Lately I've been thinking that I want to start re-watching films with great scenes in Italy... the next best thing to being there. One of the best films like this from the nineties is was on cable the other day: Only You, a light romantic comedy starring Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr. and Bonnie Hunt (some would call it a chick flick). The plot is straight out of the madcap romantic comedies of the 30s and 40s: The name of the "love of her life" is foretold when Tomei's character is a young girl... a name she searches for unsuccessfully right up until her pending marriage.
Everyone looks this good in Positano on the Amalfi Coast
She answers a phone call from an old friend of her fiance who happens to have that name, and she finds herself in a blinded-by-love chase all the way to Italy to meet him.
With Bonnie Hunt along for the joyride of a lifetime, she meets dreamy Robert Downey Jr's character and starts to fall for him... but pulls away knowing that he's not "the" man foretold as her lifetime love.
You can see where this is going... girl dumps fiance, searches for the perfect boy, meets another boy, dumps that boy, then realizes that she loves the new boy, then the new boy is found out as lying to her, she dumps him again... whew! Trust me, as it's happening, it's really not hard to follow... and neither are the beautiful backdrops of Italy.
The film is cute, funny and well worth a watch, but the scenes in Venice, Florence, San Gimignano and Rome are really worth it. There is even a recreation of the scene at the Bocca della Verita where they mimic the scene from Roman Holiday when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn tempt fate by putting their hands in his mouth. The strange thing I noticed about this scene is that, unlike in Roman Holiday, it was filmed in front of a plastic prop--not the real Bocca. I can really tell when I look at the details of the Bocca's face, lips and eyes. What a shame. In typical Hollywood fashion, perhaps they shot many of the scenes on a Hollywood stage set... but I assure you, the exterior scenes are shot in the actual Bel Paese.
Have fun with this one. I suggest a bottle or Prosecco, some casual pasta dish that you can eat from bowls while sitting on the couch, your lover by your side and some Baci chocolates for later in the evening...
While browsing through Amazon Prime videos for a new (to us) movie to watch, we came upon this gem... Uncle Nino (2009), starring Joe Mantegna and Ann Archer and with a charming performance by Italian actor Pierrino Mascarino as long-lost uncle who stirs up their suburban lives with an unexpected visit. Trevor Morgan plays a rebellious, garage band obsessed son and the daughter is played by Gina Mantegna, Joe Mantegna's daughter in real life. It was the first time acting together for this father-daughter duo.
The story line is pretty basic: Overworked and driven executive husband and father, bored and loving wife and mother, son and father crossing each others' paths and never really connecting, and a daughter being overlooked in the mix. Enter Uncle Nino, the long lost Uncle from Italy who teaches the family about the simple things in life--good wine, gardening, making soulful music, enjoying the pleasures of a family pet, and good food.
In the end, the story is about Famiglia, love, respecting each others' needs, and connecting with our heritage. It's a great wholesome story that I recommend for all Italian-American families with kids.
It's rare that my son Lucas sits through an entire movie at home, but he just loved this one. You definitely enjoy this one. Order a pizza and have some wine when you watch it...
A later version of a Moto Guzzi Polizia Stradale - 1967 Moto Guzzi Falcone 500
When I first learned how to drive a motorcycle in the Early seventies, one of the more difficult skills to master was not driving fast, but driving at what is typically called "parking lot" speed... s l o w l y... yet still being able to keep the bike upright and make turns without putting your feet down. I'm pretty good at it, even if I must say so myself. But just wait until you see this...
Here are a couple of videos from the 1950s showing an elite synchronized police motorcycle team, driving Motto Guzzi Polizia Stradale bikes. Some of their maneuvers are driving precisely and very slowly. Amazing stuff. Enjoy!
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