Woody Allen once could have been considered the luckiest filmmaker alive, his producers Charles H. Joffe, Jack Rollins and to some extent Robert Greenhut offered to produce every one of his films without question. Now Woody Allen has signed a three-year deal with a Spanish distribution company to finance the production of his next three films. Still lucky. Woody would admit himself that Europe has been kind to him always, whereas back home in the US, things have always remained lukewarm.
Whether you like him or not, whether or not you were caught up in the whole Soon-Yi Previn debacle, or you just can't endure his films, or you uphold him on a pedestal of paranoia, or think that he "intellectualised" cinema enough for the layman film critic or buff to feel intelligent - Woody has produced some fine work, and he proves like Robert Altman and Ken Russell that filmmaking can be a life-time occupation or preoccupation.
This brings me to Woody's latest film which in a smart casting move stars Larry David. The casting in Woody's films has always been the point of contention with me. When he gets it right, it's perfect, and when he doesn't it sags well below the quality line. Larry David, despite having a closer affiliation to Woody's style is absolutely sensible casting for a Woody Allen comedy, and that is what we are presuming it is, a romantic comedy of course, as Woody has latched onto that genre since the early 1990s and hasn't let go.
Why is an under-ground film Blog even looking at Woody Allen you may wonder. Well, Woody has always been an outcast as much as his creative circles and achievements might seem otherwise to the budding young amateur. The thing is that any director who got a head start in the 60s or 70s and found success is going to be alright thirty years onwards, but looking at Woody's early (And funnier) films it is easy to see that they would make worthwhile contemporary under-ground cinema today. Films like "Sleeper", "Bananas", "Take the money and run", "What's up Tiger Lily", "What's New Pussycat", and "Zelig" just to name a few, are made freely and without the bonds of restricting or re-writing content in order to sell out to the box office.
The mere fact that people either love or hate him has kept Woody in business, otherwise we would have just swept him under the decade that was and moved on. Personally in some kind of way I look forward to the next Woody Allen film, as if some part of me was waiting for him to nail it again and produce something special. It was been a while and most of his previous works have been fairly mediocre although "Hollywood Ending" was quite good, and so was "Deconstructing Harry" with Robin Williams as the out-of-focus actor.
Hopefully Larry David would have looked at Woody's script and seen potential or the seed or finished draft of something good. This is what I'm hoping on, that one comedian is able to read between the lines of another, especially since Larry comes from a writing background, and writes well too.