New York Stories (1989)

This movie consists of three 30-minute short stories in a New York setting.  The best is Oedipus Wrecks directed by Woody Allen.  The other two are tied for worst.

Life Lessons (Martin Scorcese) - Nick Nolte is the acclaimed loner artist of monstrous murals who smothers one assistant/girl friend at a time.  Rosanna Arquette is the expendable assistant and aspiring painter who finally escapes the grasp of the dysfunctional lion.  Kirsten Dunst, Deborah Harry, Jo Jo Starbuck and Peter Gabriel have small parts.

Life Without Zoe (Francis Coppola) - Precocious Zoe (Heather McComb) lives in a hotel and regularly takes a taxicab to school since her wealthy parents are always traveling.  Don Novello (Father Guido Sarducci and Laszlo Letters) is her valet and sitter.  This movie suffers from way too many 12-year-olds who cannot act a lick.  Adrien Brody and Chris Elliot have small parts.

Oedipus Wrecks (Woody Allen) - Woody's Jewish mother (Mae Questal 1908-1998) is a constant nagger and pain-in-the-neck who disapproves of his fiance (Mia Farrow).  Woody wishes that his mother would disappear and a local magician makes it happen.  However, three days later she comes back as the giant Mom-in-the-Sky.  Woody's mom proceeds to speak to people in the street and generally tells the entire population of NYC about his shortcomings.  Woody finally hires a Jewish psychic (Julie Kavner), who did laundry for Genghis Khan in a past life, to exorcize his mother from the sky.  Meanwhile, Mia tires of the criticism and departs and Woody falls in love with Julie's boiled chicken.  Mom then comes back down from the sky because she approves of the new girl friend who could be her clone.  The film features many nice photos of New York including a skyline showing the World Trade Center twin towers.  Mayor Ed Koch and Larry David have small parts. [JAM 2/16/2010]

["Any time I made films with special effects prior to digital technology I really had to labor because I never had any money for experiment and no flair for it, either, but now I can do it much better.  I still don't have the money, it's still expensive.  I know it cripples the front office when I come in and need some of those effects." Conversations with Woody Allen February 2006]