Random Factoid #117

22 11 2009

Last week, I proved to myself that I am less like Woody Allen or Larry David than I thought.

I was at an advanced movie screening, and the star was there to answer questions afterwards.  I had managed to secure second-row seats, but the friend I was meeting was running late.  With a few minutes before his seat would be sold, I started to worry frantically.  I had to run up to give him the ticket as soon as he got there.  But there was no one to guard the seats I had secured.  So, I scribbled a note on a page ripped out of the notebook I brought.  It read: “PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THESE SEATS.  I GOT HERE FIRST.  THANK YOU. <3, MARSHALLANDTHEMOVIES.”

After five minutes waiting up top, I knew I had to return to my seat or I might not have one.  I came back to the row to discover two non-adjacent seats open on the row.  A very well-dressed women had taken a seat where I had left my note.  I asked, “Are those two seats taken?”

She replied, “No, I believe not.”

A little bit of anger was working up inside of me.  “They wouldn’t happen to be occupied by the person that left that note?”

She giggled, “Oh, I don’t know what happened to them.”

A part of me wanted to reprimand her for blatantly disregarding my note.  If I had not secured front-row seats, I probably would have.  But nonetheless, it was a victory for my self-control.

REVIEW: Whatever Works

15 08 2009

Anyone who keeps up with this blog or knows me well can probably guess that I often identify with Woody Allen and his neurotic characters, for better or worse.  And as soon as I heard that Larry David, one of the creators of “Seinfeld” and the hilarious star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” was going to be starring in Woody’s latest, I knew they could be a scary pair.  However, David’s Boris Yelnikoff unexpectedly proves to be quite likable.  “Whatever Works,” frankly put, works for me.  It is a light, breezy comedy that doesn’t make you strung out like some of Allen’s (or David’s) other projects.  David provides the caustic quips, but a phenomenal supporting cast is equally funny.

Boris (David) is a misanthropic scholar with the belief that humans are a failed species.  He gets living proof of this when Melody (Evan Rachel Wood, “The Wrestler”) shows up on his doorstep one night.  A naïve and dim-witted down home southern girl, Melody slowly starts to melt Boris’ cold heart.  On the other hand, she also begins to randomly spurt his cynical views about life and humanity to anyone who looks at her.  As their time living together lengthens, there are of course the inevitable run-ins with Melody’s mother Marietta (Patricia Clarkson), who disapproves of her new lifestyle, and her firm father John (Ed Begley, Jr.).  All four characters undergo drastic and hilarious changes in the way they see and live their lives, eventually learning to simply enjoy whatever works for them.

I really cannot sing the praises of Larry David enough for making Boris so lovable despite being a suicidal misanthrope.  He stands out among the normal neurotic leads of Allen’s films.  Evan Rachel Wood is also spellbinding.  Her amazing range astounds me; she can do any movie she wants and steal the show.  The rest of the supporting cast is phenomenal, especially Patricia Clarkson as she turns from the good Southern Christian to a very artistic experimenter.

The script is Woody Allen at his best; in fact, it was written in his golden age during the 1970s.  It is delightfully witty and quite thought-provoking too.  There is good dialogue between Boris and the audience through monologues to the viewers, and I found them quite refreshing and inventive.  “Whatever Works” is a comedy to please anyone with a funny bone.  Even for those who find Allen’s movies too zany for their taste, this possesses a charm uncanny to most of his other works.  A- / 3halfstars