Moonstruck is yet another popular flick that the list seemed insistent on including, as if there were some quota on popular, middle-of-the-road films that they needed to fill. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a pretty good film, and an entertaining one, but absolutely nothing about this screamed “all-time classic”, or even “must see before you die”. In all fairness, I shouldn’t take it out on Moonstruck; this has a number of things going for it, but for me, it was only a matter of time before I reached the tipping point, and I know there are still a good number of these kind of films left on the list, so better now than never. Though, there were still a couple points or so on the film for me to find time to vent about, as you’ll see.
Moonstruck stars Cher as Loretta Castorini, a widow who winds up letting herself get engaged to another man, Johnny Cammareri (played by Danny Aiello), whom she doesn’t really love but feels comfortable enough to spend her life with. One caveat: Johnny is currently not speaking with his brother Ronny (Nic Cage), but despite this, he wants the man to come to his wedding, and Loretta is charged with inviting him. You can see where this is going (this is a romantic comedy, after all); Loretta and Ronny end up falling for each other, and now the situation must unravel itself from the tangled mess it has become. Now, let me take a step back, and bring up my one, big problem with Moonstruck, and it’s a problem that has surfaced in these types of films before. There’s one scene where Loretta meets Ronny, that is mostly about the bad blood between him and his brother, and then a follow-up scene, where Loretta tries to clear the bad blood up and ends up instigating a mild fight with her would-be brother-in-law. And then, BAM; the second scene between them is not even over, and they are literally throwing themselves at each other across the room, mashing faces. It comes out of freaking nowhere, with absolutely no lead-up, and we are meant to believe that this is what is supposed to happen; maybe not that these two are in love, but that they are meant to be. After that, the rest of the film is their whirlwind romance, and of course, at the end they do end up together, but at no point, from the very beginning to the very end, was any of it believable. It was frustrating to watch, even more so because I knew the film was trying its hardest to be entertaining, and besides the plot foibles, it was mostly succeeding. The least I could ask is that the main couple spend more scenes together than I can count on my hands before getting engaged, that’s all.
Now for what did work. As much as the plot bugged me, and it bugged me a great deal, the film had a nice charm about it that made it very watchable as a result. The acting from all involved was also quite good; Cher and Cage are the standout examples, but so is Olympia Dukakis as Loretta’s mother. There’s a few memorable parts of the film as well, such as the scene halfway through the film where Cher gets dolled up to go to the opera with Ronny, and comes out of the salon with by far the biggest hairdo I think I’ve ever seen on a woman. All I could think about for the whole next scene where she meets Ronny at the opera was, “God, I feel bad for whoever is stuck behind her in the auditorium.” That, and the scene where Dukakis’ character strikes up a conversation with a shunned professor, and they end up walking home together; that was a nice scene, though as I’ll get to in the closer, it didn’t go anywhere.
This film, amusingly enough, seemed to be all about how affairs and adultery can only be a good thing. Cher and Cage find love, both of Cher’s parents find similar like-minded companions, and then… the film ends. None of the subplots have any resolution whatsoever, and even the final scene of the film wraps up the main plot as quickly as it can, with a bunch of convenient plot developments. But now I’m just railing on the story again, and I’ve done enough of that. This was enjoyable, even with the problems I had with the film’s core, but again, nothing about this shouted “you HAVE to see this before you die”. You don’t have to go out of your way to avoid seeing this one, but neither do you need to go out of your way to see it.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10