Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Irrational Man

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Irrational Man (Sony Pictures Classics)


Written & Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Joaquin PhoenixEmma StoneParker Posey & Jamie Blackley

Woody Allen syndrome (Formerly Kevin Smith syndrome [Formerly Roger Corman disease]) Also known as the attack of the lazy film-maker. The act of phoning it in because your early work has earned you many loyal fans. Fans who will see every piece of shit movie you release. When a director’s fan base ruins their creativity. Forces them into a comfort zone out of which they never have to venture because the base is large enough to support making the same garbage again and again. The moment I lose respect for my heroes.

Verdict: SPOILED

Irrational Man

“Whoa that’s harsh. Even for Mel.” “He kind of has a point.”


Irrational Man is not a good movie. It’s the same old thing from Woody Allen. His movies are about people behaving badly or about May-December romances or some philosophy lesson. Irrational Man is about a philosophy professor who gets into a romance with a young student and then commits the perfect murder. We’ve all seen this one before from Woody Allen. He’s been running over the same old ground for a while.

Irrational Man 2

“Isn’t this the same picture but cropped.” “I think he’s making a point.”

I’ve seen this review before. Every year there’s a new Woody Allen film and I say the same thing. Blah blah blah. I used to be a big fan. Blah blah blah. I don’t judge him by his personal life but by his work. Blah blah blah. His work hasn’t been good for a long time because he never takes chances. He puts himself on the screen and calls it courage. But we already know him. He’s an old man who likes young girls, wants to kill someone and get away with it (I’m not gonna say who) and thinks his knowledge of European philosophers qualifies him to comment on other people’s lives.

Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey

“Hi.” “Hello.” “What’s your name?” “I’m age-appropriate.” “What a beautiful name. I’m Woody.”

So this is a pattern of shitty work from me and him. Yet every four years or so he comes up with something mildly good. Or gets a wonderful performance out of an actor. Or finds that old Woody Allen that’s been buried under the personal baggage, psychological issues and old age. But Irrational Man is not one of those films. It’s a film made for his fans. The folks that see all his films no matter how bad. I watched this happen with Kevin Smith. He had enough die-hard fans to justify his crappy work. Like Kevin, Woody can just do different versions of Clerks for the rest of his career.

Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix

“Is this supposed to be creepy?” “No. I think Woody is trying to desensitize us.”

Irrational Man stars Woody’s latest muse, Emma Stone. She’s lovely and her acting style and cadence is perfect for Allen’s words. Joaquin Phoenix is great here but he’s great in everything. There was a time, when he was still good at his job, when I would remark how every character and every actor in a Woody Allen film sounded like him. But these days he finds these actors fully formed. Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone. They already sound like him. And this is all he has to do for the rest of his career.

Irrational Man Cast

“Remember what me and your mom always told you.” “I know.” “You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Now dry those tears.” “Thanks dad.”

Irrational Man is a collection of scenes from other Woody Allen movies stitched together to form something new this year. Every year he does the same thing. Woody keeps churning out films like a zombie. He’s a zombie director.The mind is dead but the body is still technically still alive.

– Mel


2 thoughts on “Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Irrational Man

  1. Harsh dude, yeah he can miss the mark once in while (the premiss to this one feels like way too familiar territory, I don’t think I’ll rush to see it) and lately he’s hasn’t done as well as he’s done in the past BUT I think he’s one of those directors who’s crap is far above Brett Ratner’s or Michael Bay’s masterpieces. I loved Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine. Both recent top films of his. Even recent so so films like Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona are worth watching once. Looking over his entire filmography, he has many more hits than misses.


    • Michael Bay and Brett Ratner do not have masterpieces. I understand that Woody is a god of film-making. I love his early work. But these days every third of fourth film is watchable. And when it’s watchable, it reminds me of old Woody. But when it’s not watchable, it’s painful. Blue Jasmine is an okay film but the performance by Cate Blanchett is amazing. I actually liked the one with Penelope Cruz but again there it was the actors that made it enjoyable. Emma Stone is not Cate or Penelope and these last two with her have been garbage. I wish he would just take the time and make a good film instead of churning one out per year. He says because if he doesn’t give himself a harsh deadline he would never stop tinkering. I think a few of these movies could use some tinkering. And in my opinion I would say he’s batting .500 at this point but if he keeps this up his average is going down. I like Stanley Kubrick or Oliver Stone. It’s quality not quantity. I don’t know. I’m still gonna watch every one because it’s Woody.


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