WOODY WEDNESDAY  Ranking Woody Allen’s 47 movies!!!! Part 5

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.

Whatever Works – Official Trailer!

whatever_works_woody-allen-larry-david35. “Whatever Works” (2009)
“Whatever Works” came out the same year as Ricky Gervais’ “The Invention of Lying,” a vanity picture some took as a latter-day incarnation of one of Allen’s high-concept comedies of the early 1970s. The film was, much like Gervais himself nowadays, a proud bore that asked you concurrently to pity it whilst taking it for the most hilarious thing ever made, evoking Allen’s legacy by stealing his favorite font (Windsor-EF Elongated, typography fans) for its opening titles. Audiences would have done better to check out Allen’s own work, which promised a return to New York after a muddled European caesura, a reworking of a lost script from the 1970s (a screenplay originally intended forZero Mostel) and one of Allen’s heirs apparent in the lead role. It doesn’t even come close to following through on that sublime set of circumstances, but “Whatever Works” is still fun for dyspeptic atheists everywhere: pitting the lacerating Larry David as a failed physicist against a world of “submentals” and “inchworms.” The Bible Belt hicks are way too broadly drawn, and a romance with Evan Rachel Wood brings in extraneous (and icky) autobiography, but “Whatever Works” is at the very least better than its reputation suggests.

 

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MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (2014) Official HD Trailer

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magic-in-the-moonlight-emma-stone34. “Magic in the Moonlight” (2014)
If not among the ranks of the very worst Allen films, then certainly one of the twee-est, this unconvincing but essentially well-meaning story sees Emma Stone and Colin Firth — both charming actors who do summon a little chemistry, though it’s far more platonic than romantic — lark about in a very poorly plotted mess of spiritualist malarkey. Wearing very pretty clothes — we’ll give it that — and decked out in appropriately lush Downton Abbey detailing, the warmed-over plot concerns a spirit medium (Stone) and the skeptic (Firth) whose determination to debunk her is complicated when he develops feelings for her. Words like “frothy” and “insubstantial” can often be turned into minor compliments, but here we mean them in the not-so-positive sense: “Magic in the Moonlight” is clearly supposed to be as feathery as gossamer and as ephemeral as moonlight, but there’s a fine line between airy effortlessness and treading water, and sadly it’s a line Allen crosses here. Still, it just about passes muster on a long-haul flight.

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