|Category||Comedy||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Year Released||1987||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Cher (Actor), Norman Jewison (Director) & John Patrick Shanley (Writer)|
(not "1:63" as stated on the packaging)
|Start Up||Language Selection then Menu|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, a series of static images behind the initial credits|
Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a 37 year old New York Italian widow. I put all of that into the one sentence since every aspect mentioned is critical to her character. She is 37 years old. She was married to a man who got hit by a bus and killed. He wanted to have children right away. She wanted to wait. Now, she regrets waiting, as she can hear her biological clock rapidly ticking away. She comes from a New York Italian family, so that in itself sets up a plethora of cultural mores and expectations.
Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) is 42 years old and still beholden to his mother. He has proposed marriage to Loretta, and she accepts. However, Johnny must fly to Italy to be by the side of his "dying" mother. When she dies, they will wed. Johnny asks Loretta to contact his younger brother. There is "bad blood" between the brothers ever since an incident 5 years ago. Loretta dutifully contacts Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage), and the sparks soon fly between them.
This in itself would be sufficient plot for many a comedy, but the plot has been beautifully rounded out here with a number of strong supporting characters. Cosmo Castorini (Vincent Gardenia), Loretta's father, is going through a mid-life crisis, and hence is having an affair. Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis), Loretta's mother, knows her husband is cheating on her, but her pride won't let her show any outward signs of this. She is the stalwart of the family, the bedrock on which all else is layered. If she falters, then the entire family will come crashing down.
What makes this movie successful is that all of the supporting characters have been fleshed out, and given a frailty and a humanity that deeply involves you in their particular lives. Down at heart, they are all nice people.
Looking back at this film, there really is only one weak link. Both my wife and I agreed that Nicolas Cage would have played this part much more believably if this movie had been made now, rather than 13 years ago. He seemed just a little unbelievable and wooden in his role. Cher, on the other hand, was totally believable in her role, as was the rest of the supporting cast. Nonetheless, this remains a great, very funny, and heartwarming film that is well worth adding to your collection.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was sharp and clear at all times, with more detail resolved within the image than I expected to see given the age of the film. Shadow detail was somewhat limited, with blacks tending to be just that - black. There are a lot of black clothes worn by various actors in this movie, and they all come across as just plain black without any subtle details being resolved. The very best contemporary transfers can resolve this level of black detail. This transfer could not unless the relevant actor was in the foreground and was very brightly lit. There was no low level noise.
The colours were strongly saturated, to the point of being slightly oversaturated in some indoor scenes. Outdoor scenes, on the other hand, were generally vibrant and colourful. This seems to be a characteristic of movies shot around this time period, and presumably has a lot to do with both the sensibilities of the time and the then-available film stocks.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Trivial aliasing affected some sharp chrome lines, but was not a significant problem. Film artefacts were plentiful at times, with a whole range of artefacts on show; black, white, and even blue marks were readily discernible at times marring the image, but never to the point of being excessively distracting.
This DVD is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring during Chapter 22, at 71:21. There is a significant pause at this point which is quite noticeable.
Note that the packaging does not list many of the
available subtitle options.
There are six audio tracks on this DVD, only one of which is mentioned on the packaging. The default is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Also present are German, French, Italian and Spanish soundtrack, in Dolby Digital 2.0. Rounding out the audio tracks available on this DVD is an English Audio Commentary track, in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, with no audio sync problems noted.
The score by Dick Hyman is suitably Italian-esque and quirky, adding nicely to the overall charm of the movie.
The surround channels were unevenly and rarely used. Music made its way into the rear surrounds at times. Ambient sound effects rarely made their way into the rear soundfield, with one notable exception; the clapping of the audience at the Met. This was fed to the rear surround speakers, but the effect was quite unnatural-sounding and poorly integrated. There were a number of scenes involving planes flying overhead that could have benefited from some rear surround activity, but this was not forthcoming, with these effects being restricted to the front surround speakers. There was a small drop-out of music in the left front speaker at 1:00 - 1:01.
The subwoofer had little to do.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video quality is excellent given the source material.
The audio quality is acceptable.
The extras are limited in quantity, but excellent
© Michael Demtschyna
21st May 2000
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD/Toshiba 2109, using RGB/S-Video outputs|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB/S-Video inputs. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|