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Woody Allen and other stuff white people like.

June 3, 2011

Like any self-respecting (or maybe I mean self-deprecating) New Yorker, I have a crush on Woody Allen. And despite his best efforts to deter any and everyone from finding him alluring (hello, marrying your own daughter), I cannot, with any shred of honesty, tell you that Allen hasn’t altered my brain artistically.

As a product of Gen Y (ick), I have been taught to feel strongly that the great days of creation were behind me. That Woody Allen’s greatest films were Annie Hall and Manhattan and Play It Again, Sam and that my youth would be remembered for the rise of THE BLOCKBUSTER.

Now, let me be the first to say that I already disagree with myself. There’s some great films, and some spectacular visual art, and some top notch writing being churned out these days and I do not want to discredit those who have ripped open their veins to create these pieces of work. I also do not want to say that Midnight In Paris is a game changing film. It’s not. Really. BUT. And yes, there is always a but

-I cried within the first three minutes, just because it was so recognizably “Allen-esque”. The font. The music. The establishing shots of a city in real time. The rain. In actuality, it was just the rain and the way that the Parisians reacted to it…and how human it was. How they didn’t hide in their cars or houses or jobs waiting for the sun to come out. How it wasn’t Los Angeles.

-As I sat down in the theater, I thought to myself, “great, another two hours of my life spent wishing I was as beautiful and charming as Rachel McAdams”…but that totally wasn’t the case. Her performance was good, but she wasn’t playing a likable character, and that was refreshing somehow.

-Owen. Wilson. Who knew that man could play Woody Allen so well. Seriously, man, congratulations, because you nailed it and I’m proud of you and your crooked, broken nose.

-This interview clip with W.A. I’m listening to now, “I’ve never gotten to a point where I could have an optimistic view of things”.

-We all want to live in another time, another place, another era of excellence, but we only have the present, so let’s try and see the beauty in now.

-Marion Cotillard is so effortlessly, beautifully talented that I don’t know what to do with her. She brings to this film the same kind of larger-than-life, deliciously un-American sensibility that the electric Penelope Cruz brought to Vicky, Cristina Barcelona, except the role is less meaty, but the film is better. Vicky, Cristina Barcelona is revived by Cruz’s second act arrival, while Midnight In Paris is certainly more alluring, exotic and beautiful because of Cotillard, and her performance is most definitely nothing to scoff at (like I said before, her talent is undeniably effortless), but the film does not need her the way that Vicky… depends on Penelope Cruz. This is just a much, much better film.

-The Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Cole Porter. And the fantastical reality of it that was both jarring and somehow, legitimate.

It was a movie that left me wishing I could walk out of the building into a different city, a place with a pulse. There is a line in the film, and when I find it exactly I will let you know, that goes something like this: How could there ever be a sculpture or painting or symphony as beautiful as a city.

There couldn’t, because you just cannot encapsulate it, but you know what? Woody Allen has done a pretty top notch job of capturing the essence and allure of living in an urban paradise.


I went to Paris once, too...

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2011 3:18 PM

    Midnight in Paris was a total delight! If you have access to the NY Times, check this out:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/movies/woody-allen-suffers-for-the-title-of-his-new-film.html

    I will always owe Woody a debt of gratitude because I now have the answer to the critics who shame me that my story was so boring or dull (which they may only communicate with those inimitable looks that say, “And, so?”): “It wasn’t a story, it was a detail.” Thanks, Woody. I never could tell a story, but I’m great with details (like a good Virgo). And I do duly and pathetically identify with Woody’s Gil, as a romantic artistic type who doesn’t mind the rain. Thanks for the recommendation, and so, Adriaocc, your insights are worthy, even if a bit wordy. And jealous. You will have your day…
    On that day, you’ll learn to edit and be succinct. Like me. Bye.

  2. June 4, 2011 5:03 PM

    Thanks a lot…Mom.

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