Sunday, December 28, 2008

Woody Allen, The Anti's Darling

Woody Allen released a new film a few months ago, Vicky Christine Barcelona. I haven't seen it and don't intend to; every Woody Allen film I have seen — about a half dozen or so, more in parts — has been pointless, plotless, and not particularly funny or interesting. But I have to give the filmmaker credit where it's due. He is one of the cleverest guys around.

He's made a healthy living doing what he wants for more than 40 years now by producing pointless, plotless, and not particularly funny or interesting films. They usually star very dishy damsels, too. Not bad for a guy who's not insightful, handsome, or talented. (Except as a musician. He does play a mean clarinet.)

This latest incarnation, an unadmitted rip-off of Henry James' Wings of the Dove, shows every sign of being more of the same. That is no doubt why he's the darling of the Anti crowd. Since anything with a hint of moral or mental health (not to mention a movie with an actual story) is anathema to them, Allen is their perfect artist.

That's the only possible explanation for why he continues to get the funds to make films. They've never made much money. (I used to work for Orion Pictures, his long-time distributor before they folded; I know first hand.) They make even less now. Yet, he continues every couple of years to make another. He's 72. If the gravy train stopped now he could still call his career a big success.

He's not likely to have to worry. Producers have demonstrated for decades now that they're willing to finance a film that a moment's thought would make obvious will certainly bomb. They will, provided it projects their putrid view of life, of course. Allen's dove-tails nicely with their own.

As an LA Times reporter put it: "This is, after all, Woody Allen's universe, no matter what continent it takes place on, or how many laughs are to be had. Nobody gets what he or she wants."

So, he continues to get the cash, year in year out. And why not? His philosophy is perfect for the Anti(s). "There is no plan or agenda to it or anything. It's luck. It's random. ... My way of coping with the horrors of existence is to put my nose to the grindstone and work and not look up."

Well, everyone has his method, I suppose. The backers' one consists of financing Allen's work. A rich Anti has to do something with all that dough, after all. Where better to park it for a nice tax loss than in "biting nihilistic satire-dramas that examine whether evil ever gets punished."

Apparently evil doesn't, not often enough since the world continues to be inflicted with Woody Allen films.

2 comments:

Ted said...

Huh...
Dude must've made a killing writing Seinfeld episodes then, but success in entertainment is more about who you know, blow or both than actually having talent...
Plus, Woody's a Khazar so he can do no wrong.

Jeff Perren said...

You're startin' to scare me, Ted. So far as I know, Allen never wrote for Seinfeld, so I don't get the reference.

As to being a Khazar, I don't speak Internet, so what is that? I'm pretty sure you're not referring to some ancient ethnic group near Turkey.

If you're referring to the fact that he's Jewish, ya gotta know by now that I don't take kindly to any kind of moral disapproval based on race. No individualist who believes in free will, like myself, ever could.

Ideas are what matter, not heritage.

I know you can get that, Ted. Be as angry as you think appropriate. I am. But don't let it distort your reasoning ability.