'Mystic Pizza' [Blu-ray]
(Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor, Matt Damon, et al / DVD / R / (1998) 2011 / MGM)
Overview: For sexy Daisy (Roberts), her sensible sister Kat (Gish) and their wisecracking friend Jojo (Taylor), the summer after high school is a summer they'll never forget. Slinging pizza at a local restaurant, the three girls share their hopes, dreams and plans for escaping their small town. And when Daisy is swept off her feet by a wealthy young man named Charles, they all think she's found her ticket out.
DVD Verdict: 'Mystic Pizza' is best remembered as the film that launched Julia Roberts on the road to stardom. Her smile lights up the silver screen, and it is very apparent that the camera loves her. It was also among the first films to feature Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor.
It marks the feature film debut of Matt Dammon as well, but he has such a small part that if you blink you can miss it. His character, Steamer, has the immortal line: "Hey, mom, do you want your green stuff?" Ben Affleck auditioned for the part as well. Why am I not surprised?
Two other actors in Mystic Pizza are very familiar due to television: Conchata Ferrell plays Charlie Sheen's housekeeper Berta on Two and a Half Men and Vincent D'Onofrio is familiar from Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In Mystic Pizza he is much younger and skinnier, and his character, Billy, a fisherman who still lives at home with his mother, wants to marry Jo Jo (Lili Taylor) but she is the one who is afraid of commitment. She faints at her wedding and can't go through with it.
Meanwhile the Arujo sisters are quite different from each other. Katherine, or Kat as she's called, is the serious one, who works several jobs besides the pizza gig, saving up to go to Yale and study astronomy. Daisy is a different story, a pool hustler and party animal, she falls for a rich preppy, Charles Gordon Windsor, Jr (Adam Storke). She worries that she won't fit in with his rich family, but he has some issues of his own.
He has been kicked out of law school for cheating, and that didn't go over very well with daddy. Neither does his choice of Daisy, but will true love prevail? Stay tuned. As for Kat, one of Kat's jobs is as a babysitter, but she falls for the father while the wife's away in London.
Finally, Leona, the owner of the restaurant, needs a good review from the local food critic to drum up business. If he would only taste the pizza, which is made from a secret family recipe, he would taste that it was... well, Mystic. Only trouble is he is notoriously fussy and hard to please.
The four story lines are interwoven well, and though it is not earth shattering drama, it is very enjoyable watching, with good acting, some funny and some emotional scenes, and a good location in Mystic, Connecticut. Plus, watching Roberts, Gish, and Taylor as pizza waitresses is kind of like watching them before they were stars. Which none of them were ... yet! This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of: