Ok, now that I have your attention.
Obviously Judd Apatow isn’t Woody Allen. About the only thing they have in common is that they were once stand-up comediens and are Jewish. But in a discussion on another thread, it occurred to me when talking about Funny People that Apatow was venturing into more serious material, which is something that Allen did after making some of his more silly comedies (such as Take the Money and Run).
While the Apatow brand seems to be synonomous with crude bathroom humor and juvenile man-boys, the three films that he’s directed all have an underlying tone of real seriousness. With his latest effort, he seemed to be heading into truly dramatic territory and I’m actually really excited about where he may be headed next.
I don’t think Apatow will ever achieve the cinematic stature that Allen has if for no other reason than Allen has always been interested in the culture of cinema. Whereas Apatow seems to be more interested in comedy circles, Allen has always impressed me with his concern with cinema’s form and artistic allowances. For this reason, he was able to channel Bergman in Interiors or classic Hollywood in Manhatten. I don’t ever see this coming from Apatow however I do think Apatow has shown a gift for combining the comedic with the dramatic, in ways very few directors have done in recent years. What is so great about something like Annie Hall is that it’s both funny and dramatic and I see Apatow wanting to experiment with this type of storytelling.
I know there are a lot of Apatow haters out there and a lot of Woodyphites who think I’m denouncing the word of God by making such comparisons, but I wonder if there isn’t some truth to the comparison. With Judd Apatow’s extensive experience in comedy (see The Larry Sanders Show), he definitely has the pedigree to give us something truly great. And so I’m excited to see if someday he will.
What they said.
He’s already missed the opportunity to match Woody Allen’s pacing of putting out films. The only other filmmaker that wrote and directed that many films in their career was Goddard.
Nathan W – And Hitchcock (although he wasn’t a writer)
What’s with all the anti-semitism? Does everybody hate Judd Apatow?lol
Hitch didn’t write his films – at least not after he moved to talkies.
Oh…just saw your parentheses…disregard my post.
is he supposed to be? they both have really different styles of humor. it’s like asking if Woody Allen is the next Preston Sturges. the films are just too different.
but in response to the above haters: Woody Allen isn’t that great. He’s made about 3 or 4 great movies, half-a-dozen really good ones, but the rest is just shit. and he’s made a lot of shit. in fact, i’ll break it down for you:
Woody Allen’s Great Movies:
Annie HallManhattanHannah and her SistersCrimes and MisdemeanorsHusbands and Wives
Woody Allen’s Really Good Movies:
BananasSleeperZeligBroadway Danny RoseSweet and LowdownMatch Point
Woody Allen’s Shit Movies (or Movies of non-distinguishable quality (i.e. easily forgotten):
Take the Money and RunEverything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to AskLove and DeathInteriorsStardust MemoriesA Midsummer Night’s Sex ComedyThe Purple Rose of CairoRadio DaysSeptemberAnother WomanOedipus WrecksAliceShadows and FogManhattan Murder MysteryBullets Over BroadwayDon’t Drink the WaterMighty AphroditeEveryone Says I Love YouDeconstructing HarryCelebritySmall Time CrooksThe Curse of the Jade ScorpionHollywood EndingAnything ElseMelinda and MelindaScoopCassandra’s DreamVicky Christina BarcelonaWhatever Works
Now, if I did have to rate and compare Apatow’s three films to that body of work, I’d say they’re better than everything but the top 5 movies I listed. Of course, many will disagree.
And don’t anyone try to argue that Apatow’s films are limited by focusing on man-children when Allen’s films are by-and-large limited to his neurotic persona and/or wealthy New Yorkers (or their English analogs).
But RUS, you have a point.
RUS – I agree with your assessment of Allen’s top five (sans Husbands and Wives, which I haven’t seen) although some of the ones you label as shit I like.
I guess what I was really getting at is that for a long time, Woody Allen was one of the premiere filmmakers who successfully weaved storylines with both comedy and drama. And today, the person who is most successful at doing that seems to be Judd Apatow.
I guess RUS has a point, Apatow just ain’t Allen.
“What’s with all the anti-semitism?”
You mean towards Allen or towards Apatow?
if there is a comparison to be made, it’s that Apatow is now the leading figure in American screen comedy just as Allen was in the 70’s, or Sturges in the 40’s, Lubitsch in the 30’s, or Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker in the 80’s. Apatow has certainly matched that level of influence and distinction in American film, more for his influence at this point than anything else (though I do love all three of his films).
Berjuan – I don’t know. Either one. If you don’t like Apatow, you must be an anti-semite.
It’s like Uncle Leo, who thought everyone was an anti-semite:
“Ahh, look at this sandwhich. I asked for no mayo! The cook’s an anti-semite!”
who doesn’t have an uncle like that.
my uncle once accused the sanitation department of anti-semitism because they forgot to pick up his recycling one day. only to find out it was being picked up bi-weekly at that time.
“Woody Allen’s Really Good Movies”
one of the rare times i’ll agree with Ehrenstein…NEXT!!!!
RUS – Yes, that’s basically what I was saying (although I think some didn’t even read my post, they just read the headline).
And I focused on the comparison to Allen specifically because they both venture into drama. The last thing the Zuckers were were serious dramatic filmmakers.
“one of the rare times i’ll agree with Ehrenstein”Fuck! I just realized that!
Catch 22, I think its called?
RUS, you’re such a blabber! Mighty Aphrofite, Radio Days, Purple Rose of Cairo and Vicki Cristina Barcelona are trash? You’re the trash.
I understand what the topic-starter is getting at and yes, I agree. Apatow upped the ante in the comedy world right now, whether you want to admit it or not. I read a time article talking about how comedies nowadays have to “Out Apatow Apatow” and it’s true. Basically, yes, he knows how to blend comedy with drama AND make it feel true and have a heart, a soul. Woody Allen has gone through similar territory. I do admit, I wish Apatow could put out a movie a year like Woody seems to do.
If he did he’d run out of material, unlike Allen who’s a true talent.
“He’s already missed the opportunity to match Woody Allen’s pacing of putting out films. The only other filmmaker that wrote and directed that many films in their career was Goddard.”
Umm, sorry, not even close. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of filmmakers who’ve made far more feature films than Godard or Allen.
I’m definitely with RUS, except I’d place Husbands and Wives under Allen’s “really good movies.”
As for Apatow, it remains to be seen, but I think he’s a true talent. He proved that with “Freaks and Geeks” and “40-year-old Virgin,” one of the few comedies I’ve ever seen that spanned more than two hours, yet I didn’t have a problem with it and it didn’t seem overdone.
True Blue K, but not dozens who have made as many classics as they have.
“If he did he’d run out of material, unlike Allen who’s a true talent.”
Yeah, because all of Woody’s films are completely unique and original. He’s never recycled anything!
I’ll put in a vote for “Yes” and agree with RUS except that I only kind of think one of the top 5 might qualify as great: *Crimes and Misdemeanors *
Man, Fredo actually took some time and energy to really explain why and how he’s bringing up the comparison, and you all immediately just shat on that without even taking into account the terms he framed the argument in.
If you take Apatow’s producing into account along with his directing and writing, he certainly is matching the yearly output of Woody Allen, if not doing more. And if you take the movies he’s produced along with the movies he’s directed and written, then you have a myriad of cinematic quality from the absolutely terrible to the very great, just like Woody Allen does.
I do not think that he matches Woody Allen in any sort of comparative character terms, because Woody Allen is a brand-name unto himself, let me tell you. Nobody does Woody Allen but Woody Allen, and Woody Allen seldom does anything but Woody Allen, so when you watch a Woody Allen movie you damn well better expect Woody Allen—neurotic, New Yorker, and more sex in the movie than can possibly actually happen to him in real life.
So moving beyond the Woody Allen comparison in specific, I believe Fredo is framing a discussion he’d rather be having about Judd Apatow, that is to say, that he’s looking to be a lasting force in comedy that could possibly continue up to decades-level output of general dependability in quality or at least content like, for instance, Woody Allen does.
PolarisDIB – Some people didn’t even read my original post before commenting. The reason I know this is that there were already comments on this thread as soon as I created it.
“I believe Fredo is framing a discussion he’d rather be having about Judd Apatow, that is to say, that he’s looking to be a lasting force in comedy that could possibly continue up to decades-level output of general dependability in quality.”
Yes, absolutely. There have been a lot of great comedy filmmakers and a lot of great comedy fads over the years. I think of the National Lampoon era in the early 80s, the Ivan Reitman films, the Billy Wilder films from the late 50s through the 60s, etc. The 90s did seem to be dominated by Farrelly Brothers type humor and SNL features. But rarely do these filmmakers last very long – I mean, where is Ivan Reitman now? He’s running errands for his son Jason.
My point is well articulated by PolarisDIB, that by shifting into more dramatic territory, Apatow is creating a career that is more sustainable. He’s only made a couple films so it’s difficult to tell if he’ll be around in ten or twenty years but I feel like he has that ability to be a driving force in comedy for a long time.
Maybe Apatow will stick around longer if he embraces the dramatic more fully with slight tones of comedy. I can see his audience getting tired of his type of humour but people will always respond to the type of charaters he’s able to write. I rarely laugh while watching an Apatow movie but find hs characters and their plight compelling.
Despite all the dick jokes,“funny people” dealt with the subject of mortality in a very mature way.
“Freaks and geeks” captured adolescent angst so well.
Yes there is lasting talent there…
Apatow isn’t even the next Woody Woodpecker.