I figure it’s time to let you guys in on my little summer project. After I was so thoroughly charmed by “Midnight in Paris,” I realized that my experience with the Allen oeuvre was actually shamefully limited. Sure, I’d seen the top-tier films, Woody’s most critically acclaimed works: “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Hannah and Her Sisters.” But we’re dealing with a guy who has reliably cranked out a movie a year for something like 40 years now. I’ve been missing a lot.
So I figured it was time for a little film school-esque study. Basically, for the rest of the summer I will be going out of my way to watch as many Woody Allen films as possible. Whether it’s revisiting some of those aforementioned classics or catching up with many of Allen’s second-tier projects, I’m hoping to get to the center of this supposed cinematic genius. Is the nebbish New Yorker really all that he’s cracked up to be? Does forced productivity result in creative repetition? More importantly, can an already emotionally unstable cinema lover stand such a concentrated dose of neurosis?
I’m not sure yet just how frequently I’ll be updating this feature, but I’ll hopefully cover somewhere around 4 or 5 films per entry (obviously, I won’t be going into any one film with the depth I normally cover in individual reviews, but this is all about the body of work, after all). My selections will be relatively random, depending on what is readily available on TV and Netflix and the like; thus we’ll be jumping around in time quite a bit, which I hope will avoid the trap of judging Allen based on his “earlier, funnier films,” and allow me to encounter each film for what it is. I’m posting this little intro so that you, dear readers, can follow along as much or as little with my own viewing as much as your hearts desire.
My first entry (which probably won’t come until a week and a half from now, or longer; I will be disappearing again next week as I venture down into the wi-fi-less wilds of southern Kentucky) will hopefully cover “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Zelig,” “Stardust Memories” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo.” Care to join me?