Bananas (1971)

So far, this is the earliest of the Woody Allen pictures I’ve seen. The subject matter is once again again very unique, parodying revolutionary movements and Latin America dictatorships, something that was very topical at the time of the release. This is still the period where Allen did just comedies, and it really does showcase his brand of comedy very well. As an interesting side note, the movie features one of Sylvester Stallone’s earliest movie roles, as an uncredited thug bullying people in the subway that beats Allen up after he tries to be a hero and throw the ruffians out.

My personal favorite scenes in the movie are the opening and ending scenes, both of which are depicted as if they were televised boxing championship events, with TV announcers delivering second by second commentary. It’s pretty funny when they do this in the beginning of the movie as a play-by-play of the political assassination of the Banana Republic president and the following coup d’état of the entire country, but the absurdity of the joke works even better in the ending of the movie where they do it again, this time by covering the consummation of the marriage between Woody Allen and Louise Lasser on their wedding night. Now it feels even more like a real boxing match, as the bed is surrounded with ring side seats and the audience cheer the contestants as they march to get under the covers. And to top it all off, they have Allen and Lasser give post-coital interview commenting on how the sex was.

Another very funny scene that comes to mind that I can’t get enough of was an early form of cringe comedy,  that takes place before Allen’s character goes to Latin America to join the revolution. Any guy old enough to remember the time before Internet can relate this one, I’m sure. It features Woody in a newsstand, browsing porn magazines. Whenever no one is looking at his direction he sneaks a quick peek inside one of them, and when it comes to time to buy one, he tries to play it really cool by picking up several buffer magazines like Time and Newsweek to make himself look like a respectable modern man, while slipping one adult magazine to the bottom of the pile on the sly, only for his plan to go horribly wrong due to guy at the counter having to ask with a very loud voice from another employee working at the shop how much the porn mag is suppose to cost.

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