Today's movie is the much-loved Moonstruck, directed by Norman Jewison in 1987. It's got Cher, who won an Oscar for her performance, and the whole thing got Best Original Screenplay. I don't usually want to write about how famous a movie is, but I just wanted to show how much everyone (everyone!) likes this movie. It's clear that there are many good things about it, but I must not be getting them. Maybe I am onto something that no one else is! A new and unique criticism! Nah, I'm probably just surly.
The film is about Loretta, a woman in her late thirties who is about to get married to Johnny, a pretty normal guy who is really dependent on his mother and sort of a bore. Loretta tells her mother that she doesn't even love him, which is good, her mother tells her. Johnny wants Loretta to invite Ronny (hurf), his brother, to their wedding, but is very melodramatic about how they haven't spoken in five years. Ronny lost a hand in a bread-slicer related accident and blames his brother for it. Loretta and Ronny have some drinks and some sort of a tumble in bed, and you can imagine the rest.
The movie is about more than just Loretta and her two -onnys, though. There are many subplots, all featuring romance or family. Loretta finds out her father is having an affair. Her mother has a chaste but somehow romantic dinner with a scorned professor. Her aunt and uncle share tender moments and randiness under "la bella luna!". There are lots of cute subplots here, and they really do add some fun and depth to the film. My favorite is Loretta's grandfather, who has a crazy and adorable pack of scruffy dogs that he walks and feeds table scraps to.
So, here is where I try to explain why I don't like this movie. I have a theory that people like romance novels and movies because they imagine themselves in one of the roles. I mean, at least I do this when I read like, Jennifer Crusie novels when I can't sleep. I think, "This man in the book sounds nice and/or attractive, so I will fantasize about him." Hopefully this is what everyone else does, because otherwise my whole theory is shot. My point is, I don't really like Ronny at all. I sort of hate that he's always yelling and seems to be really doofy. He has a huge temper-tantrum about something that Loretta says and man, that is pretty unattractive. Since my personal romance-movie-test of if I can fantasize about the male character is ruined, there's not too much left for me.
|Uh, not going to happen.|
I know it's sort of a weak defense. I can't help it. The moment I hated the movie was clearly the moment when Ronny started seeming really whiny, angry, and childish. I don't fantasize about guys who have temper-tantrums. Ever. I know that there's more to the movie than just if you like Nic Cage's character or not, but I really didn't like him. He was yell-y and headache-inducing. I'm sure there are little nice nuances with his character and their relationship, but I don't really get them.
I also sort of hated the part when Loretta gets a make over. Then she gets catcalled, which is how you know that you've made it as a woman, or something. I don't know, it was too much like that scene in movies where the nerdy girl "gets a makeover" by taking off her glasses and all the boys love her. Just take a little gray out of Loretta's hair, pluck her eyebrows, and instant glamor! Whatever. My romantic fantasies certainly all skip the step where I get waxed first.
The are obviously a lot of nice little nuances to this film. There are a lot of nice moments as well. A lot of the humor relies on melodrama and over-acting, which all falls sort of flat for me, simply because I don't really like that style. Like I said, pretty much everyone else I know loves this movie, and I can sort of see why. It just doesn't really work for me. This is pretty lame of me to say, because there are romantic comedies much worse than this that I like - but honestly, the only reason I like them is I like the male actor or character. Hopefully I actually did a decent job explaining my feelings about this movie and didn't just distract you with badly made face-in-holes that I made while going crazy inside my house, in 90 degree heat listening to all the trees on my street get chopped down. That was pretty depressing, so I had to be a little silly in my post. :)
Really, overall, Moonstruck is a sweet movie. It's just not for me.
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Moonstruck
Buy it on Amazon
"But what romance movies do you like, Mandy?" you might be asking yourself. I am only half joking here:
|This is more like it.|