Why Does It Exist?

Podcast #49: Picking Up The Pieces (2000)

In Podcasts on March 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm
It's impossible to understand exactly how bad the lighting situation is in this movie, but here's a taste.

It’s impossible to understand exactly how bad the lighting situation is in this movie, but here’s a taste.

There are only a dozen movies that Woody Allen appears in as an actor without having any creative input behind the scenes; of that dozen, almost half are throwaway cameos and supporting roles. Picking Up the Pieces breathes pretty rarefied air, being one of a handful of movies that The Bespectacled One appears in a leading role in; too bad it happens to be an enormous sack of crap, a Day-Glo hallucination of a dark comedy filled with recognizable faces and very few recognizable jokes.

David Schwimmer in various states of undress! Sacrilegious jokes! Elliott Gould doing a weird German-Mexican accent! Legendary DP Vittorio Storaro FUCKING LOSING IT! You can’t go wrong. Or you can go very wrong, depending on the way you look at this. Film critic / boy wonder / Fantasia programmer Ariel Esteban Cayer returns for a rootin’, tootin’ good time! Ariel’s fabled presentation on Joseph Gordon-Levitt (appearing here as a pimply kid with no real purpoe) is this Sunday at Katacombes.

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Music this week by We Were Not The Savages. You can find the track Let’s Talk About Me and You at their Bandcamp page and catch them when they launch their self-titled EP at L’Esco in Montreal on April 6th.

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  1. Great episode. Always like Ariel’s commentary. You both sound sort of psychologically beaten up by the end.

    What I would love to see is a half-hour documentary response where the producers, cast and crew are interviewed for their take on why this movie existed. Then we could compare that with your guys’ speculation.

    I would add to your guesses that probably the producers threw around the “director of Like Water for Chocolate” and a lot of the actors thought they would be participating in a potential art-house success. I was in college when that movie came out. In those days, there was only like one arthouse movie released at a time, so it was the big deal. it was feted by the critics, but also was full of food porn (early days of the foodie movement) and a hot naked Mexican actress, so it really spoke to urban liberals at the time. It was also coming on the heels of the magic realism trend of that time, which was all the rage on college campuses (every chick was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez so you read it too in hopes of getting laid).

    Also, I’m not quite sure about the time, but there was a period when Woody Allen was having a lot of financial difficulties in getting his movies made. This was before he figured out the european tax shelter technique. So I’m guessing that he might have gotten a nice chunk of cash for being in this movie and that’s what sold him on it.

    Anyways, another fun episode. You are doing the lord’s work here.

  2. […] Why Does It Exist? podcast features Picking Up the Pieces, the 2000 film by Alfonso Arau, starring Woody Allen. The film is widely regarded as a bit of a trainwreck. ‘Why Does It Exist?’ has covered many more obscure trainwrecks and like the title suggested, didn’t even know existed! […]

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