"I'm the worst person in the world to have to introduce a film of my own," Woody Allen shrugged in the spotlight at Pacific Place Theaters, making a very brief appearance before a screening of his latest comedy, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. "I always think that this is going to be my Citizen Kane, and then I start to make my film and, as my friend [Annie Hall co-writer] Marshall Brickman says, the truck with compromises pulls up every day."
He was Woody Allen doing Woody Allen, riffing on his own insecurities, which is exactly what a packed house of Woody Allen fans wants.
The Woodman may have a personal life that, for many, has obscured his priceless contribution to cinema, but for all the damage—and the lackluster quality of some of his recent work—he is Woody Allen. He's just older and considerably thinner and about as imposing as teenage Mariel Hemingway was in Manhattan. He's still the little guy running from a giant chicken in Sleeper, still the person doubting the logic of being alive while trying to embrace the foolish things we do in the name of love. (Speaking of which, yes, Soon-Yi was there, too—she stood implacably at the side of the house, not looking like anyone who would ever say, "Mom, I think Dad and I are gonna shack up.")
Allen needn't have worried about the effectiveness of his own intro because, in fact, John Curley is the worst person in the world to introduce a film of Woody Allen's. It isn't that the Evening Magazine drone said anything embarrassing in his minor hosting duties—he was fine—it's just . . . John Curley?! He seemed to be there simply because he's on television and knows who Woody Allen is. Should we be steeling ourselves for more such pairings? A terrified imagination begins to wander: Ladies and gentlemen, we're so happy to have Gloria Steinem in town tonight, and here to introduce her is Q13's Leslie Miller.
After several bizarrely strict requests to give the filmmaker only "a subdued welcome" (is Woody really that fragile?), we got a glimpse of the world's most famous neurotic.
"This isn't your normal thing," Curley told him, commenting on Allen's press-shy persona.
"I don't have a normal thing," Allen admitted.
He was only around for a minute or two, and he left us with a plea for his film that could easily apply to his wearying public battles.
"When you talk about it—and you're going to talk about it—be kind."