I have decided to re-introduce myself to the cinematic works of Woody Allen. I’ll be making my way through his directorial canon, in a more-or-less chronological progression, and, when the mood strikes me, or when I remember, I will offer up my “who the hell cares what you think” reviews.
I had recently (in the past couple of years) seen his first couple of directorial efforts (What’s Up Tiger Lily, and Take The Money And Run), had mixed reactions to them, and decided to pass on reviewing them.
So, first up: Bananas (1971)
Bananas is a slapstick comedy that, not surprisingly, derives most of its comedy from bits of slapstick. Some of gags still hold up and are (and, I presume, always will be) funny, and more than some left me waiting for that particular gag to end.
My least favourite moments came during South America excursion, where the comedy was more “miss” than “hit”.
I liked the ABC Wide World of Sports bookend, with a game Howard Cosell playing along (and cracking up during the final in-bed interview)
Laughed at a whole bunch of little moments, like Woody’s face when he’s being accosted by the toughies on the subway (one of which was a very young looking Sylvester Stallone!); the bit where he tries to set the right tone for his romantic interlude with Louise Lasser’s character and ends up covered in talc; Woody as lawyer interviewing himself on the witness stand…
Louise Lasser was Dianne Keaton before there was a Dianne Keaton.
What i found most surprising: there were some moments of actual, honest-to-goodness great acting, especially from Woody. I always thought that his acting was underappreciated, and was surprised that there were some really nice moments in this broad, slapstick comedy.
So, not a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, but more than enough little snickering moments of comedy that hit their marks, and more than make up for the moments of misses.