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Your favourite Woody Allen

What is your favorite Woody Allen film?   45 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your favorite Woody Allen film?

    • What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
      1
    • Take the Money and Run (1969)
      1
    • Bananas (1971)
      1
    • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)
      0
    • Sleeper (1973)
      1
    • Love and Death (1975)
      3
    • Annie Hall (1977)
      8
    • Interiors (1978)
      0
    • Manhattan (1979)
      6
    • Stardust Memories (1980)
      0
    • A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
      0
    • Zelig (1983)
      1
    • Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
      0
    • The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
      8
    • Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
      8
    • Radio Days (1987)
      0
    • September (1987)
      1
    • Another Woman (1988)
      0
    • Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
      11
    • Alice (1990)
      0
    • Shadows and Fog (1992)
      0
    • Husbands and Wives (1992)
      0
    • Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
      0
    • Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
      2
    • Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
      2
    • Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
      0
    • Deconstructing Harry (1997)
      0
    • Celebrity (1998)
      0
    • Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
      0
    • Small Time Crooks (2000)
      0
    • The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
      0
    • Hollywood Ending (2002)
      0
    • Anything Else (2003)
      0

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103 posts in this topic

Can folk elaborate on what they think is "mean" about Woody's later films?

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...Yeah, for those of us who had seen \"Zelig,\" the arrival of \"Forrest Gump\" just seemed so unsensational....

Okay, 'street, who appointed you to speak for all of "us who had seen ZELIG," that's what I want to know? I'm starting a splinter group - "those of us who had seen ZELIG, but found the arrival of FORREST GUMP sensational."

You been reading Pauline Kael lately?

:wink:

Ron

P.S. And how come this is a sticky thread?....

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... SOME of us who had seen 'Zelig'... thought better than OTHERS who had seen 'Zelig'... 8)

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Too many people base great movies on how many awards they were nominated for, or how many they won. I for one see the Academy Awards as a popularity contest. How do you explain Christopher Walken not getting Best Supporting Actor for Catch Me If You Can (and why has he not been in an Allen film since Annie Hall)? Let it be noted that Woody himself sits out the Oscars at the Carlyle in NYC, playing some Dixieland jazz on his clarinet. He's famously said before that if the public liked one of his movies that much, he must have screwed up somewhere.

In my own opinion, Woody's truly best behind the camera, directing other actors. He's at his absolute worst -not his fault- acting in other people's movies (except for Antz, of course).

My favorite Allen films:

What's Up, Tiger Lily?

Something about the American-New York-Jewish dialogue overdubbed onto a Japanese spy flick makes me laugh every time. Definitely for fans of MST3K, Kung Pow: Enter The Fist and Cheech and Chong Go To The Movies.

Take The Money And Run

A marching-band cellist (you have to see it to believe it) decides to hold up a bank but botches the holdup note ("Really, that says GUB"). He's sent to work on a chain gang, which leads to some great Cool Hand Luke parodies.

Annie Hall

Worth it alone for Christopher Walken's spooky debut as Diane Keaton's brother. Also features cameos by Carol Kane (Miracle Max's wife, The Princess Bride), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) and Paul Simon. Great wisecrack by Woody to Shelly Duvall (Olive Oyl, Popeye) about going to an Alice Cooper concert ("...six people were rushed to the hospital with bad vibes").

Manhattan

There's an eerie remark during a thunderstorm about the Chrysler Building exploding.

Radio Days

Seth Green (Scott Evil, Austin Powers) plays a young Woody running around Brooklyn getting into mischief.

Bullets Over Broadway

John Cusak stars as a play writer in the 1930s. With help from Dianne Weist, Tracey Ullman (Small Time Crooks) and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge). Chazz Palminteri should have won Best Supporting Actor as a mob hitman who rewrites the dialogue. Great costumes, set design, music, photography, everything.

Manhattan Murder Mystery

Woody and Diane Keaton try to solve a suspected murder, with Alan Alda (What Women Want) and Anjelica Huston (Morticia, The Addams Family).

Wild Man Blues

Not really a movie, as such, but a documentary of Allen's 1998 tour of Europe with his clarinet and Dixieland band. Woody's personality is on full display here; he's quipping for the camera constantly. He nearly socks a paparazzi in Venice for snapping him with his sister (Letty Aronson) and wife. Soon-Yi (introduced by Woody as "The notorious Soon-Yi Previn") gets quite a few words in as well. At one point, Woody actually chides his wife for never having watched any of his films. At one hotel on the tour, such pandemonium breaks out in the street when he steps on the balcony, he wonders out loud (on camera) if possibly the assembled crowd was waiting instead for Mick Jagger.

Celebrity

I know most people are driven out of their heads by Branagh's spot-on Allenisms. Be that as it may, there's some great chemistry between Joe Mantegna and Judy Davis. The B/W photography by Sven Nykvist (Bergman's cinematographer) is gorgeous.

Sweet And Lowdown

Sean Penn plays a fictional jazz guitarist who's obsessed with Django Reinhardt.

Small Time Crooks

The critics mostly panned this, but it was number one at the box office for 3 or more weeks.

Sounds From A Town I Love

Another short film. This one was included in The Concert For New York City. Sir Paul Mccartney and the other organisers asked a number of New York filmmakers (and Kevin Smith) to make short films about the city, to be shown at intervals during the concert. Woody's contribution featured cellphone conversations of neurotic New Yorkers post-9/11. A number of famous faces turned out for this one, including Donald Trump, who's getting to be an Allen film regular.

Worst:

Scenes From A Mall

Woody and Bette Midler are celebrating their anniversary at a mall- don't ask me why. For some unknown reason, Woody's wearing a white suit, sporting a pony tail, and drinking designer water. Soon-Yi makes a brief appearance.

Picking Up The Pieces

This one is just plain BAD, there's no two ways about it. Woody's a kosher butcher named Tex. He chops up his wife (Sharon Stone) and dumps her body in the desert. Her hand is found nearby and assumed by religious devotees to be the hand of Jesus' mother, Mary. David Schwimmer (FRIENDS) appears as the local priest. RUN AWAY!!!

Company Man

Woody seems to be acting in a completely different movie, as he dosen't actually appear in a single frame with another actor in this film.

The Sunshine Boys

Peter Falk (The Princess Bride) was actually good in here, but the rest of the movie is pretty dismal. Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex In The City), Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act), and Michael McKean (Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind) also make appearances.

"Tricia McMillan loved New York. She kept on telling herself this over and over again. The Upper West Side. Yeah. Mid Town. Hey, great retail. SoHo. The East Village. Clothes. Books. Sushi. Italian. Delis. Yo.

Movies. Yo also. Tricia had just been to see Woody Allen's new movie which was all about the angst of being neurotic in New York. He had made one or two other movies that had explored the same theme, and Tricia wondered if he had ever considered moving, but heard that he had set his face against the idea. So: more movies, she guessed." -from "Mostly Harmless", by Douglas Adams, Random House, 1992.

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Both Mighty Aphrodite and Deconstructing Harry have been referred to here as "mean-spirited".

I just rewatched both films recently, and can totally see what is mean-spirited in the latter. Definitely witty and with some ingenious ideas, but I agree, its meanness towards its characters detract from that. With that at the back of my mind, I didn't enjoy it.

But Mighty Aphrodite? I thought this was an entirely different film, and I didn't detect any meanness towards the characters. In fact -- and maybe I just totally missed the point -- I found it a charming and touching movie. To me, the films were in two totally different classes.

Critics, please explain what I've missed. smile.gif

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Yeah, I haven't seen it since it first hit video, but I remember really liking Mighty Aphrodite, too. It seemed to me a great way to use the Greek chorus thing and make overt the voice of morality which is always present in Allen's films, whether it is being followed or ignored.

And on the general score of misanthropy or negativism, I think of all the Allen films I've seen, I've never seen one where I thought his view of humanity and human interaction ever rose above bittersweet, and usually with more bitterness than sweetness. I'm not in a hurry to see his recent stuff after the embarrassment of Hollywood Ending, which seemed to me to have, if anything, too much goofiness and not enough real interpersonal insight.

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I'm behind the curve on this, but wanted to put in my two cents.

Purple Rose of Cairo is my all-time favorite. Crimes and Misdemeanors is second. And am I the only one who thinks Interiors was a great movie?

As to where Allen went wrong, I'd guess Husbands and Wives was a good starting point. He hit his stride again with Bullets over Broadway, but H&W was self-indulgent and, yes, mean-spirited. It also seemed intellectually dishonest in its portrayal of the Mia Farrow character as a passive aggressive seductress, while Allen's character made all the right moral choices by foregoing an affair with his young student. (As if ....)

But overall I'd agree with the assessment of Allen's career as "uneven." Here's hoping his new one will put him on track again.

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I just realized, one nifty film is missing from the poll. Play It Again, Sam is based on a play of Woody's and co-stars Woody and a few of his regular cast members (Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts) -- but it was DIRECTED by someone else, which I'm guessing is why it didn't make the list above. I still think it should qualify, though. (Not that I would vote for it or anything.)

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I'm guessing Anything Else just opened in Britain, cuz Mark Steyn has a review of it up on his website now; in conjunction with that, since Anything Else stars Jason Biggs as a sort of surrogate Woody Allen, Steyn has also re-posted an essay he wrote in 1999 on the various surrogate Woodys that have appeared since the scandal of '92 (beginning with John Cusack in 1994's Bullets over Broadway -- "Bullets Over Broadway, for example, has the distinction of being the only Woody Allen film in which the Woody character is sexually attracted to an older woman, Dianne Wiest. She's not older than the real Woody (she's young enough to be his daughter), but older than the surrogate Woody (John Cusack), which is a start" -- and continuing with films like 1998's Antz -- "The wonders of computer animation: it's the only medium in which a 41-year-old could get away with being Woody's love interest. In a film with the real Woody, she'd be playing his girlfriend's mother").

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Incidentally, we had an earlier thread on Woody Allen here, in which his thing for younger women was discussed, plus I offered my thoughts on Anything Else; in addition, there is a fairly new thread on the philosophy of Woody's films here.

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Edited by Overstreet

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Link to a note that Allen will be directing an opera in L.A. in September.

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The feel-good quote of the year, courtesy of Jeffrey Wells, who is rejoicing at its profundity.

Me, well... "Rejoice!" isn't my immediate response.

Edited by Overstreet

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My wife has been on a Woody Allen kick as of late. It's bizarre, since she never expressed an interest in Allen as a filmmaker before, but now she can't get enough of him, watching pretty much every Allen film she can get her hands on. I have to say, though, I'm appreciating the wade through. I'd seen a number of Allen films, like ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN, but had never taken the time to really delve into his work. I have to say, there's quite a lot to like. I'm quite fond of ZELIG, STARDUST MEMORIES, and THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO.

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Interesting. I fell in love with Woody's films in the mid-'80s, but I generally saw only a few of them per year. When I finally did the chronological binge, about a decade ago (when I got the DVD boxed sets with his first 20 films or so), it actually had the odd effect of turning me OFF Woody Allen, or at least making me very, very sensitive to certain weaknesses of his, especially the way he TELLS rather than SHOWS his character development. The characters in his films are always DESCRIBING each other to their faces. This isn't really a problem with his earlier films, which are largely parodies of one sort or another, but when he starts getting "dramatic" -- especially circa Interiors -- it becomes a problem.

Miraculously, though, my second-favorite film of all time, The Purple Rose of Cairo, survived this Woody Allen binge. There's very little of this characters-describing-each-other business, except for what is appropriate to the film's premise (and there's even one scene where Mia Farrow BEGINS to describe one of Jeff Daniels' characters, and he interrupts her: "Life's too short to spend time thinking about life. Let's just live it!").

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Miraculously, though, my second-favorite film of all time, The Purple Rose of Cairo, survived this Woody Allen binge.

I have a poster of Purple Rose of Cairo in my kitchen -- I've owned it for over twenty years. Purple Rose is one of about five films that made me want to make movies.

It's my second favorite of his though - my fav is still Hannah and Her Sisters. I recently re-watched in on cable in the early morning hours after an all-night writing session on Scream 4 -- I thought it held up really well...though perhaps I only thought that because I'd been up all night writing Scream 4.

Edited by Scott Derrickson

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Oh I am very disappointed that no-one has voted for Broadway Danny Rose. It's stellar.

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Is there a way to update the poll and start it over? We have a lot of titles to add.

Favorites after about 25 years of seeing (and usually revisiting) almost everything he's done (I think I've missed about 5 of them):

1. Hannah and Her Sisters (easy choice)

2. Sleeper (still cracks me up)

3. Zelig (I should probably rate this in second place, but I need to see it again)

4. Love and Death (I've only seen it once, but I can remember so much of because I laughed so hard)

5. Crimes and Misdemeanors (makes Match Point almost unnecessary)

6. Annie Hall (Not sure why it's revered so much more than his others, but it is very good)

7. Bullets Over Broadway (I should see it again, but I saw it in the theatre three times. DIANNE WIEST!!)

8. Husbands and Wives

9. Manhattan

10. Midnight in Paris

Edited by Overstreet

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How many more years does this poll last?

I've not seen several films on the list . . . . but Sleeper is my favorite. I love the giant pudding (all the giant food) and when Diane Keaton's poem is backwards and the silent film & William Powell echoes.

Annie Hall and Crimes and Misdemeanors tied for 2nd best.

I also really liked Matchpoint the 2nd time I watched it (the 1st time it felt hollow and unconvincing).

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Someone at the Huffington Post has put together a supercut video of every time Woody Allen has stammered in a movie. It's 44 minutes long.

Edited by Tyler

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Semi-departure for this thread: Which films from Allen would you name if I asked for the most forgettable Allen films? 

 

I'm writing something on Blue Jasmine, and in setting the stage, I'm highlighting Allen's inconsistency, as I see it. He's prolific, and he delivers a great movie ever several years, but in between are forgettable/forgotten or simply little-seen titles.

 

A&F may be disposed toward Allen, or at least toward awareness of Allen's work, so put yourself in the shoes of friends and family members for a moment and ask yourself which Allen movies they're familiar with, or have seen, or heard of. Keep in mind that I was born in 1970 and am thinking of readers who would be in my age range. So I'm not real interested in Allen's films -- even the classics -- prior to the 1980s. (Yes, I'm mentioning Annie Hall, but I'm trying to make a point about contemporary relevance of Allen's work, and that means I'm focusing on the movies people would have been able to see in the theater.) 

 

Here's what I just wrote. Do you rise up in anger when you read it? Do you demand a correction? I want to know! smile.png

 

Who beyond Allen’s most dedicated fans remembers (or has seen) The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Anything Else (2003) or Melinda and Melinda (2004)? 

Edited by Christian

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That's funny; The Curse of the Jade Scorpion was the very first one I thought of, too. So *memorably* forgettable. smile.png

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Shadows and Fog did nothing for me.

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Rotten Tomatoes has a fairly typical list, with a few surprises, of Allen's best reviewed films.

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