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Crimes and Misdemeanors

One of my favorite Woody Allen films, 1989's CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is the perfect mashup of Allen's humor and a powerful dramatic story in which the characters in both groups interact and intertwine.

Martin Landau was nominated for best supporting actor for his role as ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal. A respected doctor, speaker and philanthropist, Judah's life appears perfect from afar.

As the film opens, Judah's life is about to be shattered by his jealous and unbalanced mistress Dolores, played to perfection by Anjelica Houston.

Dolores is tired of waiting for Judah to leave his wife and has begun calling his home and sending letters.

Within the same social circle, documentary filmmaker Cliff Stern (a smart and witty Woody) is selected to film a documentary about his obnoxious brother in law Lester (Alan Alda).

Lester is successful, adored by the public and Cliff abhors him but he takes the job to document Lester's success because he needs the money and Cliff's wife (Lester's sister) won't have it any other way.

Enter Mia Farrow as Lester's assistant, who Cliff grows infatuated with during the filming, Sam Waterston as a nearly blind rabbi and patient of Judah's, toss in a childhood friend of Judah's who works for the mob and is happy to "take care of Judah's problem" and you have an intelligent, suspenseful and funny film that will make you laugh out loud while quietly making you consider the lines of morality.

The cast is fantastic, the writing is as good as it gets. This is a Woody film I watch at least every couple years just to savor the film making.

If you aren't a fan of Allen, its a great choice to see what you might be missing.

Crimes and Misdemeanors gets an A+ and lands in my all-time Top 100.

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