Tag Archive: Cher


Moonstruck by Love

Family Movie Night


Family Movie Night

Every year Valentine’s day comes with read and ink hearts all over the place.

There will be candies and wine flowing. People will go out for dinner or stay home to make a magical feast.

At the moment of this writing, I have no idea what we might be doing beyond youth group that evening at church.

Moonstruck But the one thing I do know is that I want to watch Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. It is a classic although a bit non-traditional love story. I find it to be one of those few perfect movies that makes you laugh and cry. Every scene feels as if it could stand on it’s own.

The story is about an Italian-American woman who lives with her parents. Loretta works as an accountant and has been widowed for many years. She has just accepted a marriage proposal from Johnny, a man she does not love.

Before he leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother, Johny asks Loretta to invite his brother to the wedding. They have been estranged for many years but Johnny wants a fresh start. When Loretta meets Ronny, sparks fly and they fall in love.

moonstruck_mahoney dukakis Meanwhile, her mother is dealing with the knowledge that her husband is cheating on her again. Her sadness is broken for an evening with an interlude with a professor who has played out a usual scene of a break-up. This coule is the great Olympia Dukakis and the late-great John Mahoney who dance around the idea of an affair.

All of the cast, including Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, and Fedor Chaliapin Jr., make this a rich family drama that is so much more than your typical romantic comedy. You have stories about the renewal of hope, the power one holds in marriage when you don’t think you have that power. The binds of family and resposibility.

Moonstruck - family breakfast There is the great musical selections of Dean Martin, Vicki Carr, and songs from La Bohome that seal each moment of feeling and emotion.

And then there is the other character that is not listed, the city of New York with its historic buildings and distinctive neighborhoods. We see the lovely opera house and toodle around Brooklyn. We see Loretta’s life that might be dull to some people but makes sense for her in the life of a broken dream.

I could go on and on about this movie for the richness of the characters, the pack of dogs led around by the grandfather, the beauty of the moon, the intensity of feelings by Nicholas Cage, and the need for great love in any of these characters’ lives.

Because the feelings are so real, so close to home without a false note, there is almost no way I could ever fall out of love with this movie. That’s why it is the perfect Valetine’s day movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

As summer winds down, I am happy for cooler nights.

I am so happy to be able to sleep at night. Even the heat does not seem as oppressive. And it seems like there are all sorts of reminders of movies that we should watch.

The other day I was in the grocery store when the overhead radio began to play the title song from the musical “Grease” with Frankie Valli singing lead. I began singing along under my breath and remembered how much we loved this movie back in the late 70s.

The story is about a new girl at Rydell High School who had a summer romance with a boy who turns out to be the biggest ‘bad’ boy at the school. They meet again and realize they still have feelings. But, of course, there are obstacles and the wonderful Stockard Channing keeps everything from being too sweet.

Olivia Newton John stars as the naïve Sandy while John Travolta stunned us as Danny. You can see a lot of people having fun and singing songs with a 1950s groove, except for the title song. That was written by Barry Gibbs of the BeeGees and is just plain fun.

As I walked the dog last night, my neighbor pointed out the beautiful moon to me. It was full and bright. I was trying to find the lady of the moon and had a hard time at it. But it reminded me of Moonstruck starring Cher as a widow with a tragic past who is recently engaged. She does not love Danny Aiello but thinks she can make a good life with him.

However, her fiancée has to go back to Italy to visit his dying mother. Before leaving, he asks Cher to contact his brother and invite him to the wedding. Nicholas Cage is the brother with a tragic past who owns a bakery and loves opera. Meanwhile, her parents are facing hurdles as Dad is in the throws of a new affair and Mom tries to be stoic about it until she is not.

The movie is set in the middle of a cold New York City winter when the moon seems to shimmer just a little bit more. I love this movie because every scene is a gem, perfection really. I find myself laughing and crying with these characters that are down-to-earth and larger-than-life all at the same time.  It might help that I enjoy a good opera every now and again.

Teens can watch both movies, kids can take in Grease. But if you are looking for something that is a little more ‘kid friendly’ there are two choices.

The first is The Pirates: Band of Misfits voiced by Hugh Grant and Salma Hayak as this band of no-gooders try for the ‘Pirate of the Year’ award. The other movie that shows potential is Chimpanzee which is a documentary narrated by Tim Allen that follows Oscar, a baby chimp who lives with his mother and other group members in Africa.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

The Oscars are over.

The statues have gone home to sit on mantles or in the bathroom. And you are probably thinking about how you never got to see this movie or that one.

For families, the animated features of Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever have been out for some time in the home theater market. Tangled, the re-imagining of the Rapunzel story, comes out at the end of March.

But for adults, a whole slew of movies that will break your heart and/or make you think are coming out .

James Franco in "127 Hours," Picture from IMDb.com

Last week 127 Hours came to DVD. Starring James Franco, it is the story of a man who falls while rock climbing. His right arm is trapped under a rock and he must make tough decisions about what to do while alone and having no hope of rescue. Gripping, terrifying and a performance that won Franco a nomination.

This week sees Inside Job coming out to DVD. The Oscar-winning documentary explores what happened on Wall Street three years ago when there was a $20 million meltdown that lost people jobs, homes, everything.

poster image from IMDb.com

Matt Damon narrates the movie that interviews experts and journalists, exploring what happened in the rogue aspects of the industry. I am not sure how I am going to feel watching this, considering this event lead to our current national economic situation. Just the thought makes me angry but I am willing to try watching anyway.

One movie that I wish had received an Oscar nomination for Best Song was Burlesque. It is the story of a young woman who comes to Los Angeles to find a life better than she had in Iowa.

Cher in "Burlesque," Picture from IMDb.com

She finds work at a burlesque club owned by Tess (Cher) who becomes her teacher and mentor. As Tess fights to hold on to the club, one night she sings a song about struggle and determination.

“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me Yet” won a Golden Globe award and was written by Diane Warren. Cher sang this song with heart and soul although there was a cheesy moment or two with the light booth guy. It should have been nominated for an Oscar; Randy Newman was right about there needing to be five songs nominated for the category.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.

What Did You Like Best?

I keep reading stories about the last year in movies and how it was lackluster. But I find critics say that every year. As a former critic, I know how easy it is to get jaded.

Every year there are bad sequels and bad re-makes and bad old-TV series-made-into-movies. What? You thought The A-Team and Hot Tub Time Machine were going to be good movies?

While some movies were disappointing, there were a few that I really loved.

Toy Story 3

What a great ending to a great series. Pixar, the makers of Toy Story, always seemed to get that toys are very real to kids. Each toy has its own personality, its own quirk and that is why we love various toys. But more importantly they never doubted the capabilities of their audience to understand that those qualities may be different from what we perceive.

Andy gazing at his old toys, Picture from IMDb.com

 

There are so many elements, so many details that goes into this last movie. It is a coming-of-age movie, an ending but also action-adventure with a heist element. We mourn who is gone and celebrate with who is left. We cry with relief and sadness and happiness. It may be one of the best movies of the entire year.

Burlesque

Christina Aquilera wants to be so much more than a fine singer, she wants to be an actress as well. This is a first good step in that direction. Starring with the ultimate singer-turned-actress in Cher, Aquilera is a small town girl from Iowa who wants something more from her life. A one-way ticket to L.A. is the first step. A waitressing  job at the best burlesque house is the next.

Cher and Christina Aquilera in Burlesque, Picture from IMDb.com

 

That is where she meets Cher who mentors her along in the way of make-up and performing. And when Aquilera lets loose on the pipes, all bets are off to discovering how successful she will be. Forget reality while watching this movie because you know some of what will happen. Stay for Cher’s solo, Kristen Bell’s anger and Stanley Tucci’s every scene.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1

I know that everything in the book did not make it into the movie. I was looking forward to some things that did not make it. But this movie did what it had to do. It gave us the fill towards the end. It lead us from school life to real life for Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Daniel, Rupert and Emma in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Picture from IMDb.com.

 

We are now set up for the final movie, the final episode. We are ready for the huge battle we know must come. And if it all goes the way I hope, David Yates will be praised forever as one of the best directors of one of the best movie series ever.

Sherlock Holmes

Robert Downey Jr. has seen a renaissance that has been remarkable for the roles he is getting and what he is doing with them. In this movie, Downey had to contend with the specter of Basil Rathbone and made his own mark. I wondered if he was giving Sherlock a bit of an Asperberger’s twist with his incredible focus on a single subject and lack of social niceties.

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. in "Sherlock Holmes," Picture from IMDb.com

 

Jude Law also has some hurdles to cross as he makes Dr. Watson different from the Nigel Bruce charactization. We follow the story of a woman from Holmes’ past whom needs Holmes to do some investigating. Plus, the two men are dealing with an estrangement as Watson finds a woman he wants to marry. I was entranced and loved how Guy Richie envisioned the story.

There are so many other movies I need to see. I am looking forward to Rabbit Hole, Country Strong and True Grit, among others.

 What movies did you love in the past year?