Script Notes II

S ix months ago, I reeled off a series of movie and TV moments referencing New Haven.

Today, I’ve got enough for a sequel. And I didn’t even have to watch Gilmore Girls.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022), 29:04: A pair of aces nicknamed Yale and Harvard arrive late to the bar where viewers first meet America’s top fictional fighter pilots. Competing for the right to fly a near-impossible mission, Yale (played by Raymond Lee) turns out to be a secondary character, relegated to a “reserve role” for the mission and omitted from the final heroes’ gallery. But his screen time still beats Harvard’s.

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Duplicity (2009), 8:17: Ray Koval (Clive Owen), a corporate spy within the beauty industry, has just ducked a security team he’s testing out. At least I think that’s what’s going on; the film is coy with its audience—duplicitous, even. Anyway, Koval’s in Grand Central, and if you aren’t too busy trying to get your bearings, you might hear an announcement drifting across the background: “New Haven customers, New Haven customers. The 11:21 to New Haven, 11:21 to New Haven. First stop Stamford…”

Life with Father (1947), 5:49: Speaking of the train to New Haven, it’s 1883, on the main floor of a Madison Avenue brownstone. A family begins to gather for breakfast. First down the stairs is eldest son Clarence Jr. (Jimmy Lydon), who picks up the newspaper. “Jiminy! Another wreck on the New Haven! That always disturbs the stock market. Father won’t like that.” “I do wish the New Haven would stop having wrecks,” Mother (Irene Dunne) replies. “If they knew how it upsets your father.”

The Mindy Project (2016), S4E24, 5:57: Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) answers her phone and carries it to an alcove, stopping next to a print produced by and promoting New Haven’s own Dexterity Press. Needless to say, I’m pretty proud of spotting this one.

W. (2008), 5:59: Berated by a crowd, doused with liquor, submerged in ice water, whipped by wet towels, threatened with a 3-iron and commanded to sing “The Whiffenpoofs Song,” a young George W. Bush is shown enduring—no, enjoying—an extreme hazing ritual at Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

TÁR (2022), 37:21: In a gilded room at The Carlyle in New York, world-beating maestro Lydia Tár flirts with the idea of flirting with her assistant, Francesca, who suggests dinner. “Uh, no,” Tár decides. “No, I’m going to stay and put this piano to good use. I’m suspicious of the E natural in the cello line. Doesn’t it sound like warmed-over Charles Ives to you?” Ives studied in New Haven, at Hopkins and Yale, but Tár’s next question is mere coincidence: “You must have some New Haven friends you want to see tonight?” Francesca demurs, smolders, offers a few more openings, lingers for an invitation that never comes.

Written by Dan Mims. Image features Mindy Kaling with a Dexterity Press print during an episode of The Mindy Project.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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