They say there are a million stories in the naked city. This triple header only tries to tell three – a trio of short movies by three great directors for the price of one.
First up is Martin Scorsese’s Life Lessons and it’s Nick Nolte disguised as neurotic painter Lionel Dobie, struggling through the pretentious art scene in Soho.
A big man with big passions – for his art, his independence, and his obsession for his nutty apprentice and roommate, Paulette (Rosanna Arquette).
He humiliates, compromises and sacrifices himself, and finally learns the New York “lesson” – if one girl exits through one door, another girl will always enter through the next.
Part Two, Life Without Zoe by Francis Ford Coppola, is a minor trifle about a precocious little rich girl (Heather McComb) growing up in the posh Sherry-Netherland Hotel. Patching up her parents’ broken marriage, returning a diamond tiara to an Arab princess, dining at the Russian Tea Room, charging plane tickets to Paris for the Chanel show, and delivering Hershey’s kisses to the homeless, she’s like Eloise.
Only Coppola displays no real knowledge or understanding of how actual New York kids behave, and the whole thing is so glossy and superficial it seems photographed through orange juice.
Last, there’s Oedipus Wrecks by Woody Allen, exploring his favourite New York theme – the neurotic guilt of a 50-year-old corporate attorney with an Oedipus complex, still dominated and terrorised by his Jewish mother.
Mama Sadie (played by the great Mae Questel) could drive you off the Brooklyn Bridge.
When she disappears in a magic show, Woody’s sex life gets better, but then she starts floating over the Empire State Building, embarrassing him from the sky, and the fairy tale gets silly.
But this is New York – and New Yorkers will take anything in their stride. Including Woody Allen movies.
Gregorij Von Leitis
Mark Boone Jr
Clifford the doorman
Diane Lin Cosman
Ira B. Wheeler
Shandu the magician
Edward I. Koch
Francis Ford Coppola