Sunday, February 3, 2008


"Bananas" (Woody Allen, 1971) One of "his earlier, funnier ones," as he so famously spoofed them in "Stardust Memories." It is early, and Howard Cosell giving play-by-play on a military coup contains a movie full of belly-laughs. But I'm not so sure you could call it a film, so much as a collection of black-out sketches tied together with a burrito-thin junta-based plot. Yes, you can see early roles of Conrad Bain and Sylvester Stallone. And Allen's comedy still had that nasty streak of bad-taste sexual humor (in a porn shop that also carries "The National Review," he tells the counter-guy he's "doing a sociological study on perversion. I'm up to Advanced Child Molesting"), and his performances were like Harold Lloyd on benzedrine. It sometimes hard to tell if the Woodman is performing or going into a sneezing fit. But a lot of the ideas are choice: the dream of the two guys being carried on crucifixes...until a fight breaks out for a lone, remaining parking space, the commercial for "New Testament" cigarettes (Priest: "I smoke them. He smokes them."), the helpful instructions Allen gives to a person trying to park, and the line "If you're gonna fool around with women's lib, you're gonna need somebody to support you."

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