(Originally published on FilmThreat.com)
Shortly after this movie came out I realized I had watched next to no Woody Allen films. I had seen Husbands & Wives when it hit cable to see what all the hoopla was about around the time of Allen’s leaving Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter. Over the years I had caught bits and pieces of other films but generally had not sought out his movies. I decided to at least partially rectify this and over the course of a couple months watched Manhattan, Sleeper, Bananas, Hollywood Ending and Annie Hall. Out of all of these Manhattan was my favorite, with Annie Hall a close second.
So it was that I was eagerly anticipating the DVD release of Anything Else. Also, anytime Christina Ricci wants to be in a movie is all right in my book.
00:02 – Can Jason Biggs do drama? The first time we see him is on a park bench talking to Woody Allen and he can’t help but look like a fledgling actor pitted against a cinema legend. Note how this is not the look Paul Newman has on his face when staring down Orson Welles in The Long, Hot Summer. We may be in trouble here.
00:04 – Can’t help but snicker at Woody Allen making ego jokes. This coming from the guy who won’t let his words be filmed by anyone but himself. Still, he’s probably earned it.
00:06 – Has anyone measured the ratio between lines delivered by Woody Allen and the length of time he actually makes eye contact with the other actor? I’m guessing it’s pretty low considering most of his lines in this scene are actually delivered to his water glass and not Jason Biggs.
00:06 – Best corned beef sandwich in Chicago – Manny’s off of Roosevelt on the south side. Not be missed. Get one with potato pancakes on the side. I’m not kidding.
00:11 – Is there a standard of measurement for a snack? I’m thinking total volume consumed pushes something over the edge from snack into meal but I’m not sure what that volume is. Someone needs to codify this.
00:12 – Three current (respected) actresses have kind of grown up on film in the last 10-12 years. Christina Ricci, Kirsten Dunst and Anna Panquin. All are now smoking hot, but I can’t stop picturing Dunst as the little girl in Interview With the Vampire. Oh, wait, I’m remembering the “kiss in the rain” scene in Spider-Man and now I can.
00:13 – My ultimate dream for my unfinished basement is a hand-made bar in one corner with alcohol of all types behind it. I don’t ask for much.
00:14 – Christina Ricci’s nipples! That’s all I have.
00:16 – I read Jean-Paul Satre’s “Age of Reason” in college. Didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about then. Since then I’ve adopted the view that even though I didn’t understand it, I have understood other books I’ve read and so, one day, will realize that I did understand that one. My thinking may be circular, but circles are pretty.
00:18 –It pains me to admit this, but I had never really liked Casablanca before recently re-watching it. Always thought it was hokey and contrived. By the way, I do realize this automatically disqualifies me from ever offering my opinion on any movie ever again.
00:21 – What percentage of people who have watched Apocalypse Now have not actually read “Hearts of Darkness”? Where is the support group for these people?
00:22 – Thank goodness Jimmy Fallon doesn’t have more lines. Is there a line I can join to punch him in the groin? Is it longer or shorter than the one for the Small World ride at Disney World? Can I buy the Line Hopper pass for Fallon’s line?
00:23 – Gotta love Allen’s soundtracks. It’s like an instant jazz collection.
00:24 – It’s been ten minutes since we’ve seen Christina Ricci’s nipples.
00:28 – I so badly want TIVO. I can’t think of a single instance in my life where having one would have been needed, but I don’t want to be caught unprepared. These are my priorities.
00:29 – My college roommate was a big Cleveland Indians fan. I asked him why the Indians he responded that ultimately he was a Cubs fan, but felt he needed an American League team to root for as well. He was a good…no he was an idiot.
00:31 – A fourteen-minute flashback. Once again, a fourteen-minute flashback.
00:34 – It’s been 20 minutes since we’ve seen Christina Ricci’s nipples.
00:38 – Woody Allen as a public school teacher is the best argument for private schools I have ever come across.
00:39 – I find it impossible most times upon hearing someone ask, “Does anybody know what time it is?” to not respond, “Does anybody really care?”. Yes my favorite band is Chicago. I’m a geek. Let’s move on.
00:40 – Am I the only one who sees a Cary Grant impersonation in Tony Curtis’ pretending to be a millionaire in Some Like it Hot? To me it’s dead obvious but no one else I’ve mentioned it to has agreed with me. Am I alone here? Hello? Echo…Echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota…
00:43 – Number of Army Surplus stores I’ve been to in my life – 1. Number of times being in an Army Surplus store scared the piss out of me – 1.
00:44 – It’s been 30… you get the picture.
00:49 – Is there anything more uncomfortable than checking into a hotel with someone to whom you are not married? If so I would like to know what it is.
00:52 – I watched “Family Ties” for most of its run but really only remember one episode – the one where one of Alex’s friends was killed and he is talking to a counselor. Most of the episode was simply Michael J. Fox sitting in a chair on a blacked out stage save for a spotlight on him. First time I can remember being emotionally affected by a sitcom.
00:53 – How under-rated an actor is Charles Grodin? One of my favorite movies is Seems Like Old Times with him, Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. Again, I may be alone in this. In the “Cons” column of his resume are Clifford and Beethoven, so I’m not sure how this balances out in the karmic sense.
00:54 – Christina Ricci’s breasts. That’s all I have to say.
00:59 – It’s amazing how loose Woody Allen’s performance is in this movie. It’s like he said to himself, “You know, I really don’t care what anyone says about this flick. I’m just going to have fun”.
1:06 – To show Stockard Channing managing to sing AND act at the same time is really unfair to other actors who can barely act.
1:09 – They keep showing Jason Biggs and Woody Allen walking in Central Park and I keep waiting for either Peter O’Toole and Mark Lynn Baker to ride by on a police horse or Will Ferrell to run by stark naked.
1:11 – Ed Burns has become, in my opinion, a pretty good actor. The key I think is that he not direct himself. Pretty good in both Saving Private Ryan and better in Confidence.
1:15 – At least Jason Biggs isn’t doing a Woody Allen impersonation. Thinking about this, though, does bring to mind what a young Woody Allen would have been like in American Pie. “Of course I tried to…to…to…make love to a…a pie. I had my first sexual experience in a bakery run by my Uncle Alvin. I remember this girl came in and dropped a blintz down the front of her shirt. I tried to help clean it off with my face and was never allowed to go there again. The bakery not the girl.”
1:18 – OK, a scene about trying to back into a parking spot and having the spot stolen by some pulling in forwards. Now I’m waiting for Kramer to have to put his game of Risk with Newman on hold to come down and straighten it out.
1:22 – Dating a mental case is an area I have some experience in. It’s a lot of fun. Pretty much rips all emotions out of you and leaves your soul an empty shell you just know it’s going to take a lifetime to rebuild. Like I said, lots of fun.
1:28 – The film is winding down and I really like it.
1:30 – Danny Devito keeps talking about his mother and I’m thinking, “Hasn’t Billy Crystal taken care of her by now?”
1:31 – OK, on my notes I have written “Tropic World” which is an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo displaying various monkeys and apes. I have no idea what I was trying to make a note of though. Maybe I should try writing down more than one or two words.
1:39 – I never had my own apartment. This might actually be a good thing considering I just would have decorated it with Star Wars and comic book paraphernalia. Never would have gotten laid again. Have I mentioned how glad I am I’m married?
1:44 – I always loved how Johnny Carson basically admitted how he stole all his best shtick from Jack Benny. Does anyone think Jay Leno’s “Iron Jay” bits or the Dancing Itos will hold up as well as Carnak the Magnificent? If so, may a diseased camel squat in your fez.
1:46 – OK, the character of Connie was introduced as a friend of Christina Ricci’s who might be a new love interest for Jason Biggs. Apparently, though, there will be no resolution to this sub-plot. Not sure whether I’m all right with that or if I feel cheated.