Mystic Pizza (1988)

R | 104 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 21 October 1988

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HISTORY

Although Amy Jones originally wrote the script and was slated to direct, executive producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. replaced her with director Donald Petrie after disagreements over re-writes, as noted in a 1 Nov 1987 LAT news item. Jones attempted to retain the rights to her screenplay, according to a 2 Apr 1986 Var news item. However, Goldwyn filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court, stating that Jones had accepted a total of $10,000 in payments from his company and entered into a verbal agreement that gave Goldwyn the right to purchase the script for $50,000. The matter was settled out of court, as reported in a 22 Nov 1987 LAT item, “without any admissions of wrongdoing.”
       The film was based on the real-life restaurant, Mystic Pizza, located in Mystic, CT, where Jones had briefly lived, according to a 23 Oct 1988 LAT item. Jones stated that Mystic Pizza struck her as a good movie title, leading her to structure a screenplay around the pizza parlor with four main female characters, only one of whom was rich and did not work as a pizza waitress, as noted in a 28 Oct 1988 NYT article. Goldwyn subsequently removed the rich female lead, replacing her with the rich male love interest, “Charlie.” In addition to playwright Alfred Uhry, Randy and Perry Howze were brought in for script revisions, and although the 1 Nov 1987 LAT stated that the Howzes were “presently credited” with the shooting script, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration led to a shared credit between the Howzes, Uhry, and Jones.
       In a ... More Less

Although Amy Jones originally wrote the script and was slated to direct, executive producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. replaced her with director Donald Petrie after disagreements over re-writes, as noted in a 1 Nov 1987 LAT news item. Jones attempted to retain the rights to her screenplay, according to a 2 Apr 1986 Var news item. However, Goldwyn filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court, stating that Jones had accepted a total of $10,000 in payments from his company and entered into a verbal agreement that gave Goldwyn the right to purchase the script for $50,000. The matter was settled out of court, as reported in a 22 Nov 1987 LAT item, “without any admissions of wrongdoing.”
       The film was based on the real-life restaurant, Mystic Pizza, located in Mystic, CT, where Jones had briefly lived, according to a 23 Oct 1988 LAT item. Jones stated that Mystic Pizza struck her as a good movie title, leading her to structure a screenplay around the pizza parlor with four main female characters, only one of whom was rich and did not work as a pizza waitress, as noted in a 28 Oct 1988 NYT article. Goldwyn subsequently removed the rich female lead, replacing her with the rich male love interest, “Charlie.” In addition to playwright Alfred Uhry, Randy and Perry Howze were brought in for script revisions, and although the 1 Nov 1987 LAT stated that the Howzes were “presently credited” with the shooting script, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration led to a shared credit between the Howzes, Uhry, and Jones.
       In a 13 May 1989 “Film Finance” column, Screen International noted that the $6 million budget was co-financed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Virgin Vision “on a 50/50 basis for negative and releasing costs as well as profit participation.” Virgin Vision retained home video distribution rights, while Goldwyn’s company acquired domestic theatrical rights in addition to television, cable and ancillary rights. The co-financiers divided distribution rights for international territories.
       In a 28 Oct 1988 LAT article, actress Lili Taylor stated that her character, “Jojo,” was originally supposed to marry her boyfriend “Bill,” because she was pregnant; however, the actress insisted on taking the pregnancy out of the storyline because it made her character seem weaker.
       Principal photography was initially slated to begin 7 Oct 1987, according to a 6 Oct 1987 article in New London, CT’s The Day, but 14 Oct 1987 Var production charts listed the start date as 12 Oct 1987. Filming took place in Mystic, Groton, Noank, and Stonington, CT, where the interior of Mystic Pizza was built inside the Garbo Lobster Company building, according to an 11 Sep 1987 Back Stage item. The 23 Oct 1987 HR reported a six-week shooting schedule.
       According to a 5 Oct 1988 Var brief, the Samuel Goldwyn Company spent $6.5 million on prints and advertising for the film. Over 100 “word-of-mouth screenings” were held to promote awareness of Mystic Pizza before its release, and promotional tie-ins were arranged with San Martin Bridal, Glemby Hair Salons, Domino’s Pizza, and Number Uno pizza in CA.
       The film premiered 18 Oct 1988 in Mystic, CT, as noted in a 23 Oct 1988 LAT brief, and received a mixed critical reaction. By mid-May 1989, box-office earnings had reached $14 million, as noted in the 13 May 1989 Screen International.
       In addition to receiving payment for the use of the name “Mystic Pizza” and rights to film exteriors of his business, Steve Zelepos profited from the film’s release as it drew customers to his business, according to the 23 Oct 1988 LAT. A 25 Jan 1995 HR news item noted that Zelepos’s Mystic Pizza would begin marketing frozen pizzas in Feb 1995.
       In the 28 Oct 1988 LAT article, Goldwyn announced plans for a sequel that would follow the main characters five years later. The 5 Oct 1988 Var and 13 May 1989 Screen International referred to the project as Return to Mystic Pizza, and although writer Sarah Prejean was hired to develop the script, with filming expected to begin in summer 1989, no such sequel has been made as of the writing of this Note.
       Mystic Pizza marked Donald Petrie’s feature film directorial debut, and Alfred Uhry’s screenwriting debut.
       End credits include “Thanks to” the following organizations and individuals: Dailies Projection System -- Boston Light & Sound, Inc.; Rhode Island Film Commission, Amy Shapiro, Director; Connecticut Film Commission; St. Peter & Paul Polish National Catholic Church & Rev. Waldemar Telejko; Angela Lavoie and the Hathaways; Connecticut Department of Transportation; Mystic Chamber of Commerce; The Mystic Hilton; T. N. M. Lathrop Porsche; Phoenix Interiors; WKRN-TV News, Nashville; Technical Art Services; Seaman’s Inne; All Outdoors; San-Martin International Bridals; and Watch Hill Fire Department. Other acknowledgements include a “Special Thanks to the people of Mystic, Connecticut; Pawcatuk, Connecticut; Stonington, Connecticut; Westerly, Rhode Island; Groton, Connecticut; and Watch Hill, Rhode Island. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
[New London, CT] The Day
6 Oct 1987
Section A, p. 1, 12.
Back Stage
11 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1995.
---
LA Weekly
2 Dec 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Nov 1987
Calendar, p. 47.
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1987
Calendar, p. 35.
Los Angeles Times
21 Oct 1988
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1988
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
28 Oct 1988
Section H, p. 10.
New York Times
21 Oct 1988
p. 20.
New York Times
28 Oct 1988
Section C, p. 8.
Screen International
13 May 1989.
---
Variety
2 Apr 1986.
---
Variety
14 Oct 1987.
---
Variety
5 Oct 1988
p. 34.
Variety
12 Oct 1988
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Produced in association with Night Life, Inc.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
2d asst cam
Best boy elec
2d unit grip/Elec
2d unit grip/Elec
2d unit grip/Elec
Key/Dolly grip
Best boy grip
Grip: Load truck
Still photog
2d cam op
2d unit photog
2d unit asst cam
2d unit asst cam
2d unit asst cam
2d unit asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst to art dept
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Lead carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Lead scenic painter
Swing gang
Swing gang
Const coord
Painting asst
Painting asst
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Asst cost des
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Supv mus ed
Mus rec at
Mus scoring mixer
Source music eng
Source music eng
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Co-supv sd eff ed
Co-supv sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
ADR & foley rec at
Re-rec facility
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd transfer
Sd transfer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opt eff and titles
Main titles
Main title seq created by
Visual eff
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key hair
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
Asst hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Line prod
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Loc mgr
Loc scout
Asst to Mr. Levinson & Mr. Rosenfelt
Asst to Mr. Petrie
Word processor
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Projectionist
Honeywagon furnished by
Prod equip
Los Angeles coord
Los Angeles prod asst
Los Angeles prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Casting assoc
Local casting
Local casting
Addl dial casting
Caterer
Teacher/Welfare worker
Teacher/Welfare worker
STAND INS
Stunt driver
Stunt double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes," performed by Perry Como, courtesy of RCA Records, written by Slim Willet, published by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
"Serious," written by Ashley Hall and Stephanie Tyrell, published by Tyrell Music Co BMI/Special Friendship Music BMI, performed by Steve Tyrell
"Is It Hot In Here," written by Barry Coffing and Mark Heyes, published by Tyrell Music Co BMI/Special Friendship Music BMI, performed by Renee Geyer
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SONGS
"Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes," performed by Perry Como, courtesy of RCA Records, written by Slim Willet, published by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
"Serious," written by Ashley Hall and Stephanie Tyrell, published by Tyrell Music Co BMI/Special Friendship Music BMI, performed by Steve Tyrell
"Is It Hot In Here," written by Barry Coffing and Mark Heyes, published by Tyrell Music Co BMI/Special Friendship Music BMI, performed by Renee Geyer
"I Ain't Got Nobody," as performed by Louis Prima, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., Special Markets Division, written by Spencer Williams & Roger Graham, published by Edwyn H. Morris & Co., a Division of MPL Communications, Inc. ASCAP and Jerry Vogel Music. Co, Inc. ASCAP
"Joyride," written by Ashley Hall and Stephanie Tyrell, published by Tyrell Music Co BMI/Special Friendship Music BMI, performed by Larry Greene
"Respect," by Otis Redding, performed by Aretha Franklin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"I've Got You Under My Skin," by Cole Porter, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"These Are The Times To Remember," music by Frank Previte and Brad Fiedel, lyrics by Franke Previte, published by Samuel Goldwyn Music Co., ASCAP/Knockout Music Inc., ASCAP, performed by Jill Colucci. Additional source songs composed by Bill Reichenbach and Guy Moon.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
21 October 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 October 1988
Production Date:
12 October--late November 1987 in CT and RI
Copyright Claimant:
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Copyright Date:
21 December 1988
Copyright Number:
PA393136
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex camera and lenses by Panavision®; Prints by Crest Laboratories Hollywood
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29250
SYNOPSIS

Suffering from cold feet, Jojo Barboza faints at her wedding. The next day, she returns to her job as a waitress at Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut, and wonders aloud if she made the right decision by cancelling her wedding. When Bill, her betrothed, appears, Jojo leads him outside to apologize and declares her love for him. However, when he suggests a new wedding date, Jojo goes silent. Back inside, Jojo’s friends and fellow waitresses, Daisy and Kat Arujo, bicker over who will bring their mother lunch. Although Kat says she has an interview for another job, Daisy ignores her and sends her out with a pizza. Kat delivers the food to her mother, a staunch Catholic woman of Portugese descent, who prepares newly caught lobsters for a living. Mrs. Arujo brags to her co-workers about Kat’s acceptance to Yale University. Although the women ask Kat if she has a boyfriend, Mrs. Arujo says she has no time for boys. At her interview for a babysitting job, Kat meets Tim Travers, an architect who also went to Yale. Kat, who plans to study astronomy, compliments a nautical telescope in Tim’s living room, but he says it was already there when his family moved in. He explains that he will need part-time help while his wife, Nikki, works in England, and Kat immediately bonds with his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. At night, Daisy goes to a bar with Jojo and Bill, and notices Charlie, a rich out-of-towner. After Daisy catches his eye, Charlie invites her to play a round of pool. Daisy impresses him by winning the game in one turn, but Charlie’s date, Lorna, becomes jealous and insists they ... +


Suffering from cold feet, Jojo Barboza faints at her wedding. The next day, she returns to her job as a waitress at Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut, and wonders aloud if she made the right decision by cancelling her wedding. When Bill, her betrothed, appears, Jojo leads him outside to apologize and declares her love for him. However, when he suggests a new wedding date, Jojo goes silent. Back inside, Jojo’s friends and fellow waitresses, Daisy and Kat Arujo, bicker over who will bring their mother lunch. Although Kat says she has an interview for another job, Daisy ignores her and sends her out with a pizza. Kat delivers the food to her mother, a staunch Catholic woman of Portugese descent, who prepares newly caught lobsters for a living. Mrs. Arujo brags to her co-workers about Kat’s acceptance to Yale University. Although the women ask Kat if she has a boyfriend, Mrs. Arujo says she has no time for boys. At her interview for a babysitting job, Kat meets Tim Travers, an architect who also went to Yale. Kat, who plans to study astronomy, compliments a nautical telescope in Tim’s living room, but he says it was already there when his family moved in. He explains that he will need part-time help while his wife, Nikki, works in England, and Kat immediately bonds with his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. At night, Daisy goes to a bar with Jojo and Bill, and notices Charlie, a rich out-of-towner. After Daisy catches his eye, Charlie invites her to play a round of pool. Daisy impresses him by winning the game in one turn, but Charlie’s date, Lorna, becomes jealous and insists they leave. While babysitting one day, Kat takes Phoebe to the construction site of a house Tim is rebuilding and he offers to show her around. Tim explains that the house was originally built by an Englishman named Elias Montrose, for his bride. On a balcony, he says Elias’s wife was lost at sea and his ghost is rumored to haunt the structure on stormy nights. Jojo shows Kat and Daisy Bill’s fishing boat, which he re-named Jojo. They steal beer from the boat, and Jojo laments her physical attraction to Bill, claiming that his body distracts her. She points out a comet in the sky, but Kat corrects her, saying it is a shooting star. Daisy teases Kat for her obsession with astronomy, but admits that all she relies on is her good looks. Returning home from work one day, Daisy finds Charlie talking to Mrs. Arujo. He takes Daisy to dinner at a nice restaurant, and admits he is taking a “vacation” from law school. As she looks out the window at a marina, Daisy asks Charlie which boat is his, and he identifies his father’s schooner, then kisses her. At another one of her jobs, Kat leads a presentation at a planetarium but fumbles her lines when she sees Tim and Phoebe in the audience. Later, at Mystic Pizza, Kat, Jojo, and Daisy alert the owner, Leona, when food critic Hector Plechette’s show, Everyday Gourmet, comes on the television. Kat suggests they invite him to review Mystic Pizza, but Leona rejects the idea, unwilling to alter her pizza to cater to his tastes. Leona defends her secret family recipe, and hints that she might pass it down to one of them when she retires. Although the girls beg for the recipe now, Leona remains mum. Putting Pheobe to bed one night, Kat assures the girl that her mother will soon return from England, even though Phoebe expresses her fear that her parents will get divorced. Tim interrupts, and gives Kat the sweater he is wearing for her ride home. Returning to her house, Kat spies Charlie and Daisy kissing goodnight. Later, Daisy teases her about Tim's sweater and gives her a box of condoms, which Kat throws back, disgusted. One night, Charlie takes Daisy to his family’s vacation home where he is staying. The large house is dark, and he explains that his father shuts the power off when no one is there. Daisy asks if he makes a habit of seducing “townies,” but before he can answer, she disappears, leaving a trail of clothing for him to follow. Upstairs, they make love in his parent’s bedroom, and afterward, Charlie admits he was thrown out of law school for cheating. He expresses remorse, and Daisy warns him not to cheat or lie again. After Phoebe goes to sleep one night, Tim and Kat share a glass of wine and gaze at the stars through his telescope. Meanwhile, Jojo and Bill try to make love in Jojo’s parent’s house, but Bill stops when he notices a Jesus figurine that seems to be staring at him. He tells Jojo they need to make a commitment, but Jojo screams after he mentions marriage too many times, causing her parents to rush downstairs and find them together. Jojo’s strict father runs Bill out of the house, and the next day, Bill plays a joke on Jojo by replacing her name on his boat with the word “Nympho.” Jojo flies into a rage when she sees it and informs Bill that he cannot force her into marriage. That night, Jojo steals Bill’s car, and takes a joyride with Kat and Daisy, who reports that Charlie is visiting his grandmother in Greenwich. The girls drive to the local country club where they drink beer on the golf course. However, Daisy is shocked when she sees Charlie inside the club with another girl. As he walks outside to his Porsche convertible in the parking lot, Daisy unloads the contents of two fish barrels from Bill’s truck into the car. Dumbfounded, Charlie introduces the other girl as his sister and says his grandmother cancelled his visit at the last minute. Daisy apologizes, and is relieved when Charlie laughs it off. The next day, Jojo apologizes to Bill for stealing his truck and informs him that her sister is leaving town for three days, suggesting they use her apartment. Bill rejects the idea, saying that although he loves her and wants to be married, he is finished with their relationship. In a panic, Jojo returns to work, announces the break-up, and begs Leona to turn the pizza parlor over to her when she retires. One night, Kat skips her waitressing shift to spend time with Tim. In turn, Daisy must cancel dinner plans with Charlie’s parents to cover for her. Kat stops by the pizza parlor after hours, and Daisy angrily reminds her that she had a date scheduled. She ridicules Kat’s obsession with a married man, while Kat accuses Daisy of acting like a prostitute. Soon after, Kat asks Jojo to babysit for Phoebe while she and Tim go out. At the house he is rebuilding, they eat pizza and listen for Elias Montrose’s ghost during a storm. When they hear a creaking floorboard, he kisses her. They make love, and, later, return to Tim’s house, where his wife, Nikki, has arrived home early. Kat is dumbstruck when she sees Nikki and nearly starts to cry before Jojo tears her away. Driving home, Jojo frets over whether or not Nikki suspected the affair, but Kat remains silent. Back home, Kat sobs and Daisy consoles her. Soon after, Everyday Gourmet host Hector Plechette shows up unexpectedly at Mystic Pizza and orders an entire pizza but eats only one slice, leaving Leona to assume he did not like it. Daisy finally meets Charlie’s parents, who are demeaning toward their Portugese servants. She becomes angry at Charlie when he loses his temper, and accuses him of using her to get back at his family. Tim and Phoebe visit Kat at the pizza parlor to say goodbye, and Tim gives her a check for Yale, which she tears up. After they leave, Hector Plechette’s show airs, and the women rejoice when he gives their pizza his highest rating. Jojo and Bill finally get married, and the reception takes place at the pizza parlor. Charlie shows up and reconciles with Daisy, while Leona gives Kat money for school, insisting that her employees are like daughters. Gazing at the stars outside, Kat is joined by Daisy and Jojo, who laugh about Leona’s secrecy over her pizza recipe. +

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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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