MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Cher won an Oscar for her performance in “Moonstruck,” a romantic comedy about a middle-aged woman who unexpectedly falls in love with her fiancé’s brother. After getting engaged, Loretta (Cher) learns her fiancé (Danny Aiello) must travel to Italy to his mother’s deathbed. He asks her to contact his estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) so he can attend the wedding. However, after meeting Ronny, Loretta finds herself torn between men.
WHAT I LIKED
Just like my opinion of “Rain Man” is colored by my experiences surrounding my viewing of the film in the theaters back in the 80s, so is my opinion of “Moonstruck.” I saw “Moonstruck” back in 1987 with the same girl I saw “Rain Man” a year later. (We were just friends at this point, still, but that’s really not important.) She wanted to see “Moonstruck.” I wanted to see Wes Craven’s “The Serpent and the Rainbow.” She got her way.
When I saw “Moonstruck” that night in the theater, I hated it. (Don’t worry… I got her back the next week when I managed to drag her to see “The Serpent and the Rainbow.”) In retrospect, I realize that not only was I a stubborn teenager who was really into genre films, but I also didn’t know what to make of the film. Not having seen too many romantic comedies – more artsy like this one or more traditional either – I thought it was too heavy of a film for a comedy.
Looking at the film again more than 20 years later, I get it. It’s not a knee-slapper, but it definitely has its moments (often from the older characters or Nicolas Cage). It’s sweet and harmless and very well meaning. Now that I’m very close to the age of Cher’s character in the film, I understand that life perspective, and I can empathize with the regrets and rekindled excitement she has in the film.
“Moonstruck” has some fantastic performances, and with Nicolas Cage a decade from his own Oscar as well as A-list box office draw, he really threw down for his performance. Even though he’s given some decent performances lately, you don’t see the raw, young and hungry power he has in this film when he’s still got something to prove.
So, I can amend my opinion of “Moonstruck” from that of a naive sixteen year old boy. It’s not bad. Not bad at all.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While I like the film better than I did in 1987, I will admit that it’s not perfect. It gets a little cheesy at points, and the characters get out of their mess a little too easy at times. I still prefer the traditional “Pretty Woman” type of romantic comedy, but this one will do in a pinch.
The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary featuring Cher, director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley. It also includes the featurettes “Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family” and “Music of Moonstruck.”
Also, not listed on the cover box, there are several bits from “Taste of America” with Mark DeCarlo, featuring how to cook some traditional Italian meals. To be honest, I’m eager to try these more than anything else. I can’t say they’ll taste any good, but damn if they don’t look like they will.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of 80s cinema and those who like a more art-house romantic comedy.