I’m afraid I have to agree with the alien in Stardust Memories. I prefer Woody’s earlier funny movies. When Woody tries to be an artist, he pretty much fails (because I don’t think he is one). I think he came the closest with Crimes and Misdemeanors (Husbands and Wives might’ve been ok too. Mostly because of Judy Davis and Sydney Pollack (a better actor than director)). I don’t even bother watching his movies anymore.
What’s Up Tiger Lily?
– Take a Japanese James Bond knockoff
and replace all the dialogue with Woody at his wittiest. My college roommate introduced this movie to me at the Columbia College Chicago
library. I then introduced it to my family. I watched this thing dozens of times.
Take the Money and Run
– I don’t often laugh out loud in front of other people, but the “bowl of steam” line made my sides hurt.
– Woody does Fidel
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask
– Don’t be afraid to ask for this one (yuk yuk). Ok, it’s not great, but it’s funny enough.
– Woody’s first pairing with his 70’s muse, Diane Keaton
Love and Death
– “Wheat!” Woody does Russian tragedy. Was this possibly his first effort at dabbling in Bergman
territory? He was parodying Bergman here, not copying him (yet).
– This took best picture from Star Wars
, which makes a lot of geeks cry to this day. It’s still pretty funny though. If you don’t blink, you’ll see a young Jeff Goldblum
at a Hollywood party. And if you look really close, you’ll see a young Sigourney Weaver
in her screen debut (I’m kidding. You won’t recognize her. She’s in a long shot outside a theater for a few seconds).
– Woody examines himself and wonders why people don’t take him seriously. Great B/W cinematography by Gordon Willis
– Remember, this was before Forrest Gump
Crimes and Misdemeanors
– His best mixture of comedy and drama. I don’t think he’s topped this one, and at this rate I don’t think he will. Martin Landau
was on a roll with this, Tucker: The Man and His Dream
, and Ed Wood
Husbands and Wives
– This is probably the last Woody Allen I saw in the theater. I remember liking Sydney Pollack
and Judy Davis
(she was on a role in the early 90’s).
That’s pretty much all I can take from Woody. He just rehashes the same gag, and if he’s not playing himself he gets another actor to ape him. I recently rented Vicky Cristina Barcelona (cuz I went to Barcelona), and the incessant voice over took me right out of the movie. Completely unnecessary, and ruined what could’ve been a more serious character study. Show me, don’t tell me Woody. You’re a writer, and you know this.