News Flash Mr. Allen, “Blue Jasmine” is Terrible

And in case you didn’t know, “news flash” is an anachronism, just like your use of “phony”. Who are you, Holden Caulfield?

Actually, “phony” is featured twice. Couldn’t you have had an intern look for language that’s been current in the last 40 years? Perhaps he or she would have also redlined “greaseball”, or questioned the fact that an upperclass woman in her mid-forties would need to “learn computers”.

I’ve been to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Mr. Allen. There’s a huge Apple store across from the Sherry Netherlands Hotel. Every socialite under fifty is swimming in Apple products, if only to check the online Social Register, their Facebook Accounts, confirm their hair and personal training appointments and restaurant reservations. So they “know” computers. Hell, I can tell you that five years ago the chair of the New York Botanical Garden Gala, who is over seventy, planned a large chunk of it via email.

But this is besides the point. The real problem with “Blue Jasmine” isn’t with the acting. Cate Blanchett is justifiably being lauded for her performance. The true issue is that you have a fundamental ignorance of the City of San Francisco, its people, and its culture. Why The San Francisco Chronicle review failed to notice that there was only one California accent in the ENTIRE film, is beyond incredible.

I’m going to clue you in on a little secret Mr. Allen. Not everyone outside of Manhattan has a New Jersey accent. I know that to you, everyone outside of your rarified social circle must seem like one homogenous mass of “wise guys” and “greaseballs”, but we actually have our own distinct lower-class culture here, with accents to match!

Do I believe that Andrew Dice Clay is from San Francisco for one moment? No! Do I believe that students “learning computers” at City College wear preppy sweaters tied around their necks, eighties-tennis style? Don’t make me laugh. Do I believe that pals made in City College classes regularly attend techno music dance parties in Tiburon? That’s simply delusional.

Another question, do you actually think it’s plausible that a sophomore under the age of ninety at Boston University meets her future husband when “Blue Moon” is playing? I don’t know what you’ve seen of college culture in the last sixty years, but perhaps you’re also under the impression that co-eds are still lining up for the new film featuring Judy Garland. Fine, okay, it could have been one of the “newer” covers. College sophomores were definitely swooning over Mel Torme in the the late eighties.

I also can’t understand the Dickensian type coincidences that are the cruxes of the plot. Are there five people in NYC? I’m failing to believe that Jasmine’s sister just happens to spy Jasmine’s husband kissing another woman on the street, after the husband had been informed of the sister-in-law’s itinerary for the day.

Are there three people in San Francisco? Even if Andrew Dice Clay DID live here, he’s certainly wouldn’t be casually strolling around Neiman Marcus in Union Square AT THE PRECISE TIME HIS EX-SISTER IN-LAW IS ABOUT TO PICK OUT HER ENGAGEMENT RING. Not only are these odds close to astronomical, but his character just would not be there.

I understand why you picked San Francisco for Jasmine to re-locate to from NYC. It had to be far enough away from Manhattan society for her to reinvent herself, but it also had to have a populace of wealth AND sophistication (thereby eliminating Los Angeles) for Jasmine to find a suitably wealthy target for a mate. Why you thought getting the details of one of the world’s most iconic cities wasn’t worth your time is beyond me.

Look Mr. Allen. You’ve earned your place in the film history. No one can deny the importance of “Annie Hall”, “Sleeper”, “Radio Days” or even “Match Point”, but I feel that in your efforts to be prolific, you’ve lost the crucial importance of writing perhaps the most important of characters: the setting.

Should you ever shoot on location in San Francisco again, I’d be happy to look over your script for you. I was born here. My kids were born here. I know secret staircases, the invisible divisions of neighborhoods, what kind of people go to which kind of restaurants, and more importantly, what those people sound like.

If you are to remain in a state of Manhattanite solipsism, make sure your story locales remain within your twenty-three square mile world of forty to eighty-five years ago.

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