Bananas Reviews

  • Feb 22, 2021

    I found myself smirking dozens of times. I only laughed twice. This is classic Woody Allen humor, just without the strong characters and story driving it along. A great early exploration of comedy by the director, but it is not surprising the film has all but disappeared from public memory.

    I found myself smirking dozens of times. I only laughed twice. This is classic Woody Allen humor, just without the strong characters and story driving it along. A great early exploration of comedy by the director, but it is not surprising the film has all but disappeared from public memory.

  • Feb 17, 2021

    Not that funny. And the editing was a mess.

    Not that funny. And the editing was a mess.

  • Dec 25, 2020

    Slapstick, silly, often outdated jokes are worth some laughs, but this is an early work that feels like a Jewish Benny Hill movie.

    Slapstick, silly, often outdated jokes are worth some laughs, but this is an early work that feels like a Jewish Benny Hill movie.

  • Nov 28, 2020

    IMHO Woody Allen is one of the most overrated movie makers in the U.S. He has a reputation an "auteur" but his art is very derivative. Virtually every movie he makes is based on some other movie he's seen, some book he has read (or, in the case of Russian classics, heard about) etc. He tries to give the "Woody Allen touch" to stale material. It's "ersatz originality" masquerading as the genuine article. Take, for instance, The Purple Rose of Cairo, where a movie character walks out of the screen into real life. A stroke of genius when Buster Keaton did it, about half a century earlier, in Sherlock Jr. True, Woody Allen simply exploits this device to to illustrate his own ideas but these "ideas", while quite clever, result in a rather dull movie. At one time I thought it was merely Woody Allen's "serious" movies that were pretentious and dull, that his early "funny movies" were quite good. But a few days ago I re-watched Bananas, on TCM, and changed my opinion. Or, rather, I tried to watch it. I couldn't stomach more that 15 or 20 minutes. In one of his books Woody claims to have admired Bob Hope, and this early performance is like a bad Bob Hope parody. Woody is a stand-up comic. He has no slapstick chops. "Don't let them catch you acting," Larry Olivier advised a young novice. Woody was obviously "acting". Bananas is not funny; it's embarrassingly bad. Of course, that's just my opinion; others may disagree.

    IMHO Woody Allen is one of the most overrated movie makers in the U.S. He has a reputation an "auteur" but his art is very derivative. Virtually every movie he makes is based on some other movie he's seen, some book he has read (or, in the case of Russian classics, heard about) etc. He tries to give the "Woody Allen touch" to stale material. It's "ersatz originality" masquerading as the genuine article. Take, for instance, The Purple Rose of Cairo, where a movie character walks out of the screen into real life. A stroke of genius when Buster Keaton did it, about half a century earlier, in Sherlock Jr. True, Woody Allen simply exploits this device to to illustrate his own ideas but these "ideas", while quite clever, result in a rather dull movie. At one time I thought it was merely Woody Allen's "serious" movies that were pretentious and dull, that his early "funny movies" were quite good. But a few days ago I re-watched Bananas, on TCM, and changed my opinion. Or, rather, I tried to watch it. I couldn't stomach more that 15 or 20 minutes. In one of his books Woody claims to have admired Bob Hope, and this early performance is like a bad Bob Hope parody. Woody is a stand-up comic. He has no slapstick chops. "Don't let them catch you acting," Larry Olivier advised a young novice. Woody was obviously "acting". Bananas is not funny; it's embarrassingly bad. Of course, that's just my opinion; others may disagree.

  • Sep 15, 2020

    A perfect farce with some sincere Orwellian-insight into the cyclical nature of Banana republics.

    A perfect farce with some sincere Orwellian-insight into the cyclical nature of Banana republics.

  • May 15, 2020

    Very funny movie and, so intelligent history...

    Very funny movie and, so intelligent history...

  • Dec 19, 2019

    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.

    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.

  • Jan 27, 2019

    The best comedy movie ever made!

    The best comedy movie ever made!

  • Dec 25, 2018

    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.

    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.

  • Mar 18, 2017

    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.

    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.