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As we settle into a strange new homebound normal to help stop the spread of novel coronavirus, my social distancing partner and I have, like so many others, created a list of classic movies to re-watch.
After finishing Animal House (which, wow, doesn’t sit well in the #MeToo era), he asked: “My Cousin Vinny next?”
Somehow in my 26 years of life—and despite growing up in an Italian-American household where The Big Night soundtrack played on repeat—I’d never seen it.
“We must right this wrong!” he declared.
My Cousin Vinny is about a brash Brooklyn lawyer named Vincent LaGuardia Gambini (Joe Pesci), who arrives in a Podunk Alabama town wearing black-on-black leather duds and a gold chain to defend his cousin Billy (Ralph Macchio) after he’s wrongfully accused of murder. The film follows a funny fish-out-of-water formula, with rapid-fire dialogue, a heated debate over the optimal boiling time of grits, and, of course, one very suspicious pair of “yoots.”
The best thing about the movie is Vinny’s spitfire auto-expert fiancée Mona Lisa Vito (Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei), who wanders around taking touristy photos on a pink polaroid camera wearing an itty bitty black miniskirt, matching leather jacket, and oversized sunglasses that would make The Fame-era Lady Gaga drool.
Her fashion only gets better as the film goes on. She shimmies in ostentatious shoulder pads, testifies in court wearing a purple rhinestone-studded body-con dress, and fights with Vinny in a sexy bodysuit paired with black booties and a meringue-like pouf hair. A trend-setter ahead of her time!
In conclusion, the movie is great and Mona Lisa Vito—early ’90s goddess of glitz—is a bonafide style icon. She’s the perfect sartorial antidote to these dark times and the reason I’ve decided to ditch social-distancing-sweatpants in favor of something a little more fun.