Episode #11 – Woody Allen/Blue Jasmine

Episode #11

In this episode we talk about the career of Woody Allen, including his new film Blue Jasmine.

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We each choose a favorite film as well films we think someone new to Woody Allen should watch. After stipulating that Annie Hall is the ideal entry point, we came up with second movies for newbies to watch.

Our picks:

Nick – Favorite film: Mighty Aphrodite; film for newbies: Crimes and Misdemeanors

Chris: Favorite film: Purple Rose of Cairo; film for newbies: Everyone Says I Love You 

Erik: Favorite film: Husbands and Wives; film for newbies: Midnight in Paris

Links mentioned:

Podcore Nerdcast

Atheist

Molly Laich’s film reviews

The Projection Booth

 

 

6 thoughts on “Episode #11 – Woody Allen/Blue Jasmine”

  1. I loved this episode. On Blue Jasmine, great stuff, but as you know, I agree with Erik. One question I have here is why the film’s class slants get a pass from Nick and Chris on the basis of its comic stereotypes? I don’t see it as a comic film. All the comedy comes at the expense of characters other than Jasmine, her husband, or her son. And Streetcar, clearly, is not comic. The working class has its strong moments in Blue Jasmine, but overall, Erik’s “tone deaf” describes it well for me: Woody doesn’t know whether he wants a tragedy or a comedy here. But what a gas to see all the ideas this film inspired. And here’s a thought experiment: what if he had called it “Jasmine Blue.”?

  2. Great question Bob! And thanks for the reply, it is so appreciated. I’ll try to defend my stance, briefly. My free pass is at the level of aggregate output from Woody. I don’t disagree that these renderings are stereotypical and/or tone deaf (very valid point), rather, my assertion is that it amounts to selective prosecution. I’d argue that Woody, regardless of the film’s tone, is guilty of this across his body of work (as are other satirists). Eg. Linda Ash’s “hooker with a heart of gold” stereotype in Mighty Aphrodite. And, I think that although there is a definite tone-deafness, the working class, I believe the phrase I used in the podcast, is “lionized” to some degree (even if clumsily at times).

    I think you’re dead on when you say Woody isn’t sure whether he wants a comedy or tragedy here and that what makes the film so dynamic and harrowing. I think that he knew he wanted a film that walked the line between the two. The line that hit me like a ton of bricks (and says so much about the comedy and tragedy masks we all wear) is when Jasmine says “There’s only so many traumas a person can withstand before they take to the streets and start screaming” Tragic statement. Humorously phrased.

    So, I agree with you 100% – I just didn’t see if as a problem. Cheers Bob!!

  3. I can’t imagine a better intro to Woody Allen than mine. When I was 18 I went to a Woody Allen double feature at my college; the first movie was Stardust Memories, the second Bananas. Not long after that I saw Play It Again, Sam and found it completely wonderful. And then Annie Hall, and then Interiors… My favorites are the early ones, and those are the ones I’d recommend to new people. The movies you guys recommend, all made in the last thirty years, don’t measure up to something like Love and Death or Take the Money and Run.

  4. Thanks for the comment. I agree that Love and Death and Take the Money are classics, and represent Woody’s early style. I have a special place in my heart for L&D, in particular. I wouldn’t say that the later ones don’t “measure up,” though. They’re different. They show an evolution of style. The best bet for someone new to Woody Allen would be to sample movies from his various stages: Take the Money, Annie Hall, and then something newer, maybe.

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