Movies of 1987 Bracket Game: Moonstruck Vs. The Princess Bride
What do Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck and Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride have in common? Not a lot. They are both romantic movies with comedic elements, but I wouldn’t necessarily call The Princess Bride a romantic comedy. It’s such a hard movie to classify that it was difficult to find a movie to pair it with so it ended up getting stuck with Moonstruck by default. It may be a stretch, but you could argue that both movies have fairy-tale qualities about them. I don’t care if you don’t buy that rationalization, I’m sticking to it! 😉
But before we delve into a pair of whimsical romances, let’s look at the results of yesterday’s manly showdown:
I expected this to be one of our closer matches, but I was wrong. Predator came out to a commanding lead early on. Robocop fought back, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap. Ultimately, Predator captured nearly 70% of the votes. That means Arnold Schwarzenegger will take on Michael Douglas as Predator meets Wall Street in the second round.
Cher is an exceptionally accomplished performer. She is of course best known as a singer and pop culture icon. Considering film acting wasn’t her day job, Cher has a pretty impressive resume as an actress. In 1983, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Silkwood for which she won a Golden Globe. Two years later, she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Mask. In 1987, easily the peak of Cher’s career in film, she starred in three movies; Suspect, The Witches of Eastwick and Moonstruck. With the last one, Cher beat out Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sally Kirkland and Meryl Streep to win Best Actress.
Cher played an Italian-American widow who is engaged to her boyfriend played by Danny Aiello. Nicolas Cage costars as Aiello’s ne’er do well younger brother with whom Cher ends up having an affair. The movie was a critical and commercial success. In addition to Cher’s Best Actress win, Olympia Dukakis took home Best Supporting Actress and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley won Best Original Screenplay. Moonstruck was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director.
At the box office, Moonstruck topped out in third place. But it had legs and went on to become the fifth highest-grossing movie of the year behind Good Morning, Vietnam.
The Princess Bride was not as warmly welcomed when it was released in theaters. Take a look at that poster. Of all the things to include on the one-sheet the marketing team decided to advertise the movie based on the framing device in which Peter Falk reads a bedtime story to a sick Fred Savage. In all fairness, The Princess Bride is a difficult movie to describe. Based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name, the movie subverts genre tropes with a mix of action, romance and comedy.
That unique mix has made the movie an enduring and oft-quoted cult classic. But at the time of its release, The Princess Bride was not a big hit. When the movie went into wide release, it landed in third place at the box office behind the Kirk Cameron-Dudley Moore body-switch comedy, Like Father Like Son. It went on to become the 41st highest grossing movie of the year right behind the Barbara Streisand flop, Nuts.
But time has been kind to Rob Reiner’s fantasy comedy. Legions of fans have discovered the movie on video over the last 3 decades. It’s probably among the best-loved movies of the year despite humble beginnings.
So what’s it going to be? The Oscar winning rom-com or the eccentric fairy tale?