A director is forced to work with his ex-wife, who left him for the boss of the studio bankrolling his new film. But the night before the first day of shooting, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Jerry Falk and David Dobel, who meet at a business meeting, become fast friends. Their commonality is that they are both fledgling New York based comedy writers, largely writing material for stand-ups, are Jewish (although David is an atheist), and are each of bundle of different neuroses. Their big difference is that Jerry is twenty-one, while David is sixty, with forty more years worth of life experience, knowledge and neuroses. While Jerry writes full time - he also working on a novel - David has kept his day job as a public school teacher just in case. In their relationship, David becomes somewhat of Jerry's mentor, providing advice on Jerry's life issues, most which revolve around the fact that Jerry is a product of inertia, he having trouble leaving anyone. That's why Jerry's still with the one and only manager he's ever had, Harvey Wexler. Jerry not only being Harvey's only client (which is a testament to his effectiveness in the job), Harvey also has a 25% take as stipulated ...Written by
Opened the 60th Venice Film Festival. Woody Allen made one of his rare public appearances at the opening gala. See more »
When Falk types on his laptop computer, the number of (enlarged) typed lines alternates between five in close-up to just three at a distance. See more »
You know, there's great wisdom in jokes, Falk, really. There's an old joke about a prizefighter who's in the ring, and he's getting killed, he's getting his brains beat out; and his mother's in the audience, and she's watching him getting beaten up in the ring, and there's a priest next to her, and she says 'Father, father, pray for him, pray for him!' The priest says 'I will pray for him, but if he could punch it would help!' There's more insight in that joke, into what I call the...
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I saw Anything Else more out of obligation than `anything else' - as a devoted Woody Allen fan - and truthfully wasn't expecting too much. But I was pleasantly floored: this is probably Allen's best movie since 1988's Crimes and Misdemeanors (though the tone is rather different), and a strong throwback to the kind of film that Allen does best - the vaguely bittersweet, wistful, oddly hopeful, gorgeously shot dramatic comedy a la Annie Hall and (arguably Allen's very best film) Manhattan. Allen has been, of course, one of America's leading cinematic talents for the past several decades - perhaps America's only legitimate auteur - but he remains either an `acquired taste' (though I know many people who simply cannot acquire it) or simply a marginalized figure for mass audiences (despite taking three Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture in 1977 for Annie Hall). Given this, Anything Else isn't be for everyone - there are no explosions, no martial arts showdowns, no superfluous breast-barings, no scenes of bestiality or pastry-loving. Perhaps not so strangely, in fact, the studio virtually hid Allen's roles in the film from audiences in previews, so that when it hit theaters and I suggested to friends that we go see `the new Woody Allen' movie, they knew nothing about it - though they had heard of the new Jason Biggs/Christina Ricci movie.. But for those who appreciate Woody Allen and intelligent, even thought-provoking comedy, Anything Else is a gem. The classic Woody Allen staples are, of course, present: the neurotic, troubled protagonist, the fickle and maddening girlfriend, New York.. In fact, many of the lines are, if not exactly self-plagiarized, very, very familiar to Allen fans. Yet somehow, Allen - without resorting to gimmicks -brings to the same tried-and-true material a freshness that has been lacking. The dialogue is still snappy and incredulously witty, the acting is still anchored in `what, me?' gestures and stuttering monologues, the cinematography is still lush and beautiful, the music is still old (but then these are the things we love, aren't they?) - but there are some new twists on some old themes. Allen's character, for instance, is almost a revelation - though obsessed with the anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, as all good `Woody characters' are, he departs from the typical `Woody' persona in some striking ways - his disdain for psychoanalysis, coming not from over-familiarity but from conviction; his ability to drive a car and to drive it well enough that at no point is driving a joke in the film; his desire to leave New York (!).. Some have seen in Anything Else a symbolic `passing of the torch' from Allen to Biggs, whose character is much more the traditional `Woody' type than Allen's own here - but these are the same people who see such gestures everywhere. There certainly was no torch passed to Kenneth Branagh, who played the `Woody' character in Celebrity and who nailed the mannerisms but not the manner. The truth is that nobody can take Allen's place, and this film only proves it. Aside from demonstrating that he's still `got it,' it also reminds me how sorely missed he will one day be - but not for a while yet. Meanwhile, I have more excitement than usual at the prospect of a new Woody Allen film, coming soon..
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