Woody Allen

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Godot
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Re: Woody Allen

#651 Post by Godot » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:34 am

bearcuborg wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:45 pm
Manhattan Murder Mystery is one of those movies I could play daily for background noise when I’m working.
Me, too! When I was in college, we watched Purple Rose, Radio Days, and Hannah and Her Sisters in the background while we played Scrabble. Aside from the obvious references to cinema and the Central Park atmosphere, much of what I love about Manhattan Murder Mystery is the way it reinforces marriage. It shows the warts of marital relationships, the temptations and arguments and pulling away from each other, but ultimately it shows the strength in magnetically winding those strands back around the core. It feels like I'm watching the characters from Annie Hall, picking up the thread of their lives 25 years later (I know, that's not exactly an original take on the film). I love the scenes with Alda seducing Keaton and Huston seducing Allen, and both our main spouses finding the attention bemusing and flattering but not deterred from their constant thoughts about their relationship (and solving the mystery, of course). And it's spot-on with its mockery of marital dynamics - I laugh every time when Keaton wakes in the middle of the night suspecting her neighbors, and Woody tries to control her with "As your husband, I command you to go back to bed! I command you!" (paraphrasing) The foursome dinner in the NJ speak-easy (with Sopranos extras listening in on the morbid hypothesizing), with the shifting flirting and interplay among the couples, is wonderful. My favorite scene is the blackmail (or threatening) attempt by telephone, with Woody's friends timing their playing of tape recorded phrases on multiple players, as Keaton laughs and rolls her eyes; it feels partially scripted and then improvised and then the actors seem to barely suppress laughter at Woody's wild gestures.

I really enjoy Woody movies that are underappreciated (despised? mocked?) by the crowds besides Manhattan Murder Mystery, such as Alice, Everyone Says I Love You, Sweet and Lowdown, and even Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, and Hollywood Ending. I am mostly attracted to their generally wistful and lighter-hearted approaches, mixed with occasional darker elements. Primarily I dislike the films that have the main characters veer morally and get away with it (or the movie seems to imply they are rewarded for it) - I'm specifically excluding Crimes and Misdemeanors, which I love precisely because it sets up a comparison to test the ethical stance of the universe for this situation and has such a philosophically downbeat ending when Martin Landau and Woody compare their fates... but I think Crimes is making the point that Landau's and Alda's characters should be punished and Woody's should be rewarded by winning Mia Farrow, and it heavily plays that hand in its denouement at the wedding. But, for example, I soured on Cafe Society, which I was otherwise enjoying for it's honey-colored nostalgic view of Hollywood politics and art, when Jesse Eisenberg's character
SpoilerShow
cheats on his loving wife
near the end; character twists like that make it difficult for me to share his movies with my family.

I guess I'm a moralist in my older years, and obviously I'm applying my own personal impressions of make-believe characters, so I'm not so much commenting on the artistic merits of the films as much as which ones I could "play in the background" as bearcuborg says. As I get older, I don't like to surround myself with jerks (I get enough of that at the office 10+ hours a day) when I'm watching movies - I am more emotionally connected to a moral gesture, an honest reflection, even a melancholy scene or ending that gives me more perspective. As much as I loved Midnight in Paris for its magic and artistic references and humorous comparisons of eras, when Owen Wilson's character is hiding from his wife in the hotel room that he's leaving to have an affair, it turned me against him, and I had to stick with it to be won back over (by that magic of the time slips). It seemed like Woody was more apt to call out morally questionable characters in his pre-Farrow-divorce works, but maybe I'm not thinking of enough examples. I've seen only a few of his films from the past 15 years, and maybe only half of the 15 years' output before that; my god, Allen is a prodigious artist. The auteurist list should help remind me, I'm looking forward to it.
Last edited by Godot on Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: Woody Allen

#652 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:58 pm



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bearcuborg
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Re: Woody Allen

#654 Post by bearcuborg » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:16 pm

While nothing in the piece was all that revealing, from his order of spaghetti and meatballs, to his his take on Elie Wiesel’s Night, this is a delightful read - I hung onto every word. I was unaware of David Evanier as a writer before this, and unless a Woody Allen book is a Q&A, I almost have no interest in it for fear that’s it going to be too sycophantic or worshipful. Thanks for posting!

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Gregory
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Re: Woody Allen

#655 Post by Gregory » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:52 pm

This was surprising in the piece:
In Crimes and Misdemeanors, he examines that moral torpor, that indifference to murder . . . and the moral rigor of Primo Levi. The character of Professor Louis Levy, he told me, was based on a composite of Primo Levi and Martin Bergmann, a noted psychoanalyst and editor (with Milton E. Jucovy) of Generations of the Holocaust. Bergmann plays the character of Dr. Levy in the film.
...because in Woody Allen on Woody Allen, he said that people had asked him about this but that Levi was not an inspiration for Levy.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Woody Allen

#656 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu May 02, 2019 6:43 pm


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tarpilot
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Re: Woody Allen

#657 Post by tarpilot » Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 pm

There's always Feral House...

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bearcuborg
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Re: Woody Allen

#658 Post by bearcuborg » Thu May 02, 2019 7:31 pm

God, to think of he would have cashed in big time 10yrs ago. Not that I expect him to say a whole lot.

beamish14
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Re: Woody Allen

#659 Post by beamish14 » Thu May 02, 2019 8:49 pm

I thought Allen had signed a deal for a memoir a number of years back, but decided to forfeit the advance because he didn't want to disclose much new information.

black&huge
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Re: Woody Allen

#660 Post by black&huge » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:44 pm

Something I've been wondering as of late:

I'm cherry picking through his filmography because I have not seen many of Allen's films except the high praised ones but did he ever give a specific statement on the reason why he tries to film/release a feature to pattern a release every year? I find it fascinating and I could only think of the following: he simply wants to keep the workflow going and/or for whatever purpose he wants to amass a huge body of work. Those two could go hand in hand I guess.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Woody Allen

#661 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:36 pm

He appears to be a man who sticks to routines and that’s one of them.

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furbicide
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Re: Woody Allen

#662 Post by furbicide » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:33 pm

He described it as a form of therapy, I think.

Edit: here’s a quote:
"You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving?" he said. "It's the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don't work, it's unhealthy—for me, particularly unhealthy. I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it's very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems that are delightful puzzles, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It's my version of basket weaving."

black&huge
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Re: Woody Allen

#663 Post by black&huge » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:22 am

furbicide, big thanks for that. Makes perfect sense now

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Rayon Vert
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Re: Woody Allen

#664 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:21 pm

furbicide wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:33 pm
He described it as a form of therapy, I think.

Edit: here’s a quote:
"You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving?" he said. "It's the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don't work, it's unhealthy—for me, particularly unhealthy. I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it's very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems that are delightful puzzles, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It's my version of basket weaving."
Sounds more like medication than therapy. This quote makes it sound like he's refusing to see suffering as a potential for growth, whereby a new perspective or sense of the world could come about through that process, and so instead we get basket weaving art, which is what his movies have felt like for thirty years. I'm not necessarily passing judgement in the sense that it's wrong, but it potentially explains his limitations as an artist.

Jack Kubrick
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:13 pm

Re: Woody Allen

#665 Post by Jack Kubrick » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:03 pm

Meaning and truth of life on Earth.


This is one of the most eloquent things I've heard spoken from an artist about life. Typical woodman cynicism juncture with the hope that nothingness is all well in this universe.

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