Woody Allen

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"My brain: it's my second favorite organ."

"To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you're getting this down."

Woody Allen is a director, actor, screenwriter, comedian, playwright, musician, story writer, essayist, and patron saint of Your Mileage May Vary.

His real name is Allen Stewart Konigsberg. He is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent -- which is obvious from Konigsberg, but less so from his official stage name.

He was born in 1935 in New York City, where most of his movies are set. He even named one of his great films Manhattan.

His childhood wasn't particularly happy, and so he began writing dark-tinged humor -- and was already selling the occasional joke by his mid-teens.

At seventeen, he entered NYU and the City College, but was quickly expelled. He started to write scripts to shows like The Tonight Show, appeared in Candid Camera segments like when he had temp secretaries dictating a love letter, and doing Stand Up Comedy exaggerating his own traits. He's never stopped, though the medium, and eventually the Author Avatar, has varied. Among other traits, his character is nearly always a Sickly Neurotic Geek, and full of Jewish Complaining.

He started directing movies in 1965. Since then, he has directed 41 movies that range from Screwball Comedy to Drama. He was nominated for an Academy Award twenty-one times, including a record fourteen nominations for Best Screenplay. He has won four Academy Awards -- three for Best Screenplay (Annie Hall; Hannah and Her Sisters and Midnight in Paris) and one for Best Director (Annie Hall). His Annie Hall famously beat Star Wars for the Best Picture Oscar. Allen himself is not really interested in awards; he showed up at the Oscars ceremony only once in 2002, when he encouraged producers to continue filming their movies in New York after 9/11.

Most of his comedies have a certain amount of drama, varying with his mood over time. Most of his dramas have a certain amount of comedy, but the comedy is more diluted in them.

The soundtracks of his movies tend to be jazz music and old (as in 1920s-1930s) standards, no matter when or where the film is set. He did write a musical once, Everyone Says I Love You, but the songs are all lifted directly from that era.

He's undergone psychoanalysis for 30 years. Exactly what good it's doing, no one knows, but his experience with psychiatrists has made its way into numerous works.

He's also notorious for being a heavy womanizer. He has been involved with Diane Keaton, Louise Lasser, Harlene Rosen, Stacey Nelka, Mia Farrow -- and Soon-Yi Previn, Mia's adopted daughter (and thus Woody's former quasi-step daughter). Naturally, almost every single plotline of his scripts is about sex, adultery and relationships, among other interesting things.

He also plays the clarinet and has written humorous essays and short stories. (There's one about Count Dracula who finds what looks like a perfect lunch -- only to find out he woke up during a solar eclipse. And the apartment is Danish modern with no shades.)

While his work in the 70s and 80s are all almost universally loved by fans his films of the 90s and (especially) the 00s are divisive amongst critics and audiences with Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and (most recently) Midnight in Paris receiving high praise while other pictures- namely The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Hollywood Ending- being not well thought of by most. It should be noted, however, that even the most critically derided films of his filmography still tend to have a few fans here and there.

A somewhat abridged list of movies is presented here:
Woody Allen provides examples of the following tropes:

Sandy Bates: But shouldn't I stop making movies and do something that counts, like-like helping blind people or becoming a missionary or something?
Martian: Let me tell you, you're not the missionary type. You'd never last. And incidentally, you're also not Superman; you're a comedian. You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes.