Before Obama leaves office – and that is more important than legislation affecting climate change – he needs to place a universal ban on production of film pollution by Woody Allen, whose latest movie, The Irrational Man, has denigrated what was once considered an art form to by-the-numbers screenwriting in which all the characters are an iteration of Woody Allen’s troubled persona.
The main character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who has taken on a grotesque belly akin to a five-month pregnancy, is a philosophy professor at a small college on the East Coast that apparently doesn’t mind if potbellied professors screw other professors as well as their students while guzzling pure whiskey from a flask while staggering across campus grounds. OK, this scenario takes place 20 years ago, but even 50 years ago when I attended that most liberal of colleges, Reed, this guy would have been sent packing to Betty Ford had it existed then.
In so many of Allen’s movies, an older man lusts for and gets a much younger woman. And this older man always reflects the self-doubting neuroses of the filmmaker, who himself lusted after his former wife’s (or was it just a paramour?) daughter and ended up marrying her. Basically, Allen argues that morality gets in the way of reality, as in the sexual urges of his older men.
In The Irrational Man, Allen would argue that morality gets in the way of one’s lust for life as well. And even though the film’s title might belie its moral, the movie makes the unsettling point that crime does pay and is in fact necessary for becoming a complete mensch.