Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris.

That’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life is unsatisfying.

I really liked this one. Fun exploration of nostalgia, heroes, joie de vivre, being true to yourself, etc. And I love our hero’s giddy, can’t-believe-his-luck enthusiasm. This might be my favorite Owen Wilson performance ever. There’s a few characters who are only light caricatures for purposes of contrast, but that’s Woody Allen for you. I do love how the elements of scifi/fantasy here are a given, accepted, no explanation required.

It’s been a while since my last Woody Allen film. My updated rankings, though maybe it’s been too long a time for this to be definitive:

  1. Manhattan
  2. Annie Hall
  3. Midnight in Paris
  4. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  6. Sleeper
  7. Match Point
  8. Scoop

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo. This is a tremendous movie. If you love movies, I think it’ll stay with you. So good. Ebert agrees with me. As in Sherlock, Jr. the characters break the screen and go back and forth from the film world to reality (Allen is a science fiction filmmaker, you might recall) and wrestle with the rules and expectations on either side. There’s clever satire of movies, movie culture, movie-lovers. Much of it is bittersweet, but there’s almost always some jumping dixieland jazz playing in the background that keeps things from getting too sour. Thus, we have an escapist film about film escapism. After all, we need delusions to keep us going.

Since no one asked, here’s my ranking of Woody Allen films I’ve seen:

  1. Manhattan
  2. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  3. Annie Hall
  4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  5. Sleeper
  6. Match Point
  7. Scoop

Definitely need to see some more. I’ve done similar, ongoing lists for Clint Eastwood and Alfred Hitchcock.

We need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t.

It seems to me that making escapist films might be a better service to people than making intellectual ones and making films that deal with issues. It might be better to just make escapist comedies that don’t touch on any issues. The people just get a cool lemonade, and then they go out refreshed, they enjoy themselves, they forget how awful things are and it helps them—it strengthens them to get through the day. So I feel humor is important for those two reasons: that it is a little bit of refreshment like music, and that women have told me over the years that it is very, very important to them.