Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Empires rise and fall. I rise and fall. There's almost nothing more natural than growth and decline. So why am I so bothered that it happened to Woody? That's not my nickname--I'm talking about Woody Allen, my onetime hero. Ron still admires him--we've argued about this for several years now--but I'm giving up. It's time to find a new hero, because watching every new movie--a tradition as regular and disappointing as New Year's Eve--has become too crushing.
I used to worship the guy. I loved his stand-up, his books and, most of all, his movies. From one to the next, he kept upping the ante, the blissfully silly and nerdy jokes making me feel proud for laughing. And I'm not one of those cocks who needed him to be funny all the time. I loved his more mature comedies, too. "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" are two particular favorites. But then, with the exception of "Sweet and Lowdown," he started shooting out more unfulfilled potential than I do in a day's work. When I was about four or five inches, I remember watching those apes at the zoo throwing up and then eating their vomit, then throwing up again. I could only bear to watch that a few times before realizing two things: it was not going to stop and the apes didn't realize (or care) that it was hard to watch. "Match Point" was nothing more than "Crimes and Misdemeanors" vomit; "Scoop" was "Shadows and Fog" vomit; and "Vicky Christina Barcelona" is a vomit soup of just about everything he's ever done since "Hannah and Her Sisters." Maybe I'm having a hard time because I keep expecting Woody to rise again like I do. To make people laugh and think and feel good again--like I do. Jeez, maybe it IS his name after all; maybe I feel an unhealthy identification with a short, nebbishy, entertaining guy who's had a lot of women, made a lot of movies and is still out there doing what he does. Ron's left nut thinks Woody's comedy is continually evolving. His right nut sees in Woody's movies a coherent and mature thematic unity. But they're nuts!
Okay, I'm not as funny. But at least I didn't make "September."