Larry David

Manhattan Movie

Friday is Manhattan‘s 35th birthday, and while Woody Allen‘s black and white love story may not have the prestige of an Annie Hall or the out and out hilariousness of a Love and Death, it does have one unique aspect — one of greatest May/December affairs in cinema. Plus we’re still three years from Annie Hall‘s 40th anniversary, and we’ve got to kill time somehow. But what is it that’s so special about the love between Allen’s balding, bespectacled Isaac Davis and Mariel Hemmingway‘s genteel young Tracy? Well, part of it is that Manhattan isn’t the story of Isaac and Tracy. It’s not really about anyone. It’s a film about a city; something made achingly clear in the title and the first three and a half minutes. We view the scenery of New York, we hear the music equivalent of New York (George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”), and we hear a nerdy, neurotic New Yorker describe himself as having “the coiled sexual prowess of a jungle cat.” Together, those three elements (and Manhattan itself) are Woody Allen’s New York.

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All this business of staring at screens can be a little tiring. Film and television are incredibly entertaining mediums (as is the act of frenetically refreshing various websites for the latest news about film and television), but every once in a while, it can be nice to find a show that’s not a brightly-colored image projected onto something. And like most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by leaping to one’s feet and belting out a showstopping Broadway musical number. It turns out that it’s a fairly common issue because all your favorite stars are rapidly making the change from Hollywood’s sound stages to New York City’s actual stages, and that statement is 100% factual as long as “your favorite stars” are Kevin Smith, the various creative folks behind Frozen, and Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.

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Larry David has reigned as the king of cable comedy for quite a few years now due to the continued success of his HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. His largely improvised look at what it’s like to be a rich, curmudgeonly Hollywood type getting in fights with everyone, everywhere he goes, is a comedy goldmine, and has proved that his network success with Seinfeld was in no way a fluke. To this point though, David hasn’t been able to successfully make the transition to being a feature film presence. When David takes a film role, more often than not, we end up with something like Whatever Works, the Woody Allen film that was probably his least acclaimed work of the past decade. But, if news being reported today is to be believed, Larry’s luck might be about to change. THR has a report that David is currently in negotiations to star in a new comedy from Superbad director Greg Mottola, that’s coming from a treatment by Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel – all writers who David is familiar with from their work on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Reportedly, the still-untitled comedy is going to be largely improv-based – much like David’s current television work – with a loosely scripted plot that’s being kept under wraps used as a framework for heat-of-the-moment riffs.

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With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the original Three Stooges would be most flattered (if they were still alive, of course) by the new Farrelly Brothers‘ film The Three Stooges. They could also very well be turning over in their graves. Even Joe Besser and Curly Joe DeRita might be saddened a bit by this flick, and those two guys were saddled with trying to fill the shoes of the original Curly and his follow-up Shemp. It’s not that The Three Stooges is a terrible film. It’s just unnecessary. Like an extended Saturday Night Live sketch that wears on too long, this movie offers little more than a showcase of Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos doing solid impersonations of the original Larry, Curly and Moe. Sorry, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, but that’s not enough to make a good movie. What was originally rumored to be a serious look at the behind-the-scenes world of the original Stooges, this movie presents the title characters as real men raised in an odd little orphanage where the nuns don’t age and one is actually played by Larry David in nun-drag. Dropped off by a mysterious car when they were babies, Larry, Curly and Moe spend much of their childhood getting into mischief and hoping to be adopted. At one point, Moe actually has a chance to go home with a family, but his insistence that his new parents adopt his other two friends as well kills the deal.

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Editor’s Note: With Ashe taking a much needed vacation, we turn to the insightful talent of writer Maxwell Yezpitelok for this week’s list. Go read more of his work. But read this first. And then go check that stuff out. Woody Allen has to have one of the greatest casting directors in show business, if we overlook the fact that for some reason they keep casting short middle-aged Jewish guys opposite women like Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron. But seriously, look at all the big name stars that keep showing up in his movies, sometimes for the whole movie and sometimes for just a few seconds. In honor of that genius scene in Midnight in Paris where Adrien Brody completely kills it as Dali (only to never again), here are the greatest actor cameos in Allen’s forty-something films:

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Respect has to be given to anyone moving forward on a terrible idea with such gusto. The Three Stooges is a monumentally dumb idea, especially considering the legacy left by the trio in comedy, but if you’re going to blow the goat, you might as well go all out while doing it. The latest piece of absurdity comes from Deadline Poughkeepsie, which reports that Larry David will don the habit to play Mother Mengele for the picture. Because nothing says screwball comedy like dressing a Jewish man in a Catholic garb and giving him the last name of a Nazi who made lamps out of people. Instead of this, can’t The Farrelly Brothers just remake Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls or something?

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George Steinbrenner

As much as anyone who is not a Yankees fan strongly disliked the gigantic personality of George Steinbrenner III, I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness at the news of his death earlier today. Steinbrenner was, for better or worse, an American institution by himself. And certainly a character that flowed throughout the world of pop culture. But he was no more beloved than when he appeared (via the voice acting of Larry David) on Seinfeld. Big Stein (as I like to call him) was always a wonderful bit player in the world of Seinfeld, mostly because he played around (inadvertently) with the insecurities of one George Costanza (Jason Alexander). He was a favorite, and like Seinfeld, he will be missed. For more than just his work in the world of baseball, but for the big personality that, by proxy, gave us so many laughs. Click through the jump to watch some highlights of Larry David’s work as George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld.

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Seinfeld Cast

Twenty years ago yesterday (May 31), Seinfeld premiered on NBC. It was 1990 and I was only 7 years old, so it wasn’t a significant moment in my life. But it was a significant moment in the world of television.

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AwkwardOffice

Prepare to cover your eyes, as we reveal the kings of the awkward laugh. Don’t. Look. Away. Wimps.

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whatever-works-1

The combination of Woody Allen’s return to New York City and Larry David’s presence as the lead in his new film never pays off as it should.

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Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood

Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood join the cast of Woody Allen’s latest film, and the universe stops to ponder just exactly where things started to go wrong. Signs point to the Duckbilled Platypus.

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