Woody at the Plate
He is a four-time Academy Award® winner (and additional 20-time nominee) but probably wouldn’t care if you omitted that from his resumé. Delivering the theatrical feature Café Society and the six-episode comedy series Crisis in Six Scenes in 2016 is just all in a year’s output to him, and he’s now putting the finishing touches on his 2017 Amazon Studios movie project with a typically eclectic cast (Kate Winslet, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi, Max Casella, Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa). So turning 81 today is just part of the march to mortality for Woody Allen, who told The Guardian’s Catherine Shoard in August that despite the use of a hearing aid, he’s getting along all right in life and work, even if his pace of productivity (huh?) is not what it once was. Regrets? According to Shaord, “the young Woody was surprisingly sporty and his loss of athletic ability is his chief regret about aging. ‘I’ve been very lucky. I’m in good health – at least I think I am. Dementia hasn’t set in yet to any noticeable degree. Everything is fine, but I’m always consumed with sorrow that I can’t get out on a baseball field and play it the way I could. That, for me, is the most poignant.’” As long as he gets up to bat weaving interesting, well-observed stories for large and small screens, that’s enough for most of us. Allen did tell Shoard: “I’d like to race against Usain Bolt, but I’m not sure how well I’d do. I was always a very fast runner. But it’s possible that while I’m still running, he would be doing his post-race interview.” Those who are in the race to collect the Allen oeuvre on carefully rendered hi-def Blu-rays at a special reduced price have just five more days to investigate the following Twilight Time releases at www.screenarchives.com before our pre-holiday promotion ends Tuesday December 6: Love and Death (1975), A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Radio Days (1987), Shadows and Fog (1991) and his marvelous acting-only turn in The Front (1976) at 50% off; plus the more recent release of Zelig (1983) at 25% off. The December 13 arrival of Stardust Memories (1990) is now up for preorder and five more Allen gems are waiting in the wings for 2017 release. Not bad for an octogenarian-plus-one, and he gets the last word, via Shoard’s piece. “Late-stage Woody Allen, then, is a man who gets through by playing ball, even if the sport is stacked against him. By disregarding the results and declining to dwell. ‘You’re probably happier in life if you can forget things,’ he advises.” Maybe so, perhaps, but edified movie fans across five decades will fondly remember.