Friday, December 31, 2010

Woody Allen

I love Woody Allen. I recently picked up a book, Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, featuring the great strips from the former newspaper funny "Inside Woody Allen." I didn't even know the comic strip existed, but I stumbled upon it while browsing the 741.5s on the 3rd floor of Faulk Central. The title alone made me giggle and seemed apropos to the Woody character most that have seen his movies or been a fan of his stand-up are familiar with. "Inside Woody Allen" is full of self-deprecating humor as well as Allen's comic pursuits of women, love, and philosophical questions. The author and artist of the strip, Stuart Hample, actually met Woody in his stand-up days and had his explicit permission, cooperation, and even assistance in writing the strips. It's been a delight to read through and I highly recommend it to any fan of Woody Allen's comedy.

I'm sure I never would have picked up the book had I not seen so many of Allen's movies. The first one I ever saw was "Manhattan;" the opening scene of that movie instantly captivated me with its awesome black and white shots of Manhattan, the Gershwin tunes, and Allen's comedic narration. I went on to watch "Annie Hall," of course, and my all-time favorite, "Hannah and Her Sisters." After just adoring those three movies, I moved on to his earlier stuff with its slapstick humor such as "Bananas" and "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (*But Were Afraid to Ask)" (unfortunately, our copies of this title were damaged or missing and it is no longer available). At this point, I've seen most of his movies (except some of the newer stuff, which I don't like as much), so I could go on at length, but I'll provide a brief list below of some of my personal favorites and some of the critically acclaimed I haven't yet seen. (Hint: click on the Catalog Record tab above the title when viewing these movies in FindIt, the online catalog, to get a description of the movie along with a list of the actors.) Granted, Woody Allen's personal life and the notorious scandal regarding his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn may not make him the most likable figure in the world this present day, but, if you can put that aside, his works are well worth the watching.

P.S. Happy New Year! When you're making your New Year's resolutions consider this quote from Allen's movie "Interiors": "You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred."

Two moral crises regarding love and betrayal play themselves out in this dark comedy/drama.

Everyone Says I Love You
I admit to watching this one probably hundreds of times. It's a musical with an all-star cast singing standards and dancing around. I freakin' love a good musical and nothing beats listening to celebrities belt out classic songs (this is your chance to discover the musical or not-so-musical talents of Goldie Hawn, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Alan Alda, and more!).

A co-worker suggested this one to me - it's a spoof on Russian novels such as War and Peace full of silliness and philosophical debates featuring Diane Keaton and Woody Allen. Hilarious!

Just a fun story featuring murder, mystery, and Diane Keaton.

This is an intense tale of love and betrayal featuring the always lovely and often seductive Scarlett Johansson.

I just love this silly plot of dim-witted would-be crooks that end up making it big legitimately. Tracey Ullman is fantastic and was nominated for an Oscar for her role.


La Princesse de Clèves said...

Radio Days is a great movie for your next New Year's Eve - narrated by Allen, it's a coming of age story about how radio influenced his childhood in New York City from the late 1930s to New Year's Eve 1944.

Anonymous said...

Loved Match Point. I'm not a big Woody Allen fan at all, but I loved this movie!