Tag Archive: moonstruck

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.

Do you find that one actor or actress gets to you in the way that no other performer does?

If this was my second oldest child answering, he would say Johnny Depp.

Nicholas Cage who is six day younger than myself; Image from IMDb.com

For me, it is Nicholas Cage.

I have no idea why but I will stop my world to watch a Nicholas Cage movie – good or bad.

Lately one of the stations has been showing Ghost Rider over and over. I have been watching when I get a chance for the pure chutzpah of it all. How Cage will look in a mirror and smack his choppers, making that hollow sound of bones crashing together.

He takes total joy in the pursuit of evil and bringing in those who prey upon their fellow man.

Then this same actor makes National Treasure. The history geek in me loves this movie and all of the facts – or semi-real facts – it presents. All along, Cage’s character waxes poetic about the meaning of the Constitution. When his assistant, Justin Bartha, states that people don’t talk that way, Cage responds with “But they feel that way.” As he says it, I know deep in my heart he truly believes in that line.

There is sincerity in that statement. What Cage has been working for the last few years is creating characters with sincerity.

In his early career, Cage had a tendency to overact. Watch him in Moonstruck. There is a constant  “over-the-top” feeling. He won’t get beyond it for several years. But then he did Guarding Tess  (1994) with Shirley MacLaine and Leaving Las Vegas (1995) with Elizabeth Shue.

His acting changed, he became more real despite some of the outrageousness. Whatever was going on in the story, Cage became the calm inside of the storm. But he also worked to be interesting without being weird.

Adaptation allowed him to play two roles – the blocked writer working on a novel-to-screenplay adaptation and the outgoing twin brother who easily writes a screenplay and sells it almost instantly. The movie is about the creation of movies and a writer’s dip into a deadly underbelly of orchids (of all things).

Another great movie from this period is Matchstick Men in which Cage and Sam Rockwell are con men, making the biggest con of their careers that will allow for retirement. Cage is suffering from OCD which makes doing jobs harder and harder. Then he discovers he has a daughter from his brief marriage.

I love this movie for the highs and lows, the wins and the losses. I love it for Cage’s performance. I feel the same way about The Family Man, The Weatherman, National Treasure and World Trade Center. These performances are about character studies and people going through tough situations in really messy ways.

In the last few years, there have been news stories about Cage’s need to pay off tremendous debt. He has made some incredible popcorn movies, relying on those great acting skills in movies that are B-level. What we don’t always get is that he makes them watchable. How bad could his latest movie, Drive Angry, had gotten if he did not play it serious.

Considering I believe he made The Sorcerer’s Apprentice  better than it should have been, it is my feeling he has saved many of these lesser movies. But the real question is will Cage ever get back to making the better movies he is capable of doing?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.