A D & Jeremy Talk about Movies—Extra: Ranking Woody Allen

My last movie talk with Jeremy (about Midnight in Paris) made me want to rank Woody Allen’s films. Jeremy of course hemmed and hawed, but over a Millirahmstrudel I broke them down into:

  1. Masterpieces
  2. Near Masterpieces
  3. Delightful
  4. Problematic
  5. Forgettable
  6. Bad
  7. Unseen

Jeremy agreed to go along with this, albeit with certain objections.

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A D & Jeremy Talk about Movies: Midnight in Paris (and other recent Woody Allens)

[Last weekend, en route to Madagascar, Jeremy M. Davies swung by my Chicago atelier to hear my neighbor perform Mahler’s “Quartet for Strings and Piano in A Minor” on his singing saw. Fifteen minutes in, two other friends stopped by, bearing bootleg DVDs of three new films: Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life, and X-Men: First Class. The singing saw forgotten, I fired up my video projector, and a marathon viewing ensued. Hours later, our guests departed, Jeremy and I recorded the following conversation.]

A D: Jeremy, when did you give up on Woody Allen?

Jeremy: Small Time Crooks.

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Eight is Enough

NOTE: This was written in the infancy of my knowledge about cinema. Surely, eight is not enough. John Ford, Carl Dreyer, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Eric Rohmer, and Jean-Luc Godard are names that must be there as well.

I love film.

I want to pay tribute to eight film directors who have changed the way I see life.

Robert Altman 1925-2006

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Two-Lane Blacktop

After college, a friend and I went on a tear, spending our weekends watching everything we could find by Godard, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa, others. My friend’s father, a former cinephile who’d seen many of these movies during their initial US releases, occasionally poked his head into the living room, watching a few minutes here and there with us. Then he’d smile and leave, always quietly pronouncing, “It’s good, but it’s no Two-Lane Blacktop.”

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Women and Men

 

Hi guys!

 

 Kathryn Bigelow and her film The Hurt Locker are on tap to win Oscars and make history for becoming the first woman to win best director. The largest irony is that it would be for a film that is totally devoid of any significant female characters. It is a MAN’s film, a war film. But this leads to the more pressing question. The Oscars have hardly ever embraced a film about mainly women and women’s issues for Best Picture. I went back to 1966 and in 43 years (I discount Chicago because I haven’t seen it) there is only one film able to fit this criteria and that is Terms of Endearment 1983, directed by James L. Brooks, creator of Mary Tyler Moore and The Simpsons. The film came from a novel by Larry McMurtry. 

Yes there is Shakespeare in Love 1998, Ordinary People 1980 and Annie Hall 1977, which all have stories centered around female leads, but they are seen through the viewpoint of other men (Annie Hall), the destructive force in family, separating father and son (Ordinary People) and having to dress up as a man and play muse to the greatest male writer in the English language (Shakespeare). 

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