February 10, 2009

Moved By Movies

There are a few movies I cannot get enough of. Moonstruck is one. If it is on, I watch it. Two nights ago I snuggled into bed, picked up the remote for one obligatory spin around the channels before I layed me down to sleep and there it was. The girl behind the Italian market counter handed the old woman a bag and said with friendly familiarity, "Thank you Mrs. Fugacci," and I was hooked. I know what I love about Moonstruck - those dead pan New York accent delivered lines. Chrissy, get me the big knife! I don't know Rose. I don't know where I've been, I don't know where I'm going. It's Johnny Camarerri!

I know why I like Moonstruck, but I don't exactly know why I keep watching You've Got Mail. It's not the kind of movie I fancy fancying. It's kind of cookie cutter and predictable and generic, but I keep watching it too. I like it when Tom Hanks imitates the Godfather, "Mawnday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wensday." I like it when Meg Ryan quips, "Mr. 152 insights into my soul." I like it when Meg Ryan's character decorates her Christmas tree and quotes Joany Mitchell's depressing song about wishing she could skate away from her problems. And there are two parts of the movie that always make me cry.

The first time I cry is when she's standing behind the counter talking to "Joe Fox" the big book mogel and she tells him that when she was six she'd come there to her mother's bookstore every day after school and help. Sure, that sounds nice and cozy. That sounds like a perfect little storybook mother and daughter life, I love little shops, I love books, I love city corners, I love my mom and I think I would have loved to work with her at a little book store of our own. But who is my sobbing fooling? I spent hours in tree tops and fighting neighborhood boys in my driveway. I didn't even like to go inside to pee, what makes me think the rambunctious childhood me would have wanted to work with my mother every day in a bookstore?

The second time I cry is when she's closing her store for good. It's not the loss of the store that gets me, it's the visualization she sees as she stands at the door gazing back into the empty room. She sees her mom twirling her childhood self around the floor. I never ever twirled with my mom. I never knew I wanted to twirl with my mom. But something about this movie makes me believe deep down that I must have.


rosemary said...

Your comment to me was perfect.....I love everything about Moonstruck because of the Italianess...the family interactions, the dying mother, the frying a steak in a pan, all of the extended family around the table at breakfast, falling in love; reminds me of my Italian childhood and my Italian mother. .....as for You've Got Mail...it is the mother connection for me as well...not having been connected to my mother it makes me feel a loss but in the end it is the selling of that store that gives her the ability to write. I like the line when Tom says Meg is beautiful but she is a pill.... my mother called me a "pill and a bitter one at that" all the time. In the end with both of those movies as well as....Sleepless in Seattle, Falling in Love, Murphy's Romance, Harry & Sally....all of those romantic little movies...it is about love overcoming everything else and happy ever after is the assumption at the end....a fairy tale.

Paul Nichols said...

Nothing at all like "Shawshank Redemption," "Usual Suspects," or even "Some Like It Hot." :)

Jennie said...

I did watch Shawshank Redemption over and over for a while, loved that. And I only recently saw Usual Suspects because I love Benicio Del Toro (and his name - I wanted to name Sean Benicio, but Stan nixed it - he would have made a perfect Benicio, but I digress) and that was a good one too. Haven't seen Some Like It Hot.