The Times of London asked Woody Allen to list what he thought were his best six movies. His answer rather floored me.
PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO
HUSBANDS AND WIVES
VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY
Now granted Woody Allen has made probably 200 movies. He pops them out like they were Pez tablets. And yes, a lot of them are God awful. It’s even harder to narrow those down to six. But some worthy candidates might be…
SHADOWS AND FOG
THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION
And I don’t disagree that several of Mr. Allen’s picks are good films. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO. But MATCH POINT? Sorry but that’s just the British reboot of CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (a great film) with the world’s dumbest police detectives. And you’ve heard me rant about VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA before. Lazy storytelling all done through narration. I thought HUSBANDS AND WIVES had its moments (namely the Sydney Pollack subplot) although it was impossible to watch with that jumpy camera technique. The only way to see that movie comfortably is to watch it in an airplane during extreme turbulence. ZELIG was an interesting exercise but hardly a satisfying film.
Plus it seems to me there are so many better movies he could have chosen. Like I said, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS was a masterpiece. HANNAH & HER SISTERS was brilliant. ANNIE HALL was the perfect romantic comedy. A case could be made for MANHATTAN. And then there are the early funny ones that Allen inexplicitly chooses to distance himself from. Give me SLEEPER, BANANAS, LOVE AND DEATH, and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN over VICKY any day. Hell, I’d take BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX, RADIO DAYS, and his segment in NEW YORK STORIES over VICKY. I’m convinced Penelope Cruz won an Oscar for that movie not because her performance was so extraordinary, it’s because when she came on the screen the audience woke up.
So here are my six for now. Depending on my mood, the list could change weekly… or hourly.
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
Yes, I’m shallow because three of the six are early funny ones. But those are the movies that made me want to go into comedy. So that counts for, y'know... something.
What’s your list?