Moonstruck (1987)
January 22, 2015 7:36 PM - Subscribe

Moonstruck is an American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis. Moonstruck was nominated for six Oscars at the 60th Academy Awards, winning for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. (wikipedia) Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously). (IMDB)

Moonstruck is an absolutely fucking delightful, exuberant movie—everyone from Roger Ebert to my dad agrees. It’s rom-com at its best, at turns playful, bittersweet, sharp, and hilarious. Here is the Nicolas Cage who’s been conspicuously missing from movies for far too long, and here is the Cher who’s been missing for even longer—refreshing, naturally charming, Academy Award-worthy. (Rachel Handler via The Disssolve)

In a career of playing goofballs, Cage has never surpassed his Ronny Cammareri. Who else could bring such desperation to his speech when he declares his love? "Love don't make things nice. It ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die." And then, she having gone through the motions of resistance: "Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!" (Roger Ebert)

Cher won Best Actress in 1987 against stiff competition (The Dissolve)

Official Trailer (youtube)

The Bakery Scene (youtube)

This movie is currently on Netflix.
posted by valkane (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
SNAP OUT OF IT. So iconic, so 80s.

This was Cher's BIG comeback (and such a woman's fantasy: "I can't do that." "Why not?" "I'm in love with you." swooooooon.). I guess this was before Nicholas Cage revealed himself to be more interested in making myself a cartoonish joker of an actor than a serious actor?

This. Movie. Was. Big. And the joy the Boomers (always, always the Boomers, esp. in 1987) received from Dean Martin's song being put in.

Here's Cher winning the Oscar for Moonstruck (and some Chevy Chase/Paul Newman schtick). This was basically a Cher vehicle, although the whole cast are spectacular. (My favorite Cher movie is Mask, a great movie!) She was up against Glenn Close for Fatal Attraction and Holly Hunter for Broadcast News - and she won!

Nice post, and I look forward to the discussion.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:01 PM on January 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Reading Rachel Handler's mini-review made me go watch this movie again, even though I watch it twice a year, anyway.

Yeah, so, anyway, Rachel Handler is tearing it up over at The Dissolve. Everyone should go read what she writes.
posted by valkane at 8:15 PM on January 22, 2015

This movie is the best. I remember seeing it in the theater with my parents when I was 8 years old. We still quote from it constantly. My dad and I always do the "I'll say no more." "You haven't said anything!" "And that's all I'm saying." bit all the time. Also "Somebody tell a joke!" whenever it gets quiet at the dinner table. I still get choked up at the very end with the "Alla famiglia" toast and the soaring music and ahhhhhhh so good!

I could probably recite the whole movie right now.
posted by silverstatue at 8:44 PM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

"SNAP OUT OF IT!" is still just the best. You don't know how many times I have wanted to say it IRL.

And yeah, Cage is at his best here, ever. He goes from a crazy angry guy going on about his hand to.... the bed. And the opera. And she loves him something awful. Oh, that's no good!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:16 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Trivia note: Look for Martin Scorsese's mom (Catherine Scorsese) leaving the bakery. This completes the Mi Familia Universe, as she is in Moonstruck, The Godfather (part 3, I know) and Goodfellas.
posted by valkane at 9:32 PM on January 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just rewatched this recently and had to look up the ages of the actors. Olympia Dukakis was not quite old enough to be Cher's mother but Cher and Nick Cage were a kind of May/December romance. He was only 23! And she was 41, I think. Yet another reason to love this movie.

"Old man, you give those dogs one more bite of my food and I'll kick you till you're dead!"
posted by amanda at 11:10 PM on January 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

"Do you love him, Loretta?"

"Ma, I love him awful."

"Oh, that's too bad."

This movie made me want to go see an opera. At the time I did like classical music, but hadn't warmed to opera. Then shortly after it came out I went to college and ended up friends with a few opera singing students, and pretty soon I was a real Puccini fan.
posted by dnash at 5:25 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of my all time favourites with so much to love, especially Raymond waxing lyrical about "Cosmo's moon" and jumping into bed to ravish Rita and then one of my all time favourite movie exchanges ever:

Cosmo Castorini: What's the matter, Pop?
Pop: [crying] I'm confused!

(Pop being played by Feodor Chaliapin Jnr who also played Jorge in The Name of the Rose)
posted by prettypretty at 5:27 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Came here for "COSMO'S MOON!" and was not disappointed. I also don't think Danny Aiello gets enough credit for his part in this movie. I had several Italian-Ameriacn uncles & great uncles who were just like him. Essenntailly sweet but clueless and completely out of step with the world they found themselves living in.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:39 AM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Moonstruck" had an enormous influence on 22-year-old me.

I moved to the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens area a couple of years after "Moonstruck" came out... and was so thrilled to buy baked goods at Cammareri. Sadly, Cammareri isn't there any more, but the fond memories of my time in Brooklyn remain.

And man, do I miss seeing Cher on the big screen. The dream of the nineties is alive in Danvers.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:39 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Rose: Have I been a good wife?
Cosmo: Yeah.
Rose: I want you to stop seeing her.
*Cosmo rises, slams the table once, and sits down again*
Cosmo: Okay.
Rose: And go to confession.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:35 AM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

Whenever I have someone over to do work on the house I always remember the scene with Cosmo and the yuppie couple.

Cosmo Castorini: There are three kinds of pipe. There is what you have, which is garbage and you can see where that’s gotten you. Then there’s bronze, which is very good unless something goes wrong. And something always goes wrong. And then there’s copper, which is the only pipe I use. It costs money. It costs money because it saves money.

And yeah, this movie is Peak Cage. Peak charming Cage AND peak crazy Cage!
posted by selfnoise at 8:07 AM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just watched this last week! I was thrilled that it was as good as I remember it. It also made me want to go to an opera.

posted by emjaybee at 5:17 PM on January 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

"...but Cher and Nick Cage were a kind of May/December romance. He was only 23! And she was 41, I think. Yet another reason to love this movie. "

This. And it wasn't even a 'look it up' thing at the time - we all knew Cher was in her 40s (but looking AWESOME*) and Cage was way younger and don't you think there were many "moms" swooning over this (plus it's handled really well and just a well-put together, enjoyable film with great performances and soundtrack, etc.) And Nicholas Cage was kinda new and considered hubba hubba hot stuff! (Of course, he later turned into a freak.... but an entertaining freak!) I think he was known for Raising Arizona and Peggy Sue Got Married at the time.

Look at me, so focused on looks - let's see if I can come up with something a bit more substantive... but then, this movie is pure raspberry parfait - eat it up and enjoy it. The most striking image is of the moon, which is used as a romantic symbol of course but also conjures up the "wolf" metaphor and being out of control when there's a full moon. Additionally, it's just beautiful cosmic imagery to employ to try and convey the sense of falling in love. Doesn't Cher do a late night walk with the moon overhead? It's been a while since I've seen it..

As I said above, this was all about Cher really and it was a great vehicle for her to showcase her talents, you really are along for the ride with her in this one.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:20 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

(* the makeover bit was a bit of a 'ho ho ho' moment, as she really didn't need much updating, still, it's good fun and recreates the [important] ritual of sprucing yourself up for a conquest.. again, I think this is something for women and that sort of rings a bell - go to the salon, girlfriend - DO IT! :D)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:25 PM on January 23, 2015

This is one of my absolute favorite movies. It's a perfect movie. One of the bits of trivia I love about it is that this valentine to Italian-American family culture was written by an Irish-American playright.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Moonstruck is a fabulous movie, hitting all the right notes of fun, pathos and schmaltz. Wonderful performances from everyone, even Nicolas Cage.

I moved to the Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens area a couple of years after "Moonstruck" came out... and was so thrilled to buy baked goods at Cammareri.

I also went on a movie food pilgrimage - only mine was to the Pickle Guy on Essex Street because of my love for Crossing Delancey.
posted by essexjan at 12:57 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Miko, Shanley talks about that a bit in this piece for the NYT on the debut of his play “Outside Mullingar.”.

Heading home on the F train to Brooklyn [following a luncheon with a number of notable Irish-American writers, e.g. James Farrell and Jimmy Breslin], I thought about what I wanted to do, big picture. And I decided right then, I didn’t want to be helped, and I didn’t want to be labeled an Irish-American writer. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write about everybody. And for the next 30 years I did. I became a playwright and screenwriter. Italian-Americans were my particular specialty. I liked the way they talked. There was something free in it. This attraction resulted in plays and films with titles like “Italian American Reconciliation” and “Moonstruck,” and not a lot of jobs for Irish-American actors.

I always knew I’d have to come home eventually. I’m Irish as hell: Kelly on one side, Shanley on the other. My father had been born on a farm in the Irish Midlands. He and his brothers had been shepherds there, cattle and sheep, back in the early 1920s. I grew up surrounded by brogues and Irish music, but stayed away from the old country till I was over 40. I just couldn’t own being Irish.

Something in me hated being confined by an ethnic identity, by any family. In addition, I have often found procrastination to be an enriching exercise. Not saying increases what I have to say. Not writing about the Irish was building up a hell of a lot of pressure to do just that.

posted by dhartung at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Just watched this AGAIN (like it's possible to watch it too many times). And it's perfection AGAIN.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:17 AM on November 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

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