3 Best Movies to Watch by Sonny Bono

Staff & contributors

Similar in spirit and in subject matter to the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, The Wrecking Crew pulls back the curtain on the recording of many of the greatest American songs of the 1960s and '70s: that a single group of unassuming session musicians were responsible for bringing out the sound in these tracks. The film is a treasure trove for musicians and music fans, making you hear certain instrumental nuances in a different light and deepening your perception of music between what was written and what was recorded. Then inevitably and tragically, the realization sets in that few—if any—of these musicians have received the recognition they truly deserve, as essential but unfairly small parts of a music industry ecosystem that often cares more about image and entertainment than musicianship.

Genre: Documentary, Family, Music

Actor: Adam West, Al Casey, Al Jardine, Annette Funicello, Bones Howe, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, Carol Kaye, Cher, Dean Martin, Dick Clark, Don Randi, Eva Gabor, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Frankie Avalon, Glen Campbell, Graham Nash, Hal Blaine, Herb Alpert, Jan Berry, Jimmy Webb, Jody McCrea, Lou Adler, Micky Dolenz, Mike Love, Nancy Sinatra, Peter Tork, Ricky Nelson, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Sonny Bono, Tommy Kirk, Tommy Sands

Director: Denny Tedesco

There is a lot to appreciate and learn from this work, which is a streamlined history of queer standup with so many enlightening stories. There is a LOT of standup footage and commentary from different eras, and different flavors between them evoking crass, feel-good, and revolutionary — which is reason enough to dive in. It’s got a self-assured tone to it, thanks to all the unapologetic and quick-witted figures telling their story and choosing to make it one of inspiration. In a word, it’s an informative celebration of queer standup comics, of tapping into empowered selves on and off-stage, reminding us that activism is always within reach.

Genre: Comedy, Documentary

Actor: Alec Mapa, Bill Clinton, Billy Eichner, Bob the Drag Queen, Bruce Vilanch, Carol Burnett, Cher, Conan O'Brien, Dave Holmes, David Letterman, Diane Sawyer, Eddie Izzard, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres, Fortune Feimster, Gina Yashere, Guy Branum, Hannah Gadsby, James Adomian, Joel Kim Booster, Judy Gold, Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball, Madonna, Mae Martin, Margaret Cho, Marsha Warfield, Matteo Lane, Patti Harrison, Richard Pryor, River Butcher, Ronald Reagan, Rosie O'Donnell, Sandra Bernhard, Scott Thompson, Sonny Bono, Susan Stryker, Tig Notaro, Todd Glass, Trixie Mattel, Wanda Sykes

Director: Page Hurwitz

Rating: R

It’s easy enough to pitch Moonstruck with the promise of Cher and a young Nicolas Cage getting hot and heavy in 80s New York, but it’s so much more than its two outsized leads. Loretta (Cher) is on track to marry Johnny (Danny Aiello) when he tasks her with inviting his brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to their wedding. Before long Loretta and Ronny are having a whirlwind affair that threatens to derail everything. 

Despite the somewhat risque premise, Moonstruck is a lighthearted, sentimental, romance fit for the holidays. A big cast playing the warm-hearted family rounds things out, and some of the best moments are digressions that explore the romantic entanglements outside of the central couple.  At times Moonstruck feels a bit too big, too over-the-top, too cheesy, but it’s a New York slice cheesy, it’s a ‘That’s Amore’ cheesy, it’s a cheesy that tucks you in at night after a  helping of manicotti and a big bottle of wine.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Al Therrien, Amy Aquino, Anita Gillette, Ann McDonough, Antonia Minella, Betty Orsatti, Catherine Scorsese, Cathy Ladman, Charles Scorsese, Cher, Curt Hayward, Cynthia Dale, Danny Aiello, David Hummel, David S. Howard, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Frank Gio, Gina DeAngeles, Helen Hanft, Helen Proimos, Joe Grifasi, John Christopher Jones, John Mahoney, Julie Bovasso, Leonardo Cimino, Lisa Howard, Lou Pitoscia, Louis Di Bianco, Louis Guss, Matt Myers, Mimi Cecchini, Mimi Lizio, Nada Despotovich, Nicholas Pasco, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Benedict, Paula Trueman, Peter Austin Noto, Robert Weil, Robin Bartlett, Sonny Bono, Stephany Hitchcock, Tim Koetting, Tommy Hollis, Tony Azito, Vincent Gardenia

Director: Norman Jewison