Friday, October 14, 2005

'If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up'



Woody Allen's movies are medicine for me. I pop them as an addict would his pills. When I have a specific ailment, I prescribe myself a specific dosage of the Woodman. Wednesday night was a Hannah & Her Sisters night. I don't know why, but I know I needed it. The header on this entry is a line delivered with perfect caustic accuracy by Max von Sydow. I don't know whether it's the line itself, or the fact that the Swedish mandarin delivers it, but I always have to pause the movie to get the laughing out of the way.

Clichéd as it may be, I've always maintained Allen's best is Annie Hall. There's a reason it's worshipped by the culture. But Hannah nearly overtakes it every time I watch. It's an episodic Chekhovian amble through the love lives of a dozen or so Manhattanites. I revel in Michael Caine's sublime performance as Elliot, Hannah's scattered husband who can't squelch his infatuation with his wife's sister, Lee (Barbara Hershey, disarming and wonderful before she was swallowed by Beaches). The awkward/loving scenes between Caine and Hershey are -- all I can do is resort to adjectives, which are boring.

Watch the movie instead, and let Caine take you there. "I have my answer! I have my answer!" he says breathlessly to himself after Lee doesn't deny that she shares his feelings. "I'm walking on air!" Ah, so are we!

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