I have noted more than once that Annie Hall is my all-time favorite movie; moreover, it was commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Nominated for five Academy Awards for the 1977 season, it won four – Best Picture, Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Best Director (Woody Allen), Best Original Screenplay (Allen and Marshall Brickman), losing only Best Actor (Allen).
Yet, when making a list of his six best movies – ZELIG, PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, MATCH POINT – Annie Hall was not among them. Is it unreasonable to suggest that a director is mistaken about his own films? I saw all the movies mentioned except Match Point; I can say that Vicki Christina Barcelona clearly does NOT belong on this list. I’d be hard-pressed to actually come up with my other five on a list – Hannah and Her Sisters, and Zelig, for sure, maybe Bananas, Broadway Danny Rose, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, or even Manhattan if the parallel with his actual life didn’t creep me out so much.
Last month, TV writer Ken Levine wrote an open letter to Woody Allen, which suggested that Woody:
Take a break.
Stop making movies.
At least for now.
It really really is.
An interesting discussion ensued.
Read some interviews, some recent, some historic, that delve into Woody’s mind. Also, on May 6, 1971, Johnny Carson’s guest host on The Tonight Show was Woody Allen, whose guests included Bob Hope and James Coco.
Happy birthday, Woody. No matter how much I think you’re off your game, you provided me with great cinematic pleasure for many years.