Scene from Woody Allen's "Manhattan." (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
My new Think Again column is called “Indiana Is the Latest Skirmish in the Conservatives’ War on Knowledge” and it’s about Mitch Daniels’s energetic censorship efforts as Governor of Indiana, aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at Howard Zinn.
I noticed this ranking of all 50 of Woody Allen’s films. I’ve seen all of them except Blue Jasmine and first of all, #5 is really #1. But also, way underrated on this list in addition to “Manhattan” is: "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Scoop," the first part of "Celebrity," and "Play it Again, Sam." I also love "Deconstructing Harry" but that's a personal thing. (It's a hate letter to Philip Roth, who ended up with Mia Farrow, so there…) Overrated on this list: "Radio Days," "Shadows and Fog," "New York Story," and "Broadway Danny Rose," which is great, but nowhere near as great as say, "Crimes and Misdemeanors," which I would put # 3, but only because Annie Hall was so original and wonderful in its moment. Otherwise I'd put it at #2; one of the few genuine masterpieces of contemporary cinema. And I'd also argue that Woody, having three of these, has more than any of his peers…
Alter-reviews: Williamstown Theater Festival and Mass MOCA
No music etc, this week, except to say I saw a wonderful production of Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood—a play that somehow eluded me before, even though I am an enormous fan of Stoppard as a playwright, though not so much as a writer of movie scripts—and it was just wonderful, as was especially, Kate Burton, in the starring role. Nobody alive writes as clever plots and sparkling dialogue as Stoppard does and when it’s done well, it’s near perfect theater. And it was done well by the Williamstown Theater Festival, which is sort of on the Williams College campus, and I don’t know if they are always so great, but if you need to be in the Berkshires, as I did, well, this turned out to be a great idea. And so, did, by the way, the family visit to Mass MOCA in North Adams. I am not a big fan usually of contemporary art but this place was brilliant. It’s a fantastic space and the exhibitions were both fun and thought-provoking. I totally think whoever is in charge of Mass MOCA should be offered the job of running LA MOCA since that seems to be open and I’m guessing, pays a ton more money.
First, a point of personal privilege: Almost exactly three years ago, I did my first regular post for the Altercation blog. At the time, a huge exposé was laying bare our runaway national security state, Republicans were stubbornly vowing to repeal Obamacare, and the planet was suffering from record-breaking heat. OK, so not much has changed, but thanks again anyway to Eric for letting me stick around too.