Whatever-Works-premiere-W-015While I was in a traffic jam yesterday, coming home to Atlanta from Maysville on I-85 (All Lanes Blocked …. dreaded words), I happened to catch an interview with Woody Allen on NPR.

He’s doing press to plug his new movie, “Whatever Works,” which opens in Atlanta in early July.

Movie sounds okay … more Allen-Angst, this time starring Larry David as the Woody surrogate and Evan Rachel Wood as the inevitable younger (much) woman … THIS TIME a Southern beauty queen with more dimples than brains.

Anyway, I have a soft spot for Allen since he’s created more enduring works than failures … though the masterpieces, like, say “Annie Hall” or “Hannah and Her Sisters,” are getting to be distant memories.

But listening to his interview, it struck me how time-warped he (and, sadly, his genius) is. The comments are what we could’ve heard 30 years ago, except for hems and hahs about his child bride/stepdaughter.

There are artists who’ve committed far more heinous crimes than that of a horny old man needing his youth re-affirmed by a younger woman (especially a supposedly forbidden younger woman). But for some reason, this transgression has stuck to Allen like … add your own metaphor.

It made me sad — though not as sad as being stuck in traffic with All Lanes Closed.

Perhaps it’s wrong to demand our artists stay creative and, well, personally acceptable for as long as they live. John Huston pulled stuff Allen probably never dreamed of and we just shook our collective heads.

Maybe it’s that you create your own bed (so to speak) and then we, your acolytes, force you to lie in it.

Oh, and Woody’s mom, played by the brilliant Patricia Clarkson, is named Marietta. Allen must’ve heard the name of our northern, um, southern  ‘burb long ago and put it in his drawer along with the rest of the screenplay.

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Eleanor Ringel Cater

Eleanor Ringel Cater

Eleanor Ringel Cater, long-time movie critic for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, also has been a regular contributor to CNN, MSNBC, Entertainment Weekly, Headline News and WXIA, Atlanta's NBC affiliate, and a columnist for TV Guide.