New York Times - 03/01/1989
"...Vision[s] of this city's unlimited possibilities....[The OEDIPUS WRECKS segment is] funny enough to recall [Allen's] best early comedies..."
Variety - 03/01/1989
"...Nolte is at his most appealing here..."
Total Film - 07/01/2000
"...'Oedipus Wrecks' brings a welcome dose of Woody high comedy..."
Premiere - 07/01/2006
"[H]ilarious....Summoning the spirit of his early movies."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/18/2012
"Scorsese sticks the landing with his chapter, 'Life Lessons'....Scorsese seems to be having a blast, pouring on stylistic tricks..." -- Grade: A-
NEW YORK STORIES comprises three short films set in New York, directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen. Scorsese directs "Life Lessons," in which painter Nick Nolte plays an abstract painter trying to save his relationship with Rosanna Arquette. Francis Ford Coppola directs "Life Without Zoe," which stars Heather McComb as a young schoolgirl who lives alone at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel while her parents (Talia Shire and Giancarlo Giannini) globetrot around the world. Precocious Zoe is lovingly watched over by her butler, Hector (Don Novello), until her parents return home one day with a surprising announcement. Sofia Coppola co-wrote the script with her father. The final segment is "Oedipus Wrecks," a classic Woody Allen piece about a Jewish nebbish who is a bit of a momma's boy.
NEW YORK STORIES is a feature-length film consisting of three shorts directed by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen. The stories are linked only by their New York City setting and show three very different facets of New York life. Scorsese's "Life Lessons" is the bittersweet tale of an aging Abstract Expressionist painter whose young live-in girlfriend and artistic protégée decides to leave him just as he's preparing for an important gallery opening. Tired of living in the shadow of her famous lover and disappointed in her own lack of artistic talent, the girl torments him with tantrums and brazen acts of infidelity as the painter furiously attempts to fill his canvases in time for his show. Coppola's "Life Without Zoe" is a candy-coated look at the life of a poor little rich girl who resides alone at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel under the care of a butler while her neglectful parents flit around the world. Zoe attends fanciful parties with other fabulously wealthy children and becomes involved in the search for a pair of missing diamond earrings that eventually reunites her with her parents. "Oedipus Wrecks" is Woody Allen's comic nightmare about a 50-year-old man still suffocated by his overbearing Jewish mother. When she disappears mysteriously one day, he thinks his troubles are over--until she reappears as a giant apparition looming in the sky above Manhattan.
Short Stories |
Began shooting April 4, 1988; completed shooting October 1988. Originally released in New York City March 1, 1989, at one theater; wide release throughout the USA March 10, 1989. Released on video January 24, 1990.
Shot on location in New York City.
Estimated budget of $15 million.
Opening, noncompeting film of the Cannes Film Festival May 11, 1989. Shown at the Munich Film Festival in the International Program June 24-July 2, 1989.
Additional credits for "Life Lessons": Lionel Dobie's paintings by Chuck Connelly, loaned by Lennon/Weinberg Gallery; Paulette's artwork by Susan Hambleton, loaned by Trabia-MacAffe Gallery. The Holly Solomon Gallery provided assistance. The performance piece was written and performed by Steve Buscemi.
Former Mayor Edward I. Koch appeared as himself in "Oedipus Wrecks."
Kid Creole and the Coconuts wrote and performed the song "Zoe."
Coppola's 17-year-old daughter, Sofia, designed the graphics on the main titles of the film, as well as co-wrote the script and designed the costumes.
Chris Elliott has a small role in "Life Without Zoe" as a robber.