Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "The Notebook" Anne T. Donahue

First things first: I know Nora Ephron (a wonderful woman who should mean a lot to all of us) passed away this week. I really wanted to cover a movie in tribute to her, but here are the cold, hard, terrible facts:

1) I already wrote about You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally

2) I own Julie & Julia, but have enough of us seen it?

3) I don’t own Sleepless In Seattle (WORST) and it isn’t on Canadian Netflix (also the worst)

Also, and more importantly, there is nothing I could possibly write that would do justice to Nora Ephron, SO why don’t we all just agree to work our way through her filmography independently and then gather back here next week to deal with our emotions when they’ve settled down a bit. Kapeesh? (Said like Heather Mooney in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.) Kapeesh.

But maybe you still need to cry. Maybe we ALL need to cry! I shouldn’t deprive you of that, so let’s all watch The Notebook together because from what I know about The Notebook, everyone is REALLY REALLY emotionally affected by this movie. I will tell you know that I was not. BUT this also means that we can laugh together! YAY LAUGHTER! Remember that? What a treat! So let’s laugh our way through The Notebook because you guys, there is a lot in here that we can both laugh and to cry at.

TREAT.

YO.

SELF.

1. Well let’s all appreciate right now that if Noah – no matter how cute – talked to me the way he does to Allie, there would be a problem

Okay, so we are all, “OOH NOAH LOVES ALLIE SO MUCH!” but WOAH. Stop the presses. Remember when she’s with her friends and he stands RIGHT in front of her – like, gets totally in her face – and is like, “Wanna dance with  me?” No. NOPE! No thank you. Because that is a creepy psycho move. And then the friend’s all, “That’s Noah, though.” Oh! Well that’s a relief! Noah will just not respect my personal space then! So he’s THAT GUY! (Potentially a major, major harasser.)

2. No, but not a potential harasser – an actual one (also, terrifying?)

I’m not going to lie to you, guys. If you told me some guy had asked you out by THREATENING HIS OWN LIFE, I would be like “Okay, I think it’s time for you to read about a little thing I like to call emotional abuse.” And then I would remind you that he was kind of already stalking you and then I would make you watch every movie about obsessive boyfriends in the world. Starting with Enough, I think? Maybe even Sleeping With The Enemy? I don’t know.

3. AND THEN HE THINKS THEY’LL GO OUT?

Slow it down, bucko: Allie did not “promise and swear” anything. Particularly not a date. And then Noah’s all, “Well when I see something that I like, I gotta have it.” WHAT. That is not the way the world works, Noah – I mean, maybe with life dreams, but not with people. Hooooow did we make our way through this movie in the theatres without saying to each other, “Friends – this gentleman frightens me.” He’s cute! Yes! But now he’s dancing in the street? We need to talk about Kevin, but by “Kevin” I mean “Noah” I am pretty sure.

4. And these friends! WHY

Here’s a really fun fact, friends and lovers and strangers that may have gotten here after Googling “Ryan Gosling boxers Notebook” (hi!): those friends are the worst! Girl code calls for Allie’s friend having her back. Example: Allie is obviously creeped out by this guy, who got into her personal space and threatened his own life. So what should her friend do? NOT invite Noah on a date? Wait, I mean TRICK HER INTO GOING ON A DATE WITH HIM. What is this?! Why. Who are these people. Is this Stockholm Syndrome? Is this how it starts? Wait, something’s happening, maybe we’re about to find this out.

5. “I always thought you were free”

SLOW IT DOWN, NOAH. We are (checks Netflix) 15 minutes into The Notebook, and technically Noah and Allie are having their first official conversation. It’s great! Good for them. But she’s telling him about her life, and instead of having respect for her, he says, “I thought you were free.” WHAT? WHY? Because she studies? And because her parents are strict? Maybe she will be freer with a little thing I like to call “her education.” MAYBE she is free, I don’t know. But I also don’t like his tone: “You need to learn how to trust.” She doesn’t NEED to do anything! Maybe she is wise not to jump right into the middle of the street with this guy who she just met and who was basically stalking her because he’s obsessive. Maybe that’s not trust, maybe that’s . . . instinct. Friends, I feel like we’ve been here long enough (six months!!! ahhh!!! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO!) for me to say, if you were like, “Anne I met this guy – he said he’d kill himself if I didn’t go out with him, and then he made me lie in the road…?” I would hop on a plane and say everything I am saying right now but to your face while I forced you to watch The Notebook in a public space. (I don’t know you well enough to go to your house – I’m sorry.)

6. But, fine, sure, there are cute parts!

Duh! I have a heart, you guys. I mean, these kids are young . . . live your lives, kids! But wait, now she’s shoving ice cream in his face? A WASTE. A waste of ice cream, I tell you! Just . . . I don’t know, throw water into his face instead? Or maybe nothing? Throw nothing? But okay, now we’re at the part with his Dad and the poems, and CONFIRMED: this is cute, and Frank Calhoun is revealing Noah’s history as a stutterer (bad move, sir), but they’re eating breakfast at night and I love a good pancake, I’ll tell you that much for free.

7. Full disclosure: I don’t understand what the bird part means

Is that bad? Am I a bad person? Is something wrong? (Yes.) And maybe I’m just cynical and 54 years old, but I’m watching this scene and I just want to be like, “Guys – what is this? Allie, why are you pretending to be a bird? WHY IS EVERYONE COMPROMISING THEIR IDENTITIES?!” Just be cool! Just . . . go buy ice cream that you will actually enjoy and savour it and don’t waste it and then go to the fair and re-do that weird rendezvous you had the last time. Catch a movie, maybe? Ditch those friends, though – they don’t have your best interests at heart.

8. I would also not want to get in the water, Allie! You’re not alone!

I hate the water! (Lies – I love it if it’s in a pool.) But I get you, Allie! We’re on the same page! I wouldn’t want to get into the water either! But why are you slapping your boyfriend in this next scene? STOP THE PRESS. GET IN THE WATER.

9. Allie’s Dad looks like Chris Parnell

DOESN’T HE? Look!

LOOK! (I know I’m not alone here, right? Can somebody please contact Chris Parnell and ask him to confirm that I am correct? I can’t offer you anything but a promise that if you meet a guy like Noah, I would jump on a plane and tell you that you guys need to have a serious conversation.)

10. Remember when the random guy asks Noah how much he makes an hour?

WOW. What?! You know who does that? Someone who is the worst! Noah, it’s okay. Listen, buddy, I made minimum wage for a really long time, and then I made only a slightly bit more, but still! Nobody asks that. Nobody. Someone asked me that a few months ago, and I actually answered them honestly, and I have never regretted anything more because nothing feels worse than that question. No one ever asks that question – outright and like that – to be “nice.” They say it to make you feel bad or to say what they make. You know who asks that question honestly? Friends, when you are actually talking about money, but it’s usually volunteered on your part. But at a dinner party? No! Never! Listen here, Chris Parnell’s friends, YOU are out of order.

10. b) And remember how Allie doesn’t tell Noah she’s leaving for a school in New York?

Not cool, Allie. Not. Cool.

See: Noah’s expression in the last frame.

11. EEE the big “let’s do it” scene is . . . noooooope

I just can’t with it. I can’t! I’m sorry. Just . . . they’re standing there and it’s like, WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING LIKE THAT. Why is there no segway? Not even kissing! Just like, taking their clothes off on opposite sides of the room. And WALKING over to a blanket. Like a meeting! Like Peggy and Stan in that episode of Mad Men where she calls him out on being a nudist, only I would rather watch that scene because guys, that was a really funny scene, come on – right? (Guys? Hello?)

PS. Now they are kneeling. And there’s no sound! No music! Nothing! And then he gets kind of annoyed at her asking questions? And no one here is actually answering the question on everyone’s mind: diiiiiiiid Noah maybe bring protection? Because that is a big giant “yikes” up in here that I wouldn’t mind us having confirmation on.

12. Okay, Allie’s parents: Reeeeeeeeeeellllaaaaaxxxxx

Woah, wait – I wrote that before they were talking about it being 2 in the morning. MY BAD. Never mind, Allie’s parents – you SHOULD freak out. Because you know what? I would, and there were no cell phones in this day and age. So who knows where Allie could’ve been. Allie! What the hell. It’s 2 in the morning! That is LATE. Even for me, a grown-ass woman. And you know what? I STILL tell people where I’m going and how late I’ll be because courtesy, Allie. But maybe let’s all take a step back, Mom and Dad who called Noah “trash” because that is just inappropriate and terrible. Actually this whole scene is inappropriate and terrible and I hate it. WHY IS NO ONE BEING RATIONAL HERE.

13. WHY IS EVERYONE PSYCHOTIC ACTUALLY

So I mean, it was already bizarre that this is how Allie’s family was acting. That was already weird. And I think we’ve already touched base on the whole Noah-Allie dynamic that makes me kind of feel a little uncomfortable. But now the fight? Where Allie is attacking Noah and his car and Noah himself and then he starts slapping himself? WHAAAAAT. Noooooope. She is a brat, you guys. And he is also not the most rational of versions of human beings, I will also say. No one here is being a regular person! Why? Why is no one saying, “Allie, this is going to be tough . . . maybe we should try and work something out” and her saying, “That works – what do you think we should do?” And then they would come up with something to do. There. I just wrote The Notebook. Only it’s not really a notebook – and it’s called The Page.

14. I’m sorry that I haven’t addressed the old people, and it’s about time that I do

WELP, it’s time to just cut to the chase. I’m sorry to rain on this parade, but we’re having fun, right? We’re having a laugh? Well instead of laughing, let’s maybe make the face Peggy Olson made when Megan told her she was throwing Don a surprise party. First, these guys are supposed to be 16 in … 1941? Okay. So that means they were born in 1925. Cool! And this movie was made in 2004. So they’d be 79. And you know who looks 79 in this movie? Zero. Zero people look 79. And especially the actors who are supposed to play 79-year-old Noah and Allie. Second, man, alzheimer’s is the worst disease. My grandma has it – she doesn’t know me, or our family, and she lives on a floor with people who have various stages – and if they even remotely looked as healthy as Allie when she’s supposed to have alzheimer’s, that is what we would call a “miracle.”

I’m sorry, that was a huge buzzkill. I APOLOGIZE. But if I can call Luke Skywalker a brat, and revisit Spice World without a hint of irony, we can have five minutes of real talk. WE’RE ALL FRIENDS HERE I LOVE YOU.

15. I love Han! Lon? Lon! I love him!

Like, HELLO NURSE, point the first. (Literally.) (Get it? Because Allie’s a nurse.) Second, WHAT. A. BABE. And so nice! And so kind! And so funny! And so much fun! And I’m sorry, but that party he proposes to Allie at with her parents? It’s the best! That looks like literally the best time in the world. And you don’t want that, Allie? Am I wrong here? Am I wrong that I like Lon more? Because I do! THERE I SAID IT I LIKE LON. I LIKE LON BETTER. I WANT ALLIE TO CHOOSE LON.

Sweet, beautiful perfect Lon.

16. And to help prove my point, Noah has literally gone insane!

LITERALLY! He has literally lost his mind! He’s now not shaving, he wants to set his house on fire, and now he’s holding a gun and calling the man who bid on his house a “lunatic”? Oh, and now he’s hooking up with a war widow. Just for fun! Despite her having feelings for him.

“Isn’t that special.” – Church Lady

You are the worst, Noah Calhoun. And I knew it from the very. first. scene.

17. No, that is a lie because ALLIE is the worst

WOW. WOW, just . . . WHAT. So Allie sees a photo of Noah in the paper. And passes out? SIMMER. Uncalled for. Maybe just say, “Hey – woah, Mom. Let’s talk.” But no. No, instead she goes to her fiancee and scares him and makes it seem like she’s going to leave him (spoiler alert: she does!) and he’s still totally trusting and says, “Do what you gotta do, girl” and then she does what she gotta does, and she goes to Noah’s house where he is a recluse. And then he won’t talk to her, and she crashes the car into a tree.

“These . . . PEOPLE.” – Emily in The Devil Wears Prada

18. FINE, this part’s okay, I GUESS

Meanwhile, in opposite land, to combat the worst, THE BEST (eh?) part is ensuing with Noah being all, “IT’S NOT OVER IT STILL ISN’T OVER.” Boom! Drops mic! YOLO! Except maaaaybe don’t cheat on your fiancee, Allie? Because he’s a really great guy? And I’m only adding these question marks because otherwise I feel like I’m being too harsh? But whatever! Okay! For now let’s just focus on the fact that her dress is totally ruined and they waited until it’s actually a monsoon and they’re about to drown to talk about mail and the relationship in its entire and UGH just be cool, you guys! You’re out of control! WHAT ABOUT LON MY BEAUTIFUL BOYFRIEND LON WHO I LOVE.

It’s like they don’t even care about my feelings.

19. Why don’t we all just hang out with the lady Noah has been hooking up with for the past couple years?

Is the thought that I guess went through Allie’s mind. Let’s all hang! We’re all friends! You know what we all have in common? (DON’T ANSWER THAT.) And she gets there in the morning, and she leaves at night, meaning they hung out ALL DAY FOR AT LEAST EIGHT HOURS. Wow. Like a shift at work. That is I think the worst situation I have ever had to witness. And then she leaves. The widow leaves – alone – because she can never be with her husband WHO DIED. But that’s fine! Just come on over and hang with Noah and Allie! And then she’s all, “I feel like I have something to look forward to.” Sure. Okay, let’s go with that. Friends, am I ruining The Notebook for you? I’m sorry –  it’s just like, what is going on, am I right? Also, I’ll share with you that I totally watched this and wept about three years ago when I was bummed out about some guy. So there. We’re all on the same field. But now that field requires us commenting on . . .

20. Allie painting in the nude . . . ?

Sure. And then answer the door wrapped in a blanket . . . ? Just adds to the mystique of the house, then, maybe, I guess. I don’t know. “Oh Noah’s house! That one! The guy there is an actual recluse, and his girlfriend paints nude on the porch.” Whatever blows your hair back. And speaking of DA-RAMA, remember the time . . .

21. Allie tries to blame everyone else for her choosing to cheat on Lon

MY SWEET BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL BOYFRIEND NAMED LON. This is how she treats him! And then she gets mad at her mom and is all, “Oh, so I guess cheating on my fiancee makes me a bad person!” UGH YEAH KINDA ALLIE. Especially when you could’ve just talked to him like an adult. Here’s how I think the conversation could have gone:

Allie: “Hey, Lon. Listen. This is hard for me to say, but I was in love with this guy a long time ago, and now I’m having second thoughts about us. I’m so sorry.”

Lon: “Yikes. Well. We have to talk about a lot. I guess we’re on a break? I’m really upset and hurt, but let’s talk about this. I think we really need to talk about this exactly like Ross and Rachel in Friends.”

22. THIS IS TOTALLY LIKE ROSS AND RACHEL IN FRIENDS

Only Allie is Ross and Rachel is Lon. And nobody has a baby named Emma. And there are 365 letters. Or 364. Either way! Shout-out to Allie’s mom who tied the letters in a big green bow. (Literally.)

23. See, I am still 100% sold on the Lon-Allie relationship

Is this what age does? I think it may. You kind of realize that this Allie-Noah dynamic is terrible, and that if you had a friend in the situation, you’d be like, “UGH, my friend and her boyfriend are SO INTENSE. I think I need to only see her about twice a year.” Right? RIGHT? And the fighting! Oh GOD, the fighting. Why can’t we all just get along? Remember when Allie and Lon were at that fun party? What a fun party that was! Everyone was having so much fun! And now everyone “hates” each other and it’s like… UGH. I would hate this! I would hate every minute of this relationship. I’d be stressed out ALL the time. “We are going to have to work at this every day” says Noah. WOOF. Geez. Why can’t we just like… eat tacos and hang and laugh? Is that the worst thing? Should we all be yelling at each other and shouting? I hope not. Where’s Lon, my boyfriend?

Look! She doesn’t even care! #RIPLaughter

24. So poor Lon, then

POOR BEAUTIFUL SWEET PERFECT LON WHO IS PROBABLY NOW RUINED. Like, hi. Broke his body in the war, rebounded from that and into the arms of who he thought was the love of his life, who crushed his heart. Good! GOOD ONE, ALLIE. Good job, everyone! WE DID IT. We have ruined sweet beautiful sweet perfect wonderful Lon, father of my children. I wonder how bad Lon’s inevitable drinking problem gets in The Notebook 2: Lon’s Revenge.

25. Aaaaaand the ending is sad, let’s just all agree on that

It is. IT IS SAD. But you know what? As sad as it is, what makes me sadder is that Noah and goes and dies on his family? That’s pretty uncool. Like, my Nana died and she was the love of my Grandpa’s life, but guess what: he was all, “Well I have my son and my daughters and my grandchildren who love me so it’ll be awful, BUT I won’t be alone.” And he’s not! But Noah’s like, “Nah – I’ll refrain from seeing my grandchildren grow, and I’ll give my family the cost of TWO funerals because one wasn’t enough.” WHAT?! What a terrible ending! No wonder we’re all crying!

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  1. This was amazing: “Friends – this gentleman frightens me.” That is basically how I feel / have always felt about this movie because dude is a stalker. And The Notebook is basically a field guide for spotting creepy relationship behaviors. And I have never laughed so hard at a movie in my entire life.

  2. This post is just perfection. “Meanwhile, in opposite land, to combat the worst, THE BEST (eh?) part is ensuing with Noah being all, “IT’S NOT OVER IT STILL ISN’T OVER.” Boom! Drops mic! YOLO! Except maaaaybe don’t cheat on your fiancee, Allie”–died, just died. THIS POST IS AMAZING! And I love the into about Nora Ephron, smart choice–in the meantime I will re-read your posts of her movies

  3. He calls himself Duke when he reads to her because the old couple are not Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams grown up. It’s their story, but Ryan & Rachel are like the “dramatic re-enactment.” That’s why when Duke is looking at the photographs it’s photos of the older actors when they were young, not Rachel & Ryan. I don’t know why the director made that choice because it’s confusing.

  4. I read this and thought to myself “I want to watch The Notebook now”. So I just put it in. 1.) Is the nursing home that she’s in the house Noah rebuilt? It’s been a long time since I’ve watched this and I can’t remember if I have ever reached the conclusion that it is. 2.) Why does old Noah call himself Duke when he reads to her?

    • YES. That is the only way it should ever be said.

    • Also..when they tell him to “Go home Dad!” I picture Tia or Tamera Mowery saying “Go home Roger!” Sister Sister style.

    • After watching all of that nursing home is their house. In the end when old Noah cooks old Allie dinner and she remembers they’re in the room where they tried to do it as kids but her parents sent the cops to look for her. Did he turn the house into a nursing home? Or when reading did you just use the set up of the nursing home to try to match “their story”? And why am I thinking way too much about this? This movie should just be taken at face value: Ryan Gosling gets wet in the rain.

    • Amazing! 1) I THINK it’s a nursing home actually because his kids tell him to actually “go home.” (Which might be a diss like in the ’90s now that I think of it: “GO HOME, DAD!”) (Kidding – but how amazing would THAT be?) and 2) …I have no idea. Let’s pretend it’s a nickname he’s always wanted and is hoping to somehow make it stick.

  5. TEAM LON.

  6. THE NOTEBOOK IS ON NETFLIX???????? OH, ALL THE DAYS I HAVE WASTED!

  7. One comment on old Noah dying, He did not commit suicide to die with Allie. He just dies with her in a magical movie moment that really doesn’t happen in real life.

    • Because, SPOILER ALERT! in the books she dies and becomes a swan. A SWAN TO WHOM HE FEEDS WONDERBREAD. (It’s her fave!)

      And then he has awkward conversations with his kids about how their mom’s a swan now. Yeaaaaahhhhh.

    • also in the book he doesn’t die with Allie. they were definitely looking for waterworks with the film adaptation.

    • Not only is that accurate, I just laughed out loud. Amazing.

  8. I think this scene in the old house is not creepy. For my first time there was no music, no candles, no sound, we were unconfortable, very in love but very shy ! I think this scene is very true. Well, at least it rings a bell to me ! James Garner was 76 at the time of the movie, so not far from 79. My grand parents are 81 and 83 and they look “young” for the age, like old-Noah and old-Allie. Okay she was engaged but she has been in love with Noah since she is 16, she saw a photo of him while trying her dress, days before her wedding, maybe it’s a sign ? And it’s raining, it’s dramatic, “it’s still isn’t over”, come on, you HAVE to kiss him ! I respect your article and your opinion, i’m just giving mine ! xoxox

  9. This is totally awkward cus Lon is my boyfriend. What a name. Do people even be called that any more? The only two I know are my boyfriend Lon and the big brother in Meet Me in St Louis. Great name.

  10. Thanks for this! I may be a cynic but could not find the appeal in The Notebook besides the neat costumes. Also, your point about the Alzheimer’s patient looking impeccably dressed and made up, complete with string of pearls–so GREAT. My mom had the same complaint as my grandmother had Alzheimer’s as well.

  11. A couple of years ago I too was bawling over The Notebook after a break-up. Now that I’m sane again and can once again be held fully accountable for my actions, I’m left in wonder. This is probably the most dysfunctional relationship of all time and he really is basically stalking her in the beginning.

    Also, your posts always make me laugh really hard!

  12. Seriously that scene of Allie and her friends walking down the street and Lon is sitting on his car….SWOON! What a babe!!!