Jun 14, 2007

Janet Maslin: Spoiler Alert

An ancient hatred of mine is back!
Lo and behold, the nefarious Janet Maslin, erstwhile film critic of the New York Times, is at it again.
She used to tell all the jokes in her reviews of funny movies. She wouldn't leave one joke out of the page, if she could help it. Thus, she basically ruined every comedy for the people who read her. You'd go to the movie only to realize you had already heard all the jokes. Mirth-killer. Party-pooper. Idiot. She put me in a homicidal mood, I have to confess. On a molotov cocktail throwing, sharpshooting, arson provoking, guillotine wielding, rope twisting around the neck, kind of mood.
Well, apparently, time has not changed anything. They still, incomprehensibly, employ her at the Times, where she is still in charge of telling other people's jokes. Today, she tells all the jokes in some old Woody Allen books and in some new Woody Allen books. So if you are in the mind of buying such books, you have been warned, do not read her review.

Speaking of Woody Allen, I don't find him funny anymore. Not even if Janet Maslin tells the jokes. I find him actually excruciatingly unfunny. I was once one of his biggest fans, but lately, let's say in the last 10 years, I can't stand his movies and I can't stand his smug little pieces in The New Yorker.
He's one of those artists who has decided he's not going to live in the same world with the rest of us (like Stanley Kubrick, another neurotic Jew, at the end of his life). Our world is irrelevant to Woody Allen, and so his world seems irrelevant to me. It kind of tries to look like our world, but it really isn't because there isn't one shred of reality in it. His movies all take place in a fake New York, (or lately, in a fake Europe) all populated by women who are either horrendously shrewish or cloyingly ditzy or cartoonishly sexual, but none of them realistic or sympathetic. The last movie of his I saw was that thing about the tennis player and I thought it was contrived and airless, as if conceived inside a can of peas.

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