Bullets Over Broadway Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 26, 2008
"Let's say there was a burning building and you could rush in and you could save only one thing: either the last known copy of Shakespeare's plays or some anonymous human being. What would you do?"

In 1920s New York, a struggling playwright is forced to cast a mobster's talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced.

Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" deals with a struggling stage writer (John Cusack) who is so desperate to get one of his plays on Broadway in the 1920s that he reluctantly enlists the help of the local mafia crime lord to fund the play. Of course there is a large stipulation. The crime lord's girl must be in the play (hilariously played by Jennifer Tilly in an Oscar-nominated role). Needless to say she's terrible and Cusack struggles with her in the play. However, he has booked A-list actress Dianne Wiest (in her second Oscar-winning role) who is an alcoholic who has seen better days in her career.

Tilly's bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri, also in an Oscar-nominated role) sees the play rehearsed firsthand and gives Cusack some directions on the project that Cusack cannot refuse. Palminteri is street smart and knows how people really talk, while Cusack is so educated that his words make no sense to the normal audience. This film is what "The Godfather" would have been like if Allen had directed it. The screenplay is outstanding and Allen's direction has rarely been better. Cusack is fun and hilarious, but it is the supporting cast that makes the movie work. Other than the aforementioned Oscar-nominated actors, there are great turns by several others. Mary-Louise Parker, Tracy Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Jack Warden, Rob Reiner, Harvey Feinstein, and Joe Viterelli are all superb in well-calculated supporting roles.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2012
Woody's first indie venture outside of studio affiliations just so happens to be his best film of the 90s.
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2008
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is filled with good, but overrated performances. It's surprisingly slow-paced (and I say surprisingly, because nobody expects a crime comedy to be this slow) and, at only 100 minutes, it feels so long.

On the bright side, the art direction and costume design are superb. Not a great Woody Allen flick, but his work in BOB is pretty decent.
Super Reviewer
½ May 25, 2008
Despite the fact that I spent the entire movie thinking that Dianne Wiest was Olive and Helen was Jennifer Tilly (of which I feel like a huge dumbass, thank you very much), this movie contains all elements that I love of Woody. The coldness that hits your bones when another layer is unwrapped, cynicism and idealism jumbled together so that you can't even tell the difference between the two, the subconscious prejudices we build up only to have them joyfully knocked down by Woody's slight of hand, hilarity found in unexpected areas, and the pseudo-intellectual junk always popping up when you least expect it, a welcome respite that always pertains to the subject matter but tangentially at best. All this sounds very ambiguous but it's the movie as a whole that works the best. There wasn't any particular moment that stood out, the movie itself stood out.
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2007
Likeable low-key 20s gangster comedy penned by Woody Allen in which John Cusack proves he makes a much more likeable protaganist than the man himself. The cast are uniformly good, although I found the lauded over Diane Wiest rather irritating. Cusack is excellent as ever though. "I'M A WHOOOOOORE!!"
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2007
dianne wiest is sensational!!
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2006
One of Allen's best. Ever.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2006
The danzies made quite a mess of things. Never had he seen a bouquet so ferocious. Regret clawed dimly within him. Probably not the best gift idea, he conceded. What could he do? Vacuum the remains. Maybe light a few horsepepper candles, mask the odor. But the damage was done. Galgatoot. Sure, she was a decent enough gal. A crooked head, some scary eyebrow action in the wrong light perhaps, but harmless. "Oh, Galga," he half-lamented, peeling bits of her off the carpet. "Now I'll have to buy new Perilous Stew handshirts." This was true. His favorite pair of handshirts, a wishmonth present from Galga, were now noticeably gory. And what would her father say when he got home? There goes any chance of borrowing his R-Blastowheels for next weekend's Lung Honeycomb concerto. He could only use the Ketchup Party excuse so much. It was those fraggled danzies. Those filthy little beasts. Vegetation should never remind a man so much of his mother. And the bleeding actually seems to increase with each bite. What luck. He opened up the box of torkled choco-spleens to console himself, but they were merely vanilla spinal crackers. Truly, this was the worst St. Limbsnipper's Day ever.
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2007
Oh yes...another Woody Allen review is required of me. Hmmm..what can I say beyond what I said about Broadway Danny Rose..John Cusack is in this..that is usually good...it is a period piece so we have Woody dealing with the 20s. Not as memorable as it should have been.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2008
I like that Woody Allen has a film that could be described as "his most violent". The darker elements do work strangely well in combination with the overall farcical nature of the material, probably because Allen takes artistic integrity and talent seriously while mocking the actual implementation and rehearsal process of the theatre. Palminteri, Tilly, Ullman, Broadbent, and Wiest are all hysterical
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2007
I didn't actually laugh alot while watching this, but found it tremendously entertaining nonetheless. Jennifer Lilly has never been put to better use, but Diane Wiest steals the show. "Don't speak!"

Update: I love this movie. It's exceptionally well acted for a comedy, save a questionble John Cusack. But Jennifer Tilly, Chazz Palmiteri, and Dianne Weist (all three nominated in supporting categories) are a blast. Thinking more about it, it's actually really rare for a woman to win an Oscar for a broad, silly role without really aiming for humanity (Weist). And for that, I'm alloting it an extra half star. Also, the "Don't speak!" are some of my favorite scenes ever. I love that beezey, Dianne Weist.
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2007
The usual charm of a Woody Allen film is all over this one, with great actors, charming performances (Dianne Wiest especially, who plays her character differently than what we've seen her do elsewhere) and a lot of humor. It may not be his best, but even a filler like this remains highly enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2010
Watches more like a Coen picture. Cusack is the pivotal role as a na´ve writer who wants to get his socialist movie made, but the majority for the roles in this movie are very fleshed out. Cusack has to go through the mob to barrow money to make the show with the qualifications that Jennifer Tilly the shreiky mob bosses girlfriend get the lead role and Chazz Palminteri a Mafia enforcer keeps an eye on things. As the picture evolves you find that underneath his mafia exterior Chazz has a terrific under standing of the stage and takes Cusack pig of a play and changes it into a success. In die for his art scene Chazz knows Tilly is going to ruin the play and kills her to save the production. A merely touch on one facet of this movie there are to many intertwining stories to get into in a review.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2008
Probably my favorite Woody Allen movie. Dianne Wiest is hysterical.
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2007
December 13, 2010
When a gangster is directing a movie, and a "diva" star is being "difficult", whaddya do? Why, you fit her with cement shoes and dump her in the East River, of course, dummy!
August 14, 2007
John Cusack is the best actor I've ever seen play a Woody Allen part who wasn't Woody Allen himself. He was born to play the insecure artsy intellectual, and he's superb in this, one of Allen's lighter comedies. A very funny ensemble comes together to tell the story of a struggling playwright trying to turn his show into a success (with an impossible cast) without compromising his artistic integrity. It's a charming, entertaining movie with some of Allen's best dialogue. Well worth seeing.
July 23, 2008
Terrific story with John Cusack playing Woody Allen role. Dianne Wiest' s best performance ever. She won 2nd Oscar. Terrific film.
January 18, 2008
One of Woody Allen's best movies (Mostly because he isn't in it) is an example of some of his best comedy in quite a while. Great performances all around also, specifically from Wiest and Cusack.
½ July 26, 2007
One of the few movies that I can watch over and over again and still laugh at. Dianne Wiest is comic genius in this movie. Jennifer Tilly gives a command performance as well. The entire cast is top notch. This is one of Woody Allens best. One of the last great Woody Allen movies. I defy you to not like this movie.
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