Woody Allen

April 7, 2011

Woody Allen

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.
Bananas – 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.
Sleeper – 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).
Annie Hall – 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).
Stardust Memories – Woody examines himself and wonders why people don’t take him seriously. Great B/W cinematography by Gordon Willis.
Zelig – 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.

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