1980's STARDUST MEMORIES was one of the first times that Woody Allen addressed his critics that clamored for the goofiness of his earlier films. Of course Woody did so by portraying a thinly veiled alter ego with plenty of hilarious things to say about his films and their critics.
Woody plays Sandy Bates, a director who has turned from his early, slapstick style comedies to much more serious films. The clips we see come off as pretentious Bergman ripoffs, a criticism some had for Woody himself after the very serious drama "Interiors" released in 1978.
Attending a retrospective of his films, Sandy must face a barrage of over-eager fans, condescending critics and plenty of past lovers and co-stars.
Charlotte Rampling, Daniel Stern and Tony Roberts are all very good in their roles. Woody is in comfortable territory here and gets off plenty of great one-liners while skewering fame and expectations. A lot of fans hated this movie, thinking Woody was disrespecting them, but it never struck me as anything but clever and witty.
Flashbacks of his youth and a weekend visit to his family are especially funny scenes. Stardust isn't one of Woody's best, but its well written, smart and has some very strong moments. We'll give Woody's Memories a solid B, critics be damned.