Saturday, June 03, 2006

Woody

Woody Allen's writing has a serious problem of too much direct, honest communication. Characters in his movies will just pinpoint and describe personal problems as though their first dinner conversations with people they just met should be opportunities to summarize all their most revealing therapy sessions.

Sometimes it works for humorous effect, like in Manhattan, when Diane Keaton says about her new dog, "You know, it's a penis substitute for me." The dog looks rather phallic:














In a serious drama like Match Point, however, it can be disastrous. We're in the middle of the movie right now, so I haven't made a final decision on what I think of it. But Scarlett Johansson instantly volunteers information about her insecurities and neuroses, alcoholic parents and other details no normal person would reveal to someone they just met. This is one of my movie pet peeves, because there is relatively little honest communication in real life.

UPDATE: We finished the movie, and I thought it was really good. For the first thirty minutes, we were making fun of it, because it drags and has some sloppily written scenes right at the beginning. It got going eventually, though, and I recommend it.

8 Comments:

Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

Holy cow...we agree!

(;

9:52 PM  
Blogger Biff said...

Scarlett Johansson instantly volunteers information about her insecurities and neuroses, alcoholic parents and other details no normal person would reveal to someone they just met. This is one of my movie pet peeves, because there is relatively little honest communication in real life.

I guess that you haven't spent much time riding the subway in Manhattan, eh? :-)

10:08 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Clearly, Chris, you've been spared the many people I've met who've spilled the most amazing things from the get go, whether at dinner, happy hour, traveling on business, whatever. I have had jobs when it was darned handy, however.

Charmed life, lucky man (happy belated birthday, by the way).

10:29 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Then again, maybe most of those people were lying, which would still sort of prove your point, now that I think about it.

vh: isluc

"Chris isluc(ky)."

Holy cow, your vh's freak me out the same in which the ones at your mother's place do.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Christopher Althouse said...

There's a difference between telling revealing facts about your life and doing an emotional, analytical thing where you talk about your problems on a deeply internal level and put them in a concise way as a therapist might describe them. Woody Allen does the latter all the time. There's a huge difference between disclosing information and that sort of "honest communication"

10:57 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I didn't really like it myself. Too much of it seems to be directly lifted from '40's movies, even down to dialogue, (Scarlett's intro at the ping pong table -- terrible writing!) for me to give Woody that much praise. The ending? Ick!

Just my point of view.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Oh, and how Myers got his job is also a bit much, like the gimmicky sort of stuff you'd see in a '30's or '40's film. Tennis instructor gets big, big job in something he knows nothing about, because he's the favorite of the boss whose daughter he makes happy? Where's Adolph Menjou?

11:41 PM  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

OTOH, I find the carefully artful inarticulate dialogue of equally banal and over-rated films like Crash and Brokeback Mountain equally dull.

The biggest problem I have with Woody Allen is that he's not making movies but plodding though a thesis - the bad often prosper, the good get screwed, there is no benign and loving God making sure that everything works out in the end - that he's done before, and done better. Anyone seen Crimes and Misdemeanours? OK, I'd rather sleep with Jonathan Reese-Meyers and Scarlett Johansson. But Martin Landau and Angelica Huston are better actors, and they had better material to work with.

6:45 AM  

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