Woody Allen > Roman Polanski: Thoughts on Midnight In Paris (2010)

Here’s the thing about my part-time job at the Cinecave: when I first started working there I thought “Oh, cool, I’ll go see movies all the time.” And we have a lot of cool movies: movies about violent insurance adjusters, and choppy-happy samurai, and not-so-ethical wrestling coaches. Films about a search for a mother’s past, New York fashion photographers, and beautiful French princesses and the men who love her.

And then there comes the reality of the part-time job: the part where on nights when I don’t have to come in to work, I really don’t like coming in to watch movies. I keep telling myself that I should take one free night and stop in and watch like three in a row but, honestly, I don’t think my ass could take that much sitting (especially after a full day at work).

Tonight I went out to the Cinecave with my Office Boo to see the new Woody Allen film, Midnight In Paris. Here are two other things about working in the Cinecave: one, when working as an usher, I have to walk into ongoing films on a regular basis to make sure everything’s okay in the audience and with the projection. Paris has been open for three or more weeks, and in that time, I probably saw about fifteen minutes of the film here and there. The second thing is that I hear guests telling me all the time if they liked the film or not. I don’t think I spoke to a single person who didn’t like Midnight in Paris.

I mean, it’s about a guy (Owen Wilson) who travels back in time from modern day Paris to 1920s Paris where he rubs shoulders with Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and yada-yada-yada. Total appeal to the English major I was, writer I consider myself, and avid reader my apartment’s shelves are a testament to.

Then again: Woody Allen. Here’s what I know about Woody Allen: he divorced his wife and married their step-daughter, which makes him a pretty fucking creepy guy in my book, but since there’s no evidence he was screwing her while she was underage (as far as I’m aware) he’s still well above Roman Polanski who raped a fifteen year old and is celebrated by Hollywood.

You know what? Fuck Roman Polanski.

Anyway, so back to Woody Allen. I am not what you would call a fan of Woody Allen films. I think I’ve seen two. Annie Hall, which I first saw as a kid on a family vacation in Vermont. I asked my Mom, “Is the whole movie him standing here talking?” I saw it later as an adult and liked it far more. And the second was Miranda Miranda which was just a total waste of my not particularly valuable time but I suppose I could’ve been on my knees in the bathroom bleach scrubbing the floor or something.

Time to get back to the movie. Owen Wilson is in Paris with his fiancee Rachel McAdams and her parents played by Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy. I never really bought Owen and Rachel as a couple — and no, I’ve never seen Wedding Crashers. Owen’s a writer who’s been stuck writing Hollywood blockbusters for years but is working on a literary novel. Walking around the city at midnight, he finds he can transport himself back to the city’s 1920s, what he considers the Golden Age of Paris, and rubs shoulders with the cultural elite of the day.

Pretty decent flick, actually. In my opinion, Corey Stoll stole the show as Earnest Hemingway. Although, truthfully, the first five minutes or so of the film, which is nothing but beauty shots of the City of Light over the course of a day, was probably my favorite overall sequence.