The Painter and the Thief
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Very funny movie and, so intelligent history...
Notable for a brief appearance from a young Sylvester Stallone, just five years before the release of Rocky (1976), this film is not quite as good as Sleeper (1973) or even Take the Money and Run (1969) but it does represent Woody Allen moving into bigger budget comedies. It becomes immediately apparent when watching the film that he is working with more money than he was when he produced his early low budget features and while the quality of writing may have decreased the film looks more polished and the film is more streamlined. I must say that I did not particularly like the film as I did not laugh enough and I was frustrated by how underused talents like Louise Lasser were.
Like an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm, I am aware of the fact that Larry David was inspired by Woody Allen, the film begins with two completely unrelated situations, a coup in a fake South American nation and Allen falling in love with a political activist played by Lasser. He is his typical nebbish self and she is the shiksa girl who he desperately chases before realizing he doesn't know what to do with her and is not emotionally fulfilled. There is a decent energy to their early scenes as Lasser is quirky without being irksome and her nervousness, a trait that Allen is clearly attracted to, comes across as genuine and unforced. The idea that Allen falls back on the same old persona is something you have to take for granted in one of his films as he is unlikely to learn something new and his portrayal of himself is really quite genius. Here he lacks something however as he is perhaps too young to have the loneliness and depression that would make his later characters likable and so we are expected to accept him entirely as the neurotic little man. There are a few old jokes in it concerning Allen covertly attempting to purchase a pornographic magazine only to have this loudly announced by the cashier that do not quite land. I wish there had been more to giggle at in this film as it never aims for emotional pathos and relies entirely on being a cute little comedy full of sight gags and humorous monologues but none of these jokes are very successful.
The best comedy movie ever made!
Woody Allen getting increasingly good at being Woody Allen, with some longueurs and sight gags that don't really work, but lots of energy, particularly directed at his own coterie of liberal intellectuals.
This is an interesting comedy with absurd and slapstick elements (sometimes almost Charles CHAPLIN-like) about a clumsy loser (of course played by Woody ALLEN) living through improbable twists. There are a few cameos and Sylvester STALLONE (before he was well-known) makes a brief, uncredited appearance.
Les trois premiers quarts d'heure de Bananas sont très réussis. En effet, tant que Woody Allen se cantonne à New York et son amourette avec la SJW Louise Lasser, Bananas est vraiment très drôle, proche de son film précédent, "Take the Money and Run". Une fois que le film se déplace dans la république bananière de San Marcos, le film devient un peu répétitif et perd de son intérêt. C'est dommage, car certaines idées sont vraiment bonnes, comme les apparitions d'Howard Cosell. Mais même à 80 minutes, le film semble beaucoup trop long pour l'idée initiale. A noter une petite apparition de Stallone qui se fait dégager d'un métro par Woody Allen. Oui oui.
WOODY ALLEN RETROSPECTIVE PROJECT PODCAST (ON ITUNES)
Good beginning and End but the revolutioonary plot in the middle could have been executed with more creativity, enjoyable in parts but again the main narrative could have been executed better to take the political spoof part stand out, comes out more as a collection of random bits mixed with banana republic idea. okay-ish
Offbeat, slap stick but classic Woody Allen. It was the start of a long run. Zany to say the least.
This early comedy from Woody Allen has many of his hallmark trademarks - clever dialogue, sight gags, and slapstick comedy. It also has Howard Cosell and a cameo from a young Sylvester Stallone. There is political satire - Cosell broadcasting an assassination as if it were a sporting event, J. Edgar Hoover "appearing" at a trial as an African-American woman, and a woman capturing the conservative views of the radical left so perfectly when she says in a sugary tone, "Differences of opinion should be tolerated, but not when they're too different. Then he becomes a subversive mother." But mostly it's a screwball comedy, one that for me was most interesting in the desperate relationship Allen's character, Fielding Mellish, has with a political activist (played by Louise Lasser), with her pointing out all of his shortcomings, always in such a nice tone. An example while they were breaking up - Him: "How am I immature?" Her: "Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually." Him: "Yeah but what other ways?" I'm sure you can just hear that in Allen's whiny, neurotic voice. This movie is not his best, but it's smart and was ahead of its time, and it's still entertaining decades later. Oh, last point - I also loved how Allen put the conservative 'National Review' in a row of pornographic magazines. :)
To have a good time with "Bananas," you must accept it for what it is, which is a series of sketches piled together to assemble a vaguely conceived plot. I suppose it has a story, but its scenes are dotty and scattered, sequences never quite wanting to come together in solidarity. It feels like a congregation of tossed about comedic ideas from its director/writer/star, Woody Allen. But though it takes more than a few minutes for us to accept its crackpot dizziness, we eventually come to like it for the way its satirical jabs jab hard, and for the way Allen validates himself as just as good of a performer as he is a filmmaker. It's not his best, but maybe that's because "Bananas" was released relatively early in his career and sees him at a time when he wasn't quite ready to be, pardon the term, an artiste.
But we can't watch the film attempting to draw comparisons to his overall career - it's not "Hannah and Her Sisters" or "Everyone Says I Love You," nor is it trying to be. Coming at the "early, funny" part of his filmography, it is better contrasted with "Sleeper" and "What's New, Pussycat?," when he was still working out his kinks but nevertheless the maker behind several ingeniously funny comedies. "Bananas" finds him slightly scattered but still nifty, it containing a sizable amount of capably performed physical comedy routines and enough one-liners to kill a man.
In it, he plays Fielding Marsh, an indelibly nervous blue collar worker who inadvertently lands himself in the position of a revolutionary after trying to win the heart of Nancy (Louise Lasser), a social activist. A product tester very much in the midst of mundane routine, he's not the type to get so involved - but, wanting to show his potential lady love that he's a man of strength, he heads over to San Marcos, where civil unrest is brewing. Almost offed by the region's government, he is saved by revolutionaries, and is, in return, trained to work alongside them with offhanded bravery. He gets in over his head, however, when he is persuaded to pose as the face of the revolution, which throws him into deep trouble after the U.S. catches a whiff of his escapades.
In terms of summary, "Bananas" sounds like a cohesive, if totally bizarre, comedy, but it is not so much a conclusive work as it is a marathon of cutting, brief satires, taking aim at everything from the media's ravenous thirst to make a story out of anything to the clichés that befall the romantic comedy genre. It's perhaps even reminiscent of "Airplane!," just without such an overwhelming abundance of visual gags.
But because of its flip-flop nature, "Bananas" never really has a specific tone, as it sometimes feels like a screwball comedy homage and sometimes feels like a rom-com spoof. When the film fails to put two and two together, though, Allen's comedy remains buoyant and pointy, laughs moving everything along more than a plot ever could. And this subversion somehow remains adequate - Allen has the pen to back up his cuckoo, and he and his performers (especially the exquisitely droll Lasser) are proficient in selling the nonsensicalities. "Bananas" isn't one of Allen's finest, but subpar Allen is still pretty darn good.