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Fatwah / June 28, 2012

Am I missing something? Did Nora Ephron do something great once in her seventy-odd years that I never heard about? She cure cancer and I was never told? She make an uncharacteristically watchable movie and hide it in a vault for posterity and we’re just discovering it now?

After seeing encomiums all over the place practically calling for Ephron’s canonization, I checked IMDB and saw only the usual dreadful facts of her life. Like how she became professionally annoying after husband Carl Bernstein cheated on her, by writing a self-pitying memoir-novel featuring gratuitous recipes that became a rotten Meryl Streep movie called Heartburn, and how she utterly ruined American romantic comedy forever and ever and ever and ever with When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.

(I know, you can’t believe American romantic comedies were ever good, right? But they were. Ernst Lubitsch did a beautiful one in 1940 called The Shop Around the Corner, for instance, that writer-director Ephron deliberately mucked up and rendered horrible and titled You’ve Got Mail in a dreary attempt at technological topicality. She also co-starred mugging Meg Ryan and shucks-folks Tom Hanks in it. Ephron helped make them the Cute Co-Stars From Hell in the 1990s. You’d think such heinous acts would prevent post-death encomiums. But no.)

To hear people tell it, Ephron was wonderful. So brilliant, so funny, so amazingly able to think thoughts and be female at the same time. They tended to be really tiresome thoughts, those pseudo-bracing ones your detestable horse-faced aunt might throw out on a day when she feels particularly self-congratulatory. Letting you know she understands how to live life fully, and you don’t. Ephron was like an Auntie Mame for the bland provincial set, simultaneously pushy and forgettable, saying things that take the form of witty remarks but aren’t actually witty, or interesting, or anything.

Here’s an example of a Nora Ephron quotable quote (you can google reams of them):

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

You see what I mean? That kind of blah reaction you get, followed by exasperation when you realize tons of people think that’s really fresh and insightful? That’s the Nora Ephron Effect. When Harry Met Sally and her other ghastly works are chock-full of that junk.

And then there’s her drooling advice to women that’s really insufferable.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

“The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

“Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be.”

All of this stuff’s got mold on it, it sounds like Dear Abby trying to get hep, but women in the entertainment business have trotted out reverent eulogies anyway. Mindy Kaling of The Office said this:

Nora Ephron has been the single most influential person to me as an artist.

Didn’t know Mindy Kaling was an artist, did you? Yeah, turns out everybody is now, unless you specify otherwise. You have to check “NOT AN ARTIST” on the form.

But the capper is Lena Dunham’s tribute, she of the despicable HBO show Girls. Nora Ephron is Dunham’s personal heroine, turns out, and no wonder. They share a vaguely similar combo of traits: privileged, wired-in background, creepy faux-feminism, mean banality, and allergy to anything that resembles the observable truth:

Her advice was unparalleled. At one of our lunches this past January, I was sheepishly describing a male companion’s lack of support for my professional endeavors. She nodded in a very “don’t be stupid” way, as if I already knew what I had to do: “You can’t possibly meet someone right now. When I met Nick, I was already totally notorious”—note: Nora was the only person who could make that word sound neither braggy nor sinister—“and he understood exactly what he was getting into. You can’t meet someone until you’ve become what you’re becoming.” Panicked, I asked, “How long will that take?”

Nora considered a moment. “Give it six months.”

I loved her propensity for asking a question when she already knew the correct answer but wanted to let you make a tiny fool of yourself. The best example of this was when we were discussing a popular book and she earnestly asked, “Did you think that was a good book?” I said, “Well, yes,” before Nora came back, sharply, with “It wasn’t.” I later told this story onstage with her, and she laughed as though she knew it was one of her most awesome tricks.

That last bit is the best evidence of Nora Ephron’s “awesome” wit and wisdom: a crabby old woman tells a dopey young woman a book she likes is crap, and offers no explanation, and that proves the crabby old woman’s a genius.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

 

84 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. R.D. Knudtsen  |  June 28th, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Give us more reviews!
    PS: Thank you for improving my cut n’ paste trolling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • 2. splittter  |  June 29th, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Nice to see someone saying it, it was bizarre stuff. Even in 90% of the gushing praise no one said a single word about any other films than When Harry Met Sally – her fans thought the vast majority of her career was nonsense, as well. God knows what was going on.

  • 3. easytolo  |  June 29th, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Perfect.

  • 4. trebot  |  June 29th, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I always confused Nora Ephron with Wendy Wasserstein. When Nora died, I thought: Didn’t we bury her five years ago?

  • 5. Martin James Bridges  |  June 29th, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Ah ha! So I haven’t slipped into a parallel universe. I actually made the effort to seek out some of Ephron’s writings since I simply could not believe all these people (though not the ones you mention) were lamenting the in no way untimely death of the perpetrator of ‘You’ve Got Mail’. I didn’t find anything to suggest her dreadful movies were not representative of her utterly unremarkable talent.

  • 6. Trevor  |  June 29th, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I’m not sure what I hate more, the moldy Victorian zombies who dominate “serious” writing in America or the yuppie suckers who praise them. So who else feels like voting Romney and getting that whole Mormon-geddon thing started?

  • 7. Mason C  |  June 29th, 2012 at 7:02 am

    The last photo looks like a bourgeois mafia sit at the Tisch School. “Have I arrived? Like, really arrived?”

  • 8. Ozinator  |  June 29th, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I like this review!

    This is my favorite part…”Nora Ephron is Dunham’s personal heroine, turns out, and no wonder. They share a vaguely similar combo of traits: privileged, ***wired-in background***, creepy faux-feminism, mean banality, and allergy to anything that resembles the observable truth:”

    Careful, Eileen! You may start getting organized hate mail.

  • 9. DarthFurious  |  June 29th, 2012 at 7:11 am

    You know, I want to like this, but then I remember that you bent over backwards to TRY and give a good review to the worst goddam pile of shit Ridley Scott spit out since “G.I. Jane.”

    On the other hand, Ephron and her gang are a bunch of insufferable cunginas, aren’t they?

  • 10. gc  |  June 29th, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Ugh, finally. I’ve been choking in Ephron eulogies all week. Thank you, Eileen.

    To hear people tell it, Ephron was wonderful. So brilliant, so funny, so amazingly able to think thoughts and be female at the same time.

    ^ This is a masterpiece.

  • 11. one-eyed jesus muffin  |  June 29th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Was her smapper-pie even below room temp before you started bagging on her?

    Yes..

    It wasn’t

  • 12. Joe Blow  |  June 29th, 2012 at 8:35 am

    meh… who was she again?

    anyway! did you see this?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2166484/Mexican-drug-cartels-decapitate-rivals-disturbing-video.html

  • 13. vacuumslayer  |  June 29th, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Shorter asshole: I don’t Like Nora Ephron’s oeuvre therefore nobody should.

  • 14. Bryce Harper  |  June 29th, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Being pure until my betrothal, I didn’t engage, but she must have been the “Nora in LA,” that everyone—from Garvey to LaSorda to Jeter—had her phone number or IUD or whateveritisyoucallit, because they’re treating this pedestrian woman like she’s the American Shakespeare and not the trolloppy bimbo they all looked forward to seeing while I just had the overlord’s nocturnal emmissions soothe my magical underwear in my lonely Sin City hotel room.

    Whatever, her movies really, really sucked and they wetre rather Urban Dictionary Jeter, IMHO.

    VOTE MORMON 2012!!!

    DESTROY OBAMACARE NOW!!!

  • 15. drunkenmonkey  |  June 29th, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I generally agree with and enjoy your articles. This one is no exception. Fuck Nora Ephron and her glib, self-satisfied philosophy.

    However, is there any aspect of life and/or movies that you enjoy? Everything you write is bitching at or about someone/something. You’re killing my life-buzz here. Even when you like something, it’s a tepid, reluctant kind of enjoyment. There’s always something to pick out and criticize.

  • 16. The Dark Avenger  |  June 29th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    My mother had a better observation about crazy people:

    “They think they’re fine, it’s the rest of the world that’s gone crazy.

  • 17. gc  |  June 29th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    @15

    I generally agree with and enjoy your articles. This one is no exception. Fuck Nora Ephron and her glib, self-satisfied philosophy.

    However, is there any aspect of life and/or movies that you enjoy? Everything you write is bitching at or about someone/something. You’re killing my life-buzz here. Even when you like something, it’s a tepid, reluctant kind of enjoyment. There’s always something to pick out and criticize.

    Concern troll is concerned.

  • 18. digitallofi  |  June 29th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    @vacuumslayer, yep, pretty much.

    I dig exiled’s contrarian tonic in a world lousy with toadying and false eqivilancies. But this knee-jerk pop culture bashing is retarded (in the classic sense of the word). I don’t know who this Eileen person is or why I should care about her opinions on matters of movies and TV shows, but she comes across the worst kind of humorless prig.

    Listen, I’m not going to defend Ephron. I could give a shit about her bland contributions to our culture, such as it is. But nor am I going to pretend to be baffled as to why she was popular or successful. I’m certainly not going to resent it. Whatever. Most people like a lot of stupid shit.

    I get it. We proles should all nod our heads sagely at “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and talk about, I don’t know, the use of mise-en-scène in The Bycycle Thief over our brown bag lunches. But there’s a reason shit like The Big Bang stays on the air forever and it’s not just opium for the masses.

    Anyway, I look forward to you telling me I’m a shitty person because I like Louis or Batman or The Muppets or whatever cultural touchstone you decide to fling poo at. I’m sure some other meaningless boomer will die soon enough and you can dance on their grave.

  • 19. ct  |  June 29th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    You would think that, with all their access to people that presumably “care about art” (along with their education), these people would wisen up and watch a good movie or read a good book. In 70 years on Earth you can’t figure out what a good product looks like? Or hell, even the most typical classic would do the trick. These people have presumably watched some classic movies and are simply this bad?

  • 20. Sylocat  |  June 29th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Here’s the problem: Romance isn’t funny. Sex is funny. Romance, generally, is tragic. Those great romantic comedies of the Golden Age? Those weren’t romantic comedies, they were sex comedies of an era where sex could only be implied or described via euphemism.

  • 21. Lizz  |  June 29th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha. Perfect.

  • 22. drunkenmonkey  |  June 29th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    @17

    You… didn’t…just… call…me… a troll… did you…ARRGGAGHHAHAAHAHGGGHHAGHGHAHGHGA… My powers of posting on internet message boards are melting or some shit… ARHGHAHGHGHAHGHAHGAHGHG

    [AEC: watch that bagtroll mouth of yours, you're on hallowed comment ground], imbecile.

  • 23. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 29th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy

    Just saw that yesterday. It just struck me as twee and cutesy. I guess I’m not as crusted with cynicism as the eXile staff is, to jump down a quote and its speakers throat. I just read it and moved on.

    It only took you halfway through your anti-eulogy to get to the reason why Nora Ephron, and the post-Cold War era romantic comedies Ephron were involved in were crap: An Allergy to Observable Truth.

    On the flip side, I’ve been hearing good things about this ancient ghoul, Ernst Lubitsch and I guess I’ll check his old movies out.

  • 24. thomzas  |  June 29th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    You forgot to mention William Goldman’s story that she nearly ruined All The President’s Men in an attempt to kick start her career…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074119/trivia?tab=tr&item=tr0729974

    Although, I have to admit – When Harry Met Sally is pretty good.

  • 25. Sylocat  |  June 29th, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    All The President’s Men didn’t need much help getting ruined.

    But overall I’m starting to agree with #18.

  • 26. tedfred  |  June 29th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    As a person under 30 i only know when Harry met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle because my mother likes them, she also likes The Princess Diaries. I love to hear a woman complain about these sour old grapes whining about life and pretending its some kind of new age feminisme.

    more reviews please

  • 27. Steven Augustine  |  June 30th, 2012 at 5:11 am

    @#18

    “But there’s a reason shit like The Big Bang stays on the air forever and it’s not just opium for the masses.”

    This needs a little editing.

    “But there’s a reason shit like The Big Bang stays on the air forever and that’s because it’s just opium for the masses.”

    Fixed.

    “I get it.”

    Not really.

  • 28. DarthFurious  |  June 30th, 2012 at 8:09 am

    What the fuck is a cungina?! And why the fuck can I write “fuck” and “asshole” and “goddam” and not “cunt”?! Who the fuck makes up these stupid rules? The AEC works in mysterious ways! His plan is not for mere trolls like me to understand, but to follow and exalt. Amen.

    Here’s a naughty word for you: “Logical consistency.” Ok, its two words, sue me.

    But for god sakes whatever you do, don’t touch my cungina.

  • 29. Chris  |  June 30th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    As always the writer’s spot on! God damn I can always rely on the eXiled to call bullshit. Long may it continue! oh and have I missed a meeting about War Nerd? Where is he?

  • 30. Eileen Jones Fan Club President  |  June 30th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Dear Eileen,

    Please continue to rightly hate and dissect all that is bad and evil in the world.

    WE LOVE YOU!

  • 31. Barf  |  June 30th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    #15 brings up a pet peeve of mine.

    You know why the art of critique is dead? Because with the post Internet 1.0 backlash and the rise of taking “cyberbullying” seriously, everyone is terrified of being labeled a “hater”, a word that has done more damage to critical thinking (not just in regards to movies) than anything else this past decade. Nobody takes anything or anyone to task anymore, and even the slightest negative view has to be proceeded by a multi-paragraph pre-apology.

    Have you SEEN the modern state of American movies? Eileen writes mostly negative reviews because the industry is a shambling undead heap of pap.

    There might be two or so “thought-provoking” movies a year (and a Cohen good Cohen brothers movie every four), but quality “entertainment” movies died around the turn of the century. I’m going to suggest that you can trace all this back to the article’s subject; Ephron started destroying romantic flicks at the same time Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer began destroying the action genre (every line Schwarzenegger ever has uttered is Shakespeare compared to Transformers).

    Now nothing is left of a once proud tradition. The last vestige of hope was that all the real writing talent emigrated from movies to television, but oh shit now here comes HBO’s Girls at the vanguard to shit up even that. The source? Once again, Ephron.

  • 32. Ozinator  |  June 30th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    lol,

    Hey Darth…Yes our beloved C word will get replaced here (always with something funny), but a little Cockney slang can better help us with the pain.

    Berkshire Hunt rhymes with c**t…shortened to burk or berk, e.g., “Ephron and her gang are a bunch of insufferable burks, aren’t they? burky burky dried up burks”!

    The AEC responds:

    When you limeys lost the Battle of Yorktown, you surrendered your right to use the word “cunt” in the land of the free. In fact, from now on, all annoying limey shitstains who get off on using the word “cunt” shall hereafter be referred to as “surrender cunts”.

  • 33. Strangefate  |  June 30th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    The Exiled comments section is perhaps the only comment section on the internet worth reading due to the moderator’s brutal troll squashing. Sometimes it’s actually better than the article itself. Sure, Ames et all aim at society’s biggest assholes, but sometimes it’s nearly as good seeing the little assholes, like the pompous whingers who pollute these (and basically all) message boards, get theirs too. Whoever says everyone deserves their say was an idiot. Some people deserve to be kicked square in the teeth as soon as they open their stupid gobs.

    Question though: Why did #18′s strawman assault make it through the censors unmangled? That willful misrepresentation of Eileen and her criticism surely deserved a sound thrashing. Was it just that he was so long-winded and self-pitying you stopped reading before you got around to grinding his bits? Or did you find the irony of him calling Ephron humorless while simultaneously whining about all the mean hurtful criticism too rich to tamper with?

  • 34. Sylocat  |  June 30th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    @31

    Oh bullshit, the ratio of good movies to bad movies isn’t any different now than it’s always been. We just notice it more now because we only remember the “good” (or at least popularly regarded as good) movies of yesteryear.

    Ten years from now, Eileen Jones will be moaning for the glory days of the early 2010s, having already forgotten about the existence of every movie she didn’t like from this era.

  • 35. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 30th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Could eXile post a profile of Ms Eileen Jones; like the profile shots Ames used to have in the old eXile.

    I find myself automatically respecting a lady if suddenly there’s a face attached to a name.

    Gentlemanly thing to do; even if she’s angry at anything. You take the lady’s ire like a man.

  • 36. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 30th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Yorktown

    Of all the millions of things that could pop into my mind, the question that rose to the surface was:

    Why didn’t the British, and especially the Royal Navy, decisively intervene on the side of the Confederates during the Civil War?

  • 37. gc  |  June 30th, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Ten years from now, Eileen Jones will be moaning for the glory days of the early 2010s, having already forgotten about the existence of every movie she didn’t like from this era.

    Then she’d currently be talking about the “glory days” of the early 2000s – which of course she isn’t.

    This comment section suggests that a number of “Movies [or music or literature or whatever] are as good now as they’ve ever been [whenever 'now' might be]“/”There’s no such thing as good and bad”/”There’s nothing wrong with liking bad stuff” scum have been infesting the Exiled readership.

    So in addition to loving Eileen for being the world’s greatest movie reviewer, we can now also love her for making this place less hospitable to them.

  • 38. texas 'doc' watson  |  July 1st, 2012 at 5:00 am

    @17

    concern troll

    there literally is no such thing and everyone who uses that term is sinister and unpleasant

  • 39. Ozinator  |  July 1st, 2012 at 9:43 am

    AEC said,

    “When you limeys lost the Battle of Yorktown, you surrendered your right to use the word “cunt” in the land of the free. In fact, from now on, all annoying limey shitstains who get off on using the word “cunt” shall hereafter be referred to as “surrender cunts””

    Good stuff!
    I don’t come from or live in Pommyland (I was a seppo at birth like you!) but that word has been burned into my vocabulary and it does cause me some problems outside Oz. Thank you AEC for helping me with my addiction!

    I like Eileen’s stuff and it would be great to see her rip movies in an “At The Movies” type set up. In the pre Stewart days of the Daily Show, there was this chick who would do movie reviews in French and they went something like…”With Anastasia, this time FOX teams with Disney people to take yet another tragic historical event and again turn it into a children’s movie”

  • 40. drunkenmonkey  |  July 1st, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    @31–Your name is quite fitting. Your view of the world is faulty and fallacious. Movies have always been mostly terrible. Just like everything is mostly terrible. Most literature is terrible. Most music is terrible. Most TV shows are terrible. Most restaurants are terrible. Most basketball players are terrible. Etc.

    It’s ALWAYS been like this. So quit with your bullshit “Things suck so much more now because of…um… SHEEPLE” whining.

    Even understanding that most things suck, there’s no reason to write about everything that sucks. I don’t take myself so seriously that I think I can’t enjoy a number of shitty movies or whatever. To bash on something like Transformers is so tired and easy that doing so generally denotes the presence of a mind that cannot think for itself and reaches for whatever easy pre-ordained thought it can muster.

    Anyhow, there are positive things to write about. And if you think there aren’t, I feel sorry for you.

  • 41. Derek  |  July 1st, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    @40 and anyone else who is complaining about the negativity here:

    This isn’t fucking Parade Magazine. The reason to read shit written here is to see how the authors are going to tear some sacred cow apart. The Exiled eulogies are the best of the best precisely because they say the things that, even though the subject is dead, are STILL TRUE.

    This is the shit people need to remember about these dead assholes before it gets washed away by the disgustingly saccharine eulogizing of the pathetic mass media and their simpering adjuncts.

  • 42. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 1st, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Five.
    Car.
    Pile-Up.

    This comments section is.

    Also, speak like Yoda can I. Easy it is.

    Much anger, much hatred on this comment board.

    In this comment board, strong the dark side of the force be.

  • 43. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 1st, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    So that you people don`t have to put up with this cynicism-inducing crap, I look forward to the new eXile book:

    Katniss Potter & the Twinky Vampires of Lycanthrope`s Doom

  • 44. Catass Stevens  |  July 1st, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Nora Ephron was tighter than a cat’s ass, that’s why she was notable.

  • 45. Catass Stevens  |  July 1st, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    lol Eileen if you aren’t a moniker Ames made up why I making this comment? Because I fantasize about Ames every day and night, I often drift when I drive, thinking sweet thoughts of Amesicide.

  • 46. Mike C.  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 1:37 am

    @40

    You’re criticizing the principle of criticism. It’s a bit like standing on the roof of a basement, or taking four right turns.

  • 47. noen  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Being contrarian and cynical is not a substitute for true criticism. It only serves to signal the cynic’s own lack of having anything worth saying.

  • 48. Notorious P.A.T.  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Those of you wondering why we should care about what Eileen thinks: why should we care what YOU think?

    I agree wholeheartedly with what Eileen wrote and I’m glad as heck she wrote it.

    ***

    “Why didn’t the British, and especially the Royal Navy, decisively intervene on the side of the Confederates during the Civil War?”

    Mostly because slavery was hideously unpopular in England. “A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War” examines this topic, if you’re interested.

  • 49. drunkenmonkey  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 8:44 am

    @41

    “The Exiled eulogies are the best of the best precisely because they say the things that, even though the subject is dead, are STILL TRUE.”

    Generally I’d agree with you. And, it’s true in this case as well. But this is Nora Ephron we’re talking about. Who gives a fuck? This lady’s death didn’t even register to me until I read this damned article. To me, it’s a sign that while some people like to pretend that they’re all “counterculture” and “non-conformist” or whatever other catchphrase is acceptable these days, complaining about Nora Ephron exposes that person as someone who is still knee-deep in the mediocre-white-upper-middle-class-”mainstream” culture. I mean, who gives a fuck? Who cares if some 45-year-old mother of two with a cheating doctor husband likes WHEN HARRY MET SALLY?

    I mean, shit, I’d feel fucking better about life if one of my biggest worries was taking down the nefarious Nora Ephron in an online essay. This is the shit we’re worried about now? This is what we’ve come to? I’d feel goddamned privileged if that’s what kept me up at night. And as an Exiled reader I’m supposed to feel all good about myself, because I read an article about how Nora Ephron is fucking bland?! Give me a break.

    HEY DUMBFUCK, EILEEN IS THE EXILED’S FILM REVIEWER. NORA EPHRON MADE FILMS. IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT FILMS, YOU SHOULD BE STRIPPED OF YOUR AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AND DEPORTED.

  • 50. drunkenmonkey  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 8:51 am

    @46

    No, I never criticized criticism in and of itself. That much should be obvious. Some criticism is necessary. People like George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter Thompson–those were real fucking critics. People like that criticized shit that mattered. Criticized how we live life and how we dig our own graves. “Exposing” the inanity of Nora Ephron to the masses is just the work of a self-satisfied, self-serious, wannabe demagogue.

    Again, I generally enjoy Eileen’s work. She’s the smartest film critic I’ve ever read, by in large. But picking on Nora Ephron is like picking on TRANSFORMERS–that’s some low-hanging fruit right there, and it’s not impressive when you come down with something.

  • 51. Citizen Bernstein  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Nora? Or was it Norah? I knew her once, in a biblical kind of way, I think. She was a little big mail room gal in big city, working her way up, unzipping the zippers of power; and I was a little big man, or at least played by the same shylock. Over and over again I see her on Diane Sawyer, New York magazine, the New York Times, HBO’s Girls, tatooed on Lena Dunham’s frumpy ass – EVERYWHERE! I’m trying hard to remember her, Nora, my Norah, my No Mora. When again will America laugh? Can there be laughter allowed after this woman’s death?

  • 52. Cerberus79  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Dear Eileen:
    Is my uselessly retarded comment really necessary or am it just in the wrong?

  • 53. gc  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    complaining about Nora Ephron exposes that person as someone who is still knee-deep in the mediocre-white-upper-middle-class-”mainstream” culture. I mean, who gives a fuck?

    Everybody who isn’t too knee-deep in mediocre-white-upper-middle-class-”underground” culture to have any idea what’s going on in the rest of the world.

  • 54. DarthFurious  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    HA! I got the last word in! And I did it with my amazing cungina!

    By the way, did you know that the comment spellchecker doesn’t recognize your made-up word? Or maybe it’s because I’m a virtual troll under a digital bridge. Who knew?

    Cungina, kids. It’s what’s for dinner.

  • 55. Ehh  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you, Eileen Jones, for saying what I was thinking. When the big East Coast media loses one of its well-heeled darlings, we all have to hear too much about it.

  • 56. Ehh  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Look at that nappy coat! Shiny and smooth are for the poors.

  • 57. Mike C.  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    @50

    The trouble with what you’re saying is that you’re saying it at all. If Jones is attacking low hanging fruit, you’re waiting to pounce on whatever falls.

    But I don’t buy your premise anyhow, so I’ll leave that metaphor abortive.

    One of the things that sets Jones’ reviews apart is that she hasn’t taken sanctuary with the incoherent identity-politics-or-bust postmodernists, tweedy middlebrows, or the glassy-eyed fan boys/girls on the glorified press release sites, whose reviews sound like overwrought book reports. She treats the “important” stuff and the pig feed with about the same reverence–and to the same indignant bewilderment at the extremes of popularity and mediocrity that generally run in parallel.

    If western culture has a role in the societal sewer pipe Exiled fishes its camera through, then combing through the remains of Ephron’s career is exhuming patient zero. Her films showed Hollywood a new shorthand for creating garbage, so I could stand a few paragraphs about it. Shit, I suffered through the posted eulogies everywhere just the same, going through the stages of, “Who the fuck is that?” to disbelief, and finally acceptance in seeing her memory deflated via this article.

    There’s no end of things to read, so I’m sure you can sate whatever high brow-ish-ness is aching you without telling an existing writer to take a turn on your behalf.

  • 58. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    @Notorious P.A.T

    Danke!

  • 59. gc  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    @57

    Beautiful.

  • 60. Cerberus79  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Dear Eileen:

    My “”retarded” comment can’t hold a candle to someone who obviously thinks shitting on a dead body represents the height of literate criticism. How fortunate for you Ephron is in no condition to answer back. BEST THING A TROLL’S SAID SO FAR. BRAVO!

  • 61. jack  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Nora Ephron is to feminism what Hillary Clinton is to feminism- nothing. Privledged upper middle class women pretending that their struggle is humanity’s struggle.
    I, a fifty year old male, read “Crazy Salad” as a teen , it was just the whining of a self centered person, of course I am self centered but I wouldn’t expect anyone else to find it profound or funny.
    And that crazy/sane quote is standard boiler plate for the “opposite is true” trifle that plagues mankind. ‘The only thing worse than… is the opposite”

  • 62. jack  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    that said, crappy movies are easy to watch

  • 63. Sylocat  |  July 2nd, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    One of the things that sets Jones’ reviews apart is that she hasn’t taken sanctuary with the incoherent identity-politics-or-bust postmodernists, tweedy middlebrows, or the glassy-eyed fan boys/girls on the glorified press release sites, whose reviews sound like overwrought book reports.

    I love how the acolytes of every “Edgy™” internet critic claims that their favorite critic is totally different from all those other critics that can be ticked off into neat little checkboxes.

    Whether the objects of the scorn be, as you put it, “identity-politics-or-bust postmodernists” or “tweedy middlebrows” (what does that even mean?) or “glassy-eyed fan boys/girls” (here defined as, “Anyone who likes something the Edgy™ critic doesn’t like”), it’s all about taking pride in how different you like to think of yourself as. It’s Hot Topic all over again, it’s people expressing nonconformity by all acting exactly alike. Yeah, because you are the only person in the world who says what you think and doesn’t let anyone else influence your opinion. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    Yeah, unlike me, who leaves dumbass comments in order to advertise linkspam to my cool youtube channel. Thank you AEC for correcting my ways, and replacing the link with a mantra for me to repeat.

  • 64. Mike C.  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 3:21 am

    @63

    I love how for every comment, there’s someone waiting to abstract it into a new category of thing, where said kind-of-thing has been debunked offscreen someplace not named.

    Evidently, Jones is an edgy (tee-em) critic, and I’m here to insist she’s unique — your complaint implying that she’s not, with further proofs of Jones’ commonplace category of thing again appearing offscreen.

    And if we’re not privy to said edgy-type critic, and uniqueness-insisting fanboy dynamic, I guess we’re just not cool enough for that clique.

    Sorry, fuck-face, but bare incredulity, where the refutation is simply suggested by your level of insolence, hasn’t cut the mustard since the creepiness of American Apparel outpaced its ubiquity.

    I don’t particularly feel like explaining the categories I named, but unlike you I could actually do it if I had to.

  • 65. Courson  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Now that the maggots are eating her half-rotted viscera, I’ll bet the pretentious Nora Ephron isn’t nearly so goddam smug anymore.

    Now that her lousy “I’ve Got Mail” prestige has vanished, we can immediately discern the underlying reality of who Nora Ephron really is/was: namely, an enormous maggot, bragging and talking drivel of one kind or another.

    Hey Nora (borrowing a line from that hired killer in Blood Simple) you look stupid now!!

  • 66. Ozinator  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 10:28 am

    @60

    about Capote’s death, Gore Vidal described it as “a good career move”

  • 67. noen  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Bitterness and cynicism means I R intelligent!

    Despising pop culture is the mark of the true intellectual!

    My entire life is marked by failure but at least I can bring others down with me!

  • 68. Sylocat  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 11:43 am

    @64

    You’re the one who shoehorns everyone who disagrees with you into easily-mockable little subcategories while (as you put it) leaving the “proof” offscreen, and yet I’m the one claiming that others aren’t cool enough for my clique?

    Trust me, Eileen Jones is a grownup and doesn’t require your rabid defense, whether the almighty AEC invites you to dogpile on me (because apparently my donation got lost in the mail) or not. And yeah, I realize I did misspeak (mistype?) in #34, since I wasn’t even responding to Jones directly. I accidentally conflated her opinion with those of her “glassy-eyed fan boys/girls” (as you put it), because those fan boys/girls insist on projecting their own pet opinions onto her.

    Even in some alternate universe where I did like Nora Ephron, Jones would still be entitled to her opinion and I wouldn’t be particularly interested in changing it. The rally-round commenters, however, are identical to those enjoyed by Ben Croshaw, Jeffrey Wells, Armond White, Rex Reed, the list goes on.

    Oh, and since I’m only supposed to use the URL box for its intended purpose if I agree (thanks for clearing that up, AEC), I’ve placed an article more relevant to the current discussion in it.

  • 69. Lena Dunham  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    She’s dead? Dead? OMFG! She’s dead!!!! O God no! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!
    Jesus H. Fucking Christ! I just lent that greasy old twat a book she said was good and now I’ll never see it again! WTF am I supposed to do??????

  • 70. texas 'doc' watson  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    @64

    well said.

  • 71. gc  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    @68

    Even in some alternate universe where I did like Nora Ephron, Jones would still be entitled to her opinion and I wouldn’t be particularly interested in changing it. The rally-round commenters, however, are identical to those enjoyed by Ben Croshaw, Jeffrey Wells, Armond White, Rex Reed, the list goes on.

    “People defend Rex Reed! That means if people are telling me I’m an idiot and Eileen isn’t, it must be something wrong with them!”

  • 72. Cerberus79  |  July 3rd, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    After all, I thank my lucky stars (and lucky charms) that there is an Almighty Exiled Censor to protect me from myself, for I am my own worst enemy

  • 73. Cerberus79  |  July 4th, 2012 at 6:25 am

    “After all, I thank my lucky stars (and lucky charms) that there is an Almighty Exiled Censor to protect me from myself, for I am my own worst enemy”

    Not as long as you’re around, my unnamed snotty jackass. Hiding behind a poster’s name while deleting his post is not really that clever. You may think you’re another Addison
    DeWitt butcha ain’t, Blanche, ya ain’t.

  • 74. anon  |  July 4th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you Eileen. More articles like this please. Ames and Levine are putting too much time into the SHAME project, Dolan has vanished from the face of the earth and it’s up to you to hold the fort.
    A (small, I’m a pauper) donation will be made to the eXiled next time there is a Jones or Dolan article.

  • 75. Barf  |  July 4th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Looks like I hit a sore spot with all the people in denial that movies suck these days.

    Of course there have always been shitty movies, but the bar for good movies has taken a massive nose dive in the past decade. So many more movies are ruled by marketing committees and test audiences now in order to make it a “safe” product rather than give artists free reign. That’s a stone cold fact.

    CGI still looks like a video game. There’s not more “grit” to movies anymore, everything takes place on an obvious green screen stage with the same glossy digitally color corrected look in every damn flick. The best practical special effects of the 80s and 90s still look more realistic than what is churned out today. That is also not debatable.

    If movies are just as good today, then where are the classics? Close to 30 years later, people still adore “entertainment” films like Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Ghosbusters, and Jaws. Who is going to give a shit about Prometheus, The Mummy, Hot Tub Time Machine, Sahara, or Gladiator 30 years from now?

    Name one modern horror movie that is anywhere close to Alien or The Exorcist. One modern adventure movie close to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’d love to hear it.

    Kids adventure movies in the 80s got The Goonies, today they get Dwyane Johnson Disney flicks.

    What action stars do we have to replace Arnold? Colin Farrel, Adrien Brody, and Jared Leto? Where is the next Bill Murray, a man of such staggering genius that he made the otherwise terrible Lost in Translation watchable? The best Hollywood can do is Seth fucking Rogen and Seth MacFarlane.

    Do you have any examples to prove I’m just a nostalgic old fogey? You’re the one who busted out “sheeple”, the burden’s on you now.

  • 76. Cerberus79  |  July 5th, 2012 at 6:51 am

    I see Andy Griffith died. What an opportunity for Eileen!

  • 77. Ehh  |  July 5th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    trebot: I always confused Nora Ephron with Wendy Wasserstein. When Nora died, I thought: Didn’t we bury her five years ago?

    Wendy Wasserstein was Jewish, with frizzy hair, so she was more of the “exotic” or “ethnic” type of well-connected New York woman writer who might appear on Charlie Rose to tell us about life.

  • 78. Margo Adler  |  July 7th, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I enjoyed reading this comment thread tremendously.

    The Exiled has the best commentariat (sp?) on the internet.

  • 79. Mitchell  |  July 9th, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Video from planet Nephron! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0DTdKEzbIg

  • 80. John Galt  |  July 13th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Out of noble self-interest, I must inform the common street scum that read this blog that my Creator, Ayn Rand, wrote funnier screenplays than this Ms. Bernstein.

  • 81. garycooper  |  July 16th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I downloaded “I Feel Bad About My Neck” and “I Remember Nothing” from demonoid after hearing about her death, just to see if her memoir-writing was any better than her execrable movie-writing. It’s not. I think I got maybe one rueful grin from both books. Seriously, she’s a boring-ass writer. And clearly an unpleasant person, it’s no wonder men ran away from her to sunnier climes.

  • 82. John Galt  |  July 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    However, garycooper, you and I always have to watch out for turgid stud Nathan Branden.

  • 83. Paul Perkins  |  July 19th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Nora Ephron is dead.

    I guess nobody will have what she’s having.

  • 84. Taryn  |  December 3rd, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you thank you – I came to this late – but I was so happy to see that I was not the only one who thought this way.

    Her films were nauseating, she did become a personal pain to Woodward (someone I do have enormous respect for) and if anything she set female representations of women in media back years.

    ps – Lena Dunham sucks. Kudos 2 to you on that one xx


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