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Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • The ups and downs of life as experienced by a group of aspiring young artists in the early Fifties New York.

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  • An aspiring Jewish actor moves out of his parents' Brooklyn apartment to seek his fortune in the bohemian life of Greenwich Village in 1953. He struggles to come to terms with his feelings about his mother's overbearing nature, while also trying to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend.


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The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Set in the year 1953, Larry Lapinsky (Lenny Baker), a young theater arts graduate, moves out of his parents Brooklyn apartment. His overbearing Jewish mother, Faye (Shelley Winters), becomes hysterical, but Larry screams that she cannot make him feel guilty. Larry takes the subway train to Greenwich Village in nearby Manhattan, walks the streets to his new apartment, and exclaims, "Boy, do I feel guilty."

    That night, Larry's girl friend, Sarah Roth (Ellen Greene), comes over to his new place, where they have sex and later discuss the merits of getting a diaphragm and committing suicide. Afterward, they go to a bar to meet Larry's artist friend, Barney (John Ford Noonan), who is giving referrals for an abortionist. Sarah tells him she will call if she ever gets "knocked up." They then meet Bernstein Chandler (Antonio Fargas), an African American homosexual whose mother worked as a cleaning lady for a family named Bernstein and named her baby after them.

    Later, at Sarah's parents' house, Larry realizes he forgot his prophylactic, but they make love anyway. Larry then goes home yelling lines from Hamlet and 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. On the train platform, he imitates his mother in accepting an Academy Award on his behalf, but a police officer (Joe Spinell) arrives and tells him his acting stinks.

    The next day, Larry gets a job in a health food store/eatery owned by Herb (Lou Jacobi) and Ellen (Denise Galik). Returning home to his apartment, he and Sarah meet Bernstein and his friends; playwright Robert Fulmar (Christopher Walken) and Connie (Dori Brenner), who are rushing to stop their friend, Anita Cunningham (Lois Smith), from committing suicide. They find Anita with superficial cuts on her wrists, crying that she does not want to live; but the group does not take her seriously.

    The next day, Larry has an imaginary dialogue with his mother about the faults of his apartment when his parents, Faye and Ben (Mike Kellin), arrive and have the same conversation almost word for word. The three then listen to an opera on the record player. As Faye leaves she gets into a screaming match with Larry urging him to call more often.

    Later, while Larry is working at a restaurant, Sarah comes in and announces she is pregnant. Larry wants to get married, but she insists on an abortion. They get Robert to take them to see Robert's former lover, Marcia (Rochelle Oliver), a doctor, who arranges the abortion.

    A few days later, Larry throws a rent paying party. Anita arrives and tells him she met a sailor who is going to marry her after he returns from Marseilles, France. A minute later, Bernstein tells Sarah that he fell in love with a sailor who had to sail to Marseilles. During the party, Larry's parents arrive and a he is horrified as Bernstein and Faye swing dance to the amusement of the party-goers. Larry day dreams that his mother forces her way into his acting class, sings opera, gives a monologue and then tap dances. After the party, Larry's mother asks Sarah when she is going to marry her son, but Sarah explains they are only dating. However, when Sarah admits they are having sex, Faye becomes hysterical, until Sarah assures Mrs. Lapinsky that she was kidding.

    The next day, Larry auditions for casting director Sid Weinberg, who wants to screen test him for a movie shooting in Hollywood, California. When Sid finds out Larry is Jewish, he regales him with stories about his own overbearing and obnoxious Jewish mother. Larry celebrates with his friends by dancing a conga line to Anita's apartment, where she is again threatening suicide. While dancing into the apartment, Robert finds Anita's dead body. Bernstein breaks down, crying that it is his fault for sleeping with her sailor.

    Another few days later, Larry lies in the bathtub after his screen test, dreaming he is in an acting class doing a love scene when his mother pushes the actress aside and passionately embraces him. Then he dreams he is performing Hamlet as his mother pelts him with pies, screaming for him to become a doctor.

    The next morning, Larry is called to Connie's apartment, because Bernstein is having a nervous breakdown. Bernstein declares he is Floyd Lewis from Macon, Georgia and his mother died when he was three. Everything they know about him is a lie, except for his homosexuality. He talks about being physically and mentally brutalized, then crawls under the bed covers. Later, at the bar, Robert proposes a trip to Mexico, but Larry cannot go and becomes irritated when Sarah agrees to go without him.

    Back at Larry's apartment, they argue, then decide to make love. When Larry asks her to put in her diaphragm, she tells him she already did, then confesses she slept with Robert earlier. Larry slaps and chokes her, then gets her a glass of water. He asks if he goes to Mexico will she give up Robert, but Sarah says "no". As Larry tells Sarah that he will love her forever, his parents burst into the apartment. Seeing Larry and Sarah partially dressed, Mrs. Lapinsky demands they get married. Ben yells it is none of their business and Sarah runs out crying.

    Later, Larry confronts Robert and demands to know if he loves Sarah. Robert claims to have never loved anyone, and Larry tells him that beneath Robert's pose is just another pose.

    A few days later, Connie informs Larry that she and Bernstein are meeting Sarah and Robert in Mexico City, Mexico. When Larry accuses Connie of being in love with Robert, she tells him that she loves him. Larry hugs her and offers to buy her a coffee.

    That afternoon, Larry gets the call that he has the acting job, so he goes to have a goodbye lunch with his parents. Mrs. Lapinsky exhorts Larry to remember his Jewish heritage and after forcing a bag of apple streusel on him, tells him to be a good actor. As Larry walks to the train, he stops to watch some boys playing stick-ball, listens to a violinist play Jewish folk-songs and eats his mother's streusel, then turns away from his old neighborhood and walks to the train to take it back home to Greenwich Village.

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