Although I am a lover of all kinds of films, there was a point in my film-watching career where I just didn’t care for Woody Allen. (And, as an aside, calling watching movies “a movie-watching career” makes it seem more exciting, doesn’t it?)
But when a director is known for making a certain kind of film, all it takes sometimes is just a few films before you decide whether or not that director works for you. With Woody Allen, unfortunately, the first few movies of his I watched were some of the lesser lights in his movie-making galaxy. And while I know films like “Celebrity” have its admirers, I can safely say it’s not a movie I want to explore a second time.
After watching a few movies of his that failed to connect with me in any way, I simply put Woody in that box where I say, “Sure, lots of other people dig it, but it’s just not for me.” However, I once was on a run where I was making sure to watch one movie per day that I had never seen before. It began as a project to make sure I watched some DVDs in my collection that I had yet to see even once, but it grew into a pretty stellar film education.
During this streak, I recorded “Annie Hall” on the DVR and started to watch it (not quite grudgingly, but close). Halfway through, I was entranced – and then the screen went black. Due to the DVR’s failure, I was stuck. I soon found myself going to the store and I bought the movie on DVD. The tide had turned.
I explored his movies further and it got to the point where last year I even felt that a Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris,” was the best movie of the year. Woody and I have come a long way and now I can safely say I am looking forward to a new Woody Allen movie more than I ever have.
That film is “To Paris with Love” and it stars Allen along with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page.
Of course, the cast is first rate and the city looks beautiful. Here’s hoping Woody Allen can do for Rome this year what he did for Paris last year.
Look for “To Paris with Love” to be released in limited theaters in the U.S. starting June 22.
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