephron died the other day, so here's a scene, as written (so some of this doesn't appear in the final film), from my personal favorite Ephron film, Sleepless In Seattle. What's going on here is that there's a guy named Sam (Tom Hanks) and his son named Jonah, and their wife and mother has died. They are deeply saddened by this, obviously, so they try to get a change of scenery by moving to Seattle. Problem is, Sam is still having a terribly rough time of it, so Jonah one night calls a radio talk show that focuses on people's life problems.

And driving in her car, on the other side of the country, is Annie (Meg Ryan), who listens to this...and pretty much falls in love with Sam just from the voice in her speakers.


INT. CAR - NIGHT

 Annie driving.  Presents on the front seat.  She's 
 singing "Sleigh Ride" and doing all the sound effects 
 and clipclops and giddyups.  After a moment, she 
 realizes she doesn't know all the words and turns on the 
 radio.

     DR. MARSHA'S FIELDSTONE'S VOICE
      Welcome back to "You and Your 
      Emotions." I'm Dr.  Marcia 
      Fieldstone broadcasting across 
      America from the top of the 
      Sears Tower in Chicago where we 
      would have a fantastic view of 
      Santa Claus and his reindeer if 
      there was a -- oops, never 
      mind.  Tonight we're talking 
      about wishes and dreams.  
      What's your wishes this Christmas 
      Eve? Maybe the best present 
      you can give yourself is a call 
      to me.  The number is --

     ANNIE
      Give me a break.

 Annie changes the station.

     RADIO VOICE
      The subject of the evening's 
      medical update is You and Your 
      Spleen and our host --

 She flips the dial back the other way.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Our caller is from Seattle.

 Annie changes the station.

     RADIO VOICE
      Coming up, Jingle Bells 
      backwards, sung by the New 
      Jersey Cape Mayettes --

 Annie twists the dial back the other way.  We hear a 
 YOUNG BOY's voice.

     BOY'S VOICE (V.O.)
      Hello, this is Jonah --
      (there's a bleep as 
       Jonah says his last 
       name)

 Annie's hand lingers on the dial.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      No last names, Jonah.  Hello 
      there, you sound younger than 
      our usual callers.  How come 
      you're up so late?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      It's not that late in Seattle.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Got me there.  What's your 
      Christmas wish, Jonah?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      It's not for me.  It's for my 
      dad.  I think he needs a new 
      wife.

 Annie shakes her head.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      You don't like the one he was 
      now?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      He doesn't have one now.  
      That's the problem.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Where's your mom?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      She died.

 Annie closes her eyes for a moment.

     ANNIE
      I don't believe this --

 EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT

 As the car drives along.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      I'm sorry to hear that, Jonah.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      I've been pretty sad, but I 
      think my dad is worse.

 INT. CAR - NIGHT

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      And you're worried about him.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      I'm worried about him, he's 
      worried about me, I ride my 
      bike to school, he follows in 
      the car, like I'm not supposed 
      to know he's there.  Now it's 
      Christmas, and you know what 
      happens to people at Christmas.

     ANNIE
      They lose their minds and call 
      crackpot doctors on the radio --

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Have you talked to your dad 
      about this?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      No.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Why not?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      It's very hard for him to talk 
      about this stuff.  It's like it 
      makes him sadder.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      You want me to talk to him?

     ANNIE
      Perfect.  Sandbag the father.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      And you crazy? He thinks shows 
      like this are dumb.  If you 
      didn't have an 800 number I 
      could never get away with this 
      --

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Is he home right now?

     JONAH (V.O.)
      Yeah.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Well, I think I can help a 
      little more if I talk to him 
      directly.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      I don't know --

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      I'm sure he won't be angry once 
      he realizes how concerned you 
      are about him.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      Okay, but if I get yelled at, 
      I'm never gonna listen to this 
      show again.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Fair enough.

 INT. SAM'S HOUSEBOAT - NIGHT

 Jonah is on the telephone on the first floor of the 
 houseboat he lives in with Sam.  He's got the phone cord 
 coming out of the small first-floor study, and he's 
 standing near the kitchen end of a large living area 
 looking out at the back deck, where his dad is sitting 
 in a deck chair looking out at the sea.

     JONAH
      Dad --

     SAM
      What is it?

 ON ANNIE AGAIN.

     JONAH (V.O.)
      There's somebody on the phone 
      for you.
      (into phone)
      His name is Sam.

     ANNIE
      This is completely disgusting.

 INT. BALDWIN HOUSEBOAT - NIGHT

 Sam pokes his head in the back door.  He looks much as 
 he did eighteen months earlier, except that his hair is 
 a little longer.  He picks up the phone extension.

     SAM
      Hello.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Hello, Sam, this is Dr. Marcia 
      Fieldstone on Network America.

 Sam looks across the room to Jonah.

     SAM
      I'm probably not interested in 
      whatever you're selling.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      I'm not selling anything.  Your 
      son called and asked for advice 
      on how to find you a new wife.

     SAM
      (he really didn't get 
       her name)
      Who is this?

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      (repeating herself)
      Dr. Marcia Fieldstone of 
      Network America.

     SAM
      Jesus, are we on the air? 
      Jonah, for God's sake --

     JONAH
      Don't be mad at me, Dad.

 Sam can see Jonah.  He's frightened.  Sam immediately 
 feels how upset Jonah is.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      He feels that since your wife's 
      death you've been very unhappy. 
      He's genuinely worried about you.

 Sam is looking at Jonah, who's rooted to the spot he's 
 standing on.

     SAM
      (to Jonah)
      I'm not mad at you.  Okay, I'm 
      not mad at you.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      I think it's hard for him to 
      talk to you about all this.  
      Maybe we could talk and it 
      would make him feel a little 
      better.

 Sam hesitates.

     JONAH
      Please --

 INT. ANNIE'S CAR - NIGHT

     ANNIE
      This is a grotesque violation 
      of this man's personal life, 
      but never mind --

     SAM (V.O.)
      All righ...

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Good.  How long ago did your 
      wife die?

 INT. HOUSEBOAT - NIGHT

     SAM
      It's been about a year and a 
      half.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Have you had any relationship 
      since?

     SAM
      No.

 Sam is very uncomfortable about this --

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Why not?

     SAM
      Look, Doctor, I don't want to 
      be rude, but --

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      And I don't want to invade your 
      privacy --

 INT. CAR - NIGHT

     ANNIE
      Sure you do.

     SAM (V.O.)
      (overlapping)
      Sure you do --

 Annie smiles.

     SAM
      Look, we had a tough time at 
      first, but I think I'm holding 
      my own as a dad, and Jonah and 
      I will get along fine again as 
      soon as I break his radio.

 Annie laughs.  So does Mr.  Fieldstone

 INT. HOUSEBOAT - NIGHT

 Jonah is smiling too.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      I have no doubt that you're a 
      good dad.  You can tell a lot 
      from a person's voice.  But 
      something must be missing if 
      Jonah feels that you're still 
      under a cloud.

     JONAH
      Tell her how you don't sleep at 
      night.

     SAM
      How do you know that?

 Sam and Jonah both talk into their extensions, literally 
 talking to each other on the phone within their own 
 house, but also ON THE AIR.

     JONAH
      I can hear you walking around 
      sometimes.  At first I thought 
      it was a robber.  Go ahead, 
      tell her, Dad.

     SAM
      I don't think I have to now.

 Sam starts across the room towards Jonah, who starts 
 toward him, both of them holding their phone receivers.  
 On the wall in the dining area is a pine bench.

     SAM
      Look, it's almost Christmas --
      (as the two of them sit 
       down together on the 
       bench)
      A kid needs a mother --

 He puts an arm around Jonah.

 INT. CAR - NIGHT

 As Annie listens.  She's softened considerably.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Could it be that you need 
      someone just as much as Jonah 
      does?

     ANNIE
      Yes.

 Annie catches herself, covers her mouth in embarrassment.

     ANNIE
      I'm losing my mind.

 EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT

 As Annie makes a turn off the beltway into a rest stop.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      We've been talking to -- well, 
      let's just call him Sleepless 
      in Seattle, and we'll be right 
      back after this break with 
      listener response, your 
      response, to the things we've 
      been discussing.  The number to 
      call is...

 INT. BALDWIN HOUSE

     SAM
      What's she talking about?

     JONAH
      This is where other people get 
      to call in and dump on what you 
      said.

 We hear the beginning of a commercial.

 INT. TRUCK STOP RESTAURANT - NIGHT

 Annie walks in, anxious to break the spell of her radio 
 reverie.  She goes to the counter to order some coffee.  
 There's a commercial on the radio.  The counter WAITRESS 
 LORETTA is talking to the customers -- who include a 
 TRUCK DRIVER at a booth.  HARRIET, a short-order-cook, 
 is visible through an open window to the kitchen.

     LORETTA
      I'll bet he's tall, with a cute 
      butt.

     HARRIET
      I'll bet he hasn't shaved in a 
      week.  I'll bet he stinks.

     LORETTA
      Shut up, Harriet.
      (to Annie)
      What'll it be?

     ANNIE
      Coffee, please.  Black.  To go.

     LORETTA
      Maybe I should hustle myself 
      out to Seattle.  Give him a 
      little present for New Year's 
      Eve.

     HARRIET
      You can go there if you want 
      but don't open his refrigerator.  
      They don't cover anything when 
      they put it in the fridge.  
      They just stick it in and leave 
      it there till it walks out by 
      itself.

     LORETTA
      Harriet, ever since you 
      divorced your last husband, 
      you've been no fun.  I'm 
      looking, and this guy pops my 
      tarts.

     TRUCK DRIVER
      Come on, Loretta, you're going 
      to have to jump-start this guy.  
      His battery's dead.  And look 
      at me.  Mister Ever-Ready.  
      Every six minutes, another 
      charge.

     LORETTA
      I'm looking for someone 
      sensitive.

     ANNIE
      Come on, nobody wants a guy 
      who's sensitive on the radio.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Let's take a call before we get 
      back to Sleepless.  Knoxville, 
      Tennessee, you're on.

     SWEET SOUTHERN VOICE
      Yes, I would just like to know 
      where I could get this man's 
      address?

     LORETTA
      (to the radio)
      Honey, get on line.

 EXT. DINER - NIGHT

 As Annie gets into her car.

 EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C.  STREET - NIGHT

 Annie driving toward the house where Walter's parents 
 live.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Do you think there's somebody 
      out there you could love as 
      much as your wife? Maybe even 
      more?

     SAM (V.O.)
      It's hard to imagine.

 And cut back and forth between the car and the 
 houseboat.  Sam and Jonah are still on the bench, but 
 Jonah has fallen asleep in Sam's lap.  Sam is stroking 
 the boy's hair.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      What are you going to do, Sam?

     SAM
      I don't know.  When I met my 
      wife, it was so clear.  I just 
      knew.

 Annie is listening now.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      What was it that made you know?

        SAM
      I don't think I could really 
      describe it.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Why not?

     SAM
      And if I could describe it, 
      it probably wouldn't be on a radio 
      show.
      (he laughs to himself)
      But what the hell.  It's not 
      one specific thing.  It's more 
      of a feeling.
      (continued)

 Annie coasts to a stop outside a handsome mansion in 
 Washington, D.C., the motor running.  She's hooked now, 
 she's not getting out of the car until she's heard it 
 all.

     SAM
      You touch her for the first 
      time, and suddenly... you're 
      home.  It's almost like...

     ANNIE
      Magic.

     SAM
      Magic.

 CLOSER ON ANNIE

 realizing she has just said this.  Realizing that it 
 must mean something but not knowing what.

 SHE'S CRYING.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      Well, it's time to wrap up, 
      folks --

 A FIGURE appears at the passenger side window, which 
 Annie doesn't notice.  She's wiping the tears away with 
 her hand.

     DR. MARCIA FIELDSTONE (V.O.)
      We hope you'll call again soon.
This scene sets the emotional stage for the entire movie, and Meg Ryan has to carry her part of it with little interjections as she talks to the radio and as she listens silently, allowing her sadness to show, even though we know that she shouldn't really be sad about anything right now.

Thanks for the movies, Nora Ephron.


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