Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 5, Bottom 5: Woody Allen

I haven't done one of these in awhile, so let's devote one to my all-time favorite director! I have seen all but four of Allen's movies, and I debated holding onto this list until I finished those four, but, well, I needed a blog for today. So let's look at my favorite and least favorite Woody Allen movies. They're ranked out of 1945 movies on my Flickchart currently.

Top 5:
1. Annie Hall (1977, #4). This is not only my favorite Woody Allen flick, it's one of the four movies that keeps jumping in and out of my #1 of all time spot. I just feel happy and encouraged and refreshed after watching it. It's a perfect blend of sentimentality and cynicism.
2. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985, #26). Jeff Daniels in this movie is just a great character. The movie has such an amazing premise, and even though the ending is... something of a twist, I think it's an incredible flick. Solid all the way through.
3. Midnight in Paris (2011, #75). Allen's first really brilliant film in a long, long time. It's smart and fun and charming and has that beautiful combination of fantasy and reality that I love in his movies. Plus, it has one of my favorite movie quotes ever: "That's what the present is. It's a little unsatisfying because life's a little unsatisfying."
4. Scoop (2006, #92). Scoop doesn't have a lot of love from critics, but it's my favorite just-silly Allen. I love the premise, I love Hugh Jackman in it, it has some of my favorite bits of dialogue ("I think the glass is half full, but with poison") and it's just all great fun as long as you don't think about it too much.
5. Bullets Over Broadway (1994, #139). This is the first one on my list I don't own and haven't yet watched multiple times. I should do that. The set up here is just great, and of all the people Allen's ever cast as himself in his movies, John Cusack is my favorite.

Bottom 5:
1. Celebrity (1998, #1731). I just didn't enjoy this one, not even a little bit. While John Cusack is my favorite Woody Allen acting substitute, Kenneth Branagh seems to just be doing an awkward impersonation of him all the way through and it's very awkward. The main theme didn't come through clearly, the jokes weren't funny... it was just long and uninteresting.
2. Whatever Works (2009, #1678). And Larry David's version of Woody Allen seems thoroughly unlikeable. Allen's movies always carry an air of discontent and snobbery, but while it makes me smile when Allen himself plays it, David's interpretation just makes me go, "That is a very angry man."
3. Sleeper (1973, #1590). Easily my least favorite of his early ones. The jokes all seem obvious and fairly dumb. I watched this with a fellow Woody Allen fan and neither one of us got the hype.
4. Stardust Memories (1980, #1502). This one isn't poorly made so much as paying homage to films I'd never seen, so I just didn't get most of it. I'll have to try it again sometime when I have more frame of reference.
5. A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982, #1273). Note the jump in Flickchart ranking. We're out of the ones I don't like and into the ones I was just OK with. There's nothing really bad about this movie, but it never really made me laugh either.

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