“Woody Wednesday” Allen on the meaning of life jh66

Here is a review of a Woody Allen movie followed by a great post I got from Brad Williams’ blog.

PopcornBiz

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Woody Allen, Billy Graham

The Night Woody Allen and Billy Graham Argued The Meaning of Life

It’s the kind of encounter made in TV heaven: the neurotic intellectual New York Jew and the fire-and-brimstone televangelist arguing about what it all means.

Woody Allen interviewed Billy Graham in the 1960s, where the two men discussed all manner of topics touching on religion, morality and the meaning of life. It was a respectful, intelligent and often funny conversation the likes of which would be impossible in today’s cultural climate, according to the legendary director, who recounted the meeting to the film press as he promoted his latest movie.

Allen‘s talk with Graham resonates with him today, informing in part the themes of his latest film, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.” The movie stars Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones in a story about the quest for comfort and certainty, and how faith — even an irrational one — can help us find solace.

In New York this week to discuss “Stranger,” Allen reflected on his meeting with Graham.

“Years ago I was on television with Billy Graham and I was taking this position, this bleak outlook position and Billy Graham was saying to me that even if I was right and he was wrong, and there was no meaning to life and it was a bleak experience and there was no god and no afterlife or no hope or anything, he would still have a better life than me, because he believed differently and even if he was 100 percent wrong, our lives would both be completed and I would have had a miserable life wallowing in a bleak outlook and he would have had a wonderful life, confident that there was more.”

In “Stranger” these two opposing positions are staked out by Josh Brolin as Roy, a struggling novelist, and Gemma Jones as Helena, his mother-in-law who has begun taking great comfort in her visits with a psychic.

“And so that was one of the main themes of this picture, that someone like Gemma could be deluded — as I felt Billy Graham was deluded — and she would have a better life than someone like Josh, who is more scientific minded and had a more realistic of life, but was going to have a more miserable life.”

While Allen is steadfast in his belief that people like Helena — or Billy Graham — are comforting themselves with lies, he does harbor a certain level of jealousy of the peace it affords them.

“I do feel that it’s important to have some kind of faith in something, but\ impossible for many of us. I personally don’t have any faith in anything. It’s great if you can. The only trouble is, is in Gemma’s position in the movie, she’s happy, deluded, with that character she through her lot in with at the end — they’re both crazy — but happy for the moment, because they’re going to have a rude awakening eventually, because she was not Joan of Arc, the reincarnation thing doesn’t really happen and she’s going to sooner or later, reality sets in in a crushing way. As it does and will with everybody, including Billy Graham. But it’s nice if you can delude yourself for as long as possible.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Woody Allen and the Meaning of Life

 
I have a strange sort of appreciation for Woody Allen, though I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a single one of his many films. My entire sympathy for Allen rests in the interviews and comments that I read about him from time to time. Some day, I may have a Woody Allen film fest to get to know him a little better.Today I read another interview/excerpt about Woody Allen, and it did a good job of expressing his hopeless world view. Here is a quote for you to get the feel of his philosophy, “The fact that there is no god and that we’re alone in the universe makes it more important than ever to act decently, but people don’t, very frequently.” Allen believes that there is no God at all, and yet he persistently and stubbornly insists that people ought to “act decently.” The natural response to that is, “Why, Woody, should we act decently then?” It seems that it is precisely this sort of question that has driven his most recent films.His latest film, “Cassandra’s Dream,” demonstrates Allen’s struggle with this very question. He says, “I’ve always felt that the worst kind of crimes and sometimes not the worst crimes often go unpunished. Everyday, from genocide in the political spectrum to street crime, people do terrible things and get away with it.” If there is no God, then Allen is precisely right, which again begs the question of why people ought to “act decently.” Allen has no good answer for that.Eventually, this sort of reasoning must lead one to ponder why to live at all, which is another thing that Allen ponders. What, exactly, is the point of life. Here’s Allen again, “I feel the trick is to try and find, not meaning, because there is no meaning, but to try and find some enjoyment in that context and know that it’s meaningless, short, nasty, brutal, and still, you know, find a modicum of enjoyment, get what you can get out of it, which is not a lot.” Can you see the connection between believing that there is no God to the inevitable conclusion that there is no meaning to life? Once God is erased from the equation, one is left with a meaningless existence in which the best one can hope for is to scratch a “modicum of enjoyment” out of life.

This leads to the final Allen quote in the article. His philosophy of life eventually cause people to ask him the ultimate question. Here he answers in his own words, “People say, `Well, why go on at all?’ Camus’ question, why choose life? And the only answer I can ever give to that is we seem to be hard-wired to. The brain asks the questions, but the blood says live. So if a guy comes in here with a gun, you do everything you can to get it away from him. You do whatever you can to live. You bargain, you lie, you jump on top of him.

“You’re hard-wired for self-preservation, but when you think about it cerebrally, why, to what end, what am I savoring here? And you can’t really think of a good answer, so you give up and say, `I can’t think of an answer, but my body fights to live, so I’m not going to resist that. I’m going to go along and trust the impulse toward life.”

I find Woody Allen interesting because his reasoning is sound. He is right to say that if there is no God, then art and life and love and everything here is meaningless. I like reading about him because he is clearly uncomfortable, or so it seems, with this dismal outlook. His philosophy forces him to admit that horrible crimes will ultimately go unpunished, and that truly, there is no reason to go on living because life is both meaningless and without purpose. In his films, he struggles with this Godless reality. I grieve for him and for others like him who can have no hope for any meaning beyond fleeting, worldly pleasures.

Perhaps you wonder why I find this interesting at all and not simply morbid. I find it interesting because Woody Allen displays the inherent hopelessness of a godless universe and the bleak truth that without God, there truly is no purpose in the anything. That explanation will never satisfy one made in the image of God. Fallen as we are, we still long for something more than that. I hope that Woody Allen can find mercy in Jesus Christ, in whom we find purpose and justice and meaning for life.

Related posts:

“Woody Wednesday” Will Allen and Martin follow same path as Kansas to Christ?

Several members of the 70′s band Kansas became committed Christians after they realized that the world had nothing but meaningless to offer. It seems through the writings of both Woody Allen and Chris Martin of Coldplay that they both are wrestling with the issue of death and what meaning does life bring. Kansas went through […]

Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29)

Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29) What Ever Happened to the Human Race? I recently heard this Breakpoint Commentary by Chuck Colson and it just reminded me of how prophetic Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were in the late 1970′s with their book and film series “Whatever happened to the human […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen is searching for satisfaction in wrong place jh17

Coldplay – 42 Live Coldplay perform on the french television channel W9. In 1992 Woody Allen took up with one of his adopted kids and lived in with her. He was given over to the pursuit of pleasure. Actually he has made that a major focus of his life. In the latter part of his […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen realizes if God doesn’t exist then all is meaningless (jh 15)

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5) The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy. _________________________- I want to make two points today. 1. There is no […]

“Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary (jh 14)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Adrian Rogers – Crossing God’s Deadline Part 2 Jason Tolbert provided this recent video from Mike Huckabee: John Brummett in his article “Huckabee speaks for bad guy below,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 5, 2011 had to say: Are we supposed to understand and accept that Mike Huckabee is […]

Agnostic Allen notes, “The people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t” (Woody Wednesday Part 5)

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham on Religion This article below makes we think of the lady tied to the Railroad in the Schaeffer video. Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism (Modern man sees no hope for the future and has deluded himself by appealing to nonreason to stay sane. Look at the example […]

A review of Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Wednesday Part 4)

Midnight in Paris Not Dove Family Approved Theatrical Release: 6/10/2011 Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter Source: Theater Writer: Woody Allen Producer: Letty Aronson Director: Woody Allen Genre: Comedy Runtime: 100 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kurt Fuller, Kathy Bates Synopsis: Midnight in Paris is a romantic comedy that follows a family travelling […]

Woody Allen films and the issue of guilt (Woody Wednesday Part 3)

Woody Allen and the Abandonment of Guilt Dr. Marc T. Newman : AgapePress Print In considering filmmaking as a pure visual art form, Woody Allen would have to be considered a master of the medium. From his humble beginnings as a comedy writer and filmmaker, he has emerged as a major influential force in Hollywood. […]

According to Woody Allen Life is meaningless (Woody Wednesday Part 2)

Woody Allen, the film writer, director, and actor, has consistently populated his scripts with characters who exchange dialogue concerning meaning and purpose. In Hannah and Her Sisters a character named Mickey says, “Do you realize what a thread were all hanging by? Can you understand how meaningless everything is? Everything. I gotta get some answers.”{7} […]

“Woody Wednesday” Part 1 starts today, Complete listing of all posts on the historical people mentioned in “Midnight in Paris”

I have gone to see Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris” three times and taken lots of notes during the films. I have attempted since June 12th when I first started posting to give a historical rundown on every person mentioned in the film. Below are the results of my study. I welcome any […]

 
Posted by Brad Williams at Thursday, January 17, 2008

 
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: