Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank A Writer Post: Rita Rudner

This is the fourth of five posts in a series of thank-you notes to writers. The project was started by Maggie Mason of Go Mighty and Nathan Bransford.

Dear Rita Rudner,

Thank you for writing the movie "Peter's Friends" with your husband, Martin Bergman (I know that you know who your husband is but my readers may not).

Because of your movie--which is one of my favorite movies of all time--I have held an annual house party (with formal dinner, parlor games, singing, sleepover and brunch) for a few of my college friends every January for the past 14 years. This year one of my friends told me that it is the steadfast holiday tradition she always longed for but her family never had.

I had three of my friends perform "The Way You Look Tonight" at my wedding, and tried to get the arrangement as close to the one in "Peter's Friends" as possible.

I have a daughter named Maggie.

When my father saw the movie--one of two times I saw it in the theater--afterward he said, hoarsely, "Vera [the housekeeper, for those readers who have--inexplicably--not seen the movie] was so much like my mother." He was referring, of course, to my grandmother. Vera.

I know that that wasn't within your control, Ms. Rudner: the way Phyllida Law comes across onscreen.  And you didn't purposely use my grandmother's name. I'll leave it in, though, because I have what I would describe as a mystical connection with this movie. I hope that doesn't scare you; it's meant to be a compliment. 

When I was a young newlywed we entertained a number of friends in our new apartment; I rented "Peter's Friends" at Blockbuster and forced them all to watch it and see how good it was. I really am beginning to sound like a lunatic but it wasn't like that. They enjoyed the movie very much (it was my third viewing). My husband and I were very young and not very good about returning videos, so ultimately we came to own it--for something like $89.95, remember when movies cost $89.95? That was fine with me. I have the DVD now, of course, and also the soundtrack CD.

I'm sure there are many other ways in which "Peter's Friends" affected me, but the most important is this: I loved it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it really did become a part of me, and I think it helped me to anticipate the joy of holding onto college friendships. When I first saw it, I was ten years younger than the friends in the film, and now I am ten years older. Gulp.

P.S. There is also a line from one of your books that I quote all the time (forgive me for paraphrasing but I can't find it online): "My husband thinks we should spend our money on things we want, not things that other people have ruined." My husband feels the same way!


Leslie said...

I'll have to find out what this movie is, as I've never heard of it (or maybe just don't remember? See my comment on your last blog post). But really, I don't think I've seen it, so I'll have to!

ergo said...

Oh V, I love this letter.