Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ernest Hemingway punches Woody in the mouth...

...but ol' Woody's not taking it lying down, I tell you what! Well, for one, he cast daughter Mariel in Manhattan, then, didn't he? Naughty boy. Besides, he's busy planning his 2013 pic as we speak. No time to savour the small victory at the box office that was Midnight in Paris, his 2011 pic with Owen Wilson's nose. But I give credit where credit's due: the rest of Owen Wilson must've studied his Woody Allen pics in advance, as his subliminal Woody impression seemed to have a lot of the nuances down, especially the 'not believing what he's hearing' stuff that Woody seems to do an awful lot. But when you're surrounded by idiots and lesser brains like Woody, you gotta fight back somehow.
I gotta keep this short, but I think I can hit all the main points. Kudos to Michael Sheen who's in a brunette disguise; from Twilight to this, he covers the waterfront, man. The opening sequence of Midnight in Paris is awfully reminiscent of the opening of Manhattan, but in and around Paris, I'm assuming. All the big Paris landmarks are here: the Arc de Triomph, the Dior store, and of course the omnipresent Eiffel Tower, even tackily lit up at night like some kind of giant ... Paris monument. You get the idea. The picture quality of the Blu-Ray we were watching was so good, that the opening credits themselves reminded me of imitation Woody Allen credits that pop up every now and again. What is it with him and that one font? Certain directors have their own fonts: John Landis and Carpenter come to mind... I guess they're the only ones.
As for the film itself, well, as a fellow liberal damned to an eternity in hell, or Arizona, whichever comes first, I always appreciate any dig at the Republicans I can get, and Woody goes after the Tea Partiers, no less! Oh, Kurt Fuller, I hope you don't hang out with Bruce Willis and Fred Thompson too much. Now, there's always a great debate that rages in any Woody Allen film. Here, it's about nostalgia. The main character is ... wait for it... a writer! Woody HAS been reading The Onion lately! Owen Wilson plays a hacky Hollywood screenwriter, perhaps modeled after one of the Wibberleys or Henry Bean/Leora Barish... maybe Tim Herlihy, someone like that: a Hollywood creature who's about to be married and condemned to a life in Malibu with his hot young wife. His current work is about a guy who runs a nostalgia shop. Owen Allen himself longs for Paris in the 1920s. You know, baguettes, rubbing elbows with the icons of tomorrow, all that post-Great War crap. Will his dream magically come true? Or will the anti-nostalgia argument triumph? Well, sadly, this isn't Melinda and Melinda, and we're only going down one road in this pic.
But I ramble on too long, I'm afraid. One of my viewing companions summed it up nicely: "Does this mean that Woody's officially lost his mind?" I'm paraphrasing, of course. But Woody did once say that he couldn't have directed Dr. Strangelove better than Kubrick did, but why not try a spin on The Shining for a change? A portal to the 1920s is discovered, of course, and is used several times by Owen Wilson. Woody also saw and liked Inception, and made a portal inside a portal, with Inception actress Marion Cotillard, no less. There's even a portal punchline, which somehow feels like salt in the wound. I gotta run. Don't give up your day job, Woody.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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