Tag Archive: nicholas cage


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

This past weekend, the husband and I did something new and different.

We took a trip without the kids.

It was necessary to do this as our niece was getting married but had to have a small wedding.

There is a lot more to the story than I can say at this time. Suffice it to say this wedding was the definition of bittersweet.

Because the wedding was not till later in the afternoon, the husband asked what I wanted to do while in the Washington D.C. Area. I had only one answer for this trip – I wanted to see Mount Vernon.

Yes, that Mount Vernon that served as the home of President George Washington.

Mount VernonSo we went, paid our money so we could walk a part of the estate and through the mansion. Because there were so many people, I felt as if we were on an assembly line. There was a cordoned path for us and the docents stayed in their rooms, talking about the rooms as we walked through. No time for questions. There were rooms we walked past too quickly to really see, it wasn’t till I was at home and on the computer that I learned one room belonged to Martha’s daughter-in-law.

What really impressed us were the grounds. The gardens to the east of Mount Vernon were incredibly beautiful as well as utilitarian. Flowers planted in a natural style formed the outer edge of a square while the inside were filled with neat rows of various vegetables. Bees happily gathered nectar and most probably took care of the vegetables as well. These edges were not simply flowers but fruit and nut trees scattered so as to not cause shadows throughout the day.

As we walked about we noticed specialty tours going on. I accidentally joined one that was about all of the gardens, not just the one we saw. That was an hour long tour. There was another special tour at 4:00 P.M. in which you could have tea with Martha Washington. And then there was the Nation Treasure: Book of Secrets tour.

National Treasure II Mt VernonThe 2007 movie has a crucial scene at Mount Vernon in which Ben Gates takes the President to some secret passages underneath Mount Vernon. His goal is to find out another piece to a secret treasure that will somehow prove his great grandfather was not a member of the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. First he has to get there and does so by the Potomac, so we get to see the sandy beach by the wharf. Then there is the party which takes place on the grounds of the mansion.

It stars Nicholas Cage as Ben Gates, Diane Kruger as he long suffering girlfriend as well as Justin Bartha as Riley. Jon Voight returns as Ben’s father and Helen Mirren joins the cast as Ben’s mother. I have only seen bits and pieces of this movie. I love the first one so much I am afraid to see the follow-up. What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?

What I love about National Treasure is the history, the walks and/or runs through historically significant sites. And when Nicholas Cage waxes poetic about the Declaration of Independance, stating that people may not talk that way but they think it, I believe him. I believe him during every part of this movie.

Could I feel the same about National Treasure: Book of Secrets? I’m not sure. But I am going to watch it so I can re-visit the plantation I recently toured.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.`

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

This past weekend I put out the wind chimes out on my porch. When the winter winds are finished, I usually put them out and finally it seems the winter winds are done.

 

Image by nasir khan

Image by nasir khan

While walking yesterday, I noticed a broken robin blue egg shell on the sidewalk. Such a pretty color and that is a sure sign that spring is here to stay since the Robins are starting to have babies. Finally, the husband showed me a picture he had taken this morning of goslings in the water being protected by the parents.

 

Finally, spring is here. But then news reports talk about 80 degree weather coming. We will get our one week of spring before it hits summer. So this week, I am hitting the garden and getting the mulch and weeds out as quick as possible. Wasn’t it just two weeks ago snow was flying?

 

Change is a hard thing for us humans. We like our routines, and that some people are always going to be there for us. When those routines are upset, we are off kilter until we get use to the new routine.

 

I think about this when I hear people talk about their new diet or exercise routine. I have a friend who recently quit smoking and that is one difficult habit to give up. But I know in the long run she will be happier for it.

 

I am on the change kick not just because of the season but because of some of the movies we have seen recently. Over the weekend, the family went to see The Croods at the theater. Probably its last week but we were not in the mood for death and destruction.

 

It is a tale about a stone age family whose life is about to change as their world goes through land mass upheaval. Talk about having your routine upset.

 

Image from Movies4Kids.wordpress.com

Image from Movies4Kids.wordpress.com

The Croods think they are the last of the humans until they meet Guy. Guy agrees to help the family find a safe place after their cave is destroyed by falling boulders.

 

It is fun, action packed, and has many interesting creatures. But what struck me was the scene in which it is explained how new ideas are frowned upon because that can get you killed. Curiosity can get you killed. Stick with the old ways that you know and hide in a cave when danger comes around.

 

It seemed to me that this theme was also central to Frankenweenie and ParaNorman. Stick with the old ideas, beat out or destroy anything that is different. New ideas or discoveries are bad.

 

All movies are about the journey a person or a group of people take during a particular episode of life. Most of the time, it is an episode that changes or transforms us or allows us to deal with life as it is right at that moment.

 

Sometimes, the journey is about accepting a new idea or being open to the wonders of the world without falling prey to the dangerous parts. That might be the hardest one of all. It will not always be successful but I can say that you will not fail to learn something.

 

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.

Oh, there are questions and ponderings. When the answer lady looks at the search terms used to find their way to this humble blog, she is never quite sure if people really do not know these things or in serious need of a book.

Well, at least there is the internet and Google to assist those who have a question and need an answer.

Q. Who is older – Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage or Barack Obama?

A. The Answer Lady knows this one without even looking up dates.

Why is that you ask?

Nicholas Cage is only six days younger than Answer Lady. Plus, her adorable 14-year-old is a huge Johnny Depp fan and tells Answer Lady all of the time that they were born on the same year. That would make both men 47.

President Barack Obama, Image from visitingdc.com.

Now, our president was born in 1961. In fact, he will have his 5oth birthday on August 4th.  So the answer to the question is that Barack Obama is older than Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp.

Q. Why has my spider wort gotten leggy?

A. Spider wort loves spring weather. This grassy plant gets nice and high. Fuchsia or purple flowers bloom and it is quite lovely. However, once the heat of summer settles in the plant is not so happy, especially if it is in full sun most of the day.

Spiderwort in full sun, not pretty.

I have spider wort in full sun and in part shade. The plant in part shade is a little weepy but there for the most part. The plant in full sun is wilting, drying away and the patch of ground is looking bad. This fall, I am transplanting the rest of my spider wort to the part shade sections.

Q. Which is tastier – Elephant Ears or Funnel Cakes?

A. The answer to this question is that the Answer Lady does not have a clear concise answer. Both food items contain flour, sugar and grease. Both are sugared – granulated sugar on the elephant ear and powdered sugar on the funnel cake. You can get toppings on the elephant ears that make them even more tasty.

That does not answer the question and the Answer Lady must ask that dear readers begin to pipe in about their preference. As it is County Fair season, we are planning on an expedition to decide which is better. It is a tough job but someone has to do it. Does anyone want to join me and share in the load?

Image by Grafixar

Celebrate!

Image from IMDb.com

Next week, this time we will be on the second leg of summer. Fireworks will have been spent and the flags will hang while waiting for a breeze.

This week, we need to celebrate. Hang that flag, fluff out those red, white and blue planters. Desserts at picnics will include cookies with red, white and blue icing. My favorite is the coolwhip cake that has strawberries and blueberries making a flag.

So what should you watch if the rain comes and forces everyone in the house?

The first movie on my list (surprise, surprise) is National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage, Justin Bartha and Diane Kruegar. Cage has been following a crazy dream of his family’s that involves a treasure of the ages hidden by the founding fathers who were masons. OK, so the plot sounds a little crazy and convoluted. But think of the places these guys visit. The Smithsonian, Jefferson’s Memorial, the Liberty Bell, Trinity Church. All are treasured historical places, all have deep meaning to the founding of our country.

When Cage waxes poetic on the founding fathers, you know it is something the character truly believes. Plus, this is a movie that all members of the family can watch.

Image from IMDb.com

There are a variety of movies that explore the various fights for freedom. Many of them are not appropriate for younger children due to the level of violence they contain. One example is The Patriot starring Mel Gibson which has an “R” rating. The story is about a retired soldier who is avoiding service in the army as the Declaration of Independance. After his second oldest son is killed, Gibson joins the fight by teaching his group guerilla tactics that were initially disruptive to the Gentlemen warriors of King George’s army.

Jason Issacs is perhaps one of the best villians in this movie as the brutal Gen. Tarlington. But keep in mind that this movie is not historically accurate. Tarlington did not do all of these evil deeds although the real guy was truly hated by his own side.  

Image from IMDb.com

Now for a movie with all of the bells and whistles of Americans standing up to invading forces how about Independence Day? When forces from the sky decide to invade or country, it will take a number of people to take back the country including the president as portrayed by Bill Pullman, scientist Jeff Goldblum and fighter pilot Will Smith. See this movie on the biggest screen you can find and understand that the movie is loud. Very loud.

Would you expect anything less as planes zoom over New York and the ‘rebels’ find their way to Area 51 to fight off the space invaders? I hape not because you know there are spectacular explosions and sad deaths taht will have you crying.

Image from IMDb.com

Finally, I share this last suggestion because I do believe words are as  powerful as action. And I believe that it is ok to hae emotions. You can see The American President for the romantic dramedy that it is. Or you can see it for the serious treatise on American politics that it dips the toes into being. There is a lot to love in this movie. Annette Bening, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Richard Dreyfus. They might play the game from different end but they play it for the same reason – love of country.

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.

Get a Little Speed Up

Family Movie Night

One of the frustrating things about winter is you cannot drive fast on the roads.

 Just when you think you can, another driver is scared by the ice and the snow and the slickness of it all. There they are, driving maybe 25 mph in the center of the road, with you unable to pass them.

There are ways of getting around. Be patient and safely pass (ha!), turning on the next road when the car in front goes straight, run the other car off the road (not my personal suggestion as I may be that driver going 20 mph). Or you can plan your movie viewing for those flicks that show maximum amount of speed and daring. 

The Mach 5 from Speed Racer; Picture from IMDb.com

  Let’s start with a suggestion best for all family members. Remember when Speed Racer came out a few years ago. I loved watching the colors as the cars fly by on one of the most original race tracks I have ever seen. Emile Hirsch stars as the grown-up Speed who dreams of being the best driver ever who will win The Crucible, a race that killed his brother several years ago.

 I love the brightly colored sets, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon as Speed’s parents, and the roar of the cars. It is rated PG and has only one mildly questionable scene that quickly becomes OK when little brother Spritle shows up. Maybe this is not what you thought of as compared to your memories of the 70s’ cartoon but I think the Wachowski Brothers did a great job.

Anthony Hopkins with his modified Indian motorcycle; Picture from IMDb.com

 This movie is a few years old and may be hard to find but I absolutely adored The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins. This biography, better suited for adults, is about Burt Monro, a New Zealander who built the fast Indian motorcycle ever. And he wants to test it on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the U.S. So Monro gets a mortgage on his home and makes the trip.

 Here is the problem. The Indian has no brakes, skimpy tires and lacks a chute. Can he get around these obstacles just to see how fast the Indian can go? Will you get caught up in the story? Absolutely.

Movie Poster; Picture from IMDb.com

 Which leads me to my next and final selection. Gone in 60 Seconds puts Nicholas Cage in a sticky situation. In order to save his brother’s life, the retired car thief must steal 50 specific exotic cars in a four-day period. To do so, he brings back several of his old team members, including Angelina Jolie.

This movie is rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and language which makes it inappropriate for the youngest members of the house. It is a slick movie about fast cars, full of adrenaline rushes that come from great car chase scenes. When you want speed, this is the place to go.

 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.