Let’s ring in the new year with the latest from Woody Allen. The Woodman isn’t in front of the camera for this film, he just wrote and directed. He got Owen Wilson to play the role of Woody Allen in this movie, and I have to say that Wilson plays the Woodman better than Woody ever did. A bit of Allen history here. Fans of the Woodman know his first film appearance was in “What’s Up Pussycat?”, which was set in Paris. Shortly afterwards, Allen moved to LA and starting writing (and directing/acting in) a string of successful movies. In this film, Wilson plays a writer who has had a string of very successful screenplays made into successful movies. He is currently in Paris, with his fiance, working on a novel. He is constantly complaining that he was truely happy back when was living in Paris as a near starving writer, before going to Hollywood and “selling out.” His fiance doesn’t see what the problem is, he is successful in his career and should continue doing what has been bringing in lots of money. To make things worse, they run into old “friends”, including a fellow Wilson’s character (i.e. Woody Allen) can’t stand, but his fiance thinks is knowledgeable and charming. True to form, our protagonist is complaining about many things, including about how boring modern times are, and how much more alive Paris was during the 1920s. Then comes the movie magic, while wandering the streets of Paris alone, at Midnight, an old limo pulls up and the occupants insist that he join them. The booze is flowing freely, so he gets in. The car takes them to a party where he meets F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Ernest Hemingway, and other famous people who made 1920s Paris their home. In the morning he returns to the early 21st Century and freshly inspired, works on his novel, while his fiance “tours” Paris with friends. This repeats for multiple nights, and his adventures continue, including getting Gertrude Stein and Hemingway to read his novel and give advice. Oh, and he also finds the love of his life. She is as bored with Paris of the 1920s as the Woodman stand in is of the 21st Century. She pines for the “Bella Epoch”. The two of them travel there, were they find her heroes pining for the old days as well. This is a revelation for him, he returns to the 21st Century, cleans up the mess of his personal life, and decides to move forward rather than living for the past.
I described an earlier B-Movie pick as “a big sloppy wet kiss, with tongue, to Steven Spielberg.” In this film, Woody Allen does much more than that. He gets down on his knees, unhinges his jaw, and deep throats Paris. The city of Paris is as much a character in this movie as any of the roles played by actors (the actor playing Hemingway was fornicating awesome BTW). This is a film carefully crafted by a master film maker and will be especially enjoyed by fans of the Woodman’s work, such as myself. The only part I would warn my gentle readers about is where Allen let’s his far left extremist political views leak through. It’s clear that those are based on his emotions, and not any rational thought.