He’s still keeps ’em coming: Woody Allen’s new film To Rome With Love kicked off the Los Angeles Film Festival (www.lafilmfest.com) on June 14. Last year, Midnight in Paris (2011) was absolutely delightful (and who knew that I could ever fall madly for Owen Wilson?).
But for me, MANHATTAN (1979) still shines. It’s beautiful look at, has a smart script and memorable performances, and it’s a classic that deserves a revisit. I am always surprised how much I love it every time I see it, and it’s a stellar film for a Home Projectionist event.
Shot in black and white to stunningly show off the grit of the city (and the shades of gray of the dilemmas that characters face), the film is rich with Allen Angst and hapless hilarity (although you may laugh out loud only a few times). Allen — along with Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, and Meryl Streep — ruminate, wallow, digress, change partners, fall in love, and fret, fret, fret, good lord how they fret about their daily little lives. And for all their self-absorption, you love them nonetheless.
The film’s locale provides a long list of options for themed entertaining. Manhattans for cocktails and an array of potential menu items from deli trays to Waldorf salad, bagels to dirty water hot dogs, and hot pretzels to New York cheesecake. (The downside is that there are so many options and it’s hard to choose.)
As a special bonus, a recent viewing of the film spawned a spur-of-the-moment, made-up game called “What You Saw In the Movie That You Don’t You See So Much Anymore.” The list included a typewriter, smoking in restaurants, luggage without rollers, a dictaphone machine, big telephones, racket ball, women with really bad perms and tiny boobs and no bras. Oh yes, and when was the last time you heard someone talking about Kierkegaard?