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Best & Worst: Woody Allen

 


Woody Allen has been churning out material for TV, film and stage for nearly 60 years. Doing everything from directing, writing and performing has made him a true Hollywood heavyweight...well, maybe not that heavy. He's only 5'5.


But with such a long career, there have been plenty of meshuggeneh moments that has made us slap our foreheads and mumble "Oi Vey!"

His latest release, Whatever Works with l'adulte terrible Larry David will, we hope, be a gloriously neurotic return to comedy form, so let's look back through the back catalogue and pick the best and worst bits from Allen Past...

 

Best & Worst: Scarlett Johansson Sauce Scene

 

Best : The Same Sex Smooch

Film: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

 

 

Why It Rocks : Oh, we don't know, maybe because it's two of the world's hottest women getting mucky in a dark room!

Isn't that enough for you, huh? HUH?

This beautiful image is only ruined by the fact that we presume Woody's probably perving just off camera. Ew.

 

Worst : Any Scene In Match Point

Film: Match Point (2005)

 

 

Why It Sucks : Well, ScarJo romps throughout this flick, but it's all with annoying, upperclass imbred lah-dee-dah 'oh you simply must come and stay at our villa in the south of France' toffy gits.

Her dialogue's weak too, but it probably doesn't help that Johnathan Rhys Meyers' tongue's constantly down her throat.

 

Next: Cameo

 

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Best & Worst: Cameo

 

Best : Burt Reynolds

Film: Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex* But Were Afraid To Ask (1972)

 



Why It Rocks : As men, we are constantly trying (and failing) to get women to allow us to put our grubby little paws all over them (as Mr Allen knows only too well).

So when such a buttock-clenchingly good opportunity arises, who would most of us want at the helm of our libido, taking control and making sure everything goes OK?

That's right, Burt, the Sperm Switchboard Chief, Reynolds.

Who else can we depend on to deliver messages like "Brain room to sexual organs: Proceed with erection" with a straight, gloriously moustached face?


Worst : Ian McShane

Film: Scoop (2006)

 


Why It Sucks : McShane's casting as Joe Strombel, the murdered reporter with a 'hot lead' on the Tarot Card Killer, is maybe not the WORST thing about this film, but it certainly puts the cherry on the top of a cake made of farts.

Why couldn't he play the lead? I mean we've all seen Deadwood (or Lovejoy...ahem) and we know he can act, so why give him such a tiny sliver of a role, leaving space for Hugh Jackman and Scar Jo to bland up the screen for the other 96 minutes?

Use your noodle, Woody!

 

Next: Drawn-out Joke

 

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Best & Worst: Drawn-out Joke

 

Best : Gene Wilder as The Sheep Lover

Film: Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex* But Were Afraid To Ask (1972)

 

 

Why It Rocks: Dr. Doug Ross (Wilder) tries to get rid of an insane patient who claims to be in love with a sheep, only to find, when confronted by the wooly tart, that he himself wants to get under her fleece too.

It's on a par with Monty Python in levels of absurd silliness.

Anyone who's seen Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka knows there's something not quite right about him.

This film just compounds our suspicions.

Superb straight acting from the master just makes the whole bit brilliant.

And look! We got through that with just one sheep pun. Baaaaaarilliant. DAMN IT!


Worst : Courtroom scene

Film: Bananas (1971)



Why It Sucks: Allen as Fielding Mellish is in court facing charges of treason (not particularly funny). The scene then descends into wacky mayhem (also not particularly funny), with such naff gags as a black woman with an afro claiming to be J Edgar Hoover in disguise, or Mellish playing both defendant and prosecution at the same time. Yawn.

The gags in this scene are on a level with the Police Academy movies.

We're not sure who we're even meant to be routing for in this court case, but Woody should definitely receive a fine for recycling jokes without a permit.

 

Next: Neurotic Monologue

 

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Best & Worst: Neurotic Monologue

 

Best: Issac Davis

Film: Manhattan (1979)

 

Why It Rocks: Delivering a truly pretentious, but wholly agreeable, reasons to live (Groucho Marx, Louis Armstrong, Swedish movies) into a tape recorder, this is the moment when Isaac Davis realises that he'll miss Tracy's face the most (sniff sniff) and he MUST do something about it.

So he gets out of his tiny apartment and races through the streets of Manhattan, with the standard Woody Allen clarinet music accompaniment, to have a emotions showdown with her just as she's leaving for London.

Not the happiest ending, but a great one.


Worst: Natasha

Film: Love and Death (1975)



Natasha's (Jessica Harper) explanation to Sonja about who loves who in a smorgasbord of entangled love affairs is so dry it's like someone pouring sand into your ears.

She even struggles with the Jewish names!

It takes an old pro like Keaton to interject and deliver the actual funny speech, giving sage-like wisdom on love such as "To love is to suffer. Not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love...to be happy, then, is to suffer....but suffering makes one unhappy so.....". And it goes on.

 

Next: Jewish Gag

 

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Best & Worst: Jewish Gag

 

Best : Opening monologue

Film: Annie Hall (1977)



Why It Rocks : Like the classic Vaudeville comedians that Woody admires, this is such a Jewish joke it's in the Talmud!

"There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."


Worst : Jewish Robot Tailors

Film: Sleeper (1973)



Why It Sucks : It's the kind of joke that would make even Mel Brooks want to leave the cinema and take a schvitz.

Oh look, the robots have big noses. Ha. And the suit doesn't fit. Who would have guessed? EVERYONE, Woody. Everyone.

 

Next: Romantic Moment

 

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Best & Worst: Romantic Moment

 

Best : Flying dance scene

Film: Everyone Says I Love You



Why It Rocks: This scene shows Woody can be a bit of an old honey-dripper when it comes to sentimentality.

Even though his films have his characters making their way through various doomed and uncomfortable relationships, this scene with Goldie Hawn is surprisingly dream-like and sweet.

Worst : The hotel revisited

Film: Anything Else

 

Why It Sucks: In a vein attempt to try and win back the affections of his girlfriend Amanda (Christina Ricci), Jerry (Jason Biggs) 'spontaneously' rents a hotel room to try and recreate the magic of their first schtup.

Shame that Amanda is now a totally awkward cow and Jerry is, well....Jerry!

Cue just the most painful attempt at copulation since the first time hedgehogs tried to reproduce.

 

Next: Endings

 

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Best & Worst: Endings

 

Best:  "We just need the eggs" speech

Film: Annie Hall (1977)


Why It Rocks: After reuniting with Annie after a while, it's nice to hear Alvy impart some encouraging wisdom to us, book-ending the film with yet another sentimental take on a classic gag as he and Annie shake hands, kiss goodbye and go their separate ways.

Oh god, we're all crying now...


Worst: Skipping into the sunset

Film: Love and Death (1975)

 



Why It Sucks: Another monologue, but this time it's just a bit, well, rubbish.

What's the profound life advice that Boris Grushenko gives us upon leaving this mortal coil? What can we expect from our tumble into oblivion?

Well, "you know the chicken at Tresky's Restaurant? It's worse". We've looked at this line for a while now, but still can't find the joke.

 

Next: Life Imitating Art

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Best & Worst: Life Imitating Art

 

Best: Alvy and Annie

Film: Annie Hall (1977)

 

Alvy and Annie's initially meeting, subsequent dating and splitting-up are hard not to compare to the real life relationship between Diane Keaton and Woody Allen.

Tennis with friends, a drive through the city, wine on the balcony. If he'd whipped out his clarinet, we would have believed this was a home movie.



Worst : Issac and Tracy

Film: Manhattan (1979)


Davis tries to describe to a table of his friends over dinner why his new piece of fluff is so adorable ("She's 17. I'm older than her father. Can you believe that? I'm dating a girl wherein I can beat up her father").

It's all a bit too Barely Legal for our taste buds.

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