Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mr. Konigsberg

Because I got distracted yesterday writing about Communists and their relative effects on my ability to obtain free food, I totally forgot to mention that it was Woody Allen's birthday. I know that most of you could give exactly two shits about that, but Mr. Allen is a very important figure in my life and I feel that it's the least I can do to mark the occasion of his birth.

You see... he's my father.

Well, okay, that's blatantly false. The truth of the matter is that I discovered his movies and comedy albums when I was about thirteen, otherwise known as the ripe, prime formative years. Despite the fact that I was a barely a teenager, born in Arlington, Texas, raised in a fairly lax Christian household, and impossibly square, his comedy spoke to me. It informed me. I didn't get the references he made, so I looked up what he was talking about; I wanted to laugh, too, about existentialism and Jung and Gerald Ford. Though I didn't adopt his personality or his mannerisms or anything (it's difficult for a doughy Texan to pull of nebbishy New Yorker), he taught me everything about timing, delivery and style. He was, in essence, the father of my sense of humor.

So, for that, I wish Woody Allen a happy 71st birthday. May you never want to belong to a club that would have you for a member, sir.

Viewing Suggestions:

Annie Hall - If you're an Allen neophyte, start here. It's the movie for which he won the most acclaim, Oscars, etc. It's a perfect encapsulation of everything his writing, his acting and his directorial style are about. Fun Fact: Annie Hall beat out Star Wars for Best Picture at the 1978 Oscars.

Manhattan - My favorite Allen film. A love letter to the city in which I currently reside and potent skewering of intellectualism, male ego and, of course, love. Absolutely beautiful to look at, too, what with the black and white photography and all.

Match Point - Don't know where in the hell this movie came from, especially so late in his career, but it's easily one of his best. It's actually the least like a "Woody Allen" film of any of his previous work. It's dark, mean and nasty and it's about how a man, when faced with losing everything, turns to murder. Stark, chilly genius.

Love & Death - Probably Allen's funniest movie. Very "Zucker, Abrams and Zucker" spoofy, but with that unmistakable, brainy wit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen a Woody Allen movie, but I can do an OK impression of him

6:56 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Seriously, get to the video store. Start with Annie Hall and then work your way through his 70's and early 80's output. Avoid (except for Match Point) his later stuff until you're already a fan. Also, avoid at all costs A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Interiors and Septemeber (they are deadly dull).

You'll thank me later.

9:27 AM  

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