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Film / Mystic Pizza

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Daisy: Don't worry about me. I'm not gonna be slinging pizza for the rest of my life.
Leona: The best pizza!

Mystic Pizza is a 1988 Coming of Age comedy-drama directed by Donald Petrie, starring Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor, Vincent D'Onofrio, William R. Moses, Adam Storke, Conchata Ferrell, John Fiore, and Joanna Merlin.

The film is set in the working-class Portuguese-American community of Mystic, Connecticut. Kat (Gish) and Daisy (Roberts) are sisters who, along with their best friend Jojo (Taylor), work at the eponymous pizza place run by Leona (Ferrell). Jojo is engaged to be married to Bill (D'Onofrio), who runs a fishing boat, but while she loves Bill, she's not sure she's ready to get married. Kat, the "good" sister who's been accepted to Yale and is working other jobs to help pay for college, takes on a babysitting job and becomes attracted to Tim (Moses), the man she's babysitting for. Finally, Daisy, the "bad" sister, gets involved with Charlie (Storke), a rich guy.


This film contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Daisy to Kat, after Kat implies that Daisy is a slut.
    Daisy: Wipe your conscience.
  • Brick Joke: The dress Daisy shows off in front of Kat (that she bought and is going to return after wearing once) is the same one she wears on her first date with Charlie.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: According to Jojo, she almost pees her pants twice in the film; once, when her parents walk in on her and Bill (see Parents Walk In at the Worst Time below), and second, when Tim's wife comes home while Jojo is babysitting Phoebe while Tim and Kat are out together.
  • Caustic Critic / The Dreaded: Hector, the TV gourmet critic. Leona speaks of him disdainfully whenever he's on-screen (Daisy teases her about this), but when he shows up unexpectedly, she ends up watching him eat as worriedly as everyone else. When he leaves after only eating one slice, Leona reverts to calling him a "moron" again. However, he ends up praising the food (if not the service) and there's a promise of increased business because of this.
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  • Cry into Chest: Kat does this with Daisy after Tim sleeps with her and then ignores her when they come home to find his wife has returned from England.
  • Differing Priorities Breakup: After a lot of back and forth on the subject of marriage, Bill eventually breaks it off with Jojo due to their different desires in the moment. Jojo isn't ready for marriage at the moment due to her insecurities about the future and only wants a sexual relationship. While Bill is very ready to be married to her and feels like she only wants him around for sex rather than genuinely caring about him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Charlie first happens into one of the local bars with his friends, he bets one of the locals he can make three bulls-eyes in a row on the dart board, and drink a shot of tequila before each throw. He makes the first two bulls-eyes easily, but as he's about to down his third tequila shot, he sees Daisy for the first time, and they share a look. Needless to say, Charlie's final dart throw is way off the mark.
  • Fainting: Jojo does an emotional faint in the opening scene - at her own wedding.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Daisy and Kat. It starts out good-naturedly, at least until Kat doesn't show up for a shift, forcing Daisy to break a date to meet Charlie's family. (They do make up with each other; see Cry into Chest).
  • Graceful Loser: A non-villainous version; Charlie doesn't bat an eye when he loses the dart contest to the local (see Distracted by the Sexy above), handing the money over willingly.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kat after she sleeps with Tim, only for him to ignore her when his wife comes home.
  • Hitchhiker's Leg: When Charlie's car gets a flat tire, they try to hitch a ride. Daisy tries to do this to get a ride, but it doesn't work. Charlie acts like he's going to do this, but instead drops his pants; *that* gets them a ride.
  • It's All About Me: A subtle example; when Charlie finally is able to take Daisy home to meet his family, he ends up doing what he thinks is exposing his family's hypocrisy. However, Daisy ends up storming out, and when he follows her, she points out his family was just being themselves, and he was just using her to embarrass them and score points off of them.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Kat is planning to go to Yale in the fall. Tim, as it happens, graduated from Yale.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Charlie seems like he should be a stereotypical rich 80s scumbag (and Daisy lets him have it when he starts acting this way in front of his family), but by the end it's clear he really does care about Daisy. Plus, he reacts surprisingly calmly to Daisy dumping a ton of fish guts in his swank car. Contrast with Tim, who seems like a nice, sweet guy on the surface, and then turns out to be a true Jerkass.
  • Karma Houdini: Tim seduces the (much younger) Kat (seriously, she's 18 at most and he's got to be at least in his mid-30s), dumps her as soon as he realizes his wife is back from abroad, then has the balls to show up to the Mystic Pizza to give her a check "for school." He has his young daughter in tow, preventing Kat from laying into him right then and there. From what we see, he pretty much skates away cleanly.
  • Knew It All Along: Leona after the TV gourmet critic gives Mystic Pizzeria a favorable review.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Jojo and Bill have sex in the bathroom of the pizzeria - while Jojo is at work. Bill brings this up to Jojo when he breaks things off with her (see Differing Priorities Breakup above).
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Daisy sees Charles through the window of a country club with a woman when he's meant to be with his grandmother. She gets angry enough that she immediately retaliates by throwing rotten seaweed and fish all over his car. Only for him to walk out in the process of her doing this with said woman, and he introduces her as his sister. Daisy is suitably ashamed.
  • Never Trust a Title: There's no actual mystic pizza, it's the name of the eatery.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Leona, Daisy and Kat can tell something's wrong with Jojo - even before she tells them she and Bill have broken up (though she claims she broke up with him) - because she's early for work, and she's usually late.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Bill has come over to Jojo's house while her parents are asleep. She tries to have sex with him, but seeing as they're in front of religious statues, he's not in the mood, and wants to talk about them getting married. She doesn't want to hear it, and says if Bill mentions marriage one more time, she'll scream. Sure enough, he does, she screams, and her parents come in and chase Bill out of the house.
    Bill: Thank you, Mr. Barboza!
  • Photo Montage: The opening credits show pictures of Daisy, Kat and Jojo when they were younger, right up to a picture of the three of them grown up, followed by Jojo's "wedding".
  • Ready for Lovemaking: When Charlie takes Daisy over to his parents' other house, he's building a fire when he notices Daisy's missing, but she's left behind a shoe. After Daisy tells him to "follow the breadcrumbs", he follows the trail of clothes to his parent's bedroom, where Daisy is, wearing his father's shirt, and standing seductively by the bed.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Daisy is red to Kat's blue.
  • Regional Speciality: The pizza.
  • Relative Error: Daisy is dancing the jitterbug with Jojo outside of a country club when she sees Charlie with another woman; in a rage, she pours two barrels of fish into Charlie's convertible. Except it turns out the woman is Charlie's sister.
    Daisy: (crying) I fucked up.
  • Reveal Shot: Near the end of the movie, Bill is sitting in his truck listening to Jojo tell him he has to let her be her own woman, and nothing's going to change about that. He grins, and says, "Except that you're married." The camera then pans over to Jojo, who is indeed wearing a wedding gown, and smiling.
  • Running Gag: Jojo's futile attempts to get Leona to tell her what the secret ingredients in the pizza are.
  • Shout-Out: As Daisy is about to win the game of pool, Charlie's jealous date calls her a hustler (though she could also have been referring to this).
    • Also, after Daisy, Jojo and Kat steal Bill's truck, they're seen singing along to "Respect".
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Daisy.
    Daisy: Jesus Christ, these shoes are killing me.
    Manny: Ah, do you have to talk like that?
    Kat: Yeah, Daisy.
    Daisy: I'm sorry; what I meant to say was, "These fucking shoes are killing me."
  • Slut-Shaming: Daisy's mother and sister both do this to her at various points, which doesn't make her happy.
  • The Un-Favourite: Daisy, which she lampshades:
    Daisy: Kat's such a good girl. Where did we go wrong with her sister Daisy?
  • Verbal Backspace: When Charlie first meets Daisy's mother, he compliments her on her house, and explains his father has an old house like it, adding when the water pipes burst, "he gets really pissed off." That's when Charlie sees Mrs. Arujo's Death Glare, and he hastily adds, "I mean, he gets really upset."
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A Gender Flipped version between Daisy and her mother:
    Mrs. Arujo: All I want is for you to make something of yourself!
    Daisy: Yeah, Ma, well, I'm not going to Yale. You're just gonna have to deal with that!
    Mrs. Arujo: I don't expect you to go to Yale. I just get so worried about you.
    Daisy: Yeah.