I’ve been a long time admirer. For many years you were my role model. So much of what I know about comedy I learned from studying you. I owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude. I tell you this so you’ll understand that what I’m about to say comes from a place of deep personal and professional respect.
Take a break.
Stop making movies.
At least for now.
It really really is.
You’ve got an impressive body of work. You’ve won every award you're willing to accept. You’ll be 75 in one month. Relax. Take Soon-Yi to Disneyworld. Tour with a jazz band. Travel the world being honored. Guest star on HOT IN CLEVELAND. Teach film at NYU. Learn Origami. Coach the Knicks. Collect Pez dispensers. I don’t care. Just take an extended "hiatus" from making movies.
You remember Willie Mays at the end playing with the Mets, overweight and out of shape, stumbling around in the outfield. You recall Frank Sinatra at the end, toupee slipping off, hitting maybe one out of seven notes, needing cue cards to remember lyrics he had sung for forty years. Sylvester Stallone in the last six ROCKY movies. Cher singing hip hop. LIFE WITH LUCY. You get the idea.
Well, this is fast becoming you. Your one-time impressive body of work is being diluted with each successive misfire. A great director once said that releasing a film is like delivering a child. If that’s the case, you’re Octomom.
Did I mention you are an idol of mine? No one says you have to make four movies a year.
I happened to see your latest assembly line production, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. I feel silly even posting a SPOILER ALERT because every moment of this movie is a rehash of a similar scene you’ve already done three times. There are no surprises. Everyone does exactly what you expect them to do.
Example: Anthony Hopkins is an old guy who fears his mortality so he dumps his longtime wife, whitens his teeth, begins eating healthy, and winds up falling in love with and marrying a young bimbo hooker. You already did this, much better with Sydney Pollack and his midlife crisis in HUSBANDS AND WIVES. I can’t imagine anybody reading this not being able to figure out exactly what happens. Did you even try to think of a fresher payoff? For either movie?
Woody, I saw the film on a Saturday night in Westwood a few weeks ago. The 8:00 showing. There were six people in the theater. So imagine what the boxoffice must've been like in Kansas. Tumbleweeds.
I see by the credits that the picture is in association with all these overseas companies and foreign producers. Clearly, you can no longer get U.S. financing. I mean, there’s only so long that gamblers will put money on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Doesn’t that tell you something? Now you can say you don’t care what the public thinks. You’re an artist. And that's fine but then who are you making these movies for? I’m sure the fine folks at Mediapro, Versatil Cinema, Gravier Productions, Antena 3 Films, Antena 3 Television, and Dippermouth (whoever the hell they all are) are very curious themselves.
Woody, you have nothing more to prove. Take your bow and move on to whatever new exciting chapter of your life you wish to pursue. Or just kick back and watch Animal Planet all day. You’ve earned that too. Trust me, we won’t feel cheated that there are no more paper-thin angst-ridden exercises starring really good actors set in cities we want to vacation in. We can just watch our DVD’s of CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS and be in awe all over again.
Thank you for your consideration. Again, the point here is to say you’ve done some remarkable work and should feel great about yourself. Your accomplishments are extraordinary. You’re Woody Allen. You shouldn’t have to go to Uzbekistan for financing. And trust me, you’re one more picture away from that.
I imagine this will be a hotly debated topic in my comments section. Lots of people taking your side, saying I have no right to criticize, comparing my feeble output to your far more significant one, pointing to specific movies they've liked recently, and that's fine (as long as they don't post as anonymous). I just wonder, what if you waited until a really great idea -- a MANHATTAN or PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO kind of idea -- came into your head? Imagine how much better that movie might turn out if you were fresh and invigorated. A new Woody Allen film used to be an event for me. I'd wait for the opening with great anticipation. I would love that again. And I'm willing to wait.
Have a happy holiday season.
Still your devoted admirer, even if it might not look like it,