WOODY WEDNESDAY  Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 3

Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 1

The Best & The Rest: Every Woody Allen Film Ranked

This week, Woody Allen‘s 2016 title (for as we all know, there’s one each year), “Cafe Society,” starring Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Corey Stoll, Blake Lively and Anna Camp, opens after a warm reception as the opening film at the most recent Cannes Film Festival. You can read our take from Cannes here, or hang on to scroll through and see where it lands on the list below, but we thought this would be a good time to gussy up our previous sprawling two-part Allen retrospective, and because we’ve been a little harmonious around here of late and miss the sounds of sobbing and breaking crockery, to rank it.

READ MORE: The Best And The Rest: Every Stanley Kubrick Ranked

Weathering personal scandal and coming in and out of fashion like flares, Allen’s been at constant work as a director for five decades now, and “Cafe Society” marks his 47th theatrically-released feature. Which means we have a lot to get through, so let’s get straight to it, shall we? Here, ranked worst to best, are all of Woody Allen’s theatrical features —with any list this long, there’s bound to be massive disagreement, so remember, the comments section awaits your ire. Or your congratulations, on the slim chance you agree with all of it.

Scoop Official Trailer #1 – Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman Movie (2006) HD

 

Scoop41. “Scoop” (2006)
Coming after what many considered a late-career triumph in “Match Point,” there were those who were disheartened to see Allen return to madcap slapstick. And even those who were happy he wasn’t revisiting damp thriller territory with his next London-set, Scarlett Johansson-starring film were dismayed by “Scoop.” Involving a beleaguered junior reporter tailing a handsome potential serial killer thanks to clues from a ghost, this film is exactly as silly as that sounds, and there’s little the attractive pairing of Johansson and Hugh Jackman can do to save it. Without a clean balance between the chaotic supernatural elements of the story and the main serial killer narrative, the film feels wildly uneven in plotting as well as tone. It’s the sort of diversion that, if it had gone right, its formulaic tendencies and thin plotting would have been disguised with catchall terms like “effortless” and “breezy.” But since it doesn’t, the film feels more involuntary and rote, a supremely uninspired entry from Allen that shows all of his laziest late-period impulses.

40. “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” (1982)
You’d think a movie called “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” would not be boring. But you’d be wrong. This often agonizing grind of a film is loosely based on Ingmar Bergman’s “Smiles of a Summer Night,” but the witty reinvention impulse seems to peter out after the (admittedly kind of brilliant) title. Despite or maybe because of Allen’s reverence for Bergman, he can’t seem to make this homage catch fire —everything about it is dull, including its period setting, its straightforward philosophical discussions that border on rote dissertations and the flat cinematography. Even the talented cast (including Mary Steenburgen, Tony Roberts and Jose Ferrer among them) can’t do much to up the energy levels of this hopelessly sleepy movie. Yet the cast provides one interesting footnote when viewed in the context of Allen’s filmography and biography: this was the first movie to star his future ex-partner Mia Farrow. Of all their possible beginnings, it seems in retrospect not to have been the most auspicious imaginable.

to-rome-with-love-woody-allen-penelope-cruz39. “To Rome with Love” (2012)
There’s nothing particularly obnoxious about Allen’s de rigeur Italian stop on his tour of the major cities of Europe that brought us a run of mostly ho-hum films over the past couple of decades. But there’s nothing particularly distinguished about it either, and with a cast that includes previous Allen ringers Judy Davis and Penelope Cruz along with fresh faces Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page and Greta Gerwig and the Eternal City as a backdrop, you can’t help but feel it should be more substantial. Part of the issue is a worse-than-usual melding of the film’s four separate strands, so that jumping from one to the next feels jarring rather than fluid. But this is mostly a story about romantic inspiration and obsession that feels uninspired and oddly cool to the touch, despite the hot Latin passions that the city of Fellini and Mastroianni should surely have evoked in as dedicated a cinephile as Allen. All of his Euro films have in some ways been love letters to their settings, but it’s not really fair that Rome gets little more than this hastily scribbled postcard.

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