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"The storybooks are bullshit!"
—Ronny

The story of your typical Italian American family living in New York. Loretta (Cher), a widow in her late thirties who has moved back in with her parents since the death of her husband, accepts a proposal from her bumbling boyfriend Johnny (Danny Aiello), who suddenly has to leave in order to visit his dying mother in Sicily. While he's away, Loretta tries to convince Johnny's estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to give up their feud and come to the upcoming wedding, but accidentally falls for him. At the same time, Loretta's father (Vincent Gardenia) is having a secret affair while her mother (Olympia Dukakis) ponders the skirt-chasing mentality of men. Hilarity Ensues.

Notable for getting Cher, Dukakis and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley Academy Awards. Notable further for the fact that the acting awards, for a spot-on depiction of a big Italian family, went to the non-Italian actors. Hmm ... (To be fair, Italian Vincent Gardenia did get nominated.)


Tropes:

 Ronnie: Loretta, I love you. Not, not like they told you love is and I didn't know this either. But love don't make things nice, it ruins everything! It breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect, stars are perfect. Not us! Not US! We are here to ruin ourselves and... and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and... and DIE... I mean, I mean the storybooks are BULLSHIT. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and... and GET in my bed. Come on, come on, come on...

 Ronny: Loretta, will you marry me?

Johnny: (suddenly popping up) WHAT?!

  • Happily Ever After: Everyone has a happy ending, even Johnny.
  • Insistent Terminology: Listen carefully to Ronny. For example, he doesn't take Loretta to bed - he takes her to THE bed, as if it were a ritual or a meaningful part of an opera.
  • Large Ham: Cage just nearly borders on this during his first scene where he explains his hatred for his brother, but slides back into being genuine.
    • It helps that the characters react to him in a similar way as the audience would, giving the character just a more Large Ham persona.
    • It's been noted that Ronny is operatic - he loves opera, and literally performs his life (see Insistent Terminology). He has plenty of more human, quiet moments.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Practically the Trope Codifier.
  • Momma's Boy: Johnny ("Johnny Camareri? He's a big baby.")
  • Multigenerational Household
  • Put on a Bus: Well, in front of a bus -- Loretta's first husband.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When Loretta takes the grays out, and gets the full beauty treatment, she goes from a nice middle-aged pretty to stunning.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Ronny & Loretta (reportedly an example of Enforced Method Acting).
  • What Could Have Been: Shanley initially wrote the characters as Irish, but decided to make them Italian to make it less of an Author Avatar script.
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