Friday, May 03, 2002


is what John Podhoretz is up to. Here's my response:

I've not seen Hollywood Ending -- though I'll likely go this weekend -- so I must reserve comment. I'm not a "film buff" or a fan of the Sundance channel, nor do I bleed over indie genius. I detest most foreign movies. I like action/adventure, the hero gets the bad guy, boy gets girl(s), and funny movies. Woody Allen makes funny movies.

Your comparison of Allen's post-Mia movies to those he made with her fails. You try to force square pegs into round holes to fit "the moral of the story" and it won't fly. To wit:

Mighty Aprhodite was pretty funny.

Rip offs or not, Jade Scorpion and Small Time Crooks were very funny. The latter, especially, had great doses of those zingers that make some of Woody's movies so delightful; the former was a successful execution of a funny premise with some nice twists and turns.

Deconstructing Harry was absolutely hilarious. Did you not see the riffs with Billy Crystal in Hell? The exchange with Woody's sister featuring one of the greatest setup-punchline exchanges in history (" France, I could run on that ticket and win.")? The gag where Woody is right there for Bob Balaban when he faces possibly fatal news from his doctor, but then initially turns a deaf ear to Woody's request to accompany him on the road trip (much insight and humor in that exchange)?

Weren't a lot of the Mia movies, well, ponderous? Didn't you get the feeling that she was the source of the ponderousness? Of the ones you mention, only Hannah and Her Sisters is what I call really entertaining.

Isn't the real comparison between the pre-Mia and Mia movies? What about Annie Hall? Manhattan? What about Everything You Wanted to Know..., Bananas, Love and Death, Sleeper? Isn't that the gamut from terrific bittersweet love story to wonderful farce?

What Hollywood leading man doesn't cast himself opposite much younger beautiful women, if he can get away with it? What regular guy doesn't dream of such for himself? At least with Woody, the premise is floated that a bad-looking, not necesssarily rich older guy can get the babes if he's sufficiently witty, which must bring hope to millions.

As for the Scandal, get over it. News flash: Woody and Mia's set-up was not exactly Ozzie and Harriett. She's a nut. Soon-Yi was not his child, legally or biologically. I've heard it argued, notably by that great moralist and lesbian cow Rosie O'Donnell, that she was his child morally, but again, how can we apply conventional morality to the zoo that was the Farrow household? My only beef with Woody over Soon-Yi is that she's so damn ugly.

Why do I have the feeling that you wrote the heart of your column years ago and have just been waiting for a Woody movie to trash to go with your pet theory?