How to Be Single
Think of "How to Be Single" as a cinematic Whitman’s Sampler: There are enough pieces that work to offset the pieces that don’t.
NEW YORK -- So there I was, sitting in Woody Allen’s living room, up in the penthouse overlooking Central Park, waiting for Woody and meditating on the dimensions of his talent. There must not be, I decided, many people who can simultaneously star in their own comic strip and make a movie the critics call Bergmanesque… and then of course there’s Woody the jazz clarinetist, and Woody’s Academy Award for “Annie Hall,” and the first prize in the O. Henry Awards that one of his New Yorker short stories won this year. How can a guy this successful still be seeing an analyst? How could I get the name of his shrink?
After the film festival thing, William Holden said, “I flew back to the States on the Concorde. There was this guy sitting next to me who pulled out a pocket calculator, and so I asked him to figure out something for me. If I'd covered 16,486 miles in 73 hours, I said, how many miles an hour was my body averaging?”
Grand Rapids, Michigan – “I like to fire a movie like a bullet,” Paul Schrader was explaining, as if he were making death threats, not screenplays. “Then I stay with it until it hits its target.”
Hollywood, California – “It all comes down to one very simple fact,” Paul Mazursky was explaining. “Betsy and I have been married for 24 years, and during that time almost all of our friends have been divorced. The usual way these things work out is that, after the divorce, you find yourself either seeing more of the woman, or more of the man: It's hard to stay neutral.
“You know where this movie goes?” Yaphet Kotto was asking. “It goes right past ‘On the Waterfront,' that's where it goes. Paul Shrader took that ‘Waterfront' myth and smashed it, that's what he did. I like this picture so much, I even went to see it. It's the first movie I've ever been in that I went to see.”
“There wasn't any one single horrendous event,” Kim Darby was saying, thinking aloud. “And I never said to myself, all right, I'm going to drop out. It just sort of happened more naturally. I decided to stop running from here to there, and sit down with myself and do a little thinking. You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to wear myself better.”
When Howard Hawks came to visit the Chicago Film Festival in 1968, they asked Charles Flynn to get up on the stage and introduce him. And Flynn, who was helping to run Doc Films at the University of Chicago at the time, gave an introduction that was so simple in its eloquence that I remembered it the other day, when I learned Hawks had died.
Let me tell you two stories about Charles Chaplin, who died on Christmas Day. Both stories take place in Venice, where every one of Chaplin's dozens of films was shown during a tribute at the 1972 Venice Film Festival. Day after day, for two weeks, Chaplin's movies were shown at the Palace of Cinema, and day after day the parents of Venice brought their kids to the free screenings, and the kids laughed with delight at these moments that were filmed fifty years before they were born.
They'd been waiting since eight in the morning, and now it was noon, and still there was no sign of Sylvester Stallone. The fans stood behind the police barricades around Sacred Heart Church, where a scene from Norman Jewison's "F.I.S.T", was going to be shot later that day.
When Lillian Gish arrived at the Armour Mansion in Lake Bluff for her role in Robert Altman's “A Wedding”, one of the first people she ran into was Dina Merrill, the actress whose mother was Marjorie Merriweather Post, the famous socialite.