Don't Let 'Em Take Away the Laughter!

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In Salon (free ad serve required), Stephanie Zacharek writhes in pain while watching the long, slow, torturous decline and fall of Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Woody Allen, and other no-longer-funnymen. Highlights include a bullseye on Brooks' Looking For Comedy In the Muslim World:

The movie casts wide, safe, cushy loops around any potentially touchy subject, like, say, religion. The whole enterprise feels particularly lame in light of the recent furor over those Danish cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Forget mild jokes about Gandhi; now we really know what Muslims don't find funny. What's the point of tackling a subject like this one if you're not going to risk getting the studio burned down?

I apologize for once hoping Looking For Comedy might be funny, and for still hoping even as the thunderclouds of unfunniness gathered. At the time, commenter Alan Vanneman (whose excellent movie reviews you can read here) upbraided me as a rank sentimentalist: "If you're expecting Albert Brooks to make a funny film, you must also be looking forward to Mary Tyler Moore's new sitcom. Talk about lost causes!" Too true, Alan.

Joe Dante's woefully underrated Looney Tunes: Back In Action briefly raised hopes of a Steve Martin return to form.

Nick Gillespie gave Martin a Bronx cheer to go with this Kennedy Center No-Longer-Funny Award.

NEXT: Intoonfada: A Government Blinks

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  1. I saw a trailer for the Pink Panther film starring Steve Martin. I wanted to walk out on the trailer; I can only imagine how bad the film is.

  2. Contrarian thesis:

    Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Albert Brooks were never very funny, and you’re now just getting old enough for their work to no longer inspire automatic nostalgia and bypass your critical perception.

    In twenty years you will recognize the same thing about Jerry Seinfeld.

  3. i continue to feel that much could be accomplished if steve martin would fire his agent and hire whoever is working for bill murray.

  4. Many moviegoers and critics often speak fondly of Allen’s comedies, as if they were cute little doodles he drew in the margins of his notebooks at school, but reserve their biggest pots of incense for his dramas — “serious” pictures like the ponderous “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and that baffling critics’ darling “Match Point.”

    He speaks of “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point” as if they were two different movies, and I suppose they are–they’re just shot from the same screenplay. …with “Match Point” not having the benefit of, perhaps, Martin Landau’s greatest performance. …or any hint of Allen’s humor–of which there was plenty in “Crimes and Misdemeanors”.

    Why remake an inferior version of an earlier masterpiece? …It’s an age old question, I know, but shouldn’t there be an age old answer?

    Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Albert Brooks were never very funny, and you’re now just getting old enough for their work to no longer inspire automatic nostalgia and bypass your critical perception.

    …to the point. If contrarian doesn’t think Randall, Wilder and the guy that likes to dress up in women’s clothes is funny in “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex”, if contrarian doesn’t think Cosell is funny at the end of “Bananas”, if contrarian doesn’t think “Annie Hall” or “Radio Days” was funny, then contrarian doesn’t know funny.

    P.S. What of “Zelig” contrarian? Are you gonna tell me that’s not funny?!

  5. I would say to contrarian, “If it bends, it’s funny; if it breaks, it’s not funny.”

  6. If Woody Allen was never funny; I was never funny.

    and I’m funny, okay?

  7. From Zacharak’s essay –

    “As much as we all claim to enjoy comedies, we’re often unwilling to take a comic actor seriously until he or she tackles “serious” work, an expectation that comics themselves are only too keenly aware of.”

    Translation – Woody Allen’s early works were a hoot except he got all “serious” & shit.
    If only we could hold critic’s to a quota of cliche’s – do you have a license for the monkey, Stephanie ?

  8. “Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Albert Brooks were never very funny,”

    I’ve never liked Woody Allen, and Albert Brooks most memorable performance in my mind is the one he did on Season 1 of the The Simpsons, as the bowler who tries to woo Marge.

    Steve Martin, on the other hand, has done some really funny things.

    Anyone who doesn’t think that Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels isn’t funny just doesn’t have a sense of humor.

  9. SM, she makes that quote, and she talks about Woody Allen, but she’s not talking about Woody Allen in that quote.

    Zacharak is a daring and perceptive columnist, one of the two truly worthwhile on Salon (the other shoe-in of course being Heather Havrilesky).

  10. I saw the trailer for the movie ‘looking for comedy in the Muslim World’.

    Many, if not most of the characters in the trailer are clearly Indian Hindus to anyone who is mildly aware of the nuance. I guess the producers of the movie are playing on cultural ignorance, and of course India is a secular democracy. Anyway, on the strength of the trailer, the film struck me as trite.

    As far as the premise in the title goes, you’d be better off looking for a virgin in a brothel!

    Mind you talking of Comedy in the Islamic world, they do seem masters of irony.

    Oh and this is mildly amusing

  11. Sandy

    Before Allen started making movies, he was really funny. You need to find some of his old comedy albums (I don’t know if they’re on tape or CD now) and listen to them. His stand up work was outstanding, and it did not consist of any dirty language at all. His work was in the tradition of Cosby’s early work, actual material, ie. stories, routines, etc. Wonderful classic stuff. I wish he had never gone into movies.

  12. It is, I would think, a basic principle of libertarianism that people should be free to decide what is funny for themselves. The aesthetics of comedy (like all normative theory) is not grounded in any external, objective essential property common to all instances of that which we find funny, a shorter version of which is to each his own.

    That said, I think Allen was indeed a brilliant stand-up comic, that his early movies were also very funny and that wealth and fame dulled his wit and made the bulk of his later work self indulgent and tedious. Brooks has long ‘enjoyed’ a reputation for industry insider humor that, by definition, precludes broad appeal. Martin has simply been around so long he couldn’t help but be funny occasionally, but I have never understood how anyone could consider him one of the best comics of his generation.

    The problem with film comedies, however, is more a problem of the economics of the film industry. Major studios are more ruthlessly focused on the star driven blockbuster, viewer demographics, risk aversion and marketing tie-ins than ever, and so we get the likes of The Pink Panther. (Can a remake of A Night At The Opera be far behind?) By contrast, among the indies there are bound to be more flops (Looking For Comedy) punctuated by the occasional jem (The Aristocrats).

    Most comics don’t age well and even fewer can be or even want to be as funny in the movies as they could in their earlier stage careers. At best, they lose their edge (Eddie Murphy), they transition into drama (Robin Williams). At worst, they take the Hollywood money for the absolutely crappiest of projects (Richard Pryor).

    That’s show business.

  13. Mediageek: Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels is a classic. Both Steve Martin and Michael Cain are purely hilarious. “Ruprect, don’t take the cork off the fork.”

    As for Steve Martin, I’ve no idea what happened, seems like the same sort of decline that’s faced Dan Akroyd. And why remake A Shot In The Dark? Steve Martin was once a very funny guy, but Peter Sellers he ain’t.

  14. Belle: If the movie mags are to be believed, Bill Murray decided a while ago to replace his agent with an answering machine.

    Mind you, I’m not saying Steve Martin shouldn’t do the same.

  15. Comedy evolves so quickly and most comedians cannot evolve with it and so their bits seem stale. The arrow through the head that was revolutionary in the seventies seems tired in the new century.

    The one exception seems to be slapstick comedy. The Three Stooges are timeless.

  16. A remake of The Pink Panther is sad and tragic on many levels. Let us pray this is the absolute low point of Hollywood film making, from which it will either whither and blow away, or rise phoenix like totally transformed.

    What is up with the endless bad remakes (and bad movie interpretations of old TV shows)? Hollywood use to remake the last big hit over and over till it was milked dry. But I can’t understand why they are reusing the same formula to make a series of bombs. The Longest Yard must have cleaned up in Asian rentals. What will the ruin next? My guess, “The Love Boat” with Paris Hilton as Julie.

  17. Just wait, a Stooges remake has to be just around the corner, probably with Adam Sandler. No violence or racial humor, though. And lose the eye-poke, the studio attorneys didn’t want the liability. Moe has to get a different haircut, the bowl-over-the-head look didn’t test well with 18-23 year olds. And can’t one of them be a woman?

  18. It could be worse. If that Three Stooges remake had been ten years earlier, it would have starred Paulie Shore.

  19. why are they having academy awards this year if all hollywood did was produce remakes that were worse than the originals.

  20. “In twenty years you will recognize the same thing about Jerry Seinfeld.”

    I was never amused, even slightly, by Seinfeld’s stand-up. But the show was often hilarious.

  21. In fact, with unemployment running at about 30
    percent, capitalism wasn?t working in 1933.

    Alan Vanneman

  22. Allen’s stand-up is considered by many of the best in the business as unsurpassed. His short stories are often amazing. His comedies, up until he signed with Dreamworks in 2000, were consistently and amazingly funny. His work is so admired that the most talented people in the business clamor to star in even his lesser films (okay, the stinkers).

    To say that he’s never been funny is a kind of self-absorbed way of saying that he’s never made you laugh. There’s nothing wrong with not liking Woody Allen, you just can’t pretend to know something that millions of people all over the world have overlooked for thirty five years. Another way of looking at it for me is: if Sid Caesar (the Orson Welles of sketch comedy, of live television) hired you, you’re fucking funny.

    I look at Brooks, Allen, and Martin the way I look at the recent comedic attempts of the Pythons. It doesn’t make me laugh, but since they’ve accomplished more in the field of comedy than most can hope to accomplish in any artistic field, I just shrug my shoulders and think they’ve earned the right to make whatever they want, whether people find it entertaining or not.

    But that’s just me.

  23. I’ll add that I feel the same way about Carl Reiner (who was bashed by one of the contributers here recently). The guy who worked miracles with Sid Caesar, created and wrote The Dick Van Dyke show, and who in his sixties co-wrote and directed “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” and “The Man with Two Brains” is a comedy hero and who gives a fuck what he’s done since then? Don’t let his son’s misguided political adventures sour you on his undeniable genius.

    Again, just me.

  24. For those dreading a Marx Brothers remake, I must point out Brain Donors, which is actually not bad at all (rather underrated, if you ask me). It’s not really a remake, more an homage/pastiche, with John Turturro in the Groucho role and Nancy Marchand as Margaret Dumont. The Chico-analog’s accent is British instead of Italian, and the Harpo doppelganger speaks, but otherwise the movie is essentially “A Night at the Ballet”.

  25. What of “Zelig” contrarian? Are you gonna tell me that’s not funny?!

    The scene where he’s smiling and waving behind a ranting Hitler shall never be surpassed. (Hoping I’m wrong)

  26. I can’t believe that Carl Reiner was mentioned & the thread is about Martin, and The Jerk hasn’t been established for all to read as the most hilarious thing ever. This thread could be filled with unforgettable lines from that movie.

    If I was on a desert island, all I’d need is H&R, a fishing pole, and a copy of the Jerk. And that’s all I’d need….and this lamp. That’s all I’D need…..and this thermos. And that’s ALL I’d need….

  27. Just wait, a Stooges remake has to be just around the corner…and can’t one of them be a woman?

    Yeah…knowing how things work in Hollyweird, they’ll cast Julia Roberts as Shemp. Problem: Julia Roberts ain’t funny. Well OK, there was the death scene in Steel Magnolias

  28. Kebko, an unfortunate oversight on my part. I must see that one again soon.

  29. I won’t defend Martin’s recent movies, but Picasso at the Lapin Agile is hilarious. I particularly loved this bit:

    Einstein: And how will you change the century?

    Schmendiman: With my invention.

    Picasso: What is your invention?

    Schmendiman: It’s an inflexible and very brittle building material.

    Einstein: Oh? What’s it made from?

    Schmendiman: And I’ll tell you what it’s made from: equal parts of asbestos, kitten paws, and radium. The only problem is that building considerations only allow it to be used in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the island of Krakatoa, east of Java. But still! That’s a big market! So everyone, have a drink!….

  30. I can’t believe that Carl Reiner was mentioned & the thread is about Martin, and The Jerk hasn’t been established for all to read as the most hilarious thing ever.

    It doesn’t stand the test of time.

    Steve Martin was funny, but his best humor–silly as it was–was probably dated. He was at his most funny when he was doin’ it live. …Go listen to his albums, cat handcuffs just ain’t so funny anymore. What he did on SNL was hilarious way back when–but I’ve rewatched it, and it just doesn’t stand up. …and “The Jerk” isn’t the funniest thing ever–and it isn’t even close to being the funniest film ever. …I don’t get more than a chuckle out of it anymore. …funniest ever? It’d be lucky to make the top ten.

    …funnier than “Blazing Saddles”? Funnier than the rabbit scene in “The Holy Grail”? Funnier than “The Meaning of Life” (“I can wear a rubber thingy on the end of my dingy if I want to–that’s what Protestantism is all about!”), “Evil Dead II”, “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie”, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex”? …Funnier than “The Princess Bride”? …Funnier than “Airplane”? …Funnier than “Young Frankenstein”?

    In that lineup, measured by the intensity as well as the number of audible laughs, “The Jerk” would come in tenth!

    It is, I would think, a basic principle of libertarianism that people should be free to decide what is funny for themselves.

    That’s where you’re wrong–either you agree with me about what’s funny or you’re not a real libertarian.

  31. I was born a poor black child.

  32. I was born a poor black child.

  33. Sheesh, the culture has been in steady decline since We Were Young (choose your decade). Last year’s Milton Berle was yesterday’s Adam Sandler was today’s (insert Comic-of-the-Hour here). What’s Funny is what makes us laugh for a minute until we forget all about it and go to work and pay our bills and search for something else that is funny before we collapse in our beds and start it up all over again the next day.

  34. Sorry Ken, but kgsam just blew your whole thesis away.

  35. His comedies, up until he signed with Dreamworks in 2000, were consistently and amazingly funny.

    Someday I’m going to write a long rant against the practice of putting the divide in Allen’s career right there. To my taste, Sweet and Lowdown and Small Time Crooks are both at about the same artistic level: amusing but minor entries in the Allen filmography, fun if you like his stuff but hardly his best work. (That’s my view of most of his Dreamworks comedies, at least before Hollywood Ending, the first movie he directed that actually feels incompetent.)

    When Small Time Crooks came out, interestingly, it was widely praised as a return to form; now it’s cited as the beginning of the end. I ascribe the former view to Dreamworks propaganda, the latter to indie snobbery.

    The real division (with “real” defined as “reflecting my opinion”) is between Deconstructing Harry, his last great movie, and everything that came afterwards. Though he’s been through slumps before, and the engaging though overrated Match Point suggests that he might be climbing out of one now.

  36. Sheesh, the culture has been in steady decline since We Were Young (choose your decade).

    I’m talkin’ about audiences of today. …There have been a few movies I’ve seen people laugh out loud at over the past ten years or so–“Something about Mary” comes to mind. …but even they didn’t garner the reaction from audiences the list of films I gave above did. Can you imagine people talking about “Something about Mary” thirty years from now? …as having been so hilarious?

    There were times when they made better musicals. I think they made better comedies in the ’70s; I think they made better westerns in the ’60s; I think they made better horror films in the ’80s, etc. …but I don’t think that’s a function of generational sensibilities. I think audiences of today would laugh more often and harder at the films I listed above than at any group of films made since ’90 or so.

    I appreciate the idea that we’re all plugged into the ideas of what’s funny at the time we first plug into the culture, but I also think that some people are funnier than others and that there was a period of time there when some really funny people were makin’ the movies. …and, for the most part, I think that time has passed.

    …and if you disagree, then you’re not a real libertarian.

  37. Sorry Ken, but kgsam just blew your whole thesis away.

    Like I said, Shep, the funny meter dropped like a rock from that moment on. …and that line was in the first scene of the movie.

  38. …and the engaging though overrated Match Point suggests that he might be climbing out of one now.

    Once again, “Match Point” is a remake of his own work. He mailed it in. It was a remake of inferior quality to the original, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”. …and that doesn’t auger well.

  39. Even if that were the only laugh-out-loud funny line in the entire movie, that’d still place it ahead of “The Princess Bride,” which is more cute than funny, or “The Holy Grail,” which isn’t even the best Monty Python movie. Admit it, “The Jerk” is a good movie. It loses humor on repeat viewings, but I can’t think of a single movie that doesn’t.

  40. Jesse, good points. I look at Dreamworks as the dividing line because the movies he made for them feel absolutely forced. Even his pre-Dreamworks movies that weren’t my cup of tea were still examples of Woody doing what came naturally to Woody at that moment. I have a suspicion that his deal with Dreamworks came with the stipulation that he make movies like his “older, funny ones,” and with that came the forced feeling.

    But I’m in complete agreement with you about “Deconstructing Harry” being a great movie. And I saw “Bullets Over Broadway” again recently and was completely blown away by the pure craft evident in every aspect of that film.

  41. I have a suspicion that his deal with Dreamworks came with the stipulation that he make movies like his “older, funny ones,” and with that came the forced feeling.

    I’m not sure if I agree about that — they’re more plotted and much less anarchic than his early movies. I do strongly suspect, though, that Dreamworks has pressured him about casting.

  42. Right, maybe not “older,” but I think they said, “‘More Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy’, less ‘Another Woman'” or something to that effect (“We want laughs, Allen, and plenty of ’em!”). And any kind of outside influence on the type of movies he was going to make threw him completely off his game.

    I’ll be publishing my findings in Nature.

  43. The movies have been going downhill since they introduced sound. Fortunately, I believe it’s only a passing fad. People will get tired of it soon enough. “Talkies” my ass.

  44. “If the movie mags are to be believed, Bill Murray decided a while ago to replace his agent with an answering machine.”

    My understanding is that he’s far more into golf and running a restaurant with his brothers than being an entertainer.

    Also, if replacing his agent with an answering machine happened before his appearance in Coffee and Cigarettes I’d have to say that it was a good move on his part.

  45. Aw, what can you do. It’s hard to keep the quality going. Look at the career of George Segal, for instance — a career full of decent performances, than all of a sudden at some point the bottom fell out and he’s doing stuff like Just Shoot Me.

    I guess everyone can’t be Buster Keaton.

  46. Ha-ha, made you froth.

    I dunno if that was aimed at me, Sandy, but I froth at the mouth for fun.

    …I know it doesn’t translate well in this format–it’s hard to tell the nuts that are real serious about such things from someone, like me, who’s just havin’ some fun. When I read my first comment up yonder, the tone to my ear is like Woody Allen goin’ off in line at the movies but with a little more Pat Cooper thrown in for fun. ; )

  47. Sheesh, the culture has been in steady decline since We Were Young (choose your decade).

    Sarcasm taken, but Zacharek’s argument, which seems pretty convincing, isn’t that these guys aren’t funny anymore, just that their movies aren’t funny. She cites a Woody Allen routine at the Oscars in 2002 (which I actually don’t remember), and a Steve Martin standup routine that is from… well… um… the early nineties… but that’s still relatively recently in a career as long as Steve Martin’s! The point isn’t really “where has all the laughter gone” so much as “why are they making such crappy creative decisions?”

    I would vouch on the basis of anything up through Small-Time Crooks (which I think is the last Woody Allen movie I’ve actually seen) that the Woodman is still a master at jokes and one-liners. He’s just not making very good movies. I’ve heard the Woody-Allen-return-to-form claim one too many times to part with a tenspot for his latest joint. As Jesse suggests, it’s usually just a few years before the “return to form” gets recategorized as the “beginning of the end.”

    Schultz is right though: Crimes and Misdemeanors was a masterpiece. I don’t know why Zacharek is so hard on it. I don’t even know why she writes it off as a serious film, when it contains not only Alan Alda’s funniest performance but the greatest suicide note in film: “I went out the window.”

    If you want my opinion, the breakup with Mia took the wind out of Woody’s sails. Is there a Mia-centric school of Allen criticism? Because if there is I belong to it. His run with Mia produced a group of movies anybody would be proud to claim.

  48. If you want my opinion, the breakup with Mia took the wind out of Woody’s sails./i>

    I’m skeptical of this. He certainly stopped making great movies as consistently. But he did make “Shadows and Fog,” “September,” and “Another Woman,” with Mia, and I certainly don’t think “Celebrity” or “Sweet and Lowdown” were less impressive than those. Also, he didn’t start making outright stinkers until seven years after Mia, when he appears to be at his “happiest.” I suspect the changes in the various qualities of Allen’s films are much more complex (much more) than merely Mia.

  49. I’ve been disappointed by Steve Martin lately too, but I saw The Pink Panther today, and I practiclly didn’t stop laughing. Ok, the previews looked stupid, and the movie is stupid in many ways, but it’s that clever kind of stupid that was always the mark of Martin at his best. I highly recommend that you check it out.

  50. I don’t know, Les. I just took a look back over Woody’s filmography, and over a single five-year period I see A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Radio Days. All with Mia, and not a dud in the bunch. Show me where he’s had a run like that since (or before). And there were several great Mia pictures after this group too, though not a consecutive run of successes like this. Then again, maybe that’s just evidence of when Woody’s creative peak happened to occur.

    And I thought Shadows and Fog was better than its reputation. Did I mention that you say potato I say potahto?

  51. “The Jerk” is a good movie. It loses humor on repeat viewings, but I can’t think of a single movie that doesn’t.

    “Blazing Saddles” comes to mind. Mel Brooks’ greatest comedy still makes me laugh out loud thirty years after the fact. It’s that rare effort in which everything works, and the outrageous, politically uncorrect script seems after all this time to have come from a different planet.

  52. I am a complete mark for Woody Allen. Any man who can work Marshall McLuhan, Crime and Punishment, and Commentary magazine into his films (and these are comedies!) shows a healthy respect for the intelligence of his audience (though this is certainly why he is not so popular). This guy is our Fellini, our generations Orson Welles. He’s a towering filmaker. A real genuis.
    His masterpeices: Annie Hall (a film that uses monologues directed at the camera, flashbacks, animation and more all seamlessly), Manhattan (can anyone top the intro scenes of NYC set to Gershwin?), Crimes and Misdemeanors (containing he brilliant performance of Landau, the “blind God’ who cannot see the immorality in the world, and the ‘documentary’ with Mussolini and Alan Alda), Deconstructing Harry (the most brutally honest and sincere movie I have ever seen) and now Match Point, an intelligent and near flawlessly executed film noir…Even a small effort like Mighty Aphrodite has the spot-on acting of Sorvino as the pron star and the ingenious use of the Greek Chorus as a comedic device). His worst efforts are better than 95% of the crap we get today. Woody has decent philosophical ideas in his flicks for libertarians: the absence of moral absolutes calling for us to make our own morality, the personal being more important than the political, and the celebration of artistic effort. As for Martin he’s a moderately good actor (remember Woody writes and directs as well as stars in most of his films) and Brooks is and always was an overrated fellow.

  53. His worst efforts are better than 95% of the crap we get today.

    I’d concede that even though “Match Point” is, essentially, a remake of the superior “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, it’s still better than most of the films I saw over the last year. …but then I don’t think that was a very good year for film.

  54. Tim, I agree about Shadows and Fog, but let’s call the whole thing off!

  55. I’ve never thought Woody Allen was truly funny. I find most of his stuff too painful to laugh at (whatever that says about me).

    Ken Shultz is so wrong and so right. I’m a bit stunned when he claims that The Jerk is unfunny and then lists the films he thinks are. IMO The Jerk would come in about fifth on his list. I am also a member of the Steve Martin was at his peak doing stand-up and hosting SNL. Re-listening to the albums and watching SNL reruns only strengthens my belief here. Sure cat hand-cuffs is funniest the first time you heard it because it puts a picture in your mind that you never had before, so yeah it looses something in the retelling. Even so, the timing and delivery keep it funny. I can’t help but smile. Being dated doesn’t necessarily diminish funny either. I’m a fan of Tom Lehrer, whose work is not only dated, but also before my time.

    I do agree that what passes for funny today is pathetic. Indeed it may very well be the lack of crafted wit that makes the rediscovering it in the old stuff so delightfully surprising. Ben, Adam and the rest are just stupid to me, not worth laughing at.

    Blazing Saddles has achieved the unthinkable of being even funnier than when it was made. At the time, it mined new territory. Today’s offerings of race-based humor are paradoxically ultra-vulgar and politically correct. The smart penetrating humor that couldn’t be done today of Saddles, gives it added hilarity by comparison. (And is testament to the genius of Brooks)

  56. Ken S.
    I think calling Match point essentially a remake of Crimes and Misdemeanors is like saying Brothers Karamazov is essentially a remake of Crime and Punishment, since they are both about murders. The passion of the young, The allure of the rich, the striving of some in the lower class to get there, the lack of comedy, and the importance of coincidence are all points Match Point deals with that Crimes and Misdemeanors does not. Not that I am knocking C & M, it is the better film, but Match Point is a master work in its own right. You are dead right about it being a weak year however; I saw Good Night and Good Luck today and found it to be average at best, heavy handed in its preachiness and nearly unbearably slow in execution.

  57. Martin’s ‘Bowfinger’ (which was vastly underrated) was the last time I really enjoyed a Steve Martin film. And as a fan of the original Pink Panther series – especially Return, Revenge, and Strikes Back – it is franchise that should’ve been left as is. Sellers could not be replaced as Chief Inspector Jaques Clouseau.

  58. you guys need to get a life. go outside, forget who woody allen is for at least a few hours, and throw the fucking internet out the window when you get back. Do yourselves a favor, please. I’m sure, most of you are turned off by this entry, but just think about it…should you be?
    I’ve spent a good deal of time on the internet myself. I’m sure that I’m the biggest hypocrite of the bunch. But you know what, at least I recognize that the conversation that has occurred in the above comments is completely inane. To summarize…well I like Steve Martin because I like Steve Martin… well you’re wrong because Woody Allen is funnier…well we’re all wrong but… I like Woody Allen because …. please. cut the fucking cord of bullshit

    You’re expressing yourselves to a void, and an (possibly amusing) echo is coming back to you…saying….????

  59. Jeez, Woody, that’s what we crackpots do.

  60. There are those who waste time on the Internet, and those who go around putting posts on the Internet telling people they are wasting time on the Internet.

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