Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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domino harvey
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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#176 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:12 pm

Submissions closed, results later today!

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#177 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:01 pm

I didn't get to participate in the (really fantastic) discussion for this project, but have been really grateful for the opportunity to fill some of the holes in my coverage of Allen's filmography; I had seen most of his pre-1980 work and about half of the post-1995 features, but only a handful from what is clearly his most fertile period between those eras, and I'd probably never in my life seen two Allen films within one calendar year of each other. So I was particularly thrilled to have been spurred by this project to immerse myself in the man's filmography, and was especially excited to catch up with Crimes and Misdemeanors and Broadway Danny Rose, both new favorites. Those discoveries in combination with some rewatches of old classics and even the more minor works helped me come out of this with a much deeper appreciation of Allen as a director and a strong urge to finish off those titles I wasn't able to get to ahead of the deadline. All of this would have been great enough in isolation, but to also have the running commentary from the members in this thread has made this one of the most enriching projects I've followed. Wanted to make sure to communicate a heartfelt thanks to those who have been sharing their thoughts here — and to domino for running the project in the first place — before we get to the results!

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#178 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:51 pm

While we wait, every Woody Allen-directed film received at least one vote except these three:
SpoilerShow
Crisis in Six Scenes, Don't Drink the Water, and Hollywood Ending

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#179 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:53 pm

Image

THE WOODY ALLEN LIST

01 Manhattan (1979) 22 (9)
02 Annie Hall (1977) 21
03 Stardust Memories (1980) 22 (3)
04 Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) 20 (2)
05 Love and Death (1975) 19 (2)

06 the Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) 19 (3)
07 Broadway Danny Rose (1984) 18 (1)
08 Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) 18
08 Husbands and Wives (1992) 20 (3)
10 Radio Days (1987) 16

11 Match Point (2005) 15 (1)
12 Sleeper (1973) 15
13 Midnight in Paris (2011) 16
14 Deconstructing Harry (1997) 14
15 Blue Jasmine (2013) 15

16 Zelig (1983) 12
17 Bullets Over Broadway (1994) 13
18 Everyone Says I Love You (1996) 8 (1)
19 Sweet and Lowdown (1999) 10
20 Magic in the Moonlight (2014) 10

21 Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) 10
22 Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) 8
23 Another Woman (1988) 8
24 Shadows and Fog (1991) 4
25 Cafe Society (2016) 5
25 Melinda and Melinda (2004) 5

# of ballots [out of 25] (# of ballots with film ranked first)


ALSO RANS
Interiors, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Bananas, Alice, Irrational Man, Celebrity, Take the Money and Run, the Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Mighty Aphrodite, Cassandra’s Dream, Scoop, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (…but were afraid to ask), Anything Else, Whatever Works, Oedipus Wrecks

ORPHANS
Men of Crisis: the Harvey Wallingner Story, September, Small Time Crooks, To Rome With Love, Wonder Wheel, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#180 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:01 pm

I truly had no idea Stardust Memories was held in such high esteem, what an awakening tallying this was!

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#181 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:05 pm

Great work, domino! Also, I'm glad this project finally convinced me to watch Scoop

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#182 Post by knives » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:37 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:05 pm
Great work, domino! Also, I'm glad this project finally convinced me to watch Scoop
Ditto on all levels. This was a lot of fun and really provided a new perspective on Allen on the whole.

Also for the sake of transparency these are the ones I still haven't seen:
Crisis in Six Scenes, Sweet and Lowdown, Celebrity, Everyone Says I love You, Mighty Aphrodite (I'm actually going to get to this one this week), Don't Drink the Water, Bullets Over Broadway, and A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#183 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:59 pm

Thanks domino! Great fun as usual.

p.s. I’m the one with Match Point at no 1

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#184 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:22 pm

Image

You’re all welcome. And a special kudos to the nine other members who voted for Magic in the Moonlight!

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#185 Post by AWA » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:55 pm

Thanks domino - interesting results!

I'm not that surprised to see Stardust Memories so high - it ranks highly on most Woody fan lists as it has long outlived its undeserved initial critical backlash. It's a brilliant piece of filmmaking and a great example of everything he does great.

I am a bit surprised at a few things - Love & Death ranked so high (it usually ranks high, but that's *really* high). I submitted a list of 20 and it didn't make the cut - ranked 21st as I recall. But, as has been stated many times throughout this thread, a very strong case can be made for it in many different ways, starting with the writing and the joke delivery.

I am surprised to see Deconstructing Harry and Bullets Over Broadway not ranked higher. Usually those are in or close to being in the Top 10 on any given Woody fan poll. The CriterionForum audience more refined and nuanced tastes give the list a different flavour. Both of them ranked in the top 10 for me, Harry at #4.

Slight surprise to see Match Point rank as highly as it does, even beating Midnight In Paris and Blue Jasmine.

Is it couth to share our complete lists? I kept tabs on one initially unrelated to this list as I rewatched the filmography in chronological order.

Either way, very enjoyable reading some of the varied opinions on various Woody films here the past while. A very enjoyable experience - "I found it very appealing." :D

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#186 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:57 pm

Def anyone should share their list publicly if they want!

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#187 Post by knives » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:01 pm

I guess that's the push I need. I imagine it will give a few raised eyebrows.
1 Crimes and Misdemeanors
2 Stardust Memories
3 Shadows and Fog
4 Manhattan Murder Mystery
5 Broadway Danny Rose
6 Blue Jasmine
7 Radio Days
8 Magic in the Moonlight
9 Annie Hall
10 Irrational Man
11 Husbands and Wives
12 Cassandra's Dream
13 Love and Death
14 Another Woman
15 Match Point
16 Midnight in Paris
17 Zelig
18 Interiors
19 Alice
20 Cafe Society

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#188 Post by AWA » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:07 pm

knives wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:01 pm
I guess that's the push I need. I imagine it will give a few raised eyebrows.
1 Crimes and Misdemeanors
2 Stardust Memories
3 Shadows and Fog
4 Manhattan Murder Mystery
5 Broadway Danny Rose
6 Blue Jasmine
7 Radio Days
8 Magic in the Moonlight
9 Annie Hall
10 Irrational Man
11 Husbands and Wives
12 Cassandra's Dream
13 Love and Death
14 Another Woman
15 Match Point
16 Midnight in Paris
17 Zelig
18 Interiors
19 Alice
20 Cafe Society
Wow - I'd definitely like to hear why and how Irrational Man made the Top 10! Magic In The Moonlight, Cassandra's Dream and Cafe Society are other surprises for sure. But Irrational Man... top 10... wow.

Judging by what made your list and looking at what you haven't seen yet, your list might get adjusted upon viewing some of the remaining films. Some really good small gems in that list.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#189 Post by AWA » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:17 pm

Alright - the complete ranked list of every single qualifiable film from Woody Allen, be it a short film, feature film, the TV / streaming "series" (which isn't really a series at all, just a film chopped up in 6 episodes) and Play It Again, Sam (but not The Front, although I would argue even though he didn't get writing credit on that, he definitely was a ghost-co-writer on it as he ad-libbed a lot of his own material).

1 MANHATTAN 1979
2 CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS 1989
3 HUSBANDS & WIVES 1992
4 DECONSTRUCTING HARRY 1997
5 THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO 1985
6 STARDUST MEMORIES 1980
7 HANNAH & HER SISTERS 1986
8 ANNIE HALL 1977
9 BULLETS OVER BROADWAY 1994
10 BLUE JASMINE 2013
11 ANOTHER WOMAN 1988
12 BROADWAY DANNY ROSE 1984
13 SWEET & LOWDOWN 1999
14 RADIO DAYS 1987
15 ZELIG 1983
16 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS 2011
17 VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA 2008
18 MATCH POINT 2005
19 MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT SEX COMEDY 1982
20 MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY 1993
--------------------------
21 SLEEPER 1973
22 LOVE & DEATH 1975
23 ALICE 1990
24 SEPTEMBER 1987
25 INTERIORS 1978
26 CAFE SOCIETY 2016
27 SHADOWS & FOG 1991
28 EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU 1996
29 MELINDA & MELINDA 2004
30 MIGHTY APHRODITE 1995
31 CELEBRITY 1998
32 SCOOP 2006
33 PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM 1972
34 ANYTHING ELSE 2003
35 BANANAS 1971
36 TAKE THE MONEY & RUN 1969
37 THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION 2001
38 SMALL TIME CROOKS 2000
39 WONDER WHEEL 2017
40 CRISIS IN SIX SCENES (TV series) 2016
41 IRRATIONAL MAN 2015
42 EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX* 1972
43 HOLLYWOOD ENDING 2002
44 MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT 2014
45 NEW YORK STORIES (short) 1989
46 TO ROME WITH LOVE 2012
47 WHATEVER WORKS 2009
48 CASSANDRA'S DREAM 2007
49 YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER 2010
50 HARVEY WALLINGER STORY (short) 1972
51 DON'T DRINK THE WATER 1994
52 SOUNDS FROM A TOWN I LOVE (short) 2001
53 WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY 1966


Films 1-14: ones I revisit often
15 - 24: ones I revisit with less frequency but still love
25 - 34: ones I like but can only re-watch after not having seen them for a few years
35 - 43: ones I find good but problematic and have only seen 3 or 4 times tops, likely won't be re-screening them for quite a while
44 - 46: slightly less, but would re-watch again if someone asked to see them
47 - 53: may die without ever rewatching any of these ever again after this project
Last edited by AWA on Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#190 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:18 pm

AWA wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:07 pm
Wow - I'd definitely like to hear why and how Irrational Man made the Top 10! Magic In The Moonlight, Cassandra's Dream and Cafe Society are other surprises for sure. But Irrational Man... top 10... wow.
That's nothing, I put You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger in my top 10

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#191 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:18 pm

I forgot Sounds From a Town I Love and What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, so that’s five Allen movies that didn’t receive a vote

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#192 Post by knives » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:24 pm

AWA wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:07 pm

Wow - I'd definitely like to hear why and how Irrational Man made the Top 10! Magic In The Moonlight, Cassandra's Dream and Cafe Society are other surprises for sure. But Irrational Man... top 10... wow.

Judging by what made your list and looking at what you haven't seen yet, your list might get adjusted upon viewing some of the remaining films. Some really good small gems in that list.
Though Irrational Man would stay on regardless. My write-up in this thread clarifies some of my feelings, but overall this project has given me a new appreciation for how Allen has gone from a bifurcated view of the dramatic and the comedic to a fusion of the two in his last decade or so. Melinda and Melinda despite its mediocrity exemplifies how he's evolved in this way. Irrational Man strikes me as the most successful fusion yet tackling its subject with a full belly laugh as it treats its themes seriously.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#193 Post by knives » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:26 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:18 pm
AWA wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:07 pm
Wow - I'd definitely like to hear why and how Irrational Man made the Top 10! Magic In The Moonlight, Cassandra's Dream and Cafe Society are other surprises for sure. But Irrational Man... top 10... wow.
That's nothing, I put You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger in my top 10
Doh, knew I forgot something. What could I have replaced it with though?

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#194 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:29 pm

My list:

01 the Purple Rose of Cairo
02 Love and Death
03 Magic in the Moonlight
04 Radio Days
05 Broadway Danny Rose
06 Deconstructing Harry
07 Husbands and Wives
08 Alice
09 Everyone Says I Love You
10 Melinda and Melinda
11 Cassandra’s Dream
12 Zelig
13 Bullets Over Broadway
14 Sweet and Lowdown
15 Manhattan
16 the Curse of the Jade Scorpion
17 Shadows and Fog
18 Midnight in Paris
19 Celebrity
20 Manhattan Murder Mystery

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#195 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:07 pm

Any chance I can get you to elaborate on your thoughts on Crimes and Misdemeanors, domino? It struck me as both very distinctly tied to and yet still apart from the rest of Allen's filmography in a way I found intriguing, and I thought the parallels between Allen's and von Sydow's characters were fascinating, but it clearly doesn't rate very highly for you.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#196 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:14 pm

I used to like it more, but I screened it for my students a few years back and was struck by how disappointing the "comic" sections were, and Allen finds a way to use the strong material of the dramatic portion better later on. I still really like the "unfair" b-story line about Waterston's rabbi going blind, but I think overall this is the least effective of the three bites at the killing without remorse apple (Match Point and Cassandra's Dream). Not a bad movie by any means, though

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#197 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:13 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:14 pm
I used to like it more, but I screened it for my students a few years back and was struck by how disappointing the "comic" sections were, and Allen finds a way to use the strong material of the dramatic portion better later on.
That pretty much echoes my feelings about it expressed upthread.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#198 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:29 pm

My submitted list:

1. Match Point
2. Broadway Danny Rose
3. Hannah and Her Sisters
4. Love and Death
5. Stardust Memories
6. Husbands and Wives
7. Deconstructing Harry
8. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy
9. Sleeper
10. Blue Jasmine


If it would have counted, Play It Again Sam would be at no. 3. And the rest is/would be

11. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
12. Everything You Always etc.
13. Cassandra's Dream
14. Mighty Aphrodite
15. Interiors
16. Annie Hall
17. Manhattan
18. Crimes and Misdemeanors
19. Another Woman
20. Zelig

21. Midnight in Paris
22. The Purple Rose of Cairo
23. Whatever Works
24. Irrational Man
25. Bananas
26. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
27. Hollywood Ending
28. Celebrity
29. To Rome with Love
30. Bullets over Broadway


31. Alice
32. Everyone Says I Love You
33. September
34. Melinda and Melinda
35. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
36. Anything Else
37. Radio Days
38. Magic in the Moonlight
39. Manhattan Murder Mystery
40. Wonder Wheel

41. Take the Money and Run
42. Sweet and Lowdown
43. Café Society
44. Shadows and Fog
45. Scoop
46. Small Time Crooks


(Tiger Lily and Oedipus Wrecks I haven't seen in 30 years or so, so they're not included. The other shorts and Crisis in Six Scenes I haven't seen. Don't Drink the Water I may have seen but not sure.)
Last edited by Rayon Vert on Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#199 Post by bdsweeney » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:39 pm

Many thanks to Domino for organising the list. I participated in the list as I'd already seen a good many Allen films and always wanted to watch more and complete the filmography (which I didn't ... but did end up watching 11 or so which I hadn't yet seen).

My list is:
1. Manhattan
2. Annie Hall
3. Deconstructing Harry
4. Husbands and Wives
5. Stardust Memories
6. Sweet and Lowdown
7. Sleeper
8. Broadway Danny Rose
9. Hannah and Her Sisters
10. The Purple Rose of Cairo
11. Midnight in Paris
12. Bullets Over Broadway
13. Another Woman
14. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
15. Magic in the Moonlight
16. Match Point
17. Café Society
18. Melinda and Melinda
19. Crimes and Misdemeanors
20. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)

Films not seen or my memory of them is too distant to consider for voting:
• Wonder Wheel
• Crisis in Six Scenes
• Irrational Man
• To Rome With Love
• You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
• Anything Else
• Sounds from a Town I Love
• Hollywood Ending
• The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
• Everyone Says I Love You
• Don't Drink the Water
• New York Stories
• Men in Crisis
• What's up, Tiger Lily


Some random thoughts:
  • Maybe it's that I find Crimes and Misdemeanors too schematic in its contrasts to be totally successful. This was my third viewing and I still found some of it a chore. (But not enough for it to not rank in my top 20.)
  • While the theatrical and thematic elements of Another Woman are perhaps obvious in their presentation, I was still caught up in the storytelling in a way I rarely am with his dramas.
  • Magic in the Moonlight has a pleasant hum.
  • This viewing of Stardust Memories caused it to rise dramatically in my estimation. His riskiest film?
  • Sean Penn is not my favourite actor, but he's wonderful in Sweet and Lowdown. My fav performance in an Allen film. Others include Mia Farrow in Broadway Danny Rose, Judy Davis in Husbands and Wives, Kristen Stewart in Cafe Society and Elaine May in Small Time Crooks. (I'm sure there's plenty others I'm forgetting.)

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Re: Auteur List: Woody Allen - Discussion and Defenses

#200 Post by AWA » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:01 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:14 pm
I used to like it more, but I screened it for my students a few years back and was struck by how disappointing the "comic" sections were, and Allen finds a way to use the strong material of the dramatic portion better later on. I still really like the "unfair" b-story line about Waterston's rabbi going blind, but I think overall this is the least effective of the three bites at the killing without remorse apple (Match Point and Cassandra's Dream). Not a bad movie by any means, though
Still - not even top 20? While I do agree that if C&M has any flaws at all, for me it was two instances of broad / early to mid 70's era Woody comedy appearing: joking about hurrying up to knock the elderly lady's cane away to take the cab from her (funny, but out of place here completely) and Woody's reaction at the table to Alda's character's slight brag about his old college now teaching a course on existential motifs of his comedies. Also "funny" but broad and out of place here. But I mean... slightest of slightest criticisms. Charlie Kaufman called it "as perfect as a film can get". It's pretty close to that for me. Even the photography, which rarely gets mentioned about it, is excellent - it has an "80's sheen" to it, shall we say, but it is still fantastic.

You're also one of the few that ranks Jade Scorpion (reasonably) high - I have a soft spot for that film for reasons explained earlier. Just wondering what makes that rank above something like C&M (or any other film of his, really) for you? For me, it's a good little comedy but could've used a time machine to go back to the late 1950's and get Cary Grant to play the lead CW Briggs character in it. Then it would've been incredible (not just for the fact that they invented a time machine for it either, but you know). That role was positively written for Cary Grant to do, all of those lines would've been perfect. But it was 2001.

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