September 29, 2012 by Julia
Movie: Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage (Released 1987)
I feel the need to kick off the My Favorite Things series with my official favorite movie, which could also be called my family’s signature movie. My dad, mom and sister and I have watched it countless times, and like to repeat back our favorite lines, like,
“BRING ME THE BIG KNIFE.” “NO, Ronny, I won’t do it!!!”
There is a lot of familial yelling in this movie, a lot of deadpan pronouncements on serious subjects, a lot of kookiness and dry humor, all perfectly seasoned with magic and classical music and romance. It would not stoop to cheesiness. Maybe that’s part of the reason we like it; it reminds us of ourselves.
Loretta Castorini: You ruined my life!
Ronny Cammareri: No, I didn’t.
Loretta Castorini: Oh, yes, you did! Oh, yes, you did! Y’know, you got them bad eyes, like a gypsy, and I don’t know why I didn’t see it yesterday. Bad luck! That’s what it is. Is that all I’m ever gonna have? I should have taken a rock and killed myself years ago!
And Nic Cage, in the part he was born to play, long before he sold out:
Album: Joni Mitchell, Blue. (Released 1971)
I’ve only been listening to this album for 5 days now, so I am by no means an expert on the history of it, or the discography of Joni Mitchell. But I am sort of aware that Blue is considered a classic, in part because of this scene in The Kids Are Alright, implying its cult status:
Also, I’m a little reluctant to admit to liking this kind of sensitive, warble-y voiced music, because I wanna hang with the cool people who rock out, too.
Okay, I’m done with my disclaimers.
This album is great. It’s interesting enough to really listen to, with surprising melodies, and lyrics that tell stories, and Joni’s voice full of character and feeling. It somehow also makes great background music for reading or dinner. It is the musical equivalent of lighting a scented candle. Sometimes you need to listen to something pretty, and deep, and calm. It’s the kind of album that enhances whatever moment you’re in. I’ve been listening to it constantly since I discovered it last Sunday. (During a rare lazy afternoon.)
Book: Atonement by Ian McEwan, (Published 2003)
One of my favorite novels of all time – it left me devastated and in awe. Atonement begins small, perfectly capturing the inner workings of a dramatic 13-year-old girl’s mind (still amazed at how McEwan pulled this character Briony off so realistically, having been a dramatic 13-year-old girl once, myself), and expands to include desperate romantic love, WWII, shocking twists, and deep remorse. I have never read anything that met such literary ambition with such brilliance. It succeeds on every level. The movie does not really compare, because you miss out on Ian McEwan’s insight into each character, his prose that surely holds up under the most intense scrutiny. It’s not an easy read, and not for the faint of heart. It took me a while to get over this one. I love it when you can’t just shake a novel off.