LAMBcast #94: Woody Allen

by Shep. Burman · November 29, 2011 · Director's Chair, LAMBcast, Podcasts · 6 Comments

Just in time for tomorrow’s latest addition to the LAMBs in the Director’s Chair series, the LAMBcast tackles the career of Woody Allen. Dylan, Sam, Dan Heaton, Alex and newcomer Danny Reid dug deep and attempted to rattle around the brain of the neurotic writer-director-actor-institution. We talked up and down the guy so much that we skipped out on the usual format and ditched Rants and Raves of the Week, though of course we saved some time for a couple games of Last LAMB Standing.

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6 Responses to LAMBcast #94: Woody Allen

  1. JoelB says:

    Fantastic show guys! Probably the best and most informative single episode I have listened to on the Lambcast.

    I think it should be more director themed episodes.

  2. Dylan says:

    Wow – high praise, Joel. Thanks!

    I can certainly see trying to have a LAMBcast that coincides with the Director’s Chair each time. We’ve already planned to for the next one (John Landis).

  3. Alex Withrow says:

    I had so much fun doing this. Thanks for including me!

  4. Jandy Stone says:

    I concur with Joel, this was a great episode. Having such a range of people with different experiences with Allen was really cool, too – I mean, a few people who’d seen everything, a few who’d seen half, etc. I’ve only seen about half myself, with a gap in the ’80s like a lot of people. And the ’90s, but that’s because most of those movies sound pretty crappy to me.

    A few thoughts – someone asked if Jackman was doing Allen in Scoop. Allen’s in that one, yeah, but I think Johansson is trying to channel him as well, albeit much less successfully than she did in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

    As far as getting people into Allen, it’s not just that they’ve tried his films and don’t like persona, a lot of times it’s that they have a preconceived idea of his persona without even having seen any of his films. That’s even harder to contend with sometimes. And it doesn’t help that most people of our generation grew up with the late ’90s, early ’00s run that wasn’t very good. He’s well-known enough that he has kind of a cultural osmosis thing going on with a lot of people who haven’t seen his films, except it’s not wholly accurate.

    Isn’t Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy supposed to be an homage to Smiles of a Summer Night? Or am I making that up? I was curious to see it just because of that – Smiles is one of my favorite Bergman films (yeah, I’m a Bergman lightweight, whatever).

    I really enjoyed all the comments you guys had on his way of working, based off the quotes and everything. That brought a lot of depth and interest to the subject that a simple film-by-film analysis might not have.

    Oh, and the Bergman-Astaire vs. Malick-Bay question? Is ridiculous. :p Which I guess you guys kind of know. Astaire made escapist movies, but they were GOOD.

    I think I could’ve won both Last Lamb Standing rounds this week. 🙂 I better see about getting on the show before all the good people have already been used.

  5. Dylan says:

    Jandy – thanks so much!

    Wanted to respond to that part about Malick-Bay (or whatever). It is ridiculous, but I really do think there’s something to it. I mean, the sheer volume alone says something about the value of films by Bay (or Ratner or whoever). They might be shit, but on some level aren’t they more important culturally than Malick’s worth, simply by having an impact on a vastly higher number of people? The impact might not be as deep per person, or as lasting, but there’s something there that’s hitting people hard enough to make them want to come back for more….or maybe they’re all just idiots. 😉

    But seriously, I don’t think it’s an argument that can be dismissed easily. As Joel knows, we’ll probably have an episode dedicated to a discussion on the topic at some point in the near future.

  6. Jandy Stone says:

    I guess I’d agree that it deserves a little more discussion than it got on the podcast. At least in concept, the question of deep thinking films vs escapism (dare we say high art vs low art) will always be relevant. I just wonder if Bay’s the best example to take Astaire’s place. I suppose arguing on a purely populist and box office basis, maybe, but I feel like choosing someone who’s both escapist and critically lauded would make a better comparison. Like a Spielberg, if you ignore Spielberg’s heavier films. Or maybe Cameron, who makes popcorn films that are also good. Or how about Apatow? I’m not a big Apatow fan myself, but I’m a minority, and his films are popular among both mainstream moviegoers and movie buffs/critics. Seems to me that’s where Astaire would be, in terms of providing quality escapist entertainment that could be taken seriously as an alternative to something philosophically heavy like Bergman or Malick.

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