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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
Huh, I thought I had accidentally clicked to IMDb there for a second. Rank rank rank, rate my rankings, rank my ratings, rate your ranked ratings and rank the rated rankings!


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:57 am 
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I dunno, if each of those rankings came with even a single sentence blurb justifying that opinion I'd probably think it was reasonably valuable.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:02 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
I dunno, if each of those rankings came with even a single sentence blurb justifying that opinion I'd probably think it was reasonably valuable.

They ranked Sweet and Lowdown a full letter grade and thirteen spots below Hollywood Ending. It is not valuable in the slightest


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:44 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote:
I dunno, if each of those rankings came with even a single sentence blurb justifying that opinion I'd probably think it was reasonably valuable.

They ranked Sweet and Lowdown a full letter grade and thirteen spots below Hollywood Ending. It is not valuable in the slightest
Is there such a thing as objective value? I did say my list was unashamedly subjective.

Maybe I'll do the blurb thing. [groans from the audience] (I've got full mini-reviews for each but I'll spare you that! :lol:)


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:46 pm 

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Rayon Vert wrote:
Maybe I'll do the blurb thing.

Please do! We are all waiting around eagerly anticipating this.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:48 pm 
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Don't joke. Based on his rankings, he doesn't understand humor


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:28 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
I'm currently having a pretty fantastic time binging through Woody Allen's filmography with my girlfriend, and it's just so fun to go through a filmography of 40-50 films where it seems so many of them are, at the very least, quite good. I've "only" seen 15 Allen films at the moment, with The Purple Rose of Cairo being my definite favorite -- an utterly delightful film that's both, for me, actually Allen's best comedy in terms of the sheer amount of laughs, and his most emotionally resonant and intelligently structured work. That ending just knocks me out every time; Farrow is so pitch-perfect that, between this and her other best performance in Rosemary's Baby, I have to wonder if she was just born to play a kind of lovably mousy but tragic victim with an adorable little girl's voice and general temperament. And those scenes from the film-within are so dead-on to so many films of that time, right down to the sassy black maid fluffing the pillows -- dead-on, hilarious stuff.

Also in the "masterpiece" category is Crimes and Misdemeanors, which I feel has a power and gravitas only hinted at in slightly overvalued works like Hannah and Her Sisters (which has a similarly tragicomic Woody B-story that's more obviously "tragic" yet miles less affecting, interesting and funny than Allen's failure with Farrow and lampooning of Alda in Crimes) and the slick, tightly crafted but somewhat overwrought semi-remake of Match Point. Along with the above two, the bracingly intense Husbands and Wives, the (intentionally) paradoxically hollow-yet-lush Manhattan, and the hilarious and insightful Zelig form the rest of my top favorites at this point. Also very, very good are Radio Days (the great Di Palma, along with the production design, really went all out on this one; every frame exudes a warm and seductive nostalgia), Manhattan Murder Mystery (which may go even higher on a re-watch; it's a hell of a lot of fun), and (to a slightly lesser extent) Hannah and Her Sisters, which I have conflicting feelings about -- the "happy ending" is well-done unto itself, but when attached to what came before, it seems a bit absurd. I really liked Broadway Danny Rose on first viewing, but this second time it somehow seemed so... slight. It's still one of his better works, with typically great work from Gordon Willis (did he ever shoot a film that didn't look wonderful?) and one of Woody's best performances, but it just amounts to so little in the end -- none of its tonally disparate parts cohere enough to imbue the rather schmaltzy final scene between Allen and Farrow with the pathos it's straining to reach. It's a really very "nice little film," that's the perfect backhanded compliment/term for it, but I can't understand its more recent increasing canonization as one of Allen's masterpieces.

Of course Allen hammers home the dour "universe is a big dice game and morality is meaningless in the face of pure luck" schtick in Match Point, a movie which utterly knocked me out upon first release in the cinema, the impressionable high-schooler that I was, but which now seems little more than a solid, elegant little crime-thriller with existential trimmings -- an appetizer to the full-course meal of Crimes and Misdemeanors. The murder scenes still pack a punch, to be sure, and I love the use of opera throughout and the general stylistic confidence of the thing, but it somehow feels curiously hollow and passionless all the same. That said, I'm sure it's gotta be Allen's "sexiest" film, which is not saying much.

Now for the controversial part... Somehow, Annie Hall's greatness still eludes me. It's fine, it's quite good really. It's one of those rare films where you can palpably sense its massive eventual influence on other movies as it unfolds; but I don't find it nearly as funny as most of the aforementioned films, and certainly not as poignant. All it has on the latter front is a kind of slight sigh, a bittersweet "oh well" as two people cross paths and walk in the other direction perhaps permanently, but the problem is I've never felt that the relationship between Allen and Keaton was all that profound or deep or worthwhile in the first place so, as in Broadway Danny Rose, the closing pathos-reach of AH ends up coming up rather short. Much worse, the humor in the film strikes me as Allen indulging some of his worst tendencies; it's permeated by a kind of self-satisfied knocking-down of cheap pseudo-"intellectual" strawmen, as well as those dumb whitebread schmucks in flyover country, resulting in a kind of middlebrow, quasi-populist type of humor I find ugly, irritating and mean-spirited in all the wrong ways -- not to mention pandering to some pretty regressive impulses. In the film Allen seems to thumb his nose at not just the cheap-shot caricatures of "intellectual" types but the entire idea of aspiring to think deeply or write deeply at all in the first place. (Just what is so wrong or hilariously pompous about the movie-line guy's diatribe about Bergman's film, anyway? Besides the "I'm an insufferable asshole" manner in which the actor delivers it, I don't see how it's any more objectionable than what Alvy or Allen himself would say about some other movie he dislikes, or Bob Dylan or whatever. Yet somehow the scene is held up in pop culture as the ultimate "a-ha, take that you pretentious pseud!" diss-joke, as if marshaling in McLuhan for a sentence imbues the knowing, hip Alvy/Allen-receptive audience with an aura of merit and coolness just for recognizing such "wrongness.") I don't suppose anyone here agrees with me, and I'm probably not making my case very well, but AH is no more than merely a good film for me, for these reasons and others, e.g. the broad obviousness of much of its humor compared to the more subtle comedy in his 80s pictures. And I never found Annie Hall herself, though Keaton is very good, to be that fascinating or unique of a character, to be this kind of weird yet mysteriously attractive, difficult but quirky woman who ya just gotta love for all her little quirks, that the film tries to paint her as (the first Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Some have suggested, though I dunno). It all just doesn't ring true or very deep for me. I think Farrow in the 80s was a better "muse" for Allen.

As far as the real bottom of the barrel, though, at least at this point, Alice and especially Scoop take the cake. The former is just such a lifeless mishmash of various tonal/genre ingredients from other films and artworks which should be utterly fascinating but just ends up feeling awfully slight, and awfully short-changed by that ultra-rushed "oh, and then these monumental things also happened by the way, but I gotta go, see ya" of an ending (plus, it utterly wastes Joe Mantegna in a dishwater-dull role, which should be a cardinal sin; but he was so outstanding in Mamet's Homicide the following year that I guess it cancels out). The latter is just fluff, and actually not that bad fluff -- pure Sunday afternoon fare that leaves the mind as soon as it's digested -- which I guess says something about Allen's talents (though, again, I'm only approx 1/4th through his filmography, and not looking forward to Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, Shadows and Fog, Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Melinda and Melinda, etc).

Anyway, right now I'm very interested in seeing Bullets Over Broadway, Another Woman***, Interiors, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Anything Else, Sweet and Lowdown and Cassandra's Dream, to name a few.

***That Dan Schneider imbecile (who is given to stuff like declaring himself a better critic than Rivette, or his wife a better poet than Dylan Thomas; look here for more) is probably the worst film critic I've had the displeasure of reading, though to call him an actual film critic is to grant him the morsel of legitimacy that he so desperately seeks (it's quite sad, really). Anyway, he and his e-cronies apparently call Another Woman one of WA's very best, with one of these cronies even recently publishing a lengthy e-book covering all of Allen's films and basically regarding all of them as good or great, and of course challenging every other critic who differs with them on even the slightest detail of interpretation, causing said other critic to be a complete useless idiot as a result. The amount of pompousness on this joke of a critic and his copycats is astounding. I've read many portions of the book, and it's about 98% intolerable, and pretty sad how this guy slavishly adheres to an already awful, rigid and proudly emotionless and prosaic critical language and method of evaluating art. I don't understand how this hack could have seemingly so many followers, but I suspect many are just sock-puppets of the man himself. I mean... one Ebert blog from 2009 that happened to compliment Schneider in passing (despite containing a bunch of noxious Schneider excerpts that bashed Ebert just for slightly differing with some interpretation) is, I kid you not, still drawing new comments about every week from either DS himself or his league of die-hard supporters who angrily insult anyone, from 2009 to 2014, who dared to say anything at all negative about the man; it's pathetic, to say the very least.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:33 am 
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Great thoughts and comments, oh yeah. It's worth noting that critical and individual appraisal on Allen varies so greatly (beyond the obvious "hits") that I'd argue that both your dread list and your wish list are each composed about 50/50 of great and not so great films. Some brief responses to your takes: Broadway Danny Rose is indeed a small film done well, but I'm surprised it didn't grow in estimation for you after revisiting, as its charms seem tied to its repeatability (and it's my annual Thanksgiving movie). I will let your comments about the underloved Alice go with a warning, for now. As for Annie Hall, I'm with you and if it makes you feel any better, Allen's been on record several times as being equally confused as to why so many people responded so strongly to a film he considers midrange work. And I agree 100% that Farrow was Allen's greatest muse (With Scarlett Johansson being his most overrated one).

I envy you your journey through Allen's filmography-- Allen and Godard were my first two directors I plowed through after really discovering film, and they hold a special place in my heart. I suspect sometime soon I will be similarly (re)visiting Allen's filmography in whole as well. As of now I've seen every theatrical feature by Allen (still need to get around to watching his TV adaptation, Don't Drink the Water) and the totality, as is often the case with auteurs, outranks the individual crests and plateaus. If nothing else Allen has left the film world with an unfathomably large filmography and still shows no signs of stopping-- as with Chabrol, one especially dreads the death of a filmmaker who's still in his prime and working feverishly against the clock.

EDIT: I don't think I've ever heard of Dan Schneider before, but the linked interview halfway down the page trash-talking the Cahiers crew is hilariously imbecilic.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:34 pm 
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I agree that his body of work as a whole is an incredible gift to filmgoers. I also have a soft spot for him; I saw "Mighty Aphrodite" on cable soon after its release and immediately became hooked. WA became the person that got me interested in "film," leading me to Bergman, Fellini, and Kurosawa.

The only film of his that I don't like is "Curse of the Jade Scorpion." The rest range from mediocre ("Whatever Works," "Hollywood Ending") to masterpieces (too many to list, from "Stardust Memories" to "Cassandras Dream" to "September" to "Manhattan," etc.). Many more hits than misses. I am with domino on "Alice" - it's pretty great. As a jazz saxophonist myself, I may be partial to Joe Mantegna's character. Regardless, it's one of those films that finds the right balance between drama, comedy, romance, and magical realism.

I just picked up "Magic in the Moonlight," but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. This week....


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:19 pm 
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Yeah, I quite like Alice too (hell, I'd say it's on par with the more-acclaimed Midnight in Paris). I've spent the last year going through much of Allen's work, and I've yet to find a film of his that I've found to be irredeemable (then again, I've yet to watch Jade Scorpion or Hollywood Ending), with even the weaker movies having something to recommend (like Gordon Willis's gorgeous cinematography in A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, or Elaine Stritch's excellent performance in September). And his best always leaves me feeling better as a person than I did before watching it. My all-time favorite (Purple Rose of Cairo) has been mentioned, so I'll give a good word out for the severely underrated Everyone Says I Love You, which is tied only with Radio Days as the Allen work that gives me the most pleasure watching it.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:20 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
domino harvey wrote:
It's worth noting that critical and individual appraisal on Allen varies so greatly (beyond the obvious "hits") that I'd argue that both your dread list and your wish list are each composed about 50/50 of great and not so great films.

Yeah, that's one of the things that's so fun about going through these huge oeuvres of guys like Allen or Godard; nearly everyone has a different favorite, and a different least favorite or bunch of films they consider "failures," etc. So even though I don't look forward to films like Melinda and Melinda or Shadows and Fog, that's mostly because of the negative or middling majority of reviews on them; and yet I couldn't count how many times in the past I've disagreed with consensus on certain films being "bad." A lot of the fun in all this is being proven wrong, or in being surprised by just how good and underrated some films are. Typically, that's also more enjoyable in a way than expecting to see a great film and getting nothing less.

And it is interesting to read Allen's own opinions on his films. If Annie Hall really was (as I've read) radically changed in editing to a more compact Keaton-Allen romance instead of a kind of wild stream-of-consciousness epic, and if Hannah and Her Sisters had its happy ending forced on it by others then, well, I can understand why Allen wouldn't consider those his favorites.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:04 am 
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oh yeah wrote:
...I've "only" seen 15 Allen films at the moment...

It looks like you haven't seen any of his "earlier, funnier movies" (to quote STARDUST MEMORIES) which might help explain why ANNIE HALL seems unexceptional. For those who experienced seeing his films in near-chronological order, ANNIE HALL was the point where Allen really became "Woody Allen". That he mined this territory with more assurance and more resonance with subsequent films was to be expected, but the public was surprised to discover such an unusually-structured and seemingly personal comedy coming from a guy who was slipping on a giant banana peel only two films earlier. I still admire the variety of material (even animation!) that appears in ANNIE HALL - it shouldn't hold together, but somehow it does (for me, the film has better construction than a number of Allen's later films despite being almost entirely conceived of in post-production). I think part of the joke is that Alvy is a snob as well; you realize he's just as culpable as rudely dismissing something as the clueless McLuhan professor.

Still, nothing wrong with preferring other Allen films. For a while, I considered ANOTHER WOMAN to be the most successful of Allen's dramas, possibly because he wasn't blatantly aping Bergman.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:09 pm 
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I would say Annie resonates with so many people because it's his warmest most humanist film where as with the others people find them to be emotionally detached, if not downright cold and unrelatable. Meaning that his films tend to have turns that make a lot of people uncomfortable. Relationships are an exercise in architecture, once the floor plans and parts begin to fit, like with Annie, it creates a time lapse until one of you zigs when the other zags exposing, Annie's turn, that what you were really building was on a foundation of timing more than anything else and now one of you has outgrown the other which many people take solace in, looking back at their own experiences with fondness. That for me is why people, especially women, love Annie Hall as much as they do — an argument could easily be made that it's his only film that's feminist (certainly an accident on his part).


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:15 pm 
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Quote:
Allen, who has won four Oscars for his films, will write and direct an as-yet untitled half-hour series that will premiere exclusively online via Amazon’s Prime Instant Streaming service, the company said in a press release.
Ever the comedian, Allen said he had no idea what the new show would be about yet.

Quote:
Allen, who makes a film almost every year through art-house studio Sony Pictures Classics, has joked about his profitability as an artist.

"The two biggest myths about me are that I'm an intellectual, because I wear these glasses, and that I'm an artist because my films lose money," he once said."Those two myths have been prevalent for many years."


Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:55 pm 
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Am I right in assuming that the American disc for Sweet and Lowdown is pan and scan and not open matte?


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:56 pm 
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Yes. There's also a flipper disc out there with side A in 1.85:1, side B in pan & scan


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:48 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:21 am
I've seen almost all of WA's films (except for his latest one), and feel he's definitely one of the best American film directors out there. I try to revisit his films on a regular basis, and notice something new each time I see them:

- Manhattan is definitely one of my top five WA films; the stunning b & w cinematography, having the city itself be another character in the film, the IMHO realistic portrayal of the way people sometimes think back on relationships & regret breaking up with someone (and maybe try to get back with the person, only to find out that it's too late), the witty one-liners, etc. all make for a true masterpiece of not only late '70's cinema, but of great cinema, period.

So, I was unpleasantly surprised when I saw this on Blu recently - extremely disappointing PQ - I felt like I was just watching the regular DVD. There didn't appear to be any effort to clean this up. If the PQ was superior to past prints, the difference was so minimal that it was tough to spot (at least for me). Not sure if the sound was any better than the regular DVD, though it didn't appear to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:00 am 
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You might want to get your eyes checked.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:30 am 
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Ditto what swo said. The Blu-ray is a clear improvement. What kind of screen/monitor did you see it on?


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:53 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:21 am
OK - Thanks for the feedback. I saw the Blu of Manhattan on my relatively new HD set, which makes almost all Blu's & some DVDs look great. That being said, my prior DVD viewing of Manhattan was on my older LCD computer monitor, which was definitely inferior to my HD set.

So, I have to admit I was comparing apples to oranges. To truly compare the two, I need to watch the DVD of Manhattan & the Blu of the film back to back...on my HD set.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:56 am 
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I've got a question about one of the most famous gags from Hannah and her sisters.

After his approach to a Catholic priest, W.A comes back home from shopping and from a paper bag, he shows a Virgin, a Jesus in a cross… ¡¡¡ sandwich bread and mayonnaise !!! I don't understand the bread and mayonnaise. May be it's something NYorker or Jewish (is it something Kosher ?) that I'm missing, or may be I'm too provincial and former catholic.

Can somebody explain it to me? Gracias.


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:20 am 

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Haven't seen the film in a while, but isn't the joke that he puts the groceries on top of the Bible and the icons, which is a big no-no within the faith?


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:26 am 
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Sí, it's the groceries gag.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgXfB-Jeego


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 Post subject: Re: Woody Allen
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:31 am 
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I could be wrong since I'm not Jewish, but I've always seen the joke as him becoming more of a conventional American. The bread shown in the movie, Wonder, is an instantly recognized brand in the US. It's symbolic of the postwar trend for mass-produced, processed foods. It's also a staple of white, suburban households. But it's most definitely not a product of the depression-era Jewish culture of the Bronx that Woody Allen grew up in, which to this day is famous for its delis. The joke is that as he embraces Christianity, he becomes more mass-market, more of a cliché.

Food preferences have totally changed in the US since the movie was made, however. Now, the same conventional, suburban families shop at chic tiendas naturistas.


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