New York Stories (film) Combination of three short stories—Life Lessons, Life Without Zoe, and Oedipus Wrecks—each about life with intriguing characters in New York City. In Life Lessons, contemporary New York artist Lionel Dobie is suffering from “painter’s block” when his lover-assistant Paulette announces that she is leaving him. He convinces her to stay, and while her coolness to him infuriates him, at the same time it inspires him. The more their relationship deteriorates, the more compelled and creative he becomes, while Paulette doubts her own talents as an artist. Ultimately Paulette leaves, and the successful artist finds a new student to whom he can give “life lessons.” In Life Without Zoe, 12-year-old Zoe lives on her own at the Sherry Netherland Hotel with her butler, Hector, while her famous parents follow their own separate careers all over the world. Zoe becomes friends with a lonely rich boy, upon hearing him play the flute. She gets involved in a plot between a princess and her jealous husband that might cause Zoe’s father harm. Her worldly wisdom and affection for her parents saves the day, and brings mother and father back together again. In Oedipus Wrecks, Sheldon is embarrassed by his mother, who doesn’t seem to approve of anything about him—especially his shiksa fiancée, Lisa. Sheldon’s wish that his mother just “disappear” comes true during a magic show. He is first distraught but then increasingly content with life without Mother. Suddenly, Mother reappears—personality intact, but in a rather different “form”—creating havoc for Sheldon and all the people of New York City. On the advice of his psychiatrist, Sheldon turns to psychic Treva, who tries to return Mother to her original state. The strain is too much for Lisa, and she leaves Sheldon. Treva fears she is a failure at everything, since she hasn’t been able to bring Mother back, but Sheldon finds consolation in her, making everyone happy: Sheldon, Treva, and Mother. Premiere in New York on March 1, 1989; general release on March 10, 1989. The three segments were each directed by a different director—Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen respectively. A Touchstone film. 124 min. Stars Nick Nolte (Lionel Dobie), Rosanna Arquette (Paulette), Patrick O’Neal (Phillip Fowler)/Heather McComb (Zoe), Talia Shire (Charlotte)/Woody Allen (Sheldon), Mae Questel (Mother), Mia Farrow (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Treva). Filmed in New York City. Released on video in 1990.