Your Top Three is a series here at Movies.com where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.
Magic in the Moonlight is Woody Allen’s 45th feature film as credited director. That’s almost one per year since the first release back in 1966, and if we count some of the ones he at least wrote and are often considered Woody Allen films, the ratio is just about even. Not all are masterpieces, of course, but regardless it’s quite a task to thumb through all those titles and pick a favorite. Or three favorites.
Even to say he’s well beyond his best years, there are a lot of modern-day Woody movies that fans have added to their list of top-tier titles, such as Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and last year’s box office smash and Oscar darling Blue Jasmine. That’s four great movies in a decade, which is better than most filmmakers can claim.
Still, a lot of fans have their favorite eras. There are those of us who unapologetically prefer his earlier funnier work, which isn’t as silly now as it seemed back when he made the self-referential joke in Stardust Memories. There are those who prefer the legitimately best ones, such as Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors.
But true fans can’t rightly just easily pick three, can they? You have to acknowledge that the early ’70s slapstick movies are brilliant in their own way, as are the more serious, better quality features that came later that decade and through the next. I hate to even go without recognizing my love for underrated works like Radio Days, Shadows and Fog and Sweet and Lowdown.
I also don’t want to lay down my three and have you thinking I don’t love Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Bananas and Bullets Over Broadway. Because I do. I’ll admit that I haven’t loved anything in 15 years, though. That’s 15 movies!
My Top Three Woody Allen Movies:
1. Manhattan (1978) – I adore this movie. I idolize it all out of proportion. Uh, no, make that I romanticize it all out of proportion. To me, no matter what the season is, this is a movie that exists in black and white and pulsates to the great tunes of George Gershwin. (Okay, so the last paraphrase is just fact, but I do adore this movie almost as much as I adore the actual Manhattan.)
2. Zelig (1983) – I know “big” “fans” of Woody Allen who haven’t seen this. It’s strangely not among even the top half for most people. I just think it’s the most clever of all his features and maybe the best mockumentary ever made (toss up with This Is Spinal Tap, but such a different sort of animal). And Forrest Gump can kiss Leonard Zelig’s ass.
3. Sleeper (1973) – Woody Allen needs to do more science fiction. And slapstick. And work with Diane Keaton. And pretty much everything else you find in this future-set satire. Heck, he should even have Rags the robot dog in all his new movies. I’d be more likely to want to see them.
Your Top Three Woody Allen Movies (top answer: Annie Hall):
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