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Movies you missed: 'Moonstruck' was a hit for a reason

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's time for Movies You Missed, when we revisit a movie classic that somebody somehow seems to have missed. This week, a New York love story with Cher and a young Nicolas Cage.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MOONSTRUCK")

NICHOLAS CAGE: (As Ronny Cammareri) I'm in love with you.

CHER: (As Loretta Castorini) Snap out of it.

SIMON: "Moonstruck," about a woman who is caught between her fiance and his hotheaded younger brother.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MOONSTRUCK")

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS: (As Rose Castorini) Do you love him, Loretta?

CHER: (As Loretta Castorini) Ma, I love him awful.

DUKAKIS: (As Rose Castorini) Oh, God, that's too bad.

SIMON: The 1987 movie was directed by Norman Jewison. The immensely quotable screenplay is by John Patrick Shanley. It was nominated for six Oscars. It won three, was a sensation at the box office. Everybody knows this film except for Jack Corbett, a video producer at NPR. Jack, thanks so much for being with us.

JACK CORBETT, BYLINE: Oh, thanks for having me.

SIMON: Now, were you avoiding "Moonstruck," or it just didn't enter your orbit?

CORBETT: You know, I knew about it. I think I didn't watch it because my mom really liked it, and so I assumed that - it was an act of rebellion.

SIMON: Yeah. Yeah, I - no, I absolutely understand. So you saw the movie. Did you fall in love?

CORBETT: As close as it could - a movie could make, yeah. It was, like, probably the most, like, absurd movie I've seen in so long. Like, the Nicolas Cage speech in the basement - I don't know how anyone but him could read that off. And he's slinging around bread in the basement.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MOONSTRUCK")

CAGE: (As Ronny Cammareri) I lost my hand. I lost my bride. Johnny has his hand. Johnny has his bride. You want me to take my heartbreak, put it away and forget?

SIMON: Cher won an Oscar for this movie. And the man who runs this segment, Danny Hensel, notes it was a very good year. Holly Hunter was also nominated for "Broadcast News" and Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." But who won? Cher. What do you think of her performance?

CORBETT: I was, like, falling in love with her. I've spent a lot of time around that part of New York City, and I guess I was just seeing the defeats, the great joys.

SIMON: You know what I think is an utterly wonderful scene in there? Olympia Dukakis, who also won an Oscar, is terrific. And there's just a very sweet, touching scene between her and John Mahoney in the restaurant.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MOONSTRUCK")

JOHN MAHONEY: (As Perry) How come you're eating alone?

DUKAKIS: (As Rose Castorini) I'm not eating alone. Can I ask a question?

MAHONEY: (As Perry) Go ahead.

DUKAKIS: (As Rose Castorini) Why do men chase women?

MAHONEY: (As Perry) Nerves.

DUKAKIS: (As Rose Castorini) I think it's because they fear death.

SIMON: It just underscored that romance is available to people at all different stages of life, isn't it?

CORBETT: Oh, yeah. There were, like, three generations, and, like, they were all sharing such love, such romances. Like, it really - like, marriage - it's just, like, so messy and yet it's, like, so - I don't know. It made me rethink a lot about, I guess, like, marriage in general.

SIMON: It made you rethink marriage?

CORBETT: Yeah. I thought before, I don't know, it seems, like, really, like, messy. But now I'm, like, oh, it's messy, that's fine, but, like, not in a bad way.

SIMON: Yeah. Do you think you'll see it again?

CORBETT: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think - it's like, I want to rewatch it now.

SIMON: Did you call your mother and say maybe you were right?

CORBETT: You know, I have to. I have to.

SIMON: That would mean a lot to her, I think.

CORBETT: I - she'll probably hear this. I mean, I'll tell her.

SIMON: Well, I hope so. Jack Corbett is a video producer for NPR. You can see him on the NPR Planet Money TikTok page. Jack, thank you so much for being with us.

CORBETT: Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THAT'S AMORE")

UNIDENTIFIED CHORUS: (Singing) In Napoli where love is king...

SIMON: And if there's a movie that you've missed, you can tell us all about it at n.pr/moviesyoumissed.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THAT'S AMORE")

DEAN MARTIN: (Singing) When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore. When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, that's amore.

SIMON: (Singing) That's amore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.