Tag Archives: Tony Roberts

The Set of 400: #10 – My Favorite Waste of Cocaine

Today! Because Max is a good name for you, Max –

Annie Hall (1977)

Director: Woody Allen (x12)

Starring: Woody Allen (x9), Diane Keaton (x6), Tony Roberts (x3), Paul Simon, Carol Kane (x5), Shelley Duvall (x4), Christopher Walken (x3), Colleen Dewhurst, Janet Margolin (x2), Marshall McLuhan, John Glover (x5), Truman Capote (x2), Jeff Goldblum (x6), Johnny Haymer, Beverly D’Angelo (x2), Tracey Walter (x4), Sigourney Weaver (x8), Hy Anzell

The twelfth and final Woody Allen film on this list, Annie Hall has experienced the most precipitous fall of any movie on this continually updated countdown in recent years. Sure, it is still clinging to a spot in the top ten, almost out of sheer memory for how much and how long I’ve enjoyed it, but as I’ve mentioned many times on this list, my relationship with Woody has changed dramatically in recent years, and this beloved classic is taking the biggest hits.

You may wonder how that can be, considering it’s still in 10th – well, for the longest time, this was a top four movie of mine, maybe three on occasion. If the wife and I could be said to “have a movie” – like normal couples have songs or, I don’t know, pizza toppings – our movie for over a decade was definitely Annie Hall. It was something we could both agree on, and became a sort of de facto Valentine’s Day thing to watch. This extended to a lesser degree to other Allen films of the era – Manhattan most notably – and being that I was already a big fan of the director, I could bring up his movies as something to watch without worry. We were working on watching them all at one point, working backwards from the present, when this new round of allegations really took hold and the wife checked out for good.

Our standard pizza toppings are half pepperoni/half green peppers, incidentally

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The Set of 400: #180 – My Favorite Freedonia Shout-Out

Today! Because what if there is no God and you only go around once and that’s it. Well, don’t you wanna be part of the experience?

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Directed by Woody Allen (x5)

Starring Mia Farrow (x4), Michael Caine (x3), Barbara Hershey, Woody Allen (x4), Diane Wiest (x2), Max Von Sydow (x2), Carrie Fisher (x3), Maureen O’Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Daniel Stern (x2), Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lewis Black, Julie Kavner (x2), J.T. Walsh (x5), John Turturro (x2), Richard Jenkins (x3), Fred Melamed (x2), Joanna Gleason, Sam Waterston (x2), Tony Roberts (x2)

With one of the best casts ever assembled, Hannah and Her Sisters in a lot of ways is the perfect Woody Allen movie. He made better ones, and he made funnier ones, but this is the rare hybrid between family drama and neurotic comedy, neatly packaged together as one film. Really, there are two plots running alongside each other, knitted together by featuring the extended family of sisters Hannah (Farrow), Holly (Wiest), and Lee (Hershey). Being a Woody Allen film, the B plot is entirely him – as Hannah’s writer ex-husband Mickey, going through a mid-life crisis where he may be dying of a brain tumor (this is the funny half!). The A plot features Hannah’s current husband – Michael Caine’s Elliot – in his escalating disenchantment with their marriage and his lust for sister-in-law Lee. Even this breakdown isn’t entirely fair, as they split time on these stories pretty evenly, plus a good amount of time spent on Wiest’s hilarious Holly, but the Elliot/Lee/Hannah portion does occupy with the emotional center of things.

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The Set of 400: #358 – My Favorite Genital Surprise

Today! Because you’ve got to be a fucking Rembrandt to put on makeup –

Switch (1991)

Directed by Blake Edwards

Starring Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco (x2), Tony Roberts, Perry King, Lysette Anthony, Catherine Keener, Bruce Payne, Jim J. Bullock, Tea Leoni, Michael Badalucco, Victoria Mahoney, Basil Hoffman

Not to be confused with the Bateman/Aniston film of the same name plus a TheSwitch was another cable staple of mine from the early ’90s, and man, the characters largely do not hold up. It’s a bunch of ’80s chauvinist dudes and vengeful, bitchy women thrown into a light-hearted Blake Edwards romp. It’s as 1991 as a movie can feel. Oh hey, and our second jaunt through ’91 in three days! I told you it’d get some love!

So while a lot of the antics are dated and borderline offense in retrospect, the reason this movie retains a spot on this big list is wholly Ellen Barkin’s tremendous performance, as the murdered jerk Steve reincarnated (that’s not really the right word – transmogrified, I guess?) as a woman, in order to find any women who liked him, and thus get into heaven. Don’t worry about the plot, it wildly doesn’t try to make sense. And while it does pay some quick service to how hard it is to be a woman in this asshole-prism of a man’s world, this is mostly an excuse for dude-trapped-in-a-hot-woman’s-body hijinks, of which there are many. The early promise of Barkin’s career never totally panned out – even though she’s had a fairly solid run in movies and TV, by and large – but I’d have to say this is her best overall performance. And it carries this film through its awkward twists and turns and bar fights. Continue reading

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