It's beginning to look a (very little) bit like Christmas, as The Unenthusiastic Critic's annual "Christmas-adjacent" movie marathon begins with Norman Jewison's Moonstruck (1987), starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, and Olympia Dukakis.

First, this week, we're acknowledging that the holiday spirit is going to be hard to come by in 2020, and discussing how Nakea's most festive plan for the season is to murder the plastic snowman on our neighbors' front lawn.

Then, we're doing the bare minimum to get in the Christmas spirit, by watching a movie that contains the bare minimum of Christmas references. Moonstruck won a Best Actress Oscar for Cher, a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Olympia Dukakis, and a Best Original Screenplay award for writer John Patrick Shanley. But will this madcap comedy—about love and death, passion and Opera, dismembered bakers and philandering plumbers—help bring the Unenthusiastic Critic into a holiday mood? Or will it just hit her eye like a big pizza pie?


0:00: Prologue: from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
0:48: Preliminary Conversation: Trying to Get in the Christmas-Adjacent Spirit
12:04: Interlude: from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
12:47: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Moonstruck
22:50: Interlude: Original Trailer
24:31: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Moonstruck
50:11: Outro and Next Week's Movie

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Moonstruck (dir. Norman Jewison, MGM, 1987).
—Prologue and Interlude from "Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (dir. Chuck Jones and Ben Washam, MGM TV, 1966).
—Links and Resources: "Moonstruck: Life in the In-Between," Emily VanDerWerff, Criterion; Review by Roger Ebert, rogerebertcom; Review by Pauline Kael, from Hooked (New York: Dutton, 1985).
—Find additional episodes, leave a comment, or make a donation to support the podcast at
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—Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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