In the interests of full authorial disclosure, I need to begin with a confession. I am, have been, and likely always will be, a loyal fan of Nic Cage. I grew up watching his movies, and will probably grow old watching them too.
My first memory of watching him is in ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, where I fell in love with his gravel voiced portrayal of the flawed, yet charming Charlie Bodell. And then, along came a movie called Moonstruck.
It is a movie that holds a record for longest time spent hovering around first place in my list of ‘favourite movie of all time’. In fact, I’ve recently confirmed for myself that indeed it IS my favourite movie … a place which shall be locked in forevermore; we’ve known eachother for too long for any other movie to ever come close.
As the tormented and angry Ronny Cammareri, Nic Cage is perfect (and I don’t just mean in the lean, long-legged way) – his characterisation is perfect in an imperfect, real way. Until he meets Loretta (played beautifully by Cher), Ronny is consumed by bitterness and the problems of his life which he largely blames on his older brother Johnny (who happens to be Loretta’s fiancé). When Ronny and Loretta first meet, instead of being put-off by Ronny’s aggressive manner, Loretta finds herself intrigued, rising to the challenge of this seemingly difficult man. Following some wonderful heated exchanges with some seriously sharp writing, Ronny’s anger and Loretta’s sensibility find a happy connection together in the home of passion and love:
‘You’re mad at him, take it out on me, take your revenge on me! Take everything; leave nothing for him to marry! Hollow me out so there’s nothing left but the skin over my bones.’
One of the true pleasures of Moonstruck is the way that all the characters are multi-dimensional. In the case of Ronny, he isn’t just a baker tormented by a past love that slipped away, he is also a lover of opera and a tragic romantic (the music from La Boheme is cleverly used throughout the film):
‘I love two things. I love you, and I love the Opera. If I can have the two things that I love together for one night, I will be satisfied to give up, oh God, the rest of my life.’
Ronny is the master of persuasive poetic speeches, filled with the thoughts which have come to embody many of my concepts of love, life, romance and passion. I think the reason why I enjoy Ronny Cammareri so much, and in fact all the interesting characters played by Nic Cage, is that he is able to expose the flaws of a character in a completely charming way, exploring them to full advantage:
‘Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is and I didn’t know this either. But love don’t make things nice, it ruins everything – it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We’re not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die! The storybooks are bullshit!’
Many people like to criticise Nic Cage, and perhaps one of the hardest parts of being one of his fans is constantly having to defend both him and my enjoyment of his films. I’ve given up on that in recent times, figuring that some people will just never ‘get it’. After all, movies are sometimes created to simply entertain, to provide us with an escape … and yes, for us to fall in love and ruin ourselves with.
(due to this week currently spinning out of control, I hope you enjoy this piece I recently wrote for the ‘Coalition of Awesomeness‘. Thanks also for all those who have left comments, I’ll catch up on those very soon … promise).