Nora Ephron helmed this zany comedy about dysfunctional people, the yuletide and a serial killer at large. Steve Martin stars as Philip, who runs a suicide-prevention hotline staffed by tetchy Mrs. Munchnik (Madeline Kahn) and lovesick Catherine (Rita Wilson). After getting an eviction order on Christmas Eve, the counselors think they’ve hit bottom — till they cross paths with an array of wackos, including a psycho St. Nick (Anthony LaPaglia).
The daughter of author/screenwriters Phoebe and Henry Ephron, Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley. She first made her mark as humorist, satirist, and dead-on parodist in book form (Crazy Salad) and in magazine articles. Ephron’s first movie assignment was the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Silkwood (1983). Her stormy marriage with Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein provided grist for her roman a clef Heartburn, which she adapted into a highly praised 1986 film. After years of courting cynicism and waspishness in her work, Ephron turned romantic with her script for the extremely popular When Harry Met Sally… (1989) and has remained in this vein ever since. After a few so-so writing and producing assignments, she made her directing bow with This Is My Life (1992), which she co-wrote with sister Delia Ephron. She then served as director and writer of Sleepless in Seattle, a big-time hit of 1993. Five years later, she re-teamed with Sleepless stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan for You… read more