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For the past 20 years, nearly every Woody Allen release has prompted critics to declare, “Woody’s BACK!” And for people who enjoy his films, “particularly the early funny ones,” it’s always thrilling to hear. This summer, it also happens to be true. The unique comic vision, the underdog as hero, the awkward love interest, and the hilarious one-liners are back on the big screen…just not in Blue Jasmine. The unique comic voice belongs to Lake Bell, the writer, director and star of In A World.
Bell’s stunning debut had me humming Seems Like Old Times. It sounds awful to admit, but yes, I’ve left Woody for a younger woman. And I’d feel a lot guiltier if he hadn’t been the one who taught me, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
For a long time, my heart wanted Woody, which is why I was so surprised when I recently added up how many of his movies I have seen (21) to how many I have not seen (20) and realized Blue Jasmine put me at a crossroads. If I skip it then for the first time in forty years, I will have missed as many of his movies as I have seen. READ MORE
Twenty-five years ago, millions of Americans gathered around their sets to watch the launch of a show that would transform late-night TV. This show would fuse comedy and news, offering desk pieces, taped dispatches from correspondents, and interviews with political figures. It would instruct as well as entertain. Yes, a quarter-century ago, America got its first glimpse of a program that had many similarities to The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. It was called The Wilton North Report. The Wilton North Re-what? Exactly.
Still, pop culture history was made that night. I was a writer on the show and forgive me for bragging, but as a late-night programming fiasco, I believe The Wilton North Report stacks up against Thicke of the Night, The Magic Hour, and The Pat Sajak Show. Technically, it was the shortest-lived late-night network show of all time. Fox even gave The Chevy Chase Show more of a chance. And yet Wilton North is worth a moment of remembrance.
“So it’s been 25 years since the greatest writing staff made the worst show in TV history,” laughed Wilton North writer Alec Sokolow when we spoke recently. It’s easy to laugh now, since Alec went on to a long career that includes earning an Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay, Toy Story.
Time flies, especially in Los Angeles where there are no seasons to separate the years. Still, when the holidays roll around, I always think about my first Thanksgiving here. READ MORE