|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Length: 258 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Cultural Criticism
Start Date: Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date: Sometime in 2007-8
Where Found: Campus bookstore
Why Read: I love Woody Allen’s movies and his sharp, intellectual wit.
Summary: A series of essays by philosophy professors focusing on different Woody Allen films and the philosophical questions of love, sex, life, death, and God they pose.
My favourite Woody Allen film is Hannah and Her Sisters, followed closely by the underrated Manhattan Murder Mystery. They are probably the most accessible of his films, though I also like Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Melinda and Melinda (with Will Ferrell's uncanny impression). His New York-set films are his best; the London ones got on my nerves, so I’m glad to hear he is retreating back to the home turf.
This book is from the series Popular Culture and Philosophy, in which contemporary philosophers apply theories to movies and TV shows, such as The Simpsons, Star Wars, and Seinfeld. This edition is divided into 3 acts of Woody Allen: his philosophy, his craft, and specific films.
I skipped over essays on movies I hadn’t seen, so to give you a heads-up, these are the movies of focus (though others are referenced within some essays):
Crimes & Misdemeanors
A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
The theories are thankfully diluted at the expense of the non-philosophy majors, and offer lots of humourous quotations from Woody Allen’s work as a stand-up comedian and actor/director/writer. If you know something of his work (to reverse the funny Marshall McLuhan encounter in Annie Hall—“you know nothing of my work”), or are a fan of his movies, this is a pleasant read.
Don’t be quick to dismiss it simply because Kant, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are supporting players—Woody Allen is the primary star.
Rank: (A)- Highly recommended (especially for fans)