Primum non nocere
I love it when she goes off to invite Ronny to the wedding, as a favor for her fiance Johnny, who is out of the country to tell his mother he's getting married, and who didn't have the guts to ask Ronny himself, so he sends Lorreta instead, and she has no idea of the bad blood between Ronny and Johnny..."So you want me to go to my brother Johnny's wedding?": )
Well, I did get a chance to watch this again last night, and absolutely loved it! It was a lovely little story. Nicolas Cage was very good, of course, and all the supporting characters, but Cher, really, Cher was so very good as Loretta! Her character was one of those women that are just golden, for their strength of character and willingness to stick in there for you, even if its trouble to do so. She loved caring for people, and she loved her family. They were an outspoken bunch and might make some uncomfortable, but that is just how a lot of Italian families are. And the hair... my word, Cher's hair after the make over was unreal. A remarkably beautiful woman. The light hearted Italian music and cuts from Dean Martin for the background helped give you the sense of Little Italy, but it was Puccini's La Boheme that just soared and added so much depth and passion to the story. The story of luck, that Loretta had waited for love but had bad luck, and then decided to settle for something that looked safe, which was wrong for her to do, I loved that. And the flip at the end, when that big fat liar Johnny returned home and then went to renege on his promise to Loretta, to her disgust and sharp anger, that was hilarious. "In time you will see that this is the best thing.""In time you'll drop dead and I'll come to your funeral in a red dress!"Too funny! And then Ronny steps in, but no... No ring, no dice. I love the way that she insisted she be treated in a manner that was respectful and that honored her and her family, both current.. and future! : ) It reminded me of Reese Witherspoon's June Carter in Walk The Line. I so wish more women understood those things. So he looks over to Johnny, asks to borrow his ring, the ring that he is picking up off of the floor where it bounced to after Loretta threw it at him, and with the same ring in hand, before all her family, he asks solemnly and with feeling, would Loretta marry him? Yep, I loved that show.
It is hard to feel too bad for Johnny -- he was quick enough to get on his knees when it was to look for his ring. (And wasn't that a great bit, him on his knees, offering his ring... to his brother.) But I don't think he meant to be a liar. I think he needed to believe that his mother's "miracle" meant he couldn't marry Loretta because at some level he knew they weren't right together. Like Loretta and her "bad luck" -- the husband she loved died too young because she didn't do things "right" for that wedding, and that doing things the right way will protect her from heartbreak. (Good leverage with her father, though!)The side story with Rose and John Mahoney as the college professor was so wonderful, and I think it serves as a key to understanding what's going in with everyone else. He is surprised to find himself drawn to a woman who isn't aglow with youthful admiration, a woman who sees him for himself, and likes him, responds to him. She has the pleasure of discovering that she is still a woman who can draw a man to her; she blooms a bit in his company, and enjoys having her company enjoyed. But when he asks about being invited in, she tells him "I can't invite you in because I'm married. Because I know who I am."And that's the thing everyone else is struggling with -- knowing themselves. Loretta tells Ronny his "life," believing she sees truths about himself that he cannot, but she hasn't faced her own truths yet, either. And Cosmo doesn't seem to know why he's doing what he's doing -- where he's been, or where he's going -- and I love how Rose "solves" it by telling him he's going to die, "just like everybody else."I loved seeing Loretta embrace reality, free of curses, superstitions, and simple avoidance, when she talks to Ronny about the ability to choose how to live, to know there may be a part of you that is strong but doesn't have to be given in to. She knows that Ronny is "the right man," but she has made a commitment to Johnny. (Fortunately, she also realizes that marrying someone when she's in love with someone else isn't doing anybody any favors.) Although I suspect that before too much longer Loretta would also have discovered she couldn't marry Johnny even if she had not met his brother -- perhaps because "Pop doesn't like him."The writing in this movie is so fabulous -- there are so many great lines, great moments. I think the line that struck me as the funniest was when Ronny, while Loretta is desperately trying to get him out of the house before Johnny gets there "to talk," says, Yes, he would love some oatmeal.Maybe the line that best sums up the madness of love and romance is when the grandfather, distressed while everyone else is celebrating Loretta and Ronny -- and Rose and Cosmo, as well -- when asked what's wrong says, tearily, "I'm confused."
Johnny is a "big, fat liar" because Loretta is mad at him, embarrassed by him, rejected, strung along, and all in front of her family to boot, and so he gets called a big fat liar and a few other things, and that's okay. But this: "I suspect that before too much longer Loretta would also have discovered she couldn't marry Johnny even if she had not met his brother" ... wait a minute, wait just a minute! She married for love, and in so doing she had broken a whole host of conventions that a good Italian girl (and I mean that in the best of ways) just does not do, and instead of a husband and a family and a happy life, it resulted in heartbreak and misery and nothing. Out of that heartbreak she made a conscious decision to live her life differently, and was committed to doing so. Certainly she was going to marry Johnny Cammareri. It was the safe choice. She had avoided further heartache for seven years, and was going to go right on doing so, and do everything "right" from now on. Ronny wasn't about being safe. "Everything seems like nothing to me now, 'cause I want you in my bed. I don't care if I burn in hell. I don't care if you burn in hell. The past and the future is a joke to me now. I see that they're nothin'. I see they ain't here. The only thing that's here is you - and me.'" Ronny said lets run with life and take what comes. He had told her "I was dead" and she had replied "So was I". In my view, Ronny saved Loretta. To him she was a hope of life. Ronny strived for that hope, and in being that hope, Loretta saved Ronny as well. He held out his hand to her, he held out his hand made of wood... and she took it.
By the way, this is good fun! : )
In my view, Ronny saved Loretta. To him she was a hope of life. Ronny strived for that hope, and in being that hope, Loretta saved Ronny as well. He held out his hand to her, he held out his hand made of wood... and she took it.That was a perfectly beautiful scene -- and you are absolutely right about them saving each other.
That scene down in the bakery, Cathy, with Ronny sweating over the ovens, so on the edge, angry, miserable, with the crazy story of the bad blood with Johnny, and Loretta's eyes, and all the other people there standing quietly by, just watching... till Loretta points out you really can't blame Johnny for all that happened. And Ronny suddenly looses what little control he possessed, striking the flour bin and crying out:"I don't care! I ain't no monument to justice!! I lost my hand! I lost my bride! Johnny's got his hand. Johnny's got his bride. You want me just to take my heartache, and forget?!!"I loved that scene!
Well, you've got me thinking now I had the wrong take on Loretta's understanding of her self; I had not seen her as having known -- and consciously turned away from -- her passionate nature ever since the loss of her husband. Hmm. I guess that means that when she was refusing to go up with Ronny after the opera, she wasn't being honorable about her engagement to Johnny; she was just being stubborn! Guess I'll just have to watch it again... :)
Perhaps she was not aware of her passionate nature, or at least not more than to simply call it that part of her life that seemed to make her "unlucky". There is no right or wrong answer in such things of course. It is just my read of the film, and I would say her hesitence was partly out of wanting to keep things safe, and partly out of honoring her commitment to Johnny. Despite her reluctance, she was there at the opera, she was there for Ronny, and she definitely wanted to look her best for him. A part of her was saying "no" to the safe choices she had made. A part of her desired something more from her life... and I think that frightened her a bit. So Ronny helped her, he was willing to fight for her, fight against her desire to be safe and marry someone that she didn't really love. The ruination and heartache he was speaking of wasn't bad luck, it was life itself, and he asked her to embrace it, even the parts that would break her heart. Ronny knew those were the things that made up the living of life, the way they were meant to live it, she and him. That's how I saw it, anyway.
One of the most endearing and accurate reproductions of Italian America ever produced on film. If you don't fall in love with Cher, then you're dead. If you don't think it's one of Nick Cage's most endearing roles, then you have no heart, and if you aren't taken by Olympia Dukakis then you have compassion. If you aren't wishing you were Italian by the end of this film, then you have no soul! It's a cinematic tour de force of making the top 10 love stories of all time, the second best screen kiss by a AAA list cast of brilliance.
I never understood the logic - if there is any - in Johnny returning from Sicily and telling Loretta that his mother got better when he told her he was to be married, but that they couldn't get married, otherwise his mother would die. Can anybody explain this to me??? It makes no sense. Thanks! :)