One of the ways in which I define myself is as a lover of movies and identifier of obscure movie quotes. Despite my massive, 100+ DVD collection, I carry a secret shame about my movie-watching habits: I haven’t seen that many classics. The “modern classics” I have on lockdown: Forrest Gump, Titanic (don’t hate: it’s in the AFI Top 100!). If it has Gene Kelly in it, I’ve most likely seen it and gushed about it to you already. There was also that nebulous period in high school after the AP US History test where my teacher, Mr. Meissel (the greatest teacher to ever grace this earth – he deserves a post of his own) just showed us some film noir classics like The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. But in scanning the list of Top 100 Movies, I realize that most of them are all meshed together in my head: I know I’ve seen movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and North by Northwest, and God knows I have read the Internet enough to understand cultural references, but I haven’t really seen enough.
Nowhere is this more true than with Woody Allen movies. That man has produced approximately 1,692 movies per year for the last 100 years, and I’ve only seen a couple. No more do I want to just smile vaguely and nod sagely when people talk about Annie Hall, damnit! I want to be able to say something smart about it!
With that in mind, I embarked on an epic quest of a WOODY ALLEN MARATHON with one of my favorite people, who just so happens to be temporarily living in New Hampshire (which works out for both of us so we are about equally as friendless and can easily cling to each other).
The most interesting part of this experiment is discovering how passionate people are about Woody Allen movies – mostly by disliking them. For example, my mother:
“I just don’t like Woody Allen on principle.”
I paused and stared at her for a moment as she laughed. I prodded, “Umm… more explanation, please?”
She immediately responded, “Well, after that movie where he was a sperm, I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
Given Woody’s 1,692 movies, this mighhhht take a while. But my friend and I kicked it off with some not-so-classic classics: Crimes and Misdemeanors and The Purple Rose of Cairo. We both agreed we are not nearly clever enough to fully comprehend C&M, although reading Ebert’s review after the fact definitely made up appreciate it more. We also decided that Sean would be a crummy reviewer because he would be terrified of making the actors anger with a poor review. His entire review would read: “I really enjoyed this movie. This actor wasn’t perfect, but you could see where he was going. Actually, I really liked him. DON’T BE MAD AT ME.” Sign him up, papes!
(Also, you should watch the Purple Rose of Cairo because it was magnificent. Plus it has the actor who plays Richard Gilmore except he’s 30+ years younger and it’s really amusing.)
Any favorite Woody movies I shouldn’t give a miss? Right now, the only one off the table is that sperm one. A lady has her limits.