woody allen was born on december, 1, 1935 - 74 years ago today (and grew in the midwood section of brookly, not too far from my old neighborhood)! it would be difficult to overstate how big of fan of woody allen's early work i am. his recent output hasn't done much for me - especially "whatever works" - which was just awful. but i won't hold the occasional lame film against him. in fact, despite 3 oscars and the dozens of other honors and awards for his prolific artistic output, allen could have rested on his laurels 30 years ago with just two films: "annie hall" and "manhattan" - two seminal films of the 1970's, and new york city life in particular!
but those two aside (and not overlooking the lesser 70's work like "sleeper," "play it again, sam," and "the front"), allen gave us such winners as "hannah and her sisters," "zelig," "stardust memories," and "crimes and misdemeanors" in the 1980's. the 1990's (aside from his own personal drama - channeling, no doubt, charlie chaplin's fondness for youth) brought us "manhattan murder mystery," "mighty aphrodite,." and "deconstructing harry." but from the mid-1990's onward, i think it's been a mixed bag. even so, allen can still produce a 21st century hit, "matchpoint" - crossing the atlantic to get it done!
so here's to a happy birthday woody allen - and many more films in your future!