Monday, August 12, 2013

"Blue Jasmine" and the whole Woody Allen thing

Three points to make here.

1. "Blue Jasmine" was a better movie than I thought it would be. I don't mean to damn with faint praise, but my expectations of Woody Allen movies have steadily declined since "Hannah and her Sisters." After "Shadows and Fog," I basically checked out.

You know, not every movie has to start off with a car chase and explosion. But does every movie have to start off with a talking-head conversation devoid of physical action? (After the obligatory plain white credits on black background?)

So when this one started I was thinking, "Oh, crap, why did Jennifer talk me into spending a sunny summer Sunday afternoon going to a Woody Allen movie?"

But it got better.

Woody Allen wasn't actually in it, which was a bonus. Kate Blanchett was great. Alec Baldwin played his standard character and picked up his paycheck. And the plot? Tennessee Williams trumps Ingmar Bergman in my book, so...check.

2. Woody Allen the person? I'm glad he's still with Soon-Yi. That sounds kind of random, but I always admired Woody Allen when I was a teenager (I went to NYU film school at least partially because I wanted to be Woody Allen vs. George Lucas). But, as with his movies, I kind of checked out on him after the whole Soon-Yi thing. It was just too weird.

But their marriage has lasted longer than most, and there's something to be said for that. You know, Mia wasn't exactly normal either. Just saying. Anyway, I'm not quite ready to invite him to join us at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, but I've come down from the moral high horse on his personal life.

3. Something really weird: the median age of the audience was about 75. Seriously, Jennifer and I were like the youngest people there, with the exception of the assistants pushing the wheelchairs. Is that Woody's current fan base? Or was it the neighborhood? (Upper East Side).

Below is a re-creation of the experience:

I'm going to be old someday too, so I'm not complaining. Several old folks came late to the movie and were shining their spelunker lights into the rows to find seats. And after the movie, just trying to get up the aisle and out of the theater was like the navigating through the Walking Dead. One old man started to stand up, and the person who was with him said, "You don't need to get up, you're already in your wheelchair."

Jen and I felt really, really young coming out of that theater, so that is a positive. (We were also happy to get to the other side of the park and see strollers again.)

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