Pick Your Pop Culture

So, I've like written about music for 25 years, and like I've got a lot to say and not enough people to pay me for it, and like I like to write about TV, and books, and movies, and stuff like that.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Memories of Stardust Memories

Do you ever think it might be interesting to go back 25 years and re-live your adult life again? I mean, take the blueprint that was you as a child and teen, and avoid any mistakes you made after that? Or maybe, just appreciate the possibilities you had which have since passed by?

Nah, I don’t get that way very often, and for the most part, I’m one heck of a happy guy. But, I just watched “Stardust Memories,” the 1980 Woody Allen movie, and I wondered what my 21-year-old self would have done with it back when it was new. At the time, I had no real understanding that women were as human as I was, or to be more precise, I didn’t understand why they acted the way they did even though they were clearly as human as I was. So, I think I would have accepted all of Woody Allen’s views of women as being a lot more profound than they might actually have been.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Allen is a profound observer of the human condition, but all his profundity is in relationship to himself. He knows what it feels like to be a filmmaker looking for deeper meaning than a simple laugh, while his public wants him to stay the clown he once was. He understands the demands of stardom, and the ways the public can intrude on real life. He certainly knows his desires for women, and the mysterious pulls they can have on him, especially when they are being inscrutable, which they mostly are because he looks at them as something he can obtain, rather than as a person as fallible as he is.

I felt a strange twinge of nostalgia watching this movie. I hadn’t seen it before, so the feeling that came over me had to do with who I was when movies like this were common enough to make money in theatres. Obviously, Allen was paying tribute here and there to Bergman and Fellini, moving in and out of storytelling mode and playing around with symbolism, making fun of it by overstating it. And, back when meta-fiction was far more rare than it is today, when it seems as if everybody on any screen knows he or she is being filmed, the fact that the actors and audience are shown commenting on the film itself was charmingly fresh. I would have loved this movie when I was 21, looking to break with convention, dreaming about the nature of women, wanting to be thinking deep thoughts every day of my life.

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