For a brief while, earlier drafts of "How to Fail" presented a Stu Fish character who absolutely, and almost inexplicably, detested Nora Ephron. He both thought her most responsible for the downfall of quality Hollywood entertainment and perhaps even society, all due to her chick flick troika of "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail."
Things finally come to a head when Stu and his screenwriting friend Wesley run into Nora on a studio lot in Hollywood. Afterward, Stu explains to Wesley (who greatly admires her contributions to the film industry) why he detests her so:
Things I hate about Nora Ephron:
- I hate her fucking name. It just sounds repugnant. Both her first and her last name. I hate that she has a sister named Delia too. Delia?! Give me a fucking break.
- I hate that she was one of the few people that knew who Deep Throat was and held it over everyone like she was awesome. No, you aren't awesome, you were fucking Bob Woodward.
- speaking of that, I hate that she is now married to Nicolas Pilleggi. How can the brilliant writer of "Goodfellas" and "Casino" be married to such a shrill, undertalented wench? Even worse, how can she have more career Oscar nominations than him?
- I hate how she thinks she is so awesome. A feminist par excellence. A master observer of the the human condition. Of female/male dynamics. The relationship scribe of the century.
- But most of all, and the only thing that truly matters--I detest her fucking movies. We're talking about her trifecta of pussiness specifically. I'm not referring to stuff like "Silkwood" or "Michael," though those are awful movies in their own right. I'm talking about "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and, yes, your beloved "You've Got Mail. "You've Got Mail" is just a rip-off of "Sleepless in Seattle," with a twist of "Shop Around the Corner," which was just a rip-off of "An Affair to Remember" which isn't particularly a great movie to begin with.
Ultimately, I dropped the Nora hatred from the entire book and, aside from a few stray mentions of "You've Got Mail," you won't find anything about Nora in "How to Fail." Nevertheless, I imagine Stu still hates her and, I suppose, I kinda do too, but it just felt weird to include in the book. And, ultimately, it really wasn't all that funny.
I (as in Aaron) still think about Nora Ephron far too much though. She's hard to avoid. She always has a new movie or book or fucking Huffington Post commentary. She's always quoted in stories and on TV and anywhere you look. I sometimes even accidentally walk by the UWS coffee shop where "You've Got Mail" had some of its major scenes. I just don't get it. Perhaps I never will. Perhaps I'm just insanely jealous of her insane success. At least her last few movies have really, really sucked.
Check out these other Director's Commentary and Deleted Scenes:
#1 -- "FUCK YOUS" (dedication page)
#2 -- "QUOTING BIGGIE SMALLS" (including famous quotes)
#3 -- "BLURBS" (cover blurbs)
#4 -- "CHAPTER ONE" (genesis of HTF idea)
#5 -- "THE FAILURE INTERVENTION" (deleted scene)
#6 -- "I'VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER" (deleted scene)
#7 -- "HOW TO FAIL ON A DATE" (deleted chapter)
#8 -- "HOW TO MAKE GOD HATE YOU" (deleted chapter)
#9 -- "BENDERS" -- (deleted scene)