When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
Set in Brooklyn, New York1, this charming little romantic comedy directed by Norman Jewison concerns love, family, and the full moon. Cher won an Academy Award for her role here (unlikely as that might sound at first), and she was assisted in this by John Patrick Shanley's screenplay; he got another golden boy for his efforts.
Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a widow whose first marriage was plagued by bad luck: her husband was killed by a bus after only a few years of wedded bliss. On the night of a full moon she agrees to marry her timorous suitor, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), not because she loves him, but because he's a nice guy and she's tired of being alone. But first he flies off to see his dying mother in Sicily, after making her promise to call his brother, from whom he has been estranged, to patch things up and invite him to the wedding. The brother turns out to be Ronny (Nicolas Cage), a tortured baker with a wooden hand and a love of opera. Ronny is everything Johnny is not: emotional, passionate, strong-willed, decisive. A man to fall in love with, for sure.
Part of what made this movie successful are the multiple plots that weave through it. One concerns Loretta's parents: her father has a girlfriend, and his wife (played with aplomb by Olympia Dukakis, the third recipient of an Oscar in this movie) dithers about what to do; eventually she puts her foot down and demands that her husband stop seeing "that woman"; with a shrug, he agrees. Then there's the grandfather, given to oracular insights (as Italian grandparents often are in Hollywood imagination); he takes his five dogs out for walks on the Brooklyn Bridge at night and encourages them to howl at the moon. And there's Loretta's aging aunt and uncle, inspired by the moon to indulge in a night of hot sex.
It's a lightweight movie, sure, but it has an edge that makes it more than fluff, and the acting is surprisingly good. Recommended.
1A now-deleted writeup says that the movie was "set on Henry Street in Carroll Gardens in the now vanished Cammareri Brothers Bakery." And that noder, who lives in the neighbourhood, ought to know.