Hey Woody, No offense, but can I get my 3.99 back?

I like Woody Allen. There I said it and have now retreated behind a bullet proof fortress. I like Woody Allen, just like I like Michael Jackson and Klimt, in that their minds created art of beautiful genius. Would I want to rely on any of them as a husband or father, no, but I don’t need to!

However(!), I rented Zelig on MGM last night for 3.99, which isn’t a large sum, but in Covid19 non-working times, every dime counts. So I wish Woody would understand every dame counts (like me) and refund my money.

I appreciate that it took immense time and creativity to make this documentary styled film, and that’s my exact problem. I wanted the trite narration to end and get to a narrative film, like Bananas or Annie Hall. But I know, that’s my fault for not researching first.

Even as a doc, the humor just doesn’t hold up. Black face, not funny, Nazis, not funny (not even JoJo Rabbit, sorry).

I mainly watched due to Gordon Willis’s nomination for best cinematography. And it was a bonus to see (semi-local man) Dick Hyman’s name listed as musical creator and performer.

I did get two laughs out of the film, so I guess for a buck fifty each, that’s not too bad. But come on Woody, how about a tiny check?

Kicking Two to the Curb: Dead Pool, Pop Star

This should be a New York Times Op-Ed in itself, but if you don’t think our country’s current violence problem has anything to do with the constant barrage of violent images, from the news media replaying fights over and over, to the lunatics at Facebook allowing live stream of the same, to 90% of television programming showing hostility to movies like Dead Pool showing brains coming out of someone’s skull, you are sooooo very naive.

The upside, if there is one, is witty writing and one of my favorite funny men, TJ Miller. Even Ryan Reynolds is great, giving 110% enthusiasm to his leading role, but this was Quentin Tarantino level violence which doesn’t need to be in a super hero movie, accessible to adolescents due to ignorant adults.

Emerson said it a a century ago, and I’ll paraphrase: be careful what you take in folks. One of my seventh graders bragged that he manipulated his aunt to take him to Dead Pool and bragged to me how sexual the film was (he used 12 year old words “dirty”). after viewing the film this weekend, I realized how trivial the 5 minute sex montage was compared to the hour and 45 of man on man, woman on man super hero on super hero gore fest. The French have it right folks, hide the violence and allow the sex, as long as it’s loving of course.

Pop Star, the Andy Samburg farce wold be great as an SNL farce, but it lost it’s giggle appeal after about 45 minutes. and if you’re going to use Sarah Silverman, give her something to do! She’s a talented comic for goodness sake. The film is worth watching if only for his funny tune “Not Gay” and a hysterical scene in a limo where the fans outrageous behavior keeps ramping up to a hilarious crescendo.

What We Do in the Shadows

Rhys Darby

Probably “What We Do in the Shadows” is the most obscure title of all time, as it gives no hint that it’s a mockumentary about Vampires. “Stakes” would have even been better. (*when one of the writer’s last names has the funny words of wait titi, there’s no excuse for an unfunny title:)

But that’s nagging, as this is a cute fluffy piece written by Jermaine Clement, so funny in the HBO series Flight of the Concords. My favorite line (the movie co-written by his co-star Taiki Waititi*) of the film is elicited by the Alpha male in the werewolves gang, Rhys Darby, when he chides his fellow wolves, “We’re werewolves, we’re not swearwolves!” Priceless.

After finishing a rather depressing New Yorker article about our apathy re. financial inequality “Richer and Poorer” by Jill Lepore March 16, 2015 (‘fun fact’ from the article, our f.i. is “greater than in any other developed democracy is not much disputed”(26), the only real choice these days is comedy.

As a culture, there doesn’t seem to be any personal responsibility any longer (also mentioned in Lepore’s article), hence most dramas seem absurdest to anyone with a moral high ground and common sense. Watching House of Cards seems to be simply acknowledging how dystopic our political system has become. Kevin Spacey admitted so much on Charlie Rose recently, saying that after a show had been shot and life was imitating art, that he thought for sure someone would accuse them of simply writing non-fiction.

Even Jon Stewart has given up on satire making any difference.

Life ain’t a cabaret old chum, it’s pure absurd comedy. Thank you to Clement and Waititi for allowing me to escape briefly to grab a giggle.