Thursday, July 8, 2010

Six best Woody Allen flicks

Apparently a week or so ago Woody Allen did an interview with The Times of London in which he listed his six favorite Woody Allen films. They are:
  • Purple Rose of Cairo
  • Match Point
  • Bullets Over Broadway
  • Zelig
  • Husbands and Wives
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona
In Zelig Leonard Zelig (Allen, left) tries
to convince Psychologist Dr. Eudora
Fletcher (Mia Farrow) that he, too, is a
shrink and must leave because he has to
teach a course on masturbation. "If I'm
not there," he says, "they start without me."
I first found out about the story today on one of my favorite blogs, By Ken Levine. Levine disagrees with Allen's assessment. So does Vanity Fair. So does The Slog. It could be that Allen was pulling The Times' collective leg. It could be that he knew he could drum up some publicity because any numbskull or Weisenheimer with a blog would be willing to write up the correct list. It's also not clear if Allen was listing his favorite movies or the ones he thought were the best. And its impossible to find out, because you have to pay to read the paper's stuff on its website. Clearly, they didn't get the memo that said Internet content is supposed to be free, free, free.

I think all of the films on Allen's list are good, though I can't judge Vicky Christina Barcelona, which I haven't yet seen. I'm sure my Sweetie, the official scorer and keeper of the Netflix queue, will allow it into the house, especially since Queen Elizabeth is in it. Yet, I don't agree with Allen, either. Here is the Weisenheimer list of favorite Woody movies:
  • Manhattan
  • Annie Hall
  • Bullets Over Broadway
  • Zelig
  • Play It Again, Sam
  • Sleeper
If I were making a list of best Woody movies, I'd probably bump the "earlier, funny" movies, Sam and Sleeper, in favor of Crimes and Misdemeanors and Hannah and Her Sisters.

Interestingly, much of the disagreement among the various lists reveals a rift between those who love the earlier, funny movies and those who don't. Allen made a whole damn movie about the question 30 years ago, Stardust Memories, which barely misses my list. It's great because it's hilarious and because Charlotte Rampling is Hawt with a capital H. Everyone Says I Love You, Radio Days, Manhattan Murder Mystery, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask are all high on the honorable mention list.

I love the earlier, funny ones, too, but think Allen's later work has better-developed characters, better plots, and is more beautifully photographed. They're better technically, and they're still very funny.

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