WOODY WEDNESDAY  Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 4

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.

YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER – Official Trailer

 

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You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger38. “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger” (2010)
Even on release, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” was largely overlooked, despite its unstoppable cast (Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts are among the actors filmed by genius cinematographer and regular collaborator Vilmos Zsigmond) and its glitzy premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. And in the years since, it’s disappeared into a black hole. The film is largely about faith, which is fitting, considering that those who love the film have to be Allen’s most uncritically adoring fans, believing against much evidence that he still has a lot to say about the human condition. For the rest of us, despite some diverting subplots and preoccupations, ‘Stranger’ feels more empty than usual, is oddly anonymous and its interwoven storylines feel far too based on happenstance and coincidence to even have the more ironic twists really bite. It’s no wonder that when asked to name as many Allen films as we can off the top of our head, we always, but always, forget about this one.

Melinda-and-Melinda-woody-allen37. “Melinda and Melinda” (2005)
In its premise, “Melinda and Melinda” is a charming doodle — the titular character (played by the perpetually underrated Radha Mitchell) goes through mirrored storylines, both romantic, with one played as comedy, while the other is a tragedy. So far, so good, right? Sadly, it’s much more tedious than it sounds, and besides some occasionally sparkly performances (Will Ferrell makes a better Allen surrogate than you’d think, as his nervous tics are blown to oversized proportions), it’s a bit of a drag. Before the second half of the movie concludes, you’ve already grown weary of its conceptual trappings, and the rest is not at all dynamic, despite supporting turns by Amanda PeetSteve Carelland, in the rare instance of a black actor in a Woody Allen movie, the wonderful Chiwetel Ejiofor. His velvety smooth performance is almost enough to save the movie from banality, but only almost. Fun fact: the Ferrell and Mitchell characters were written for Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder, both of whom were uninsurable at the time. Wonder if they’ve gotten over the disappointment?

new-york-stories-oedipus-wrecks-woody-allen36. “New York Stories” (1989) (Segment: “Oedipus Wrecks”)
A short film in the omnibus triptych “New York Stories,” which featured other segments by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, Allen scores the distinction of being the “just OK” short sandwiched between one great one (Marty’s) and one bad one (Coppola’s). Allen’s love note to his mom and being a mama’s boy, “Oedipus Rex,” is a lighthearted comedy about a mother disembodied and transported into the ether above New York City after a magic trick goes awry (check the pre-‘Curb’ Larry David-with-hair cameo). She proceeds to visibly appear as a gigantic apparition over Manhattan’s skyline announcing embarrassing facts about her son’s personal life that New Yorkers soon become accustomed to; tolerating and then even ignoring her awkward motherly gushing about her son. It’s a little bit more high-concept and surreal than is the norm from Allen (it feels very much like his short story writing), but essentially, it is much the same old gag about neurosis and self-deprecation, only here the funnybone remains largely untickled.

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