Next Stop, Greenwich Village
An aspiring actor leaves his home in Brooklyn for adulthood in Manhattan in Paul Mazursky's loosely autobiographical comedy-drama. In 1953, would-be thesp Larry Lapinsky (Lenny Baker) flees his hysterically clinging mother (Shelley Winters) for a $25-a-month (!!) apartment in bohemian Greenwich Village. Between Method-like acting classes, a movie audition (where he meets a posturing actor played by Jeff Goldblum), and work at a juice bar, Larry hangs out with a circle of archetypal Village eccentrics, including suicidal Anita (Lois Smith), womanizing poet Robert (Christopher Walken), and flamboyantly un-closeted homosexual Bernstein (Antonio Fargas), as he negotiates the pitfalls of love and sex with liberated girlfriend Sarah (Ellen Greene). The fallout over the group's ill-fated love affairs, and the Lapinskys' inopportune surprise visits, finally lead Larry to make peace with his past as he contemplates his future in Hollywood. Mazursky looks back to the 1950s as in such other 1970s films as American Graffiti, Grease, and TV's Happy Days, but his Greenwich Village life is less a time of lost pre-'60s innocence than a precursor of things to come. Sex, Larry jokes, may be serious, but it is also an omnipresent fact of life rather than something to be feared or repressed; love is the real problem. Even as Larry's friends strike various poses, they are all out to do their own thing as best they can. Critical response to Mazursky's nostalgia trip was mixed when the film was released, but the performances, particularly Winters, were admired.