NORTHERN CALIFORNIA INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION

HOLT UNCENSORED #24
by Pat Holt

Friday, December 18, 1998

ABOUT THAT MOVIE
REMAINDERS OF THE DAY

ABOUT THAT MOVIE

Thanks to the many booksellers who have written to express their displeasure over the new Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie, You've Got Mail. In case you get duped into supporting it as this bookseller did, consider his description fair warning:
"The storyline starts out, ostensibly, as an objective dialogue on the relative merits of chains versus those of independents. But once the chain store (the Barnes&Noble-esque 'FoxBooks,' owned by Hanks's character) forces Ryan's small independent store out of business, the bookstore storyline disappears, focusing from then on only on the sexual-tension storyline between Hanks and Ryan.

"The sudden disappearance of plot leaves the viewer with the impression that it's okay for the chains to force independents out of business, since Ryan eventually falls for Hanks, saying nothing about the fact that he ruined her business. Near the end, Ryan even muses that maybe she'll be happier, now that she doesn't have that pesky store to deal with; she might even be able to pursue a writing career (as if she couldn't have before).

"The phrase 'insidious corporate propaganda' comes to mind. Our store was even duped into helping promote this biased flick, putting up a poster and giving away free tickets. As soon as a few of us saw the preview, we took the poster down immediately."

Since You've Got Mail is a signature greeting on America Online, which is "affiliated" with Barnes & Noble, I asked this bookseller if he felt the chain's presence in the movie.

"Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if B&N had a surreptitious hand in the plotline," he writes. "AOL, IBM, Apple, and Starbucks products are all placed very prominently in the movie. Wouldn't want to p- off their corporate friends at B&N, I'm sure."

\r