Tag Archives: comedy

To Rome, With Love (2012)

Just saw the newest Woody Allen movie, and it was pretty good. My sister convinced me to see it saying it wasMidnight in Paris, but set in Rome. Midnight in Paris was much better, and this film’s series of vignettes allowed for a much more scattered movie-watching experience, which you get already from Woody Allen‘s writing. 

The characters were endearing, filled with ditzy tourists and pseudo-intellectuals that fell in love, suffered from paranoia, and took initiative in the opportunities that were presented to them. They were blubbering and babbling, as if they gave the actors the outline of the scene and told them to just go

The shots of Rome were beautiful, the music was fantastic, and the cast of characters caused one surprise after another. First of all, Woody Allen himself finally stepped in front of the camera again for the first time since 2006. He could have been Mickey Sachs from Hannah and Her Sisters, just the sequel. 

Another great thing I noticed was that he has chosen great young actors to take the reins on the “young romance” quota of the film. Diane Keaton and Woody himself have been replaced by Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg, and they definitely fill the large shoes left for them. They both have the nervous babbling down from previous roles, so matching that with the genius writing of Allen, and you have a masterpiece. 

Some parts were slow, so I’ll give it four stars. 

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Midnight in Paris (2011)

I just saw this film tonight with Annie and my initial thoughts are as follows.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. First of all, I have always been a fan of Woody Allen films. Annie Hall is an absolute classic and his comedy has a charming cheekiness to it. We went to the movie with open minds because you never really know what to expect when it comes to Woody Allen, respectfully admiring his quirkiness.

I read through the other reviews when I was searching for good photos for this post and I don’t want to say what everyone else said, “Oh my god, this film is like my life.” But I think that’s the whole point. The entire message of the film is that it is human nature to be unsatisfied with the present. Even the good old days had good old days.

I discovered that the reason I’ve been so obsessed with old music and movies lately is because I am so sick of the pop culture that embodies the present tense. I’m tired of listening to cop out artists that are only in the business to make money. I’m bored with the same songs and movies and television shows that are being released that claim to be original. After seeing this movie, I realized that I should just shut up, because deep down everyone feels that way. In real life, we can’t just jump into a cab at midnight, time travel to the 20s and have Hemingway and Picasso critique our work. We just have to make the best of it.

If you think about it, the artists of today are in a pretty tough spot. We read and write about these painters, writers and musicians that have laid out impossible acts to follow. Artists are desperate to find something special and original, and despite my opinion of it all, it is one of the eras that pop culture must travel through.

Back to the film, Owen Wilson is the same in everything. But his blissful ignorance is so charming in this movie, perfect for a classic Woody Allen character. He carries the same romanticized view of the world that I do.

I absolutely loved this film, it was a breath of fresh air.

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Fargo (1996)

Now I always said that if I didn’t like it, no one could ever bother me again about Coen Brothers movies. This one also got a whole lotta hype from everyone I talked to about it. Frankly, it was only alright. It was certainly the best of any Coen Bros. movie I’ve seen, and I understand, I guess, why people love it. Frances McDormand is fabulous, hilarious, and perfect. She SO deserved the award for this. I mean, you also have an all-star cast,William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, etc.

You know what it is? It’s that minimalist quality that is supposed to balance out the outlandish situations.McDormand does her “Oh ya, you betcha,” while a man’s foot is being pressed into a wood chipper. This isn’t to say that I need craziness all the time, nor do I need boring plot lines with no strange aspects. But they need to match, otherwise I can’t take them seriously.

On the other hand, that’s obviously the whole point. You can’t take it seriously, it’s satire. I’ve drawn the conclusion that I fully respect this movie for everything that it is, which is more than I can say for True Grit, A Serious Man, The Big Lebowski, etc. It’s just not what I enjoy. So with that, I’m sorry to all my friends that ADORE these movies. But seriously, I’m kind of over it. La-di-da.

It was a great one to end on, after all. Four stars.

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Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

There’s simply no better activity on a dreary rainy day than to watch a classic Woody Allen flick. While my personal favorite is Hannah and Her Sisters, my mom suggested Mighty Aphrodite and then to watch Mira Sorvino‘s Academy Award acceptance speech. She won for her role as Linda, the “Pretty Woman” of 1995, and a charming prostitute and porn “kind-of” star.

Linda is the birth mother of Woody Allen and Helena Bonham Carter‘s adopted son, and after a extensive search for her by Allen, the two develop a strange and unexpected friendship. Together they discover what is both missing and ever-present in their lives, as well as helping one another to rebuild what they had thought they had already lost.

“Well I had such a good time tonight, I feel like I owe you a really good fuck.” 

My mother was right (shocker), Mighty Aphrodite was quite charming. I had a difficult time understanding the necessity of the Greek Choir, until I fundamentally accepted the fact that it was absolutely dripping with the Woody Allen schtick. If I had any knowledge at all of Greek mythology or even the story of the true Mighty Aphrodite, I would instantly uncover the underlying themes that mold these characters in the diegesis.

Then I watched the acceptance speech, it was a sweet tribute to her father, Paul Sorvino. Watch it here. Being that I’ve only seen Mira Sorvino as a simple-minded porn star and in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, I was surprised to see her beautiful poise and well-spoken eloquence as she accepted the award.

Yet another Woody Allen classic, four stars!

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Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Music by Hans Zimmer! I’m already excited! All I can think of is Jack Black in the Holiday singing the theme song like scroodle deedin’ doodle scroodle deedin’ doo

I keep laughing to myself, people think I’m crazy.

Driving Miss Daisy was an absolute delight. Morgan Freeman is an absolute gem that really should be ranked among the great ones. Jessica Tandy played the perfect cynical old lady with a kind heart, and their relationship is truly a special one.

I wouldn’t consider this to be another one of those movies that simply claims to be uplifting in the sense of racism. Like the white helping the black, etc. etc. This is a story about friendship. Miss Daisy treats everyone in her life with the same snap, but with Hoke, she discovers a true companion. Black or white, it doesn’t matter. She’s not making an exception, they are just perfect in their quaint, humorous, and loving relationship.

I haven’t felt this great at the end of a movie in a really long time. I mean, I did just watch Die Hard.. So there you go.

Ten billion stars.

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Breaking Away (1979)

The other day I watched this coming of age story about a group of post high school grads living in a college town. Typical of this time in people’s lives, the boys collectively feel stuck in a rut. Continually taunted by the college students, they begin to discover ways to make their lives worthwhile. Despite the fact that I am a college student, I think this feeling can be relevant to lots of kids my age regardless of what they do with their time.

Coming of age stories are, at least to me, meant to be inspiring (in a “I know how you feel” sort of way). If someone had a blast in high school, moving forward from that can be really difficult. This is how it was for me. My high school years were spent with great friends, great times, and little worries. It wasn’t until my first semester at school that I realized how sheltered I had been. It was extremely difficult, to leave behind this life that seems so flawless, and to completely rebuild myself in a new and strange environment.

What’s important is to realize that these coming of age stories are never about failure. They are about feeling lost, and fighting your way back to the surface. They are about discovering what your passions are. They describe the process in which one changes and adapts and succeeds. As for me, in my first semester which I consider ignorantly, the most difficult few months of my life, I took a class that changed everything. I discovered this buried passion for film. Sure, I haven’t the vaguest idea of what I’m going to do with it, but I’ve never felt more secure in my life.

Breaking Away describes this feeling. The mindset that is complicated, yet refreshing. Feeling unbalanced, yet fulfilled and optimistic. This is what this film meant to me. Breaking Away (1979)

Lenny (1974)

This biographical film about the rise and fall of Lenny Bruce is one that everyone should see. I added it to my list because his was a name that I had always heard, but I knew absolutely nothing about him. These icons are icons for a specific purpose, and I’m so glad I explored this particular one.

For those of you out there who don’t know, Lenny Bruce was an incredibly influential stand-comedian and satirist in the late 1950s to early 60s. He was one of the pioneers of the early 60s to practice freedom of speech by openly discussing controversial topics within American culture such as politics, religion, race relations and sexuality. He was arrested for “obscenity,” but died at the age of 40 from a morphine overdose prior to his trial. He was the first person in history to receive a posthumous “pardon” 37 years after his death.

The official cause of death was listed as an “accidental morphine overdose.” However, the film definitely suggests suicide. His final scene, Dustin Hoffman gives a fantastic performance of Lenny being dragged from the court hearing after they have refused his request to defend himself.

You are taking away my voice!

This was a very powerful film about a man who set the tone for many stand-up comedians that followed to have the ability to speak their minds. Please watch it if you get the chance!

Five stars! 

Lenny (1974)