The Schmooze

Friday Film: Debbie Goodstein on 'Mighty Fine'

The film “Mighty Fine” is ostensibly about the fictional Fine family — a Holocaust survivor mother, a father with temper issues and two daughters who bear the weight of his problems.

Joe Fine (Chazz Palminteri) means well. It’s the 1970s, he’s in the rag trade and business is bad. Even moving the family and business from New York to New Orleans, where costs are lower, doesn’t help. He’s forced to use a mob contact to arrange “Jewish lightning” on his factory. Stella (Andie MacDowell) and daughters Natalie (Jodelle Ferland) and Maddie (Rainey Qualley) are the unintended victims.

In fact, the film and the family are not totally fictional. They are at least partially based on the experiences of screenwriter and director Debbie Goodstein. It is not the first time Goodstein has mined her family history and heritage for ideas. The first film she wrote and directed, “Voices from the Attic” was a documentary about the Polish family who hid her mother during the war. She also wrote a TV movie, “Saying Kaddish,” that was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. Goodstein spoke to The Arty Semite about fathers, casting Chazz Palminteri, and her own upbringing in Brooklyn.

Curt Schleier: How much of the film is based on your own life?

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Friday Film: Debbie Goodstein on 'Mighty Fine'

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