The Goodbye Girl (1977) – Herbot Ross (Friday’s Finest)

The Goodbye Girl

The Goodbye Girl is the first US film we have featured on ‘Friday’s finest’ for a while. I’m very partial to it because it is one of my mother’s favourite films. Also the film’s theme song was my favourite from the band – Bread. As you can imagine my brother and I got an obscene dose of this movie growing up! This one and Tootsie to be exact. Unless I’m mistaken, they don’t make excellent romantic comedies like The Goodbye Girl anymore. First and foremost the writing in this movie formerly a play by the legendary playwright Neil Simon is extremely intelligent, fluid and witty. And secondly we have the great actor Richard Dreyfuss star in his prime as an out of work actor. Dreyfuss won the Academy award for best actor in this role and Neil Simon the screenplay.

IMDB Storyline: A divorced woman and her daughter come home to find that her boyfriend has left for an out of town job with no warning. This has happened before. The second surprise comes in the form of another actor who has sublet the apartment from her boyfriend (who did not mention the pair of females who would be in residence). After some negotiation the two decide to share the apartment even though she has vowed to stay away from actors.

To give you a taste of how good this script is:

Paula McFadden : This is your room. I do not clean or make beds. You may use the kitchen or the bathroom when I am not in it and wash it up when you are through. You pay for your own food, laundry, linens and phone bills. I would appreciate some quiet between six and nine as that is when Lucy does her homework and I don’t care what you drink or smoke. As long as it is not grass in front of my 10 year old daughter. Now, we have everything straight?

Elliot Garfield : No.

Paula McFadden : No?

Elliot Garfield : No. I’m not crazy about the arrangements.

Paula McFadden : You’re not.

Elliot Garfield : Definitely not. I am paying the rent, I will make-a-da rules. I like to take showers every morning and I don’t like the panties drying on the rod. I like to cook so I will use the kitchen whenever I damn well please and I am very particular about my condiments so, keep your salt and pepper to yourself. I also play the guitar in the middle of the night whenever I cannot sleep and I meditate every morning complete with chanting and burning incense so if you’ve got to walk around I’d appreciate a little tip-toeing. Also, I sleep in the nude. Au buffo. Winter and summer, rain or snow with the windows open and because I may have to go to the potty or to the fridge in the middle of the night and because I don’t want to put on jammies which I do not own in the first place… unless you’re looking for a quick thrill or your daughter an advanced education I would keep my door closed. Thems my rules and regulations, how does that grab you?

Despite its Academy awards The Goodbye Girl remains largely unknown now which is strange and why its here in Friday’s finest. I think it’s one of the greatest romantic comedies I’ve seen. It is a wonderful tale of family, of career, of relationships and of love. This is easily my favourite performance by Dreyfuss. Everything that makes him so precocious and appealing as an actor is manifested in The Goodbye Girl. The movie melts with humour from start to finishIt also has one of the most gorgeous endings I’ve seen on film.

Interesting IMDB Trivia:

* Marsha Mason recalled working with Richard Dreyfuss – “Richard was fast and funny. I was thoughtful and more serious. Richard was wild and free. I was a responsible wife and mother and an actress. I wanted so much to be like him. He was so sure of himself, so sure of his place and space, and he moves forward accordingly. He’s bright, bright, bright, incredibly well read, and comfortable with his intelligence.”

* The film’s theme song “Goodbye Girl”, sung and written by David Gates, went to No. #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1977.

* Sources point to this film as the first romantic comedy to gross 100 million dollars.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Movies and TV
30 comments on “The Goodbye Girl (1977) – Herbot Ross (Friday’s Finest)
  1. Nadine says:

    Ah this is wonderful thanks for the recommend and awesome transcription and write up. Definitely going on the must-see list.

  2. Thanks for showcasing this underappreciated film. Back in the day it was a big hit, but it’s largely unknown today. Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss are also underappreciated. Both were/are fantastic actors with wonderful timing. If I’m not mistaken Mason was married to Neil Simon? I might be wrong on that, but I think she’s terrific. If you haven’t seen her and James Caan in Cinderella Liberty I highly recommend it.
    Great write up.

  3. badfinger20 says:

    Just put me down to what Pam said. This is a great movie that is over looked… it’s been a long time since I saw it. LOVE the bit of script you included…

    Off Topic- did you see Reely Bernie’s review on the new movie Parasite?

    • Yes, I saw Parasite. Bernie and I are getting down to the nuts and bolts on it lol I wasn’t a fan, but I can understand the craze for it. I love Bernie’s reviews.
      I have to see the Goodbye Girl again too. It’s been too long. I’m glad you felt similarly enamored to this overlooked great romantic comedy.

      • badfinger20 says:

        I do want to see Parasite. I really like his reviews… he said I remind him of his dad lol… I took it as a compliment.

        I do want to see The Goodbye Girl soon again.

        The title reminded me of a different kind of movie around the same time that was pretty brutal… Looking For Mr Goodbar… you ever seen that one?

      • You should see Parasite for its originality and method , but there is zero redeeming of it.

        I haven’t seen Mr Goodbar, what’s that about?

      • badfinger20 says:

        Yes I would like to see it but the zero redeeming I won’t like.

        It has Diane Keaton in it which I’m a big fan of but it plays on the 70s culture of the dangers of being picked up in a bar… she plays a teacher that cruises bars at nights.

      • Sounds like a provocative movie. Why didn’t I ever meet a ‘Diane Keaton’ cruising bars at night?
        I’ll put it on my badfinger list of movies.

      • badfinger20 says:

        You aren’t kidding! Never once did I meet one either.

      • badfinger20 says:

        Oh… did you hear about the Houston Astros?

      • No, I don’t keep up with any MLB news in off season. What happened?

      • badfinger20 says:

        Since 2017 they had a camera zoomed in centerfield stealing signs… the batter knew what was coming… MLB is investigating


      • I just saw the video. Who does the banging? Did this happen all season? Surely they would have picked up on it.

      • badfinger20 says:

        It was also whistling and in the bullpen if it was a change up hands would go up on the fence.

        All the teams suspected it but now a player admitted it

      • If this is true, I’m glad they lost then. It’s amazing that nearly all the batters can live with that on their conscience. The only way I can see it being ‘hushed’ is they think all the other teams do it as well.

      • badfinger20 says:

        The Dodgers in 2017 talked about it according to insiders…they said that everytime Kershaw or Darvish pitched a change up or curve they were waiting on it but they didn’t say anything because they didn’t want to be looked at as sore losers.
        There is a video were the Dodgers were leading 4-1 and everytime Kershaw would pitch a curve a “charge” whistle can be heard and Springer was sitting on a curve to hit a three run homerun.
        Now saying that…he could have hit that anyway but no that is so wrong. A live feed to their hallway to their dugout.

        If you steal signs with your eyes…that is fine…that is baseball but not with technology. I think MLB will make an example out if them.

        More than one from that team has admitted it.

      • It’s disgraceful IF true. I didn’t read anything about it on MLB news. If they are found guilty I hope they will be punished in a BIG WAY!

      • badfinger20 says:

        They have to make an example out of them if they are guilty… so this nonsense won’t happen again.

      • Yes indeed Max. They did seem like awfully well atuned big hitters didn’t they? Even the umps gave them lifeline after lifeline all WS. Washington actualized a miracle in 2019!

      • badfinger20 says:

        The National players said they were warned by other clubs so they changed their signals constantly….they really did.

      • I can only imagine. Good on them! Smart cookies

  4. selizabryangmailcom says:

    I was following your convo. with Badfinger a little bit up there back and forth about baseball and smiled to myself at you guys’ enthusiasm and passion.

    But Good-bye Girl….I really loved it at one time. I think I went by myself to the movies and saw it. Neil Simon’s writing stands out and makes the story real and believable–the way things actually happen in real life. I’m not actually a huge Dreyfuss fan, but he was great in this.
    And I saw Tootsie recently on some movie channel somewhere. Had a great time. My husband was rolling his eyes and pooh-poohing it. But how can you not laugh when Bill Murry opens the door and Dustin Hoffman’s standing there in his *get up* or part of it at least and Bill just looks at him, deadpan, then after a beat: “I BEGGED you to get therapy.”
    Good times

    • Haha, Max (Badfinger) and I often get sidetracked, but it’s fun exploring our niche interests.
      You make a great point about Neil Simon’s writing bringing this sense of everyday ‘realism’ to a situation.
      I love Tootsie, I really do! It’s easily my favourite Hoffman performance. And probably Bill Murray for that matter. The writing is fantastic. That great one liner you mentioned is just one of So many!

  5. selizabryangmailcom says:

    We get sidetracked too. Your blog is fun that way. Remember when we went down the rabbit hole about our hair styles once……….?

  6. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Same. 🙂 🙂

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    BTW, the way you saw it in that picture of me with my parents….I’m letting it grow back out like that again, lol. I’ve tried to layer it and control it for years and it just refuses to be brought to its knees. So I give up. Hair, do what you will……..

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