Thursday, August 10, 2006

Movie Review: Mystic Pizza

Perhaps in order to punish myself, I rented the movie Mystic Pizza (1988), starring a very young Julia Roberts in her first big role and a post-Pyle (see Full Metal Jacket, 1987) but still young Vincent D'Onofrio. The movie is set in Mystic, Connecticut, a town I saw from the Amtrak window on my way to Boston a couple months ago. It's a beautiful seaside fishing village.

The plot of the movie revolves around three girls who work in a pizza restaurant. But what the movie is really about is two working-class sisters, getting romanced (read: taken advantage of) by men who disguise their sleaze with wealth and intellect.

It is refreshing, however, to hear a righteous fisherman D'Onofrio breaking up with Lili Taylor (who fainted at the alter in the beginning of the movie) -- she'll sleep with him, but she won't commit. She stands on a dock agape as D'Onofrio says from a boat, "don't you get it Jo? I'm telling you that I love you. And all you love is my dick."

Annabeth Gish plays Kat, the youngest of the trio, a pretty, preppy, pre-Yale sister to the trashier Roberts character. The movie gets better when Kat finally "makes it" (or does she?) with the architect whose daughter she's been babysitting all summer. The architect's wife comes home early from England and Kat is left alone and confused. Damn Volvo-driving New England liberals.

Julia Roberts' Daisy meets Porsche-driving Charles Gordon Windsor, Jr. when he slums it in the local watering hole. He's hanging around the townies now that he's been thrown out of law school for cheating. His class insecurities and identity crisis drive him to Daisy, but he can't give up the Porsche.

For the trivia fans, both Julia Roberts and Vincent D'Onofrio appeared in episodes of Miami Vice around the same time as Mystic Pizza was filmed, D'Onofrio in 1987 and Roberts in 1988. Matt Damon, in his first screen role, played the younger brother of Daisy's law school drop-out boyfriend.

JoJo (Lili Taylor) does get married to Bill (Vincent D'Onofrio) in the end, as we knew she would, but both the Arujo sisters, Daisy and Kat, are left in uncertain situations. This movie would be pap, except that it's done remarkably well. That and it's a rare coming-of-age drama in which the leads are all women -- in the eighties, no less.

Why did I just review Mystic Pizza? I ... I don't know ... I haven't been feeling myself lately. I, I don't know.

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