Starting: Nicolas Cage, Cher,Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia
Ah, Christmas, known for it’s food, family, and film. I would have put music in there, but it would have thrown off my alteration. I LOVE Christmas films. In fact, they have become a part of my family’s traditions. We must always watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol while decorating the tree and watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve. I also incessantly quote Elf all year round. But to find a non-traditional Christmas movie? What in the WORLD does that mean? I started to think “out of the box” and landed on movies that just take place at Christmas. The films that don’t mention Christmas that often, and still give you those good ol’ Christmas feelings, like joy and love. With all of that in mind, I decided to make Moonstruck, my alternative Christmas Day movie.
They don’t make em like this anymore, folks.
The 1987 Academy Award winning classic, has been a favorite of mine and my family’s since it came out. The story centers around Loretta Castroini, played by the incomparable Cher, who is a middle aged woman who agrees to marry this dumb dude. Well, dumb dude asks Loretta to find his estranged brother, played by a young and dashing Nick Cage, and make amends so that dumb dude can have his whole family at the wedding. Cher and Nick Cage fall in love, and loud, Italian craziness ensues. Obviously, the film takes place around Christmas time. We see Christmas cards, Christmas trees, and a TON of snow.
Can we please go back to THIS Nicolas Cage?
The cast is beyond spectacular, as we can see by Cher’s Oscar. And, not only can I stand Nicholas Cage, but I find myself falling in love with him in this film. Not to mention that Cher’s parents are played by Vincent Gardenia, who stars in one of my favorite cult classic movies, Little Shop of Horrors, and the effortlessly elegant yet sassy Olympia Dukakis.
Spoken like a true mother…
On top of all of that John Patrick Shanley wrote the screenplay. Shanely is one of my favorite playwrights of all time, writing one of my favorite, Italian American Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a lot like Moonstruck in that it takes a snarkier, but still sweet view of love. Technically, Moonstruck is a romantic comedy, and I am notorious for hating RomComs. I feel that they should be a sub-genre of fantasy like Lord of the Rings. But Moonstruck takes the traditional icky love stuff and gives it a bite with the ever so sardonic tone for which we love Italian Americans. Would a Nicolas Sparks film have the heroine slap the hero after he’s made sweet love to her and declares his love for her? Or do you think that Kate Hudson would scream “Snap out of it!” to Matthew McConaughey after the most passionate experience she’s ever had? I think not.
Every drag queen’s favorite phrase!
For me, Christmas is a time of love. For most of my years, it’s been about a family love, which certainly prevails in this film, as you see with Cher’s dysfunctional, yet loving family. But this year, I feel the veil of cynicism lifted. Now, that does NOT mean that I am going to sit down with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watch 27 Dresses, planning my future wedding on Pinterest. It does however mean that I don’t think falling in love is such a bad thing anymore. And falling in love at Christmas, even if it is with Nick Cage, would be even better.
You don’t have to tell me twice, Nick;)