I can’t stand Woody Allen. I just can’t.
The first Woody Allen film I saw was Bananas. It was hilarious, ridiculous and I couldn’t stop quoting it for weeks. I wrote one of my reaction papers in my Latin American Culture and Society class on the film.
Next, I saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I bought it from Blockbuster for a couple of dollars more than a three-day rental, so it was almost a steal. I can’t remember what my initial reaction to it was. I didn’t hate it, or love it, but I never get any desire to watch it again.
Then, I saw Annie Hall—but not before reading the script. The script was hilarious. Alvy was very self-aware, neurotic and kind of insufferable, but only because of those two distinguishing flaws. Nevertheless, he was lovable and funny. It translated so well on-screen; Diane Keaton was perfect and Woody was a fantastic complement.
Yesterday, I tried to watch Husbands and Wives.
I have this habit of keeping notes on my phone, around my room and in random folders on my computer. The other day while looking through my files, I found a quote about “kamikaze women” from Husbands and Wives.
Because that film was on Netflix’s instant-watch site, I decided to watch it during some of my downtime in the afternoon.
I got through almost an hour before exiting out.
I felt like Mugato from Zoolander.
“Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre—they’re the same face. Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
I know, I know: everybody knows that it’s his style.
But come on! I searched online and found a pretty succinct list of “Things Woody Allen Just Doesn’t Get” and I agree on all points. That’s the extent of film-related Woody Allen complaints I could find. There’s still plenty of praise for this Husbands and Wives bullshit—which is a great concept and maybe is a great movie that I just need to actually sit through, but that I hated yesterday.
The same neurotic, self-sabotaging characters run around and you know how it’s going to end from the second it starts. What’s the point?
This is the same reason I hated Sex and the City 2.
I saw the first previews and knew I wasn’t going to like it. I tweeted something to the effect of “Isn’t there an age where existential crises get… old?” Then the teaser trailer came out—the one with Aidan—and I knew I was going to see it no matter what, because OMGZ CRRE + AND = HEARTS AND SHIT.
There is no “sell-by” date on immaturity. I know this. But, there is a “recommended to use by” date. Woody Allen’s characters ignore this date and exist in this non-reality where anyone who dares to question their personality just doesn’t understand the futility of life and blah blah existential angst blah. OH, and doesn’t understand New York or New Yorkers.
It’s like watching someone try to shovel their way out of a sinkhole. And the person is ignoring your screams. And other people are jumping in to help them, because suddenly NOBODY UNDERSTANDS HOW SHIT WORKS.
You have to wonder how those people feel when they wake up in the morning. It’s probably closer to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day than P Diddy.
I would just love to see one rational human being in his films. Just one. People are not perfect. I like that he illustrates this fact (to the point of redundancy) in his films. But in real life, people make an effort to be more than that (read: thoughtful, empathetic, logical, real).
But then again, maybe I just need to watch more Woody Allen films.