Motion picture released 1988 by the Samuel Goldwyn Company. Starring Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio, William R. Moses and Adam Storke. Also, a restaurant featuring pizza in Mystic, Connecticut.
There may be no better reason for watching this film than the opening credits, which leaves Julia Roberts taking second billing to Annabeth Gish. After all, both were young and relatively new on the scene at the time and Gish had the imaginary lineage, often mistakenly thought to be the granddaughter of the never married Lillian Gish (who would have trouble having a granddaughter since she never had any children). They are joined by Lili Taylor in this tale of three young women coming of age in Mystic, Connecticut. It is fairly predictable and middle of the road romantic comedy fare. It captured my attention mostly for the fact that I had dined several times at the real Mystic Pizza prior to the film's release, thanks to an awkward relationship with a girl who lived in Niantic, Connecticut that was a romantic comedy in its own right.
There are three seperate but interlocking storylines following the three main characters. Lili Taylor is Jojo, the only one of the three who has a regular boyfriend. Bill insists on marriage and a lifelong commitment while Jojo is content on being obsessed with Bill's big wrists and having sexual dalliances in bathrooms and other nookie nitches. The role reversal of the man wanting marriage and the woman wanting sex and being afraid of commitment is fairly entertaining but far from groundbreaking. Bill renames his fishing boat Jojo in her honor after she agrees to marry him, but after she recants and they are discovered fooling around by his traditional parents he renames the boat Nympho. That is probably the highlight of their story, which is why they take a back seat to the story of Kat and Daisy.
Kat (Annabeth Gish) and Daisy (Julia Roberts) are sisters, raised by a single mother who works down on the docks sorting and cleaning lobsters and fish with the rest of the mainly Portugeuse population. They both want something more from their lives, and Kat is the prototypical smart kid who gets accepted to Yale while Daisy is the prototype slutty older sister who wants to get the hell out of town whatever way she can. The only problem is that Daisy's only skills are shaking her ass and smiling with her big Julia Roberts mouth while Kat simply doesn't have enough money to pay her Yale tuition (maybe she should have considered the University of Connecticut, but no one ever thinks these things through in the movies). This leads them to a pair of men who take them on a couple of completely different rocky roads.
The main underlying theme is the resentment between the sisters. Daisy resents Kat being the golden hope of the family while she seems destined to follow in her mother's footsteps. Kat secretly resents Daisy sex appeal and ability to inspire hormonal rises in men. This leads Daisy to find and reel in a rich whitebread boy who she hopes can lead her out of Mystic. Kat takes to working multiple jobs to save money for Yale, including a babysitting job where she looks after the little girl of an older, married man whose wife is away in England. This becomes an opportunity to play at being an adult, and their shared interests lead to an awkward affair in which Kat has her first experience with love and sex.
Of course, these things don't run smoothly or it wouldn't be a romantic comedy. Charlie, Daisy's rich whitebread boy, has been thrown out of college (everyone either goes to Yale in this movie or cleans fish which I personally find rather disturbing) and has incurred the wrath of his wealthy family with his attitude. They have some rather poetic moments interspersed with outlandish moments, including Charlie yanking the tablecloth and all the food off the table at a family dinner and Daisy filling his Porsche with barrels of fish and brine. In the end it is Daisy who must convince him to get his shit straight or he isn't worthy of her, even if she is a poor Portugeuse girl with no prospects.
Kat, on the other hand, is filled with romantic notions and naive dreams. While Daisy warns her that her overwrought interest in the married man will lead to tragedy, she pushes forward. The night they consummate is the night his wife returns earlier than expected and Kat is left open and exposed when he stands with his family and leaves her out in the cold. This is probably the best scene of the movie, as Kat's pain feels very real and she and Daisy become sisters again when Kat turns to her for emotional support. All said, this is a fairly enjoyable film, provided you are not looking for something challenging and unique. It makes for pleasant Sunday afternoon viewing with a pizza and a few bottles of good beer.
The odd thing about this movie and the real Mystic Pizza is that if you watch the movie and then go to the restaurant, you will feel like you have just dropped acid. There are powerful similarities, but it is just not the same place. Some scenes from the movie were shot in Mystic and if you know Mystic you will recognize them. However, the interior shots were not done in Mystic, and the exterior shots of Mystic Pizza itself are actually a different building on the same street. The pizza there is very good, amongst the top three pizza experiences I have personally had. Mystic, Connecticut, is a very quaint and rustic village with many little shops and a famous aquarium. Stop by some time, the place is better than the movie.