His latest movie, Whatever Works, stars Larry David (b. 1947) and Evan Rachel Wood (b. 1987). Slate says the romance between their characters is “weirdly” asexual. No, Slate, not “weirdly.” It is thankfully asexual. Thank God that age and nature have finally placed some limit to Woody Allen’s monstrous vanity.
I was going to write about Woody Allen for my Fandom Confessions contribution (the roundtable’s last entry is here). But I couldn’t. I hate him so much that my engine flooded. It’s complicated and has to do with my own life choices and so on, but he is one of the few celebrities I personally hate. It’s not the Soon-Yi business — that came well after I turned against him. More like the Soon-Yi business grew from the same traits that show up in his movies. Skill he’s got, he knows how to put together a smart-looking film, but he is so shallow and self-absorbed that he has nothing to say. Yet he keeps talking, and people think he’s serious because he takes himself seriously. People think he’s funny because he uses that damn hesitation stammer and pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. People think … well, people don’t think. The movie’s playing at a theater with a little screen, so they figure it must be art. The movie ends before they get bored, so they figure it must be good.
In reviewing J. M. DeMatteis’s long-lost Jewish vampire story (h/t Miriam), Kristy Valenti mentions “the stereotype about what is bad in some of Allen’s films — a successful neurotic with an attractive mate who is inexorably drawn to a fresh young woman who makes him feel sexy.” Her phrasing implies that nothing else is bad about Woody Allen movies. As you may have noticed, I disagree. He has no imagination, no understanding of people, no feel for how they talk and behave. He keeps doing the same tricks over and over, and he trots out his cultural enthusiasms like a kid during freshman orientation week. Wow, Satchell Paige, “The Potatohead Blues,” Dostoevsky, Fred Astaire! And what was your SAT score?
His geezer-chick leanings disgust me not because I’m against matchups of that kind — like most geezers, I find much to recommend them — but because his geezers are so condescending toward their girls and because Allen doesn’t realize the matchups are unlikely. Sure, a young, beautiful girl wants to spend her time with a whiney fart whose neck is falling down, especially if the fart is not a millionaire or a brand-name film director. Allen thinks his stand-ins are entitled, and he thinks the girls are prizes to be awarded. The bigger the age difference, the more shocking the implied vanity. Now we have reached a difference of 40 years, and at least the old guy will keep his hands off the girl. But she still has to listen to him.