Monday, July 06, 2009

Larry David is The Perfect Woody Allen

Woody Allen usually makes comedies, but has made a few drama films as well. Besides looking at a Woody Allen film as a Woody Allen comedy or a Woody Allen drama, I really look at Woody Allen movies under these two catagories:

1. Woody Allen movies starring Woody Allen

2. Woody Allen movies that don’t star Woody Allen

I honestly prefer to see Woody Allen films in which he is one of the characters. The films by him that don’t star him usually don’t truly feel like Woody Allen films to me… until now.

For the first time in his long career, Woody Allen has finally found an actor who can take the place of himself in movies. That actor is Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld. Many people, including myself, did not know about Larry David until he had his own show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. In that show, he plays himself. Woody Allen seems to be the person who takes actors who have made it big in Hollywood and then find a way to fit them in his movies.

If I was a fly on the wall, I would have loved to have heard Woody Allen watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and saying, “That’s me!”

Watching Woody Allen’s newest film, Whatever Works, what stands out to me the mosts is how Larry David fits perfectly into the role that seemed perfect for Woody Allen to play himself. Watching the film, I did not miss Woody Allen the way I miss an actor in a sequel who decides not to reprise the role of a character. Watching the movie Hannibal, I really wished that Jodie Foster played Clarise. When a character is memorable, replacing the actor or actress can make watching the film difficult. However, watching this film, Larry David was able to fit into the role perfectly.

Larry David essentially played the same kind of person he did in Curb Your Enthusiasm, which would be himself. Woody Allen also usually a character who is just like himself in films. The reason why this works so well is because Larry David is so much like Woody Allen that he was able to fit into the role without having to alter his personality. In a way, Larry David’s performance of Woody Allen is either an amazing portrayal of Woody Allen or not a performance at all.

Seeing a Woody Allen film without Woody Allen was perfectly alright for me because Woody Allen found his ultimate match in Larry David. I hope that Woody Allen uses Larry David again in more of his films.

I have to also say, I really enjoyed the film Whatever Works and recommend that others see it as well.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Billboard Denying HIStory

I always liked how Michael Jackson named an album HIStory because it is the story of his career. The album HIStory is not the one that is being denied, but instead, Michael Jackson’s history is being obscured by a rule that won’t actually help anyone.

There have been times in the past when an artist has two albums that hold the top two positions on the Billboard 200 list. This has happened when an artist releases two albums at once. I remember it happened when Guns ‘N Roses released Use Your Illusion Vol. I and II on the same day. I bought both of those albums that week.

I could be wrong, but I think that this is the first time that one artist had the top three positions in album sales in one week. This is history and should be celebrated as a possible once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

The problem is that when you look at the Billboard 200 list, The number one album is listed as the Black Eyed Peas. You may be wondering why this happened. The reason is because Billboard has a rule that prevents older albums from taking up spots on the list.

I understand the thought that they want the Billboard 200 list to bring attention to new albums and new artists, but this is a record that has to be covered up to almost no one’s advantage. I can imagine if a new artist had an album that would have been number one on the list, and that artist would have been pushed down to number two, three, or four. I could see an artist saying, “I would have reached number one had Michael Jackson not died.” But that’s not the situation here.

The Black Eyed Peas album had already reached the number one spot previously. In fact, the highest new album is by Regina Spektor and is ranked number three without the Michael Jackson albums included. To say that Regina Spektor is ranked number three instead of number six is not much of a career boost. She would not have been number one that week, whether Michael Jackson’s albums were included or not.

The Billboard 200 did not include Michael Jackson’s 2008 re-release of Thriller on the Billboard chart for the same reason. When it was re-released to mark the 25th anniversary of the album, it would have been the number two album on the list.

But this could possibly be the only time that an artist would ever sell the top three albums in one week, and to pretend that it did not happen is like trying to re-write the history books.

Why should we even have the Billboard 200 if it is not going to be the true test of album sales? Couldn’t another company be responsible for publishing who really has the most sales? What gives the Billboard organization the right to disqualify real results and pretend that the Black Eyed Peas were the top selling artist of the week?

I think to pretend that history did not occur is a slap in Michael Jackson’s face and an insult to the intelligence of the public. Furthermore, it is a very bad public relations move on the part of the Billboard organization. I will say that they are consistant, because they denied Michael Jackson entry last year with the re-release of Thriller. But this practice by the Billboard organization is wrong and it only makes them look bad in the eyes of the public during a time in which many fans are grieving the loss of the greatest artist of at least the last three decades.

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