Tag Archive: John Mahoney


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.

If I had to think about all of the great animated features I have seen over the years, I know I could make a top ten list without too much thought.
It would include movies from Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, and Ghibli Studios from Japan.
They are the easiest studios to think of because they have put out some of the best animated movies such as Toy Story, Shrek , My Neighbor Totoro, and The Lion King. And that is to name only a few.
I noticed that a movie I have considered a little known gem for many years just came out with a Signature Edition. The Iron Giant first came out in 1999 but very few people saw or seemed to even know about it. I would argue that this movie is really worth your time despite the fact that Warner Brothers did not know what kind of movie they had at the time.
Iron Giant 1999

1999 Movie Poster

It is a rich story about a boy who lives in Maine during the 1950s. It is a time of fear as the country is trying to hunt down communists while in a cold war with the Soviet Union. Worse yet, it appeared we were losing the race to space as Sputnik launches and succeeds in its flight around the earth.

For Hovarth, it is a great time as he watches the monster movies of his era on TV while his mother works the dinner shift at the town diner. But one night, as he is watching another science experiment gone awry, the TV signal goes out. Hovarth has to climb to the top of his roof to fix the antenna and notices big foot prints leading away from his house and into woods.
That starts our adventure with the big robot who eats metal and sometimes mistakes art works as tasty metal snacks. Things get hairy when the government comes in to investigate and right away Agent Mansley focuses on Hovarth. He knows the kid knows something but won’t tell the agent. When the situation grows into something awful, the Iron Giant proves what love can do to change a soul.
Iron Giant Signature

Signature Edition

When I think about this movie, I get teary-eyed because there are moments that catch you in the heart. There are moments that make you happy and laugh in all the right ways. It is a movie I would show to kids in third grade and up because some of it may not make such sense to kindergartners and younger children. Keep in mind that there is a scene or two that has a medium swear in which a general gets mad about how far a situation has gone and there is no turning back. But there are so many other great parts to this movie that you might want to make sure to watch it on a regular basis to catch all of the little details that you have missed before.

Voice over performances by Jennifer Anniston, Harry Connick Jr., and John Mahoney are pitch perfect. Eli Marienthal and Christopher McDonald find the right balance of kid and adversary adult as Hovarth and Agent Mansley, respectively.
So why get this Signature Edition? To be honest, the film has been worked over so the colors are deeper and brighter. There are a ton of special features, including a reel of deleted scenes, to look at as well as Easter Eggs to find. Plus, movie geeks can turn on the commentary to hear those details they love so much. But then there is the story itself. Director Brad Bird has restored scenes and changed a few things to make the movie he originally wanted.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.