Synopsis by Mark Deming
Paul Mazursky directed this comedy, which blends a broad satire of the film industry with a thoughtful tale of a middle-aged man looking back on his life's failures. Harry Stone (Danny Aiello) is a film director who desperately needs a hit -- so desperately that he gets talked into directing an inane sci-fi film about a group of farm kids (led by Ally Sheedy) who grow an enormous pickle that they turn into a spaceship, allowing them to visit the planet Cleveland (ruled by Little Richard and his right hand man, Griffin Dunne) where everyone eats nothing but meat. Convinced that the film will flop, Harry is in a state of panic as he returns to New York with his Parisian girlfriend Francoise (Clotilde Courau), a mere 20 years his junior, and visits his ex-wife Ellen (Dyan Cannon); his mother Yetta (Shelley Winters); and his son Gregory (Chris Penn). Meanwhile Harry flashes back on his childhood and the film he could have made of it, and pitches his dream film (a historical epic about the life of Montezuma) to studio executives, who instead want him to make a movie kids can relate to. The Pickle was filmed in 1991, but only received a token theatrical release two years later. Actually, the sci-fi story with Little Richard as the undisputed ruler of Cleveland looks like it might have been an ideal vehicle for Edward D. Wood Jr..
director, failure, filmmaker, career, ego, behind-the-scenes, family-strife, mid-life-crisis, aging, manic-depressive