“Blue Jasmine!” Best Film Of 2013! Woody Allen’s Bumpy Road To Brilliance!

Woody Allen

Woody Allen is one of America’s finest film makers. I can’t even begin to list all of his masterpieces and near-masterpieces…from his most well-known like “Annie Hall” to lesser known classics like “Broadway Danny Rose” and “The Purple Rose Of Cairo”…

Woody Allen

That said, the past twenty years have seen as many disappointing films as great ones…uninspired films such as “Celebrity”, “Manhattan Murder Mystery” and last year’s “To Rome With Love”…but now, he has turned out one of his best films ever, “Blue Jasmine”.

Blue Jasmine movie

First, a brief overview of a career that has been full of many memorable twists and a few unfortunate turns…


“The Early, Funny Stuff”

woody-allen early comedies

Beginning with “Take The Money And Run”, “Bananas” and “Sleeper”, Woody Allen has turned out some of the funniest comedies ever made.

Woody Allen Annie Hall

He matured with the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Annie Hall”, and continued to develop as a serious film maker with “Manhattan”, and then turned serious with “Interiors”.

Stardust Memories

The failure of audiences to embrace his serious side resulted in what many consider his “poisoned love letter” to fans, “Stardust Memories.” It was, perhaps, the first signal that he had some level of disdain for us, the moviegoer…

“Light As Air” Comedies…

The 80’s were an era of strangely light “pop songs as movies” like “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy” and “Broadway Danny Rose.” They were funny, charming and completely disposable.

Soon_Yi_Previn_and_Woody_Allen_at_the_Tribeca_Film_Festival

The film world was shock when he betrayed his longtime girlfriend Mia Farrow by starting an affair with her adopted daughter. This period of his life inspired a biography called “The Unruly Life Of Woody Allen”, which takes a very disturbing look at his personal life…

The Unruly Life Of Woody Allen

From that point on, his movies have been like an out of control driver on a mountain road: masterpieces like “Match Point”, moderately successful films like “Everyone Says I Love You”, debacles such as “Scoop” and the DREADFUL “Hollywood Ending.”

Lifelong fans like myself were left to wonder how much his private life was driving his art…the female characters in his movies, who early on were upbeat, quirky women such as the brilliant Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” – in recent years have became shrill, unpleasant characters in too many of his movies…

Throughout the last two decades, he has gone from great movies such as “Bullets Over Broadway” to disappointing films like “Celebrity.” His best films have strong female characters; the worst ones treat women poorly in my opinion, and the film suffers as a result.

In 2013, however, he served up another gem…

Blue-Jasmine-2013-Movie


Introducing “Jasmine”!

Congrats to Cate Blanchett for her Oscar-nominated performance as “Jasmine”, one of Allen’s strongest female characters ever – a woman with flaws, fears and an inability to stop talking about every aspect of her life to anyone who happens to be around – and Blanchett gives her best performance ever in the role.

Blue Jasmine movie


“Blue Jasmine!”

I don’t want to discuss the plot much, as I think a film is better when it unfolds fresh. There is only a bit you need to know about the plot: a woman named Jasmine is looking to put her life back together, and re-connect with her sister at the same time.

Here is the official trailer:

BLUE-JASMINE

Cate Blanchett gives an amazing performance. If you saw her in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, imagine that young, tentative ingenue now all grown up, but still full of doubt and insecurity…

Andrew Dice Clay acting

Kudos To Andrew Dice Clay!

Andrew Dice Clay is the biggest surprise here – he brings a surprisingly understated anger to his role – a nuanced performance that keeps his rage just beneath the surface, but you can really feel it’s there…

best acting 2013

Bobbby Carnavale, on the other hand, shows an explosive “blue collar” rage rarely seen in a Woody Allen film. It is that “real world” energy and anger that shatters the placid, upscale world Jasmine is used to living in with husband Alec Baldwin…

Alec Baldwin best roles

Alec Baldwin and Sally Hawkins are both perfect as well…Hawkins is especially impressive as the sister who doesn’t measure up to Jasmine in any way…for Hawkins, it’s the type of showy role that will gain her accolades and the attention she deserves…

best actress blue jasmine

It is Sally Hawkins’ amazing performance that counter balances Cate Blanchett so well…a raw and brave performance that is one of the film’s highlights…

Louis CK in blue jasmine

Louis CK co-stars as someone who pursues Hawkins, and it’s a subtle, understated and honest look at relationships. I wasn’t as big a fan of “Midnight In Paris” as others, because of Allen’s penchant for making women shrews – which is how I felt Rachel McAdams was directed in that film. Here, the women are fully realized characters.

blue-jasmine-cate-blanchett-alec-baldwin-andrew-dice-clay

I heard Louis CK on Howard Stern explaining how he botched his audition for the Andrew Dice Clay role, and was grateful to have the chance to play another part. Well, he nails it, too. But when you see Dice Clay, you can’t imagine anyone else pulling that part off…and the same can be said for Bobby Carnavale…

blue-jasmine-pictures

Oscar Is Calling!

This will be, without a doubt, one of Allen’s most acclaimed films. It will be nominated for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and potentially TWO Best Supporting Actor nominations, for both Dice Clay and Carnivale.

best acting 2013

“Blue Jasmine” is, without a doubt, the best film so far in 2013, and one of Woody’s best movies…

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Blue Jasmine movie



Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Awards, Books / Media, Golden Globes, Great Films, Independent Cinema, Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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9 replies

  1. I can’t disagree that “Blue Jasmine” is a terrific piece of work. Fascinating because we wonder if we’re watching the Ruth Madoff Story, and compelling because of Cate Blanchette’s on-the-edge performance. Sure, it was damn good.

    And while Allen’s truly weird and questionable personal life makes it hard to embrace him fully, it’s not fair to dismiss so much of his other work. He’s cranked out a lot of movies in his career, and so of course, there are some hits and misses. But I find even his misses fascinating.

    I loved “Manhattan Murder Mystery”, a nostalgic pairing of Allen and Keaton that reminded us just how great they are together. I was entertained to the end. And “Midnight in Paris” was a charming and surprising comedy (yes, poor Rachel Adams didn’t benefit from Allen’s hands-off directing style) but it was unapologetic in Allen’s fascination with the good old days.

    Woody Allen’s work, when viewed as a whole, is more diverse than any director I can think of. I think his successes far outweigh his failures. It’s just that there is so much of his work out there, and so much is expected of him. I love it that he is unafraid to roll out the smaller films, or more experimental projects without fear of commercial failure. He had to know that “Zelig” wasn’t going to be a hit at the box office, but he didn’t care. (I actually loved Zelig.)

    Woody Allen has made more than his share of entertaining films. What about “Play It Again, Sam?” “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” (c’mon, that was funny), “Sleeper” (a classic), “Manhattan” (admit it, you liked it.) “Hannah and Her Sisters”? “Radio Days”? “Crimes and Misdemeanors”? “Husbands and Wives” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” .

    • My write-up didn’t promise to mention every single film of his, and I did note that he has directed a fair number of masterpieces. My comments were related to his sometimes negative approach to women post-scandal, and the fair number of sub-par efforts since then…but I didn’t mention most of them either.

      So for every “Bullets Over Broadway” or “Love And Death” I didn’t mention, I also didn’t dwell on “Anything Goes” or “You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger.” And I specifically pointed out the issue I had with “Midnight”…in fact, someone wrote a negative article today about “Shadows And Fog”, and I pointed out I found it intriguing, even if not one of his better works.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Is it that Woody couldn’t afford to shoot in New York anymore? Whatever the reason, it’s been thrilling to be on hand for this renaissance…I loved “Paris,” and thought Owen Wilson was a wonderful conduit for the Woody character, maybe the best since John Cusack in “Bullets.”

    Yes, it has been uneven — “Match Point” is one of my favorite Hitchcock films 😉 and I also loved Vicky Christina Barcelona, though To Rome barely held my interest on a plane..

    But Blue Jasmine…absolutely one of his best!
    When film professors dissect his career decades from now this will definitely be on the curriculum for all the reasons you write about here. Cate and Dice Clay…incredible work.

    • Drew, because his films performed so poorly at the box office in the early 00’s, he had to seek foreign $$, and that meant moving his stories to different countries. “Bullets” was great, so was “Vicky”…but “Rome” was sub-par, and the women were relegated to prostitutes or shrews…that said, “Blue Jasmine” is the best film of the year – thanks for your great response!

Trackbacks

  1. Welcome To The Film Fight Club! Woody Allen’s Female Problem! | Film Fight Club!
  2. My two cents on the Woody Allen scandal | The Geek Chick
  3. Illicit Affairs, Horrific “Crimes” and Sex With Scarlett Johansson! Woody Allen’s Brilliant Infidelity Trilogy! | johnrieber
  4. “The Shape Of Water!” Guillermo del Toro’s Masterpiece! The Best Film Of 2017! – johnrieber

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