Mystic Pizza - 1988
Director(s): Donald Petrie
Writer(s): Amy Holden Jones, Perry Howze, Randy Howze and Alfred Uhry
Cinematography by: Tim Suhrstedt
Editor(s): Don Brochu and Marion Rothman
Cast: Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, Vincent D’Onofrio, William R. Moses, Adam Stroke and Conchata Ferrell
Happy Valentine's Day - hope you got yourself a cheesy pizza to go along with whatever cheesy rom-com you picked to view with your special someone. And if you don't have a special someone, yet, I hope you have some beer to wash down that pizza. The particular slice of cheesy rom-com I picked for this day is 1988's Mystic Pizza, a well-received film at its time but since the rise of its three female leads, it has accumulated quite a large cult following. Let's talk about it.
The story takes place in Mystic, Connecticut - a small fishing town. We follow two sisters, Kat (Gish) and Daisy (Roberts) and their friend Jojo (Taylor) as they try to balance working at the Mystic Pizza parlor and their romantic lives. Jojo is battling her need for independence and the love she feels for her fiance Bill (D'Onofrio). Daisy is tired of the stereotypes her family and friends have placed on her and wants to be taken more seriously. And finally, Kat is struggling with the feelings she is developing towards the married man that hired her to babysit his daughter. Amy Holden Jones penned a script (along with a small crew) that took the tropes of rom-coms in where a man came to save the day and flipped it on its head. Their friendship and strong wills are the driving force for their growth, not the men they fall in love with.
Quick note: do not watch this film on an empty stomach - as there is a pizza in almost every single scene.
My favorite storyline is Jojo's, as she struggles to find the perfect middle ground of being a wife and staying true to herself. Bill is the ideal man as he is willing to wait for her, fight for her and give her the independence she deserves. The rest of the storylines a good, the rich boy and poor girl story of Daisy and Charlie (Storke) has its funny moments. He is attracted to her because of how different she is from the girls around him, but she won't accept him just because he has money. Daisy wants a real partner standing next to her and is not settling for no one. The Kat storyline is the weakest for me, but the payoff in the end when Leona (Ferrell) helps her with her college fund is one of the best parts of the film. Ultimately the core friendship of the three leads is what makes this film funny, endearing and a fun watch.
Mystic Pizza is a fun rom-com that manages to squeeze in three coming of age stories, and three different types of loves; philia, eros, and storge — making it a great film to watch with anyone you love. The leads are charming and have excellent chemistry. The stories, while predictable, deliver just enough laughs and heart to keep the audience invested and entertained. I can see myself revisiting this small fishing town for another comforting slice of pizza. Lili Taylor is why I love movies.
Mystic Pizza is Glass Half Full.
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