“The Goodbye Girl” is, like any modern classic, a film you not only remember seeing, you remember where and who you saw it with if you’re of a certain age.
I remember those facts because of an argument I lost.
The film’s star, Richard Dreyfuss, was in two smash hits in the winter of 1977-78. The other is an iconic science fiction picture beloved by fans of the genre as one of the smart, adult blockbusters in a playground of fantasy, action and space cowboys.
So if you were dating at the time, you had the choice to two Dreyfuss must-see movies to catch, typically not in the same day as the multi-plex was only just emerging as the new cinema model.
I wanted to see “Close Encounters,” and was waiting for date night to do it.
My girlfriend, similarly inclined, preferred “The Goodbye Girl,” a Neil Simon romance. Ok, a “chick picture,” as we said at the time. She attended a college 140 miles from the one I where I enrolled. There was a long drive involved. It was winter. It snows in the mountains of western Virginia.
But you let the lady choose the movie, in the end, right?
So Kelly and I saw “The Goodbye Girl” at the old Virginia Theatre in Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University, on a snowy evening close to Christmas in 1977.
Want a chance to connect this classic film to your own memories, a movie night to remember?
Dreyfuss is coming to the Florida Film Festival (tickets at the link) this year for a special showing of “The Goodbye Girl,” a way of celebrating his career and that of the playwright/screenwriter Neil “Doc” Simon, who scripted the role that won Dreyfuss his Oscar.
It’s at 7:30 Friday night, April 19 at the Enzian Theater in Maitland (north Orlando). You’re going to want to be there, to see one of the great screen romances of the ’70s, to catch a very funny film star on the rise, to relish the movie that spoiled Dreyfuss’s chances of ever playing “Richard III.” Because once you’ve seen his character’s director-mandated approach to the infamous sovereign in “Goodbye Girl,” you can’t see Richard III any other way.
I’m moderating a Q & A with Dreyfuss after the screening, and I hope you’ll show up with some real “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questions to add to the ones I’m planning on asking.
C’mon. The guy’s 120+ credits into a career that’s included “Tin Men,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” “Let it Ride,” “Stake Out,” “Whose Life is it Anyway?” and “Lost in Yonkers.” You’ve got questions. You know you do.