"Doesn't he know he's got the greatest gift anyone can have, the gift of laughter?" Woody Allen stars as filmmaker Sandy Bates, who, like John Sullivan in Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels, no longer wants to make comedies. As studio executives threaten to wrest control of his latest film, he reluctantly attends a weekend film-culture festival in his honor, where he is besieged by journalists ("I'm doing a piece on the shallow indifference of celebrities"), groupies ("I drove all the way from Bridgeport to make it with you"), and persistent oddballs ("Can I talk to you about my idea I have for a movie? It's a comedy based on the whole Guyana mass suicide").
After the exhilarating Manhattan, Stardust Memories was a dramatic departure that threw critics and fans for an outraged loop. But out of all of Allen's films, it is perhaps the one most ripe for rediscovery. It poses the same dilemma Stephen King would later tackle in Misery: What happens when a popular artist is held captive by an adoring audience that doesn't want him to change? The answer may come from an extraterrestrial, who in one of the many fantasy sequences advises the comedian, "You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes."
The film is impeccably cast with Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, and Marie-Christine Barrault (of Cousine/Cousine) as the three women in Sandy's life. There are also choice bits by Sharon Stone as a fantasy woman on a train, Daniel Stern as an aspiring actor, Louise Lasser as Sandy's overwhelmed secretary, Laraine Newman as an unimpressed studio executive, and Tony Roberts as Tony Roberts. My own aunt, Victoria Zussin, utters the film's most famous line as the patron who tells Sandy she loves his movies, especially "your early funny ones." --Donald Liebenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As a huge Allen fan I warmly recommend this movie. It's quirky, neurotic, romantic, and generally all of the things that make us love Woody so much in the first place. Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by Bernard Chapin
There are 2 kinds of Woody fans- those who like his earlier silly stuff (ala Mel Brooks) and those who appreciate his deeper side. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2004 by Crazy2Bhere
Strange movie, undoubtably influenced by some of the European masters. A bit different than the typical Allen fare, almost melancholic. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003
I am a new Woody Allen fan having just discovered his brillance this year. With that having been said, this film is not up to par with the rest that I've seen from Woody. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2002 by A. Neal
I am baffled that this film does not receive more acclaim than it has. In the pantheon of Allen films it easily ranks near the top. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2002
Definitely one of his best. Personally I think it was originally panned because it was sort of proactively mocking its critics, due to the seemingly autobiographical slant of it. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2001 by Tim Rosenstein
When discussing the two things in this life that man has complete control over, Sandy Bates (Woody Allen) notes that only art and masturbation fall into that category. Read morePublished on July 2 2001 by Mike Stone
Why do I choose to waste these few minutes of my life talking about a movie that few people have ever seen and that fewer still want to resurrect? Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2001 by R. David Roe