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June 27, 2010

Moonstruck and the Towers


I'm watching Moonstruck on MGM(HD), a movie I haven't seen since the summer of '88. It features a sharp, funny script by playwright John Patrick Shanley, and some incredible casting: Nicholas Cage as the one-handed baker; Danny Aiello as the older brother he blames for the loss of his hand and his fiancee; Olympia Dukakis and Vincent Gardenia; John Mahoney before he was Frasier's grumpy father; and, in a marvelous performance, Cher as the harried bookkeeper with "bad luck" who comes between the brothers.

It's a funny, whimsical film, filled with larger-than-life characters, snappy dialogue, and operatic emotions. But there's a sadness that lurks around the edges, especially if you're a New Yorker, a nostalgia for the ancient bakeries and butcher shops, the family-owned businesses handed down from generation to generation that seemed to thrive in Brooklyn and the narrow streets of TriBeCa, Alphabet City, and Little Italy. And Checker Cabs, when they still looked like real cabs.

Manhattan is as much a star of this film as any of the actors, and it manages to do the seemingly impossible: Make me nostalgic for the Twin Towers. From the opening title sequence, the World Trade Center towers rise above the skyline, the glittering skyscrapers gleaming amongst their lesser neighbors, the inescapable centerpoint of an unforgettable nightline, especially with that big moon, "Que Bella Luna!" shining brightly nearby.

That jarring sensation, that moment when I'm pulled out of the movie because of those ghostly towers, just one more reason I hate the terrorists who took them down and slaughtered my fellow New Yorkers.

Then the anger subsides and I succumb to the pleasures of a crazy Italian family, La Boheme, and a great romantic comedy.

Posted by Mike Lief at June 27, 2010 10:08 PM


I absolutely adore this movie!

Posted by: April at June 28, 2010 10:07 PM