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Mystic Pizza Movie Review

gish taylor annabeth holden

This charming story about three teenage girls growing up in Mystic, Connecticut, won its director a Best First Film prize at 1989's Independent Spirit Awards. With that sort of encouragement, better movies were expected of director Donald Petrie than Opportunity Knocks, The Favor, Grumpy Old Men,and Richie Rich. But back in Mystic, the characters played by Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, and Lili Taylor are protected in a time capsule as best friends forever. There are wonderful performances, too, from Vincent D'Onofrio as Taylor's boyfriend, William R. Moses as the quintessential married man who's playing both ends against the middle (and who's Such A Nice Guy to Gish's naive babysitter), and from the great character actress Conchata Ferrell. The perceptive script by Amy Holden Jones (who went on to write Beethoven, Indecency, The Getaway, and Indecent Proposal—hmm…do we see a trend here when fine indie artists go to Hollywood?) nails down the restless atmosphere of young women itching to leave the over-familiar surroundings in which they grew up, but filled with nostalgia for the associations that made their childhood bearable.

1988 (R) 101m/C Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, Vincent D'Onofrio, William R. Moses, Adam Storke, Conchata Ferrell, Joanna Merlin, Matt Damon; D: Donald Petrie; W: Amy Holden Jones, Perry Howze, Alfred Uhry; C: Tim Suhrstedt; M: David McHugh. Independent Spirit Awards ‘89: Best First Feature. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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