Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Donald Petrie|
|Produced by||Mark Levinson|
|Written by||Amy Holden Jones
Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio
William R. Moses
|Music by||David McHugh|
|Edited by||Don Brochu
|Distributed by||The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|Running time||104 minutes|
Mystic Pizza is a 1988 American coming-of-age film directed by Donald Petrie. It stars Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, and Lili Taylor. The film also stars Vincent D'Onofrio, William R. Moses, Adam Storke, Conchata Ferrell and (a then-unknown) Matt Damon in his film debut.
Although the movie did not perform as well as expected at the box office, the movie has gained a large cult following since its release and received relatively positive reviews by film critics, who praised the performances by the three lead actresses.
The film is about the coming of age of two sisters and their friend through the romantic lives of the three main characters: Kat Arujo (Annabeth Gish), Daisy Arujo (Julia Roberts), and Jojo Barbosa (Lili Taylor), who are waitresses at Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut. In the film, Mystic is represented as a fishing town with a large Portuguese-American population. The film also touches on an Old World work ethic.
Kat and Daisy are sisters and rivals: Kat studies astronomy, works at a local planetarium, as well as the restaurant, and has been accepted to attend Yale University on a partial scholarship. Daisy just wants to find love through lust while trying to get out of Mystic. Kat is the apple of her Portuguese mother's eye, while Daisy is not; she is promiscuous and is not as goal-oriented as her younger sister.
There is also chemistry between Kat and her Anglo-American employer, Tim, a father who has hired her to look after his young daughter, Phoebe, while his wife is away. A relationship develops between them, but results in heartache for Kat when the wife returns and Tim fails to acknowledge what has developed between them. Daisy and Kat bond when Kat is devastated after her and Tim's evening together and Daisy comforts her baby sister.
Class distinctions and variant European heritages are explored in various scenes of the film.
- Annabeth Gish as Kat Arujo
- Julia Roberts as Daisy Arujo
- Lili Taylor as Jojo Barboza
- Vincent D'Onofrio as Bill (billed as Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio)
- William R. Moses as Tim Travers
- Adam Storke as Charles Gordon Windsor, Jr.
- Conchata Ferrell as Leona
- Joanna Merlin as Mrs. Arujo
- Porscha Radcliffe as Phoebe Travers
- Arthur Walsh as Manny
- John Fiore as Jake
- Matt Damon as Steamer
In his film debut, Matt Damon has a very small part—his sole line in the film being, "Mom, do you want my green stuff?" while eating lobster. The title of the film was based on a pizza shop that caught the eye of Hollywood screenwriter, Amy Holden Jones. That restaurant, also named Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut, has been popular among both locals and tourists since 1973.
The film opened on October 21, 1988 to mostly favorable reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78% at its VHS release. The film received "two thumbs up" from popular film critics Siskel and Ebert, giving particular praise to the three female leads, including Gish, whom Ebert likened to a "young Katharine Hepburn". He also noted that the film "may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars."
Despite being set in Mystic, most of the filming locations were in neighboring towns. The building used for the pizza restaurant was a converted home in Stonington Borough at 70 Water St. After the film's release, the real-life Mystic Pizza building in downtown Mystic was renovated to resemble the movie set. The Windsor family home, the wedding reception restaurant, the Peg Leg Pub pool hall, and the fishing docks are also in Stonington Borough. The famous hitchhiking incident takes place on North Main Street in Stonington Town. The Arujo home is in Pawcatuck; the lobster business where Mrs. Arujo works and the wedding church are in Noank. Tim Travers' home and the Windsors' country club are in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The most notable scenes that take place in Mystic are at the Mystic Seaport planetarium and at the drawbridge, where Jojo gets angry that Bill changed the name of his boat. As with most movies, not all locations are geographically correct. For example, fishing boats rarely pass though the drawbridge, as the fishing docks have direct access to the sea from the Stonington peninsula.
References in popular culture
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Alien from L.A.," Mystic Pizza is used as an example of a feminine film.
- In the 30 Rock episode, "SeinfeldVision", Jenna Maroney reveals having spent her summer starring in Mystic Pizza: The Musical. She gains noticeable weight from having to eat 32 slices of pizza a week for the show. She later stars in Mystic Pizza: The Musical: The Movie for which she receives the NY Critics Association Award for "Best Actress in a Movie Based on a Musical Based on a Movie"
- In one sub-plot of the Broken Lizard film, Puddle Cruiser, the main characters watch the film believing that Julia Roberts gets naked in it.
- Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snacks are packaged with biographical details of mascot Finn, including his favorite film, Optimistic Pizza.
- In Cougar Town, Laurie compares herself to Julia Roberts from Mystic Pizza when she visits the country club.
- In the episode "Run Away, Little Boy" of Gilmore Girls, Paris (played by Liza Weil) compares the "whole small town, 'we don't let a clock run our lives' thing" from Stars Hollow with Mystic Pizza.
- In The Lonely Island song "No Homo", the group feels the need to emphasize that knowing all the lines of Mystic Pizza is not homo.
- In Parks and Recreation, the character Ron Swanson only knows Julia Roberts as "the toothy girl from Mystic Pizza".
- Variety film review; 12 October 1988
- "Mystic Pizza". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Mystic is a village and census-designated place (CDP), it is not a legally recognized municipality in the state of Connecticut. Rather, Mystic is located within the towns of Groton (west of the Mystic River, and also known as West Mystic) and Stonington (east of the Mystic River).
- 70 Water St, Stonington, Connecticut 06378 - Google Maps
- Mystic Pizza 56 W Main St Groton, CT 06355 - Google Maps
- "Mystic Pizza/Say Anything Double Feature (2009)". Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- "Mystic Pizza Blu-ray". Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- Mystic Pizza at the Internet Movie Database
- Mystic Pizza at AllMovie
- Mystic Pizza at Box Office Mojo
- Mystic Pizza at Rotten Tomatoes