Saturday, July 16, 2011

769. Moonstruck (1987)

Running Time: 102 minutes
Directed By: Norman Jewison
Written By: John Patrick Shanley
Main Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello


Tonight, as I was trying to decide what to watch, knowing that I wanted to watch SOMETHING, so as to reach my goal quicker, I went to the DVD shelf and yanked a movie that my wife recently purchased - "Moonstruck".

"Moonstruck" is set in Brooklyn, New York and is a tribute to the Italian-American family. Loretta Castorini (Cher) is an accountant for several local business in her neighborhood. One night at dinner, the man who's been courting her, Johnny Cammareri (Aiello), asks her to marry him and after some correcting (forcing him to get down on one knee, forcing him to give her his pinky ring) she accepts. That night, Johnny hops a plane to Sicily to be with his ailing mother, but promises Loretta that when he gets back they'll be married. He only has one request - that she visit his younger brother and clear the bad blood that exists between them and invite him to the wedding. Loretta, wanting to make everything perfect for her special day, contacts Johnny's brother, Ronny Cammareri (Cage), a bread maker with a wooden left hand, who blames Johnny for the loss of his limb. Ronny is a bit of a nutcase, but Loretta, being the mothering type that she is, straightens him out with a juicy steak and a glass of whiskey...and then he carries her to bed. One thing leads to another, full moons rise and before Loretta knows it she's forced to choose between the two brothers - the one she likes, the safe bet in Johnny or the one she loves in Ronny.

I actually have a little history with this film, that I wouldn't mind sharing. I saw this film many years ago, prior to the honing of my "film buffery" and I loved it. I went out soon after and purchased it on DVD and a few years later I watched it again, not remembering too much about it, simply remembering that I DID like it. The second go around wasn't as enticing, as "Moonstruck" actually ended up in the "FOR SALE" pile, obviously not holding up as well as the first time. Recently my wife watched "Moonstruck" and liked it so much that she immediately purchased it, giving it new birth on our DVD shelf. Tonight, I pluck it for a third watch and fall in love with it all over again. I don't know what happened that second time around, but I must have gone temporarily mental or something, because this is one fine movie. It's actually a film that really reminds me of an old, black & white movie. It has those tones of old, with nothing too risky and a really fun plot that you can get lost in. "Moonstruck" is a very inviting movie and to tell you the truth, as I write this in July, I watched it at the wrong time. This is the kind of movie you watch in the middle of winter, with the furnace roaring, huddled under a blanket, on a big comfy sofa. It's such a warm, friendly film and it invites you into the city of New York and instead of showing off the city, it places you right into the nooks and crannies of the city and experience it.

Nowadays when I get the news that a musician is going to try their hand at acting, I get a little sketchy, as usually it turns out being a not so good performance and a flop of a film. Believe it or not, Cher was a damn fine actress and honestly, that goes for Nicolas Cage too. Cage has had some really questionable movie choices as of late, but there was a time when I was a big Cage fan and I'm not sure if he still is, but he used to be a really good actor. Dukakis, Gardenia, Aiello and John Mahoney are all actors that add to the greatness that is "Moonstruck" and add, as the book says, a little extra spice to an already sizzling romantic comedy. "Moonstruck" is such a romantic film, that is dealing with romance in the unlikeliest of places, at the unlikeliest of ages, in the unlikeliest of circumstances. With Dean Martin tunes and music from "La Boheme" echoing in the background, it only serves to amp up the heart of "Moonstruck" and John Patrick Shanley's marvelous script and superb dialogue. For me, "Moonstruck" is the type of comedy that won't make you laugh out loud so much, as it will just make you smile a lot.

RATING: 8.5/10 This film really does have some of the most romantic dialogue. The kind of dialogue you hear and try to memorize so you can pop it on your wife.


July 16, 2011 2:44am

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