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Loretta Castorini is Italian and it shows
In the bickering of father Cosmo and her mother Rose,
In the frank, straightforward way that she insists he do it right
When her boyfriend Johnny suddenly proposes one odd night.
But Johnny’s rather hesitant to want to set a date,
And he has to leave for Sicily; his mother’s death won’t wait.
 
Before he goes, he begs his bride to call his brother Ronny,
Who’s held a grudge for many years against his brother Johnny.
Loretta visits Ronny at his bakery and pad,
And she learns he blames his brother for an accident he had.
When Ronny was engaged, his brother came to buy some bread,
And the slicer chewed his hand off and his dear fiancée fled.
 
Ever since, he has been bitter, and he hollers at Loretta,
Who is unimpressed with Ronny and his ludicrous vendetta.
When she cooks a steak for Ronny and explains his life to him,
Ronny sweeps her off her feet and promptly beds her on a whim.
Both Ronny and Loretta and her family all swoon
When they see the aphrodisiac that is the shining moon.
 
When morning light arrives, Loretta instantly regrets
Her own passion, and the fact that Ronny loves her now upsets.
She still agrees to go with him to La Boheme that night
And, after confession, primps herself so she will look just right.
That night, both she and Ronny meet each other at the Met,
And she notices her father with a date that makes her fret.
 
When Ronny gives a speech on love and bids her come to bed,
She falls again, unlike her mom who curbs temptation’s spread.
But Johnny’s back from Sicily; his mother’s gotten better.
He needs to tell her something that cannot be said by letter.
When Loretta comes back home, her mother knows what she has done,
And they wait for Johnny’s entrance, but he’s not the only one.
 
First, Ronny shows up, wanting to announce that they’re a pair,
Then Cosmo grudgingly agrees to end his own affair.
The grandpa, aunt, and uncle come and fill the kitchen table,
Then Johnny shows and says, as far as marriage, he’s unable.
If he marries, he’s afraid his mom will die, so Ronny moves
And proposes with his brother’s ring, and everyone approves.
__________________________
 

Moonstruck is a romantic comedy that presents a quirky snapshot of Italian life in New York, minus the car bombs and shootings of a certain other film about Italian Americans. Cher is enjoyable to watch in her Oscar-winning performance, one of the few to win Best Actress for a comedy. Nicholas Cage also stand out as Ronny Cammareri, as do Olympia Dukakis as Rose and Vincent Gardenia as Cosmo. The film is loaded with excellent quotes, from Cosmo’s rehearsed oration about copper pipe to Cher’s classic “Snap out of it!” when Ronny professes his love. Not to mention, my VC and I both love the wacky mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of Loretta’s expressive but loving family, Cosmo’s throwing up his hands and insisting “I don’t wanna talk about it,” Johnny constantly forgetting his bags. The grandfather’s reaction to the kitchen table conversation at the end is just hilarious.

All that said, I don’t care for a main aspect of the “romance.” Loretta and Ronny’s liaison seems centered on making love, which, while passionate, seems to build their relationship on lust rather than real love. They hardly know each other during their first tryst, and there isn’t a whole lot of connecting before the next one either. Loretta is clearly attracted to him in a better way, but Ronny’s impassioned speech ends with “get in my bed,” which is kind of a letdown since Loretta’s main appeal to him is apparently just sex. Still, faithfulness is nicely extolled in Rose’s refusal to cheat on her own philandering husband.

I also appreciate the filmmakers’ comparative restraint concerning nudity and language, which allows the ingenious screenplay to shine without a bunch of unnecessary profanity. Moonstruck is an entertaining film that features some great performances and dialogue and pokes fun at Italian eccentricities that everyone should get a kick out of. (Again, my VC would have it much higher on her list.)

Best line (a hard choice): (Cosmo) “You’ll have your eyes opened for you, my friend.”
(Johnny) “I have my eyes open.”
(Cosmo) “Oh yeah? Well, stick around. Don’t go on any long trips.”
(Johnny) “I don’t know what you mean.”
(Cosmo) “I know you don’t. That’s the point. I’ll say no more.”
(Johnny) “You haven’t said anything!”
(Cosmo) “And that’s all I’m saying.”

 

VC’s best line (in reference to an earlier line): (Rose) “Do you love him, Loretta?”
(Loretta) “Aw, ma, I love him awful.”
(Rose) “Oh, God, that’s too bad.”

 

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 8
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 6
Watchability: 7
Other (language and Ronny’s apparent shallowness): -6
 
TOTAL: 30 out of 60
 

Next: #308: The African Queen

© 2014 S. G. Liput

 

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