As we get older, the years seem to fly by rapidly. Before we know it, we’re 75 years old and going into pre-production on our 42nd feature film. This is the reality of Woody Allen, the prolific writer/director/neurotic who, regardless of what the critics and audiences think, puts out a new feature film every single year. Though I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Midnight in Paris yet, I read nothing but positive reviews of the film. This gives me hope that the fire that helped give us our favorite films is still well lit on that menorah of his, regardless of what the cynic-critics say.  There was a point in the early 2000s when people started to question whether or not he was still a good filmmaker.

This is when I’ve come to realize that people, and critics alike, are very nostalgic and long for the past, even if it is just subconsciously. This is the case with Woody, however, what I think happened is that it’s not that his best days are behind him, but that Woody just wasn’t willing to change in a way that the industry has changed. Does this make him a bad filmmaker? Certainly not. Woody basically stayed the same, that’s the dilemma. He’s always wanted to make films with themes and characters that interest him, rather than interest his audience. We’ve just always been lucky enough to share the same taste as him. Woody has managed to find a niche for himself that has worked for 40+ years.

This is why there is no denying: “there’s no business like show business” (for a lack of a better cliché phrase), however, show business isn’t what it was when Allen was in his peak. We forget that entertainment nowadays is disposable. We no longer even want to pay for our entertainment anymore, which makes it hard to truly appreciate it a work of art, especially in such a competitive industry. This rings true when there are certain trends that filmmakers refuse to follow (3D, vampires, 3D Vampires, etc) that leave them over-shadowed. This is only due the every-day man or woman that sees movies as strictly as a form of entertainment, rather than a work of art. One could easily become irrelevant in a matter of minutes because of that fact, but Woody never allowed this to happen, so he must be doing something right.

Someone as prolific as Woody is obviously going to have a few of their films panned every now and then, but it seems like the recent films of Woody aren’t getting anymore love from that critics than an Uwe Boll movie. People claim his recent films lack the quality and originality his earlier works such as Annie Hall (obviously), Hannah and her Sisters, and even Deconstructing Harry had. Film fanatics at one point in the early 2000’s seem to have disowned him (and I’m not talking about the very same fanatics that still write notes to the Academy demanding they give Star Wars the best picture instead of Annie Hall after 34 years). We have become jaded as an audience and expect a lot. Because if you can’t entertain us, then there are is someone else out there that will.

It’s a good thing he never reads the reviews and just focuses on his next project because every now and then we are presented with a gem (Yes, I would put Whatever Works in this category alongside Vicky Christina Barcelona). Woody writes because it’s his job. He claims when he first got into the business, a writer merely wrote to earn his paycheck, and couldn’t afford to sit around and wait for inspiration. This habit (that all writers should learn from) has obviously been ingrained in him since he started sending in jokes to newspaper and writing for television shows such as The Sid Caesar Show. We wonder why every film he releases isn’t regarded a masterpiece. We’re expecting too much from a man who basically created his own genre.

If the saying: “You’re only as good as your last piece of work” is true, then Woody Allen is good filmmaker, then a bad one, then good one, and so on, and so forth. Woody will always have his talent that made him great in the first place. However, sometimes that talent isn’t always there, so your hard work has to make up for it, and by all means, the man works hard. He may not always be putting out quality films, by the critics standards (and especially commercial standards) but he’s doing what he loves and makes the type of films he’s good at which is rare to find these days (again in amidst of all the trends). I find it exciting to know we’re going to get a new Allen film every year, because they generally are smarter and more though provoking than 90% of the studio films.

Some people go their entire life never knowing joy or finding something that they are truly passionate about. At times it may feel like he’s going through the motions, but wherever you stand on Allen’s filmmaking, there’s no denying that the man takes his craft seriously. Professional Athletes don’t always get MVP awards or win championships, but they obviously have enough talent to compete at a professional level. Woody Allen’s films still compete in festivals and are anticipated year after year, thus proving that Woody Allen will always be on the top of his game.

You either love him, or hate him (okay, some people are just indifferent), but either way, there’s no denying that his passion for writing will forever be ubiquitous, even if you’re only a fan of his earlier work.