Somebody had to stand up for SCOOP and WW!
I will not stand up for HOLLYWOOD ENDING!
I hope SCOOP has its fans. They rarely seem to speak out.
But, I love you guys! Hey have a great Sunday!
I wrote a bit on Whatever Works on our Notebook
I will go on the record as saying I enjoyed Scoop a hell of a lot more than Match Point. However don’t ask me why as I don’t remember much about Scoop at all (I haven’t seen it since the theater). And Whatever Works was fun although I understand why a lot of people might not like it. Larry David is a pretty polarizing person – either you love him or you hate him, I just happen to love him – and the script itself is a bit weak. But I laughed and had a good time.
I think of jumping the shark more as veering off into absurdity rather than just losing momentum.
Jumping the shark was when Fonzie tried to jump an actual shark in California. :P
You can go with the more modern term “Nuked the fridge” if you please.
Interiors is one of his best films. Bergman´s influence on Allen is impressive.
Amazing Matt. Just amazing.
I beg to differ with those who see Allen as being more of a social realist or in touch with society in his 70s work. He’s always presented a charmingly airbrushed picture of Manhattan, focusing on the lives of fairly well-off people who make their living from culture. There’s no litter, no subways, people sit on benches in Central Park late at night with no worries about getting mugged. And this was pre-Giuliani, pre the famous “clean-up.” Compare Annie Hall with FIngers (both 1977), or Manhattan with Driller Killer (both 1979), just in terms of the characters and the locations, and it’s virtually like two different cities. But that’s part of why we’ve always needed Allen — his stubborn romanticism, unfashionable as it’s been at various points in his career, is a welcome refresher.
I love his late 70s – mid 80s work the most, but I would agree with you Justin. It’s not realism. And that’s why it’s such wonderful escapism. Everybody: Raise your hand if you watch a Woody Allen when you’re feeling down. Not everyone will, but I know I’m not the only one. There are a bunch of great filmmakers that will give you reality. Woody Allen’s world is always whimsical. But that’s why some of us like it.
Thanks Marko. I feel like I’m getting back into the Wood-man in a big way lately.
Of his recent films I’ve enjoyed “Hollywood Ending” the most. It’s no masterpiece by any means, but it had small charms that managed to warm my heart. The light, playful attitude of the film, in keeping with some of Allen’s previous work, sat well with me.
I’ll side with Justin here about the realism, because Allen as always thrived on a dichotomy that involved his romance with New York, women, jazz, and whatever else, and his morose vision of death, romance, morality, and the meaning of life. At his best he finds ways to play these two things against one another.
If most of us agree that he’s sort of lost the edge over the past decade, I wonder what’s caused it. Most of his recent films trade on themes and concepts that are familiar to his past work. They have the touch and mood that are distinctive to Allen, and yet something almost always seems out of synch. These movies are like listening to someone tell you a lame joke when even they know it’s lame. They won’t muster the energy to try to make it funny. I think somewhere Allen knows that his recent work isn’t very good. Of course, if you ask him, almost none of his films are even worth anyones time at all.
Justin, if you’re referring to me, I never claimed in any sense at all that Woody was a social realist (christ almighty, I can’t even imagine that). I only claimed that Woody represented his particular milieu very well (of upper middle class Jewish Manhattan). Obviously, his world isn’t all of Manhattan but that’s pretty obvious. Even back in the day, Woody was accused of representing a very narrow subsection of NY (you know, without African Americans and Latinos or poor people). But he did represent nicely his particular time and place. And yes he’s horribly out of touch today. And yes his work suffers because of it.
I’m sorry if I mischaracterized your remarks. I don’t see it as an accusation — maybe you don’t either. It’s just part of his creativity and who he is. It’s nice to think of his New York, although it’s also important and interesting to consider the realist depictions of New York as well. It’s apples and oranges, so to speak.
i haven’t seen all woody allen’s movies, but from what i have seen he’s very rocky. spiking high and low and in between.
One great thing about Woody Allen’s NY is how people can have conversations while walking down streets. In terms of “walking and talking,” Woody is probably second to Howard Hawks (and that is no faint praise).
Right, and they talk about such witty things.
I almost turned off Scoop. But had to follow thru I guess. It’s Woody.
I need to see some Woody Allen films. My father is somewhat fond of Woody Allen. What are some charming comedies to start off with? I am most interested in the Purple Rose of Cairo at the moment.
Purple Rose is charming indeed. Great start. Radio Days is sweet as well.
@ some of Ari’s points -
>I only claimed that Woody represented his particular milieu very well (of upper middle class Jewish Manhattan).
But never forget the many times he’s depicted upper-middle-class WASPs (very roughly speaking): Interiors, Hannah and Her Sisters, September, Alice, Melinda and Melinda…
>Even back in the day, Woody was accused of representing a very narrow subsection of NY (you know, without African Americans and Latinos or poor people)
This was a feature of his films – a gaping hole in them – that gave me some pause, even as I loved a film like Manhattan or Hannah and Her Sisters so much. But I’ve since come to the conclusion that Woody was infinitely wisest not to treat in his films what he neither knew nor understood well. In understanding the limits of his own knowledge & talent (look e.g. at Eric Lax’s book Conversations With Woody Allen), he did infinitely less harm than the more typical white, well-off filmmaker who palms off ridiculous sketchy stereotypes of people he knows nothing about as “true” depiction of social reality.
It’s also necessary to point out that Woody has depicted his working-class background, most memorably of course in Radio Days.
Also – Zelig is I think the greatest film on the subject of racial “passing” ever made. (It’d be great on a double-bill with Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa.)
Witkacy – You’ve made an excellent point about Allen’s refusal to dabble in things he knows nothing of. I’ve read Jonathan Rosenbaum in particular complain about Allen’s lack of diversity. But he lives in the world he depicts. These are the people that he knows and understands. And maybe this is the key to understanding why his more recent films have been off the mark. If you chart his career, you find that for the most part he makes movies about people his age (relatively), but lately he’s tried to make films about people decidedly younger than him and his peers. Perhaps this is a demographic that he just doesn’t get, even if they are white, upper-middle class people. I’m taking a shot in the dark here, and haven’t thought completely through this idea.
Nathan, I agree with you completely about Woody not getting the much younger demographic – I mean, I couldn’t even get through Vicky Cristina Barcelona—the cultural references (Gaudi, and Gaudi again), the whole mid-20th-century conceit of wit and repartee, the even older Henry James-ian conceit of the American girl abroad…Scarlet Johansson’s mouthing Woody’s awkward lines expressing his antique concerns and references was too much like ventriloquism, for me. Woody is like Methuselah, when compared to any other great filmmaker still working at his age (or even beyond).
But Jonathan Rosenbaum is only funny, when he lays into Woody Allen for his depictions of lily-white Manhattan (in “Notes Toward the Devaluation of Woody Allen”, 1990): American cinema is still in 2009 so male and white, and so recalcitrant when it comes to racial diversity (and a part of this is a fight within the industry’s unions), that it makes no sense to hold one filmmaker to this standard of diversity. I would argue that Scorcese has been no less blinkered in his personal vision of New York City translated to the screen—of necessity.
People who liked Scoop = Woody Allen zealots
(I count myself as being in that group.)
It’s possible that you can replace “Scoop” with “Small Time Crooks.”
Witkacy. How do you feel about interiors?
Sorry..you cannot replace Scoop with Small Time Crooks.
Everything he made between MANHATTAN (‘79) and HUSBANDS AND WIVES ( ’92) were consistently brilliant. He’s been hit and miss ever since.