Book info

Getting Even (1978)

Getting Even (1978)
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Rating
4.04 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0394726405 (ISBN13: 9780394726403)
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English
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publisher
vintage books / random house
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Getting Even (1978)
Getting Even (1978)

About book: I dedicate this review to my friend David Vicsotka. Here is a man that LOVES engaging in those early-in-the-dating-process, sprawling conversations about art, literature, and film that either A) get you laid, and ideally lead to further discussions concerning the wonders of the creative process coupled with additional sexual encounters or B) lead to awkward conversations, reconsideration of sexual interest, fears that this person is a boorish dumb-ass, fears within that potential dumb-ass that you are a shallow, pretentious hipster, etc. Then again, David doesn't really care about the results of such conversations, whether they be hot sex or a slap in the face. He simply loves these subjects and hearing himself talk about these subjects. This is a man who scoffs at the "aesthetic plebeians" who don't understand the "epic poetry" that is the films of Campion, Malick, and Bergman (my use of quotation marks around "epic poetry" us by no means intended as a value judgment either for or against these directors, as this is not the place for that.*) A man who will spend 45 minutes engaged in a scene-for-scene verbal recreation of the ENTIRE film Raging Bull which spoils it for you before you have even seen it, and will sit with strangers at parties attempting to show them the wonders of Calvin Johnson's music by playing all of his favorite songs and dissecting the lyrics, whether the individual appears interested in this largely one-sided discussion or not. A ranter, to be certain. Oh, and don't even get him started on what a sellout Tarantino is for the Kill Bill movies. I have argued this one with him so many times that I still grind my teeth when I think about it. And you know what? I love David, and I love to hear him go off REGARDLESS of whether I agree with him or not. In short, I love David in a way quite similar to how I love Woody Allen.It didn't take long for me to "get" Woody Allen. Sure, he's a snobby know-it-all, potentially a borderline megalomaniac, and most certainly a pretentious hipster. He writes himself into his own scripts as just short of god's gift to women (his only downfalls being his fear of commitment, his all-too-soon boredom with newish sexual partners, and his overarching problem of not being able to find a mate with anything resembling the grasp of "intellectual concerns" and "cultured things" that he has.) In short, his only problem with women is that he is just too hard to "get." Okay, I get that. I am being too harsh, though. Among others, the films Annie Hall and Sweet and Lowdown (via Penn's role as Emmett Ray) explore this delusion on his part, and paint his combined pretensions as the real downfall of his romantic make-up. He talks himself out of the arms of devoted lovers through the "lonely, starving artist who can't reach his full potential unless he's a rambling man, void of all attachments to anything save his work, pain is the only way" bullshit rock star myth. To avoid ruining these wonderful films for those who have yet to see them, I won't continue describing them. However, I just want to point out that there is additionally a small element of self-deprecation involved in Woody Allen's otherwise masturbatory roles within his own films. This (along with the fact that I relate to his general cynicism) is what redeems him in my eyes enough to make me even sort of love him a whole lot. Check it out, guys! Here is where I actually discuss the book! Getting Even is a decent read, with quite a fair amount of belly-laugh moments. However, if you are not familiar with Allen's films and his famous method of line-delivery (perhaps only trumped in haughty awesomeness by Larry David), then you will not have a context in which to enjoy his ramblings, and may instead feel like you are reading a collection of the scattered thoughts of a lunatic, or the bullshit musings of a verbose douchbag. Yes, this book is a bit snarky and a lot-bit intellectually smug...almost as if he is challenging you to look up every scholarly reference he makes in order to catch up with his boundless knowledge. This I did not do. However, in the moments where (due to my accumulation of book learnins' leading up to reading this short paperback) I was able to catch his references, it actually was pretty amusing. It would make a good airplane book if you're hella grandiose by nature and want to sit alone laughing to yourself while saying "smartsy fartsy" things out-loud like "hahaha, de Sade, indeed!" or "the Grim Reaper discussing Faust while playing poker? Ho ho ho, jolly good, sir." So, yeah...take it or leave it. Whatever floats your little boat around the moat.Before I go back to my coffee-pounding and chain-smoking, I would like to highlight a particular story in the collection, as it made me think of the goodreads community. The Gossage-Vardebedian Papers consists of a back and forth correspondence between two men who are attempting to play a game of chess through the mail. Their exchanges become increasingly hostile as each one attempts to guide the game based on their very different chessboards, each of which has a winning strategy laid out for the man sitting in front of it. Through each man's claims of lost or ignored letters containing "brilliant" moves (among other tricks), the two separate boards become so mismatched that each player in the end decides that he has won, but will let his competitor think whatever he likes (though they can't seem to cease continuing to write back and forth making jabs at one another.) Though written in the seventies, I think this is a wonderful illustration of the communication breakdown that often occurs on goodreads, and the internet as a whole. Throughout message boards, myfaces, spacebooks, and particularly youtube (the last refuge of the most desperately insecure, mundane naysayers that the internet has to offer, it would appear), there is a whole lot of shakin' going on concerning conflicting opinions on...well, just about everything ever. Yes, people like to argue, and being able to take the time to carefully enunciate your heavily edited convictions sure makes it a lot easier to feel as if you have won whatever useless battle presented itself on any given day. However, is anyone's opinion really changing? I myself have gotten into some nasty exchanges on this website, and though I feel quite certain of my superior position in each of these debates (I was doing a little pompous dance just then as a means of self-mockery), that doesn't mean that anyone else does, or that anyone even gives a flying fuck enough to ponder it to begin with. Whoever I was arguing with that day certainly doesn't care, and most likely walked away feeling like they had won a bar-fight rather than engaged in a heated debate resulting in expanded perceptions of some kind or another. This is my way-too-lengthy means of saying that this piece shows just how fantastically astute Allen can be in some of the more glorious moments in this book. Here is a passage which made me actually stop reading for a few moments to laugh, reflect on some of the more asshole-ish and wordy comments I've made to trolls, and then laugh some more to and at myself about how ridiculous the whole internet social networking debate thing can often be: "Gossage,How curious your last letter was! Well-intended, concise, containing all the elements that would appear to make up what passes among certain reference groups as a communicative effect, yet tinged throughout with what Jean-Paul Sartre is so fond of referring to as 'nothingness.' One is immediately struck by a profound sense of despair, and reminded vividly of the diaries sometimes left by doomed explorers lost at the Pole, or the letters of German soldiers at Stalingrad. Fascinating how the senses disintegrate when faced with an occasional black truth, and scamper amuck, substantiating mirage and constructing a precarious buffer against the onslaught of all too terrifying existence!"How goodreadsy, Woody. You should have your own review page, as you would fit right in with all of the other overly-opinionated nerds like myself. However, your book is still 3 stars overall. If it's any consolation, Sweet and Lowdown gets a five out of five.*I will make one value-judgment from this list, however. Jane Campion's short films from college are wonderfully perceptive, original, and highly inspiring for burgeoning artists of every stripe, and it is my far-from-humble opinion that everybody should see them. Also, they are relevant concerning the fragmented opinions and internetty miscommunications mentioned above. That is all.http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcg8...

Hacía tiempo que no releía algo, pero es que realmente necesitaba hacerlo. Es la clase de libros que sólo alguien acostumbrado a su manera de escribir, de su clase de chistes y su humor snob-intelectual, puede disfrutar. De otro modo puede verse como un montón de palabras pegadas y lanzadas al azar. Sin mencionar que los contenidos culturales que poseen son de alto calibre y sin tener un conocimiento previo, al menos de nombres, puede volverse algo tedioso o confuso, o idiota. Lo que más les guste.Lo que hace a Woody Allen uno de mis escritores preferidos, es su manera de tomar algo que muchos tomamos en serio, en algo risible y ridículo. Sus chistes me producen en ocasiones carcajadas y en otras risas tontas, que bien me costaron unas cuantas miradas escépticas en las áreas públicas. No cualquiera considera posible la comedia escrita y sin duda alguna Allen sabe llegar a la clase de público a la que puede ir dirigida, porque definitivamente Woody Allen no es monedita de oro en el área cinematográfica o escrita.En fin, cuentos-historias-rambling en forma de una clase de manual. Desde una obra de teatro donde la Muerte juega cartas contra un hombre que busca 24 horas de vida extra, hasta casos policíacos donde un detective es contratado para encontrar a Dios.Toda una fichita ese Woody Allen. Megalómano y bastante neurótico, pero lo más importante, muy divertido.
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Reviews
Don S.
I’ve always been a fan of Woody Allen’s movies. In addition to his comedic use of his own neurosis, Jewish background, and his hang-ups about food and romance, Allen is a master of paraprosdokians. What the heck is that, right? Well, here is the explanation from www.englishforums.com: A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is freq
Lukasz Pruski
Woody Allen's "Side Effects" is one of the funniest books I have ever read (I review it here and, of course, I rate it with five stars) Then I read "Without Feathers", expecting a repeat and getting rather a major disappointment (two and half stars, rounded up, my review is here ). Now I have just finished Woody Allen's "Getting Even", which is even weaker. It contains 17 very short stories (the total of 110 pages), of which I find only three really funny.In one story, a sexy woman comes to Mr. Lupowitz, a private detective, and hires him to find out whether God exists. These are some of the most hilarious nine pages one can read anywhere. Another great piece, titled "A Twenties Memory", is about the author's friendship and adventures with famous people of 1920s: Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Matisse, Alice Toklas, Igor Stravinsky, Salvador Dali, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and others. Not to spoil it for the potential readers, I will not quote the funniest part. The third really funny piece is "Spring Bulletin", which spoofs a brochure that advertises continuing-education courses in an adult school. I would not have believed it before I had picked the book that I would find nine out of the 17 stories totally, and I mean totally unfunny to me. Of course, Woody Allen is a master in writing funny sentences. Alas, funny sentences do not automatically make funny stories. Let's have some funny sentences to encourage you to pick the book, despite my grumbling:"I had completed the philosophical work that I am hoping will not be uncovered until my death, or until the year 3000 (whichever comes first).""Students particularly interested in these aspects of psychology are advised to take one of these Winter Term courses: Introduction to Hostility; Intermediate Hostility; Advanced Hatred; Theoretical Aspects of Loathing.""For instance, the Rabbi likes to sleep on his stomach. The disciple also likes to sleep on the Rabbi's stomach.""For if there is God, then tell me, Uncle, why is there poverty and baldness?"Two stars.
KarmA1966
This first collection of Woody's New Yorker pieces, published in book form in 1966, raises a humorous fist at God, existentialism, sandwiches, phobias, the gumshoe mystery, etc. As with most of Woody's writings, the plots are absurd: Dracula stepping out during a total eclipse; a meek shopowner playing gin rummy with Death; an anonymous narrator getting punched in the nose by Hemingway and, later, by Gertrude Stein.The foundation of what would become vintage Woody is in place, but there's not enough memorable material or even good chuckles here, as if, writing for the New Yorker, stifled him from going for the big or easy laugh.If you want to experience Woody Allen on the page, "Without Feathers" is a far superior collection of his New Yorker writings and worth seeking out.
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