Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lifting My Woody Allen Ban

When Katie brought home her book of jokes, my first thought was, "What kind of six-year-old writes a book of jokes?  Who is she, Woody Allen?"

I know that Woody Allen started selling jokes at a young age because Woody Allen is my favorite director.  It's hard for me to admit that.  I usually say, "Woody Allen used to be my favorite director."  Like when people tell me their birthday and I say, "Oh, you're a Libra.  Cool."  Then they ask me if I'm into astrology and I say, "Oh, not anymore.  I spent one summer when I was fourteen reading Linda Goodman's Love Signs, that's all."  I've moved on.  I watch Hank Green's SciShow now, for goodness sake.  A person of my mental integrity has no room for such trivialities...

Similarly, the assumption when I say Woody Allen used to be my favorite director is that someone replaced Allen in that role.  They are my Hank Green to my teenage self's Linda Goodman.  But when pressed to reveal who my favorite director is now, I have a hard time coming up with an answer.

Maybe Ang Lee?

The problem is, I can hardly call someone my favorite director when I've seen only two of his films.  Sure, they're both on my list of top ten movies of all time: Ride with the Devil and Brokeback Mountain, but considering I haven't even seen Life of Pi yet and it won the Oscar for best director this year, I'm a pretty shitty fan if I call Ang Lee my favorite director.

Conversely, I've seen every Woody Allen film he ever made.  Until the Soon-Yi scandal.  When I found out he was romantically involved with his girlfriend's daughter, a 19 year-old, adopted, legal, sure, but still, yuck.  How can I continue to like a person's art when I don't like the artist as a person?

But oh how I once loved him.  Annie Hall's tied with The Big Lebowski for my all-time favorite movie.  I remember seeing it in the theater at Metro North Shopping Mall with my parents and, in the parking lot walking to our car, asking my mom if I could start seeing a therapist.  It sounded so cosmopolitan and cool.  Mom, of course, thought I was nuts and shrugged off my request until I turned eleven and started starving myself.

Showing appreciation for his work at such a young age, I should think about lifting my Woody Allen ban.  After recently discovering that I've been needlessly restricting myself from watching movies I enjoy, I checked out Midnight In Paris on DVD from the library.  My inner Woody Allen nerd's been jonesin' to watch it.

Ironically, it was after seeing these unflattering tweets from Allen's son, Ronan Farrow, that I began to think it's time to give the old man a second chance.  Funny, I'm not the only one who's eyeing Ang Lee for our "best director" slot.  Turns out, Woody Allen's son thinks Ang Lee's pretty awesome too:
This one's my favorite:  Ronan Farrow manages to sound like his dad while he's slamming him.  Well done!
If Woody Allen can produce an offspring so funny and so cool, then I guess luck assured he's not a complete fuck up in the kids-turned-out-ok-department.  Even though he's probably a horrible person in some ways, I'm grateful that Woody Allen exists for his art, but also because if it weren't for him Ronan Farrow wouldn't exist. And look how cool he is.