Monday, June 22, 2009

Owen Gleiberman Ranks Woody Allen's Films

In this past week's Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman ranked Woody Allen's 40 films, including the newest, Whatever Works. The full list of Gleiberman's Woody rankings was posted online.

I made such a list (41 films, including telefilm Don't Drink the Water) after re-watching all of Woody Allen's movies at the time of about Small Time Crooks, and I've added the new films as I saw them. (Many of my rankings actually coincide with the EXACT placement of OG's!)

I offer MY LIST below, plus commentary underneath.

Ranking Woody Allen's Directorial Features

1. Annie Hall— 1977
2. Manhattan— 1979
3. Hannah and Her Sisters— 1986
4. Husbands and Wives— 1992
5. Broadway Danny Rose— 1984
6. Interiors— 1978
7. Another Woman— 1988
8. Bananas— 1971
9. Sleeper— 1973
10. Radio Days— 1987

11. Crimes and Misdemeanors— 1989
12. Zelig— 1983
13. Take the Money and Run— 1969
14. Deconstructing Harry— 1997
15. Match Point— 2005
16. Bullets Over Broadway— 1994
17. Love and Death— 1975
18. New York Stories (seq.)— 1989
19. Mighty Aphrodite— 1995
20. The Purple Rose of Cairo— 1985
21. Manhattan Murder Mystery— 1993
22. Alice— 1990
23. Vicky Cristina Barcelona— 2008
24. Stardust Memories— 1980
25. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy— 1982
26. Sweet and Lowdown— 1999
27. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion— 2001
28. Don’t Drink the Water (TV)— 1994
29. What’s Up Tiger Lily?— 1966
30. Everything You Always Wanted…—1972
31. Everyone Says I Love You— 1996
32. Scoop— 2006
33. Hollywood Ending— 2002
34. Whatever Works— 2009
35. Small Time Crooks— 2000
36. Shadows and Fog— 1992
37. Celebrity— 1998
38. Cassandra’s Dream— 2008
39. Melinda and Melinda— 2005
40. September— 1987
41. Anything Else— 2003

Just in case the Gleiberman list gets pulled someday, here it is below for reference:
1. Manhattan (1979)_2. Annie Hall (1977)_3. Bananas (1971)_4. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)_5. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)_6. Match Point (2005)_7. What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)_8. Zelig (1983)_9. Sleeper (1973)_10. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)_11. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)_12. Love and Death (1975)_13. Take the Money and Run (1969)_14. Stardust Memories (1980)_15. Small Time Crooks (2000)_16. Deconstructing Harry (1997)_17. Bullets Over Broadway (1994)_18. Sweet and Lowdown (1999)_19. Mighty Aphrodite (1995)_20. Cassandra’s Dream (2007)_21. Husbands and Wives (1992)_22. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)_23. Interiors (1978)_24. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)_25. Oedipus Wrecks from New York Stories (1989)_26. A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982)_27. Radio Days (1987)_28. Whatever Works (2009)_29. Everyone Says I Love You (1996)_30. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)_31. Scoop (2006)_32. Alice (1990)_33. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)_34. Another Woman (1988)_35. Melinda and Melinda (2004)_36. Shadows and Fog (1991)_37. Hollywood Ending (2002)_38. Celebrity (1998)_39. Anything Else (2003)_40. September (1987)

My commentary. First off, I love Manhattan (1979), however, I can't deny that Annie Hall is Woody Allen's masterpiece, even if Manhattan would be the "cooler" choice for the #1 slot. Bananas is a VERY funny movie, but even I think I've over ranked it at #8... but OG has it at #3! Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex... as a production, is Woody's most ambitious-- but its wildly uneven and decidedly not "top ten." Match Point is EASILY Woody's best 00s effort, although I doubt it ranks in the top ten (there is just too much competition)-- but I respect making room for one of the later ones by OG. What's Up Tiger Lily? is fun and was probably a riot in it's day, but I find it a weird choice to go out on a limb for by OG. Woody Allen has sometimes cited The Purple Rose of Cairo as his favorite and Woodyphiles would almost all put it in his top ten. I'm just not the biggest fan of it (I didn't think it lived up to it's premise, i.e. the way it ends). I admit I'm in the minority on Purple Rose. Almost everyone would agree that Stardust Memories at #24 on my list is more accurate than at #14, I think OG is bucking the general consensus there. If you've seen the movie, it has one of the funniest things I ever heard in a Woody film however, when the "aliens" tell him: "You're not the Peace Corps type. You want to help humanity? Tell funnier jokes." Small Time Crooks seems to divide people. According to Gleiberman it's Woody's second best film from the 00s. Although it's certainly not his worse from the 00s, that's not saying much. Cassandra's Dream was trumped by Sidney Lumet's similar Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but as time passes, it might move up the ranks. Husbands and Wives I consider a masterpiece, and I think this is the single film whose placement I most disagree with on OG's list. Broadway Danny Rose is a personal favorite, and yes, perhaps I just couldn't resist putting it so high on my list. Interiors and Another Woman have a checkered reception. Most people would agree with OG and NOT with my high rankings-- but I'm standing by them. I'm not going to give it a RINGING endorsement, but, unlike almost everyone I know, I was amused by The Curse of the Jade Scorpion-- and it ACTUALLY has a realistic plot-driven excuse why any pretty younger woman would be attracted to Woody. Finally, I too never thought Woody Allen would make a movie WORSE than September-- but he DID with Anything Else...

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