Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moonstruck, 1987

In 1987, I was two years old. But I distinctly remember a cassette tape bearing the image of Cher dancing in front of the Moon being played over and over again in the early years of my life. My mom would say, "Oh, put on Moonstruck!" if she was making Italian food. And on the eight hour long car drive down to visit my Grandfather in Florida, both my Father and Mother would sing along to Dean Martin: When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's amore!

I've finally just watched the movie for the first time.

First off, John Patrick Shanley wrote this thing? Really? The same guy who's responsible for this clunker? Unbelievable. Moonstruck is a Cinderella story, brimming with life. Loretta's a nice Italian girl, whose husband was struck down by a speeding bus seven years ago. Since she's decided that means she has "bad luck," she settles down into keeping the books at a funeral home, living with her parents, and dating this lame guy named Johnny Cammareri. He's sweet, but she doesn't love him. Johnny proposes marriage, and she accepts. Before he leaves to go see his ailing Mother in Palermo, he asks Loretta to do one thing: invite his younger brother to the wedding, who he hasn't seen in five years due to some "bad blood." She agrees.

It turns out, of course, that Ronny, Johnny's brother, is a "wolf," of a man. (See left). The grudge that he's been carrying against Johnny comes from when he was slicing some bread for Johnny in the slicer, and Johnny distracted him. Ronny lost his hand, and as a result, his girl left him for another man. After grilling him up a steak, Loretta concludes that Ronny's really mad at himself, not his brother. She asks if there's been another woman since the one that left. He asks if there's been another man since her husband died. It's inevitable that there's an explosive connection between the two of them.

It's no surprise that the salon Loretta visits the night before she meets Johnny at the Opera is called the Cinderella salon. And, never having been to the Opera "where's the Met?" Loretta asks, the music of La Bohème is really what seals the deal. (The music from this Opera tends to seal almost everybody's deal). Moonstruck's world is a pseudo New York, where people cheat, but families don't fall apart, people actually enjoy Opera, there's always the same little Italian cafe you can frequent on your block, and men you've just met days prior take you to the Opera and then propose marriage in front of your entire family. It's a romantic comedy.

But with lovely performances by the panther herself, Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, and John Mahoney, to mention a few, the film raises itself up over other romantic comedies and becomes one of the most enjoyable movies ever made. It's easy to see why, years after it had premiered in the theaters, my parents wanted to relive the soundtrack in their own lives. Maybe that's why, after all those years of hearing La Bohème, I packed my bags and went off to school to become an Opera singer.


Melanie's Randomness said...

This is my favorite movie. They barely play it on Tv anymore, which makes me sad. Its hilarious. And Kudos I never thought I'd say Nicolas Cage looks hot in that picture.

Hi, btw. Love your blog.

Snobber said...

it's so wonderful. you should just buy it and watch it whenever you want!

nic cage is kind of a babe in this movie, i think.

hi! thanks for reading :)